Let me ask you a question.

I found this story while looking for something else and I will link it to the original site tomorrow – hoping they understand that the idea is not to plagiarize, but to read some honest answers. 

“There is a married woman and her husband works long nights and doesn’t return until the early morning. When her husband is away, the wife gets dressed up and goes to an island where she has affairs with random men. When these men get too close to her, like if they want to take their affair to the next level, she purposely gets in fights with them. Then she takes the ferry back home before her husband arrives. She’s also really drunk.

So one night she does her usual routine. She goes to the island, has sex with a guy and then acts like a jerk so they can break up. As she is on her way back to the ferry she realizes she doesn’t have enough money to get back home. She needs to get home soon before her husband comes back. She asks the ferry captain to let her go on for free. She promises the next time she comes she’ll pay double the fare. But the ferry captain tells her no.

The wife goes back to the guy she just broke up with. She’s really desperate. But of course they just got in a fight and he refuses to give her any money. She goes to a guy she was with last week, but he is still pretty pissed off and he won’t give her any money either.

She really has no option other than to walk home over the bridge. It’s really dark at night and she doesn’t want to walk home alone. But she takes the chance…and she is raped and killed by a group of thugs.

Who’s to blame for the wife being raped?

-the husband
-the wife
-the ferry captain
-ex number one
-ex number two
-the thugs”

181 thoughts on “Let me ask you a question.

    • Dee,
      You are a “joint winner”.
      Both posts (Wanderer’s and yours) came in sharp at 6:44
      Now IHM will have to take seriously my earlier warning that she needs to display the seconds too!
      Till of course even that is inadequate and we need to split the seconds too.
      Better luck next time Dee!
      Regards
      GV

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  1. the thugs of course…. how on earth is anyone else responsible????
    ofcourse, as a regular passenger, the ferry captain could’ve extended a little bit of credit to her… but that doesn’t make him responsible.. that just makes him a penny pincher..

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  2. thugs–the most
    also— the woman– for getting stone drunk.
    and the captain for not being a chivalrous man and assisting a woman in need,or maybe he took her to be a con-woman?

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    • Dear IHM, I have followed part of the debate after my initial reply (admit I haven’t been able to read the latest comments, so excuse me if I repeat points already discussed). I have no doubts that the thugs were responsible for the crime, just like I said in my prev. comment. Nor is it important what she was wearing, how she was talking, walking, doing, or what were her moral choices or her behaviour. But still, despite all these, for ANY crime in the real world, there are many things we do to not be a victim. I know the locking the door analogy or the drunk driving analogy might not cut it, because a real human being deserves all the respect from everybody else in the world which may or may not be accorded to material things.. but what is LEGAL is separate from what is SAFE. If we keep talking about legality, we will never talk about how to fight. Why learn how to physically defend yourself in case someone gropes you… after all, he is clearly wrong? No denying he is wrong, but the law is sadly not enforced as quick and as efficiently as it should. Secondly, there’s a chance of being killed and even if the law is enforced later, it won’t get you back to your life. Thirdly, in many cases, the shock of the situation may allow the criminal to easily escape. Lastly, it’s no rocket science that most of these things happen when nobody else is around, so there’s little hope of someone else coming to one’s rescue (more horrifying are cases where onlookers choose to ignore something like this). In such cases, WHATEVER your ways/ morals/ choices in life, wouldn’t you recommend that the person do the basic smart thing of carrying some cash? knowing how to get back home? drinking in moderation when alone? Very curious to know your stance.

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      • Any talk of taking precautions to avoid any crime is great at anytime except when we are discussing who is responsible for the crime – because it might sound like we are blaming the victim, not a good idea because that shifts the blame from the real culprit. This has reached such proportions that one hardly ever hears of a rape without hearing about how the victim was not careful enough etc. This is also why victims (including children) fear reporting molestations, rape etc.

        I also feel women in particular get an overdose of what precautions to take to prevent rape – so much so that the precautions have now become a threat, “If you get raped after all these warnings, then don’t come crying to us/ expect us to fight for you….” And victims aren’t the only ones listening to these warnings, the rapists (and their lawyers) hear it too.

        In this example it is made clear that she was forced to use the bridge – a hypothetical situation created only to explain what Rape Culture is.

        Maybe, one reason we do this is to reassure ourselves that this could never happen to us because we are going to take all the precautions possible.

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      • Well, my comment was not exactly a case of victim blaming so I won’t take that accusation. There’s no blame to be assigned on the victim in any case, but the real world doesn’t come without its share of wondering about scenarios. I personally know that I would never venture out without having basic cash and a little change, a charged phone and a decision to either not drink or drink in moderation if using public transport or drink and have a friend/ spouse/ anybody trusted to drop me home. After that, I don’t plan to be accountable to anybody on what I was wearing or doing or saying or whether it was late in the night or a lonely street, if anything of this sort was to happen to me. I can also not say that if I went out like an irresponsible person with no idea of how I am going to get back home later in the night, I will not blame myself later on for not having been a little more careful if this or a robbery or a car accident was to happen to me – it’s not possible for most people, men or women, to not wonder how differently things would have panned out, had they done something differently.

