“Have you been raped? It’s your fault.” An appalling and ironic campaign from India.

 

Emotional campaigns make you cry and reflect, but they seem to be repetitive after a while. We all know what violence on women entails, especially rape; we can all imagine the destroying feeling a woman can perceive, or in the worst cases, the feeling the victim passes away with.

Indian women wanted to try something different. The message of the video is like a punch in the stomach, and this is precisely the effect they wanted to achieve. Irony about violence on women and rape turns into sarcasm and bitterness on a woman’s tongue. Several campaigns have been released to raise awareness, but few have had the desired effect; that of stopping violence. The international community can be outraged, but Indian men are the one who have to change drastically – of course I do not want to generalize, but I am referring to those who have committed crimes or those inclined to do so in the future.

It’s not the first campaign we see about this issue in India that is original and appalling. A recent one named the “Abused Goddesses” campaign (here you can see some pictures’ campaign) surely brought a lot of attention and also complaints. The campaign depicts hand-painted images (based on photos taken with real models) of Hindu goddesses bruised, battered and beaten with a telephone number on the side to report rape cases and this caption at the bottom:

“Pray that we never see this day. Today, more than 68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. Tomorrow, it seems like no woman shall be spared. Not even the ones we pray to.”

The Indian National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) makes a distinction of crime against women dividing them in two categories, those which fall under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and those under the special & local law (SLL).

Crimes under IPC:

  • Rape (Sec. 376 IPC)
  • Kidnapping & abduction for specified purposes
  • Homicide for dowry, dowry deaths or their attempts
  • Torture – both mental and physical
  • Assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty
  • Insult to the modesty of women
  • Importation of girl from foreign country (upto 21 years of age)

Crimes under SLL:

  • Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
  • Dowry Prohibition, Act 1961
  • Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
  • Commission of Sati Prevention Act, 1987

The NCRB released the annual report on Crime Against Women, which states the following data: “A total of 2,44,270 incidents of crime against women (both under IPC and SLL) were reported in the country during the year 2012 as compared to 2,28,650 in the year 2011 recording an increase of 6.4% during the year 2012. […] West Bengal with 7.5% share of country’s female population has accounted for nearly 12.7% of total crime against women by reporting 30,942 cases during the year 2012.” Crimes have been increasing at an alarming rate since 2008. Here below you can find the map of India that shows the incidence of crime against women in 2012 taken from the report of the NCRB.

Crime Against Women, report from National Crime Records Bureau of India
Crime Against Women, report from National Crime Records Bureau of India

Rape holds first place of the crime list released by the NCRB, followed by kidnapping & abduction. In 2005, India passed the progressive Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), a rights-based piece of legislation that was stricter on punishing offenders and expanded the definition of domestic violence to include non-physical and sexual violence. However, patriarchal and gender-biased beliefs persist in India.

Will this campaign be effective enough or will it be just another one to add to the list?

 

Laura Zuffi

 

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