A 21-year-old Indian woman is raped by two men, Indian army officers. The men’s families tried to “buy” their innocence. That didn’t work. But the victim’s dad (and family) agreed to drop the charges if both men married the family’s 2 daughters.
It sounds unconscionable. But things are different in India. Seriously different!
It’s bad enough that daughter #1 has to spend the rest of her life with one of the men who violently violated her. But imagine being daughter #2 (she’s 19-years-old) who “gets” to marry one of her sister’s rapists and spend the rest of her life with a piece of scum. No thank you. Did I mention that things are different in India?
In recent years gang rapes have been on the rise. They attribute it to women being out in public and in the workplace more than in past years, along with the economic woes causing men to be unemployed. More often than not, women are blamed for the rape, regardless of the circumstances, and many (read “most”) rapes go unreported. However, these groups of men are increasingly recording the rape sessions and sharing around the village. Isn’t that nice? So the women are being exposed anyway.
Why does this matter? It doesn’t just affect the women, it affects their family. It’s a matter of honor (or lack of). It can devastate the entire family. And then there’s the caste system, and depending on which end of the scale you’re on can have an even worse affect (as if that were possible after a rape).
You can read more about this particular story here and some background info on the cultural differences here. It’s hard to wrap an American brain around this way of thinking to get an Indian perspective, but give a try. It’s not easy to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
Photo credit via Flickr Patrik M. Loeff