        There is no denying that women get their fair share of “warnings” but it would be a generalization to say that all of these are done to threaten or repress. Many parents or relatives can be genuine well-wishers. I know I wouldn’t let a sloshed friend of mine take a cab alone in the middle of the night carrying no cash at all.. why? because I don’t want to put her through anything untoward.. even if it is completely legal for her to go on her own. I’m sorry but I just cannot put blind faith in the legal procedure, with myself or with those whom I care about, provided that it will kick in only after something bad has happened. Having said that, why is it so hard to believe that I will not ever say something as crude as “don’t come crying to me, when you get raped..” to someone. Taking precautions = victim blaming? Well then I propose that everyone who looks left or right before crossing the road believes that every car accident happens because of the pedestrian. Because if it is so clear to everybody that the car driver hitting him will be deemed the criminal, why does he need to look left and right at all?

        Also, if the situation mentioned above is so hypothetical, then it deserves a shallow hypothetical correct answer: Yes, the thugs were responsible. If this example is EVER to be used as a citation to modify behavioral sensitivity to rape, it cannot escape taking real life learning into account.

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      • Plus, the criminal being the sole responsible clashes with all the “don’t leave your drink unattended” date rape prevention messages we keep getting. Must they be deleted and replied to rudely, because why the hell do they ask ME to not leave my drink unattended, when it’s clearly the CRIMINAL who is to blame?

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      • This is a slippery slope. It’s a lot like the argument that pro-life folks use in the US to demonise abortion.

        Who decides whether the victim adequately protected herself/himself? How do you define adequate protection?

        Clothing? VERY subjective. I consider full-sleeved, high-necked, salwar-kameez-dupatta to be modest attire.

        Yet, there has not been a SINGLE day in my life, when a man has not ogled at my salwar-kameez-covered body.

        My being female is enough for most men who ogle at me on the streets. My clothing plays no role, in my experience.

        In their minds, my being female=I can do what I want with her.

        For argument’s sake, imagine that I am only aroused when I shove chilli powder-coated sticks up a man’s ass.

        So, by your logic, if I were to lure some man home, blindfold him, tie him up and then shove said stick up his ass, he’s be partially responsible, wouldn’t he?

        When will people really accept that rape victims are NOT responsible for what happens to them?

        I gave the example of a man because many men believe that men cannot be raped and rape is therefore, not their problem.

        Not true, especially around women like me with perverted sexual fantasies. :))

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  3. No matter why, when, where, how someone is raped, the one who did it is responsible. Of course the thugs who raped her are responsible.

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  4. Trying to blame the wife, husband, ex-es, ferry captain would all be morality based and unfair to one or the other in multiple ways.
    The thugs are to blame for for sure – for crime is crime – no moral paints there, it is legally a crime.
    And the law and order mechanism – for allowing criminal elements to grow unchecked and for letting the bridge remain a “No go” area.

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    • But I must confess. . My first reaction was “the woman is to blame”. Not as much for philandering and breaking husband’s trust as for being a jerk with the men she was with – if she had been clear to them that the affair was purely casual instead of getting out easy by being a jerk, they would have helped her buy the ticket. Being nice to people never hurts, being a jerk hurts.

      Though an OK stance, it is still judging a person and being holier-than-thou. Sigh. . Conditioning!😦

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  5. According to me the fault is of Wife and husband….

    Wife because when she knows that she is married, she does not have to get involved with other guys, despite the fact that her husband has to go for work @ nights. She should discuss the matter with her husband to find the way out. If she still wants to get involved with other guys she need to break up with her husband.

    Husband because he should understand that he has a wife @ home waiting for her. He has to take care of her and her desires. He failed at that and the wife stepped out.

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      • I think he was referring specifically to this story IHM. He was not generalizing on it. Given that she was sexually unhappy as her husband was always away, she had to seek men elsewhere. And she also ended up an alcoholic of sorts. All these contributed to her being on the bridge that night. While people will sympathize with her for the rape, they won’t sympatize with her for what happens later – the divorce and the media humiliation.

        Now if we change the story to her having a sick kid at home, and going out for urgent care and getting raped. The rape part remains the same, but now she’ll have additional sympathy and support from people.

        In both cases the thugs will get a jail term, but in the 2nd case the wife won’t risk the possibility of getting dumped by her husband.

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  6. IHM,

    The answer to your question is “the thugs”, but there is also another question that comes to mind, viz, In the real world,is the wife not responsible in any way or to any extent for putting herself in a dangerous situation ?

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      • IHM,
        You ask,
        “If she was a devoted wife and did not sleep with random men and only needed to use that bridge for some urgent work, would the rapists have not raped her?”

        The rapists did not question why she was there, she was a soft target that they took advantage of. Im not commenting on her “morals” or her reason for going out at night on a lonely bridge . What Im saying is that, she should have thought about the ways and means to keep herself safe, such as having money for the ferry, a friend with a car in case she was drunk and needed to get home safely, self defence etc, because in the real world, people do have to take some responsibility for keeping themselves safe from crime,even in the most well policed areas. Again, she does not deserve to be raped, BUT in the situation described ,i.e going out late, alone for whatever reason, it is a possibility which she should not have disregarded, and should have taken precautions against. In my opinion, as adults, it’s our job to look after ourselves the best we can, and the woman described in this story does not appear to have taken even the most basic steps in that direction.

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        • Yes, you are right. We, as adults, have a responsibility to exercise reasonable caution in all of our decisions. I am afraid that this woman failed consider all of the possible outcomes of her choices. Again, you are right that she did not deserve to be raped for a bad decision but most of us know that tragedies occur when we knowingly put ourselves in harms way.

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        • If I decide to drink and drive knowing the “possible” outcomes, who is to blame? It is my conduct, my choices that have placed me in this situation. If she is drunk and makes some bad decisions who placed her in the situation? Should people who make bad decisions whether they are under the influence or not own some of the blame for the outcome? Personally, I own much of the blame, if not all, when I act stupidly. Does that justify others taking advantage of my poor decisions. Absolutely not. But I still own my part of the tragedy. Don’t I?

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      • The question is “Who’s to blame for the wife being raped?”
        The answer is ‘the thugs’ and nobody but the thugs. Just because the rift between husband and wife, affairs and not having money to go home, having to walk late at night etc have entered the picture, is no reason to let all this cloud the issue and influence our judgement. The woman was walking home. The thugs raped and murdered her. They are to be blamed for the crime. Period.

        Why should the woman’s past or present activities, or the place she was in or the time of the day or night or anything else at all enter the picture? They are totally irrelevant. She is a free citizen entitled to walk anywhere she wants. She might have been foolish to walk alone on the bridge late at night or she may not have had a choice. But that does not shift blame or responsibility. Why are we allowing her affairs and exe-s and her fickle nature to influence us? They have no bearing on who raped her.

        Suppose a Sati Savitri was in her place walking alone on a lonely road because she had to get a doctor for her sick child? Couldn’t she have been raped? Would anyone suggest that she should have been a responsible adult and should have stayed at home or taken measures for her safety while moving out of the house? Many among us do not have cell phones and really cannot arrange for cars or calls to be made for their safety. What if it was one such woman who was raped and murdered? Would anyone still say she should have done this or that for her safety? Do you think of your safety in times of a crisis?

        If the thugs are responsible for the rape in the case of a poor and goody goody Sati Savitri, who happened to be running to get help for her dying child, then the same thugs are responsible for the rape of this woman too. When you fix the responsibility of rape, the backgrounds, character etc of the women involved should not be a consideration at all. The responsibility of rape does not change according to the social position, character (good or bad) or whatever of women. The law is/should be the same for all whether you are Miss Sati Savitri or Miss Whore. Only the rapist is responsible for rape. No one else.

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  7. Here’s a different take on it : I think the responsible party here are the thugs – oh wait a min, that’s what everyone else said too *grin*

    IHM : what are you trying to get at here? Oh, and what a convoluted story that was🙂

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  8. All parties share “responsibility”, not “blame” except for the thugs who share both responsibility and blame for this tragedy.

    But the reasons are different.

    The husband is “responsible” , but not for the rape, but for creating a situation that led to this tragedy. He should have found another job.

    The wife is “responsible” but not for the rape, but for being faithless to her husband and also being mean with her Ex’s and losing their sympathies. She should have divorced her husband instead of being faithless.

    The ferry captain is “responsible”, but not for rape, but for allowing his greed for spot cash to cloud his judgment and allowing the woman to walk into a dangerous situation.

    The Ex’s are “responsible”, but not for rape, but for being unforgiving and allowing her to walk into this dangerous situation.

    The law enforcement agencies are responsible but not for rape, but for being unable to prevent a crime like this by effective policing.

    But finally the thugs must share full responsibility and blame. They had no grievance.
    Their crime is the most serious and unforgivable.

    The fatalists will blame fate or perhaps God!

    Is this a trick question, as Gounder Brownie wonders?
    If so, I give up. I am not too good at trick questions.

    Regards
    GV

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    • GV, you are saying the other parties are responsible for other things, basically based on your moral judgement.

      The question here is did any of these people hold a gun to the thugs’ head and ask them to rape the wife? They could be held responsible in any way for this tragedy only if they had done that. Otherwise, none of them are responsible.

      All kinds of people have their petty foilbles and weaknesses, and that is exactly what makes them human. People should strive to better themselves all the time, but that does not make them in any way responsible for crimes committed by other people.

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      • Fem,
        You call what the woman did a “petty foible”?
        I humbly beg to differ.
        Of course, that does not justify her rape by the thugs.
        I never said she was responsible for the rape.
        None of the others (except the thugs) are responsible for the rape.
        They are responsible for other failings that unfortunately lead to the rape.
        For the rape, only the thugs are responsible.

        Also I don’t think I am being judgmental.
        I am merely expressing an opinion after being invited to do so.
        And that opinion is that everybody has defaulted in some way or the other.
        “judgment” is your word, not mine.

        I would request you to read my comment once again.
        Thanks for your response and opinion.
        Regards

        GV

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    • “The ferry captain is “responsible”, but not for rape, but for allowing his greed for spot cash to cloud his judgment and allowing the woman to walk into a dangerous situation.” – I disagree. He did his job. Its unfair to mark him greedy.

      “The Ex’s are “responsible”, but not for rape, but for being unforgiving and allowing her to walk into this dangerous situation.” – I disagree. In this story the ex’s acted responsibly, by not falling into the trap again. A lot of the readers of IHM’s blog has advised a good number confused souls, not to entertain jerks a second time.

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  9. Why does the story itself seem so ridiculously set-up to me? Like a woman who needs to go across a river on a ferry to exclusively have affairs with men there. And it HAS to be a new one every night or every few days (and she somehow manages to find someone new every night). Oh, and she’s *also* drunk. And the ferry captain who takes her across every day refuses to let her ride free for one day.Me, I would probably have a monthly pass or something by then. It seems like a story someone made up to get people to believe that women who act “irresponsibly” (whatever their standards of irresponsibility be) are responsible for their being raped, as if by some divine (or human) retribution. It doesn’t matter; her morality is a different debate altogether. It has nothing to do with the fact that she’s was raped.

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  10. Continuing with the story, now that the rape has brought her extra-marital affairs to light, the husband would probably file for divorce and get it easily too.

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    • While it is necessary to maintain adequate Police to public ratio and to have increased police presence in areas that are identified as “at risk”. There is no way to have police present everywhere. A single constable could have been easily overpowered by the thugs.
      What is needed is a change in the mindset of society, the best and first place to start would be to stop blaming the victim, the second would be to actually start implementing the laws and handing out appropriate sentences to the guilty. This would result in more victims coming forward and more and more of the guilty being punished. This along with education and awareness would greatly reduce such crimes. .

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  11. the thugs – so glad all the people above think the same! doesn’t matter what condition the woman was, doesn’t matter with she had sex with one or trillion – casual or serious – all were her choices – In a free, democratic country we all can do what we please – I am not trying to be amoral here but everybody has their reasons ofcourse as long as they are in the legal boundaries – she could ave been raped even if she was a pious woman returning from a temple!

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  12. for the death of course the thugs are responsible..but the whole situation..is complicated..it’s not as easy and simple as it looks or sounds the marriage the other men and the fact that she was not able to break the marriage..and choose another man..the fact that she was scared of moving on to a next level with other man..and she knew all that and she cudn’t do anything about it.
    i don’t know whose to be blamed for the situation.

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  13. If a person dies in an automobile accident because they choose not to wear a seat belt, who is to blame? The neighbors testified that their good friend never wore a seat belt even though she stated on many occasions that “people drive like maniacs”. Clearly, their friend lived in the real world and knew that people don’t always behave themselves. In other words, she knew there was risk of injury or death in her chosen behavior but continued to put herself in harms way. Does she or any of us have a personal responsibility to exercise “due diligence” in the choices we make? I believe we do.

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      • As one of the responders to this question indicated, we can argue “blame” ad infinitum. However, I believe a more relevant question might be the degree of culpability that a reasonable person would assign to each of the actors in this scenario.

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      • IHM,
        She DID have another option – she could have been honest and responsible, stayed at a hotel overnight (since they don’t ask for money up-front), confessed to her husband the next day and asked him to pick her up. Her dishonesty and lack of personal responsibility is what got her into the situation in the first place; of course, the thugs have the maximum culpability.

        Me – There is no mention of any hotels being available. And she could have been raped on the way to or inside the hotel too.

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    • Accident vs Rape – see the difference. The former is just that…an accident caused by random choice. If you’re not wearing a seatbelt and someone DELIBERATELY slams into you with the intention of killing you and dies…then you’re not responsible even though you didn’t wear a seatbelt.

      Same with rape. Rape is a deliberate action by criminals.

      Your thinking – and that of some others – betrays the fact that you think rape is a kind of random thing performed by random forces of nature. It’s not. It’s a deliberate crime committed by human beings. That makes all the difference.

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      • Perfect answer.

        Implying that rape and motor accidents were comparable crimes is setting up a straw-man argument.

        Take financial fraud — would it have helped if we’d know that Mike Milken or Gordon Gecko had truly altruistic motives when they committed financial fraud?

        What if we were to know that Mike Milken sold all those junk bonds because he wanted to fund medical research (partly true by the way)?

        Would his culpability decrease? He would (was) still be prosecuted for committing securities fraud.

        Why is it so difficult to separate crime and motive when it comes to rape? Denial ain’t a river in Egypt!

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  14. Can I choose “None of the above” IHM..🙂 Because I think this story is fabricated in such a way that women will ALWAYS be considered “victim” . Even though one of you comments states that “what is she wanted to seek urgent medical help for her husband”, the world might still try to victimize her. For eg: she should have sought the help of a MALE partner instead of stepping out in the dark night.. blah blahhh …
    Btw, we are good people who read your blog and hence most of us have chosen ‘thugs’..

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    • Exactly.

      The stories are set up in such a way that even the best of us end up blaming the victim.

      Unfotunately, in real life, you do not always dodge a bullet.

      I have a ten-minute walk to the parking lot everyday after work.

      Often, when I work late and am walking towards my car, I think to myself that if somebody were to drag me into a dark corner and rape me, I would mostly be blamed.

      Why did I choose to work late? Why did I not ask for an escort to walk me to my car? Why did I not call for a cab (never mind that the cab driver could well be a rapist).

      The blame game NEVER ends.

      If women were to demand protection every time they felt afraid or at risk, the men in their lives would have time for little else except protecting and escorting the women.

      Maybe it is a worthy revenge?

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  15. I would say the thugs. But i would also consider the society in which this story is set to be at fault to some extent. I am imagining a society where it would be considered bad for a woman to be alone at night , to drink, a society where the couple has to maintain the pretense of a marriage, where it is not ok for a woman to have emotional needs god forbade even any sexual needs etc. etc

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  16. The thugs are responsible and should be blamed for the rape…

    The question here is not what led to the infidelity of woman but who is responsible for rape & murder…. It’s the people who committed the crime without any fear of the law….the thugs didn’t knew anything about woman’s past (not mentioned) so to them she was just an easy target…..

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  17. Rape is caused by the rapist, no matter what. The answer would be the thugs.

    Having said that, I have to admit. My first thought was the woman caused it.
    But here’s another point of view. Just my thought.

    Not becoz she was drunk.
    Not becoz she cheated on her husband.
    Not becoz she had affairs with the men and deserted them.

    But because she was careless enough to be without money for the ferry change! (assuming that she is not someone poor who cannot afford money for any transport – she was a regular ferry passenger right?) Which caused her to take the bridge in the first place – be in the wrong place at the wrong time. She could have been more careful and just had the money for the change – as good as an advice I’d give to any woman going out anywhere at any point of the day OR night. This was my first thought.
    A partial answer could be (like a couple of other ppl answered)…the ferry captain could have been more lenient to his regular passenger and averted the disaster. But that still does not mean he is responsible for the rape.

    I m not sure how much of this answer is conditioning….. or from my own mindset…. becoz I am one of those people who beats myself up the hardest when something goes wrong – it could be something as simple as forgetting to do something important and obvious which I assumed I had already jotted down as a reminder on my mobile phone😛

    The rape is responsible by the rapist. Nobody gives the rapist the right to rape….it is a violation that he induces/inflicts on someone else.
    But the whole convoluted story gave me a nice chance to introspect on my own thinking style.
    I like🙂

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    • The woman would have been responsible if rape was committed by agents of chaos – non living entities who merely obey the random laws of chance.

      Like if she fell down a drain because it was dark and she was drunk – then she would be responsible.

      But rape is committed by people. That’s why they are always to blame.

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      • I agree the thugs are definitely to blame for their own actions.

        But then I was saying my first thought was to think, a simple action of hers (by remembering to bring the money) would have caused her NOT to be on the bridge in the first place. And this, when she is a regular traveller by the ferry, and knows the norms of requiring the change etc. Hence yes it could have been averted if she was just careful to get the money right. Just a thought🙂

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  18. Whoever wrote this would certainly have done well in the Hindi film industry. I can even think of a name and byline for a film plot based on this –

    “Kalyug – Love, Betrayal and Murder in the 21st century”
    🙂

    Regarding the question, I’d say that it is worded rather vaguely. What is the meaning of “who is to blame”? If the question is about criminal culpability, then it is easy enough to answer – the woman was raped by the thugs, which means that they are the ones who are guilty of the crime. No one else can be held responsible as far as criminal actions are concerned.

    But the question could be much broader than that. In fact, it could be interpreted so broadly as to be rendered completely meaningless. There are an infinity of things to blame. In some way, larger society is to blame for failing to bring people like these thugs into the mainstream. Their upbringing is to blame. Their parents are to blame. Law enforcement is to blame. The government is to blame. The entire host of chance factors which created these particular circumstances is to blame.

    This is an example of rhetoric that is put forward with the sole intention of making a point for the speaker. One can provide any answer one wants, blame anyone, and make it all seem very tenable and plausible.

    I would say that the thugs are criminally responsible for the rape and murder, and that any broader view of the domain of responsibility for the act would be neither useful nor particularly meaningful.

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  19. Couple of days ago a lady with two men boarded the same train as us. They all were very drunk. The guys wanted to go some other place and asked the lady to join them. She said no since she wanted to go home. The guys persisted (not physically), the lady kept saying no. The guys looked around and saw couple of us glaring at them since she had clearly said no a couple of times. They left her alone. She called up a friend to station to drive her home.

    This was in London. Imagine the same situation in India. We all know the outcome of that one, don’t we?

    Sorry, unrelated incident but it popped into my mind when I read this story. Its of course, rapist who does the deed but we as a society are also responsible for letting such brutality to happen and try to justify it one way or the other.

    So yes the thugs are to be blamed but the other people namely, the captain and the ex’s, also bear some responsibility to what happened to her.

    No matter how angry I am with anyone, I will never by my action or inaction, let them be in any fatal danger. I will not let them drive drunk. I will not let them go through an unsafe area at an ungodly hour all by themselves, no matter the gender (If it was a man, the thugs might have robbed and killed him, may be even raped him as well…it does happen even though we don’t want to acknowledge it). How could I live with myself if anything were to happen to them due to my in-compassion, anger or inaction? How could anyone?

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  20. A rather biased question. Obviously designed to elicit the answer: It is not the victim’s fault, it is the criminal’s. (which is, of course, 100% correct). Let me reword it differently : Whose fault is it that the woman’s life was in mortal danger ? (Given that if you are in a mortal danger situation, you could be killed). I think that she too had a role to play in that.

    The term “due diligence” in the comment above probably takes it a bit too far. In law, due diligence would mean that she was liable to show that she had tried every bit not to be raped, which would mean setting her behaviour against her. As I said, that is not a defence for the criminals.

    On a parallel track, however, one must regret the track of events where an adult consciously takes a decision to put her/his life in mortal danger.You could be moralistic and say it was her fault for being faithless/too drunk to say hell with and stay back. You could be idealistic and say it was the husband’s fault for the breakdown of the marriage, or go off on a tangent about the lack of police (govt’s fault), the penny pinching captain/exes (our valueless modern education) etc. If this was real, you’d have all the lobbies in it by now.

    I find it sad; the story and the tawdry way in which we each portray it to each suit our agendas.

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    • What if this woman who was raped and killed, was a a hardworking devoted wife and had to get some urgent medical help for her husband/son/mother in law? What if the ferry chap had left for home early that day? Would your reaction be any different then?

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      • What if your question had been about a nice hardworking guy getting run over by a rich drunk man in an SUV ? ( Ah, but your original q wasn’t about it). (Ah, it wasn’t the q you posed above either). You posed a q : I just am showing that it is inherently biased. And trying to make the point that scoring points off such exercises doesn’t actually prove anything.

        “read some honest answers. ” was supposed to be the aim. Apparently, you intrepret it as “present a real life situation as one facet (law) with one culprit (rapists)”. In a court of law arguing crime and punishment – that would be right. If you are seeking answers to prevent it, however, I doubt if it would serve.

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    • I’m sorry – that’s not the way due diligence works. Due diligence means you take precautions keeping in mind the LAWFUL circumstances and actions of others.

      The law will NEVER ask you to presume that a crime will occur. You may do that in your own head, but never in court.

      In any case, the word is not due diligence but contributory negligence. Since being raped is a crime and not an accident, it doesn’t apply here.

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  21. Hi IHM, a regular reader and ardent admirer of your blog and commenting here for the first time. In this story while obviously the thugs are responsible for the rape and death of the woman, one cannot say that the woman is not entirely to blame. And not from a moral standpoint of cheating on her husband but because of being careless and putting herself in a dangerous situation. Purely looking at the circumstances in the story, if a woman chooses to philander with random men in a faraway place in the dead of the night, being stone drunk (and therefore rendering her mind useless) and without being careful enough to check if she has carried any money or arranged transportation for herself is in itself foolhardy and asking for trouble. So there…the woman is responsible to a great degree! While she did not ask to be raped, in a modern society with all it’s social ills it’s equally a woman’s responsibility to not intentionally put herself in harms way…of course that is not say that harm will not come to you despite your precautions but at least it betters your chances of safety …my two bit….

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  22. Thugs but I bet most people will take upon judging the woman morally and say she deserved it. i can think of a few educated people offhand who would say that..

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  23. If I am just the usual Me I say – Thugs.
    If I took on different personas from different periods in time, I would blame the woman, her parents, the husband, the ferry captain, the exes and the thugs.
    If I was very philosophical and took on the see all, accept all persona…I would say, all choices have consequences and this followed its course. None are to blame.
    If I am take on being the Ram Rajya kind of righteousness then ALL are to blame.

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  24. IHM,

    Short answers to your questions, but would like to explore these situations in detail a little later.
    Who is to blame for the wife being raped?
    1) The husband
    YES, if he somehow arranged for the thugs to intercept her and NO if he did not
    2) The wife
    The wife is not responsible for her rape even if she had asked the thugs to rape her. Which would then make it consensual.Rape is about power and control, Her being where she was is not an excuse to blame her, nor is her character.
    3)The Ferry captain
    While people may say that he left a woman standing in the dead of the night, what if the ferry captain wasn’t human but a machine. What if she had to insert a pass or ticket into a machine to get on the boat and the machine refused to open the gate to let her on the boat. Would we hold the machine responsible. I know that many people will argue that the ferry captain was human and he should have helped another human, but the truth is he had no way of knowing what would happen later. So, he is not responsible either,
    4)Ex one
    It would have been nice if they had helped her, but they are not obligated to.
    5) Ex two
    Same answer as the above
    6) The thugs
    YES, These are the persons responsible for the rape and murder of the woman. The circumstances that she was in sure made it easy for them, but they in no way caused her to be raped.

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  25. Let’s create a land where wives’ cheating will be legalized and anyone who opposed will be jailed! Then create laws to legalise support for adulterous wives and their children. Then create laws where marriage will be made and broken only from the woman’s perspective….. Feminism eh….. go on…. kali yug……..

    A poot sati savithri…. she was raped here? She became a whore out of her own volition and here’s someone who sypmathises with her, fabricates a vikramaaditya vedal story to elicit tsk tsk responses only because of gender…. the web is becoming a fool’s paradise….

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  26. The Thugs.

    Unless it’s India, then “The woman was DRUNK and walking home alone THAT late? After having an affair with random men?” All journalists will on the surface report that the Thugs were responsible, while implying the woman had it coming to her, by including unnecessary details on her personal life. And then the woman will be held up as an example to what happens to “bad women”.

    A depressing story!

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    • Since Thugs who rape and kill, in my opinion, are no more than beasts, I’ll replace the rape and murder ending by being savaged by a wild man-eating beast on the loose. It’s fair enough because the same caution applies to walking alone in a lawless country where women are raped at will after dark, as where there’s a wild beast on the prowl. Since I cannot blame a wild beast, who’s to blame in this scenario?

      First place for blame – The administrators and lawkeepers of the place (government, police). If there was a man-eating tiger around, there will be warnings, precautions, armed people hunting the beast. In a lawless land, there should be patrols. A place without basic safety — the govt is to blame for the incident.

      Second place for blame –
      If the woman had a phone, or some way of reaching people on the mainland –

      The woman. If she had a phone, then I’ll blame the woman for being so foolhardy, and not reaching out to anyone, her parents, her husband (life versus him finding out about the affairs, doh, obvious choice here) or a good friend, or even the Police (though not in India). If it was a country like India or SAF (and how it shames me to say this), she should have gone back to the party and waited until she had a safer alternative.

      If she didn’t –
      Ex #1. While he cannot be held legally responsible, grudging a woman ( esp one whom you’re having an affair with) in danger very little money is extremely petty.
      Ex #2 follows in next place. And the Society for breeding people like the exes.

      I’ll NOT blame the husband. If the woman was dissatisfied with the marriage, it is her onus to walk out. How is he responsible for his wife’s actions? Unless he hired the thugs to murder the wife (why, when it’s easier to divorce her, unless he’s rich, and doesn’t want to pay alimony) he is NOT responsible.

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      • Fair enough – with one exception. That is if we must truly consider rapists as animals and nothing more, then they have to be hunted down and shot without a trial just like we do with all dangerous animals.

        But since they get the benefit of the law (innocent until proven guilty), a lawyer etc, we cannot merely make the assumption that they are animals.

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        • I must agree with a little modification. When everyone is referring to the suspects as “rapists” we have skipped the part in this tragedy that, however objectionable, allows for the “innocent until proven guilty” argument. When proven guilty, the persons involved can fairly be judged to be “animals”. We know a heinous act took place but we do not know that these people are guilty of rape or anything else until they receive due process. Referring to them as rapist before a fair trial is evidence of a certain prejudice towards the accused rather than the convicted. This attitude is reprehensible and as disgusting as the actual crime itself.

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      • Bhagwad, if I were a lawmaker, I wouldn’t shoot them down, but they’ll definitely end up missing some vital reproductive organs.

        Maybe it’s a good thing I’m not a lawmaker.

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  27. @AKM, Monishikha,Hemant,
    Why not to blame the victim?
    To prevent rape.

    1.It is important that rape victims feel no hesitation or shame in reporting the crime.

    2. Victims should not be silenced – which is what we do when we start blaming the victim.

    3. Rapists are emboldened when victims have no voice (most victims are those who the rapists does not expect to report)

    4. Blaming anybody else for the rapist’s action is very convenient for the rapist.

    Who do you think would the rapists like to see being blamed for a rape they have committed?

    Please do take a look at this post,
    Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!
    https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/httpindianhomemaker-wordpress-com20100717sexual-assault-prevention-tips-guaranteed-to-work/

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  28. Interesting question. The obvious answer that comes to mind after reading this is: Thugs. The thugs are responsible for the final act, that is the rape and killing. However, I do believe that we human beings are in some way responsible for each other the moment we interact and the moment we are inhuman to each other. This might be a bit idealistic view at looking at things, but I do believe this is the case. We had a story back in school, which is kind of imprinted on my mind, and it goes something like this (in brief):
    A small kid, who is being raised by his dad (mom has passed away) yearns for love and a gentle touch. On the fateful day he dies, this is the chain of events: His ever loving governess is in a foul mood that day, and yells at him like never before. He goes to school and his friends ignore him because some new fellow has come into class that day. His teachers shout at him because that is one of those rare occasions when he has forgotten to get his homework. He comes back home and his governess, who is still in a foul mood, does not feed him lunch like she normally does, with her own hands. By this time, the kid is really depressed because everyone has chosen that particular day to be mean to him. Later that night, his dad is really angry at him for getting a bad grade because he forgot to take his homework and slaps him. This is not the first time that he is slapped, but that day, that particular slap hurts him the most. Later that night, he falls ill due to severe depression and dies (murmuring his mom’s name while he passes away).
    Moral of the story: there are culprits and there are humans who are responsible for each other. In this story, his dad was the culprit, because he being his guardian did not do his duty of providing love to the kid. But then, there were the other people around him. Who un-knowingly chose that day to be mean to him. Which did lead to his depression.
    Similarly, in the story IHM has put up, the thugs undoubtedly are the culprits responsible for the crime of raping and killing the lady. But what about the rest of the human beings? The ferry captain and the Exs for forgetting humanity and letting a drunk, penniless woman go alone. (this is not even about the gender. It would have been equally inhuman to let a drunk, penniless man wander alone on the streets). And what about the woman herself? She is also responsible for her own safety. Even if she was going to get medicines for her husband, even if she was not drunk, being prepared with some self defense props when going alone at night. (applies to a man as well.) What about the law and enforcement officers and the government as a whole, for failing to provide proper safety measures for citizens to go out safely at night?

    So, yes, thugs are the culprits, they should be punished, but it would help that we, as humans are responsible to each other, in terms of extending basic humanity.

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      • As I said, Thugs are the culprit and they must be punished in the court of law. No doubt about that. If I were the judge I would make sure they (thugs) get the severest of severe punishment.

        Being responsible in small ways towards one another (which is a must) is different from being a culprit and committing a crime. For example, the case where the eve teasers killed the two guys in mumbai. In that case, the people who killed them, were the culprits. But what about the rest of the people who were inhuman enough to stand and watch the crime?

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        • MyPunchingBag, in the case in Mumbai, they were right there and they were so many of them, they could have helped. There was another case where a little, mentally challenged child was raped and the other passengers watched but did nothing, the rapist was one person and he wasn’t even armed. They were definitely to be blamed.

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  29. IHM,

    Please read my second comment carefully. Im blaming the rapists for the crime, the woman for being a soft target when she need not have been. Just because Im not toeing the fashionably/politically correct line, please do not assume that I am ignorant of the fact that it is the rapists who deserve punishment and not the victim.

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    • Monishikha – I understand. It’s just that the media and the society blames the victims for being soft targets which discourages them from coming out in the open and report cases and that make the rapists bolder (they feel no shame, they feel the victim provoked them)
      What would you say if you were the rapists’ lawyer?

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      • IHM
        In an ideal world, there would be no crime for two reasons – 1. Everyone would have the moral courage to do the right thing. 2. If by some fluke, one was to become the victim of a crime, one would have the moral courage to report it regardless of any undeserved censure it would invite.
        Since we don’t live on that planet, it is ultimately up to the victim to speak up and fight for justice regardless of what the media or society says or does.
        To answer your question, I’m not a lawyer so I’m not qualified to comment on the legalities; but obviously if the rapists were my clients, I’d be representing them in the best way I could, since that would be my ethical duty.

        Me – Why I asked that question was because a rapists’ lawyer would say some of the things many of us say. Without meaning to do that, we end up defending the rapists.
        Societies where there is lesser blame (and hence lesser stigma) attached to being raped/molested see lesser crimes against women. India is amongst the most unsafe places for women.

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    • Again, if there is enough evidence direct or circumstantial to convict them, I would definitely give them the harshest punishment under the law.

      A lawyer’s job is to defend his client to the best of his ability and to present an alternate view of events. One possible defense would be to say that the sex was consensual and her death was an accident. The consensual part can be proved using her prior acts ( not to prove she was a bad person but to establish a pattern of behavior). The death attributed to a sex act gone bad.

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  30. thugs. thugs. thugs.

    Having affairs is not a punishable offense by law. And we never will know what kind of arrangements the husband and wife had, so we cannot pass judgement based on that.

    As a procecutor , this is how i would present my case in view of the victim being accused: the thugs did not know the woman was having affairs. They did not know what she did every night. The thugs did what they did because they saw a defenseless woman walking alone in the night.

    Even if having affairs was a crime, the law does not permit citizens to dole out punishments. There is a court for that and a trial process, just like even if I want to kill these thugs now, I still present them to you before this court so that they can be properly tried and given a chance to defend themselves. If I were to kill these thugs, the court would charge me with murder even though what these thugs did is an actual punishable offense. When such is the case, it is very inhuman of the defense to use a law abiding victim’s character as a cloak for justifying this heinous crime.

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  31. I’m not sure if responsibility absolves one of the pain of the situation. Ultimately who paid the price? The woman!!
    That said, culpability lies with the thugs. Just because there is an incentive to commit a crime, doesn’t mean one can do it!

    At the same time, we are responsible at least in part for our own safety. A woman walking alone into a den of thugs would most likely get raped, or even killed. That doesn’t mean she should be blamed for that – not at all. But in the end, she’s the one who suffers, so isn’t it common sense for her to stay away from criminal elements?

    On the other hand, she could have been killed/raped by someone she knew/trusted. Now that’s a different matter altogether.

    The others in the mix- the husband etc. have a very small part to play. The woman chose to do what she did, she can’t complain that someone else forced her into this behavior.

    Me – Blaming her takes the attention away from the rapists (often making light of the crime), and makes the victim’s situation more difficult – the stigma and shame thus caused only makes it tougher for the victim to report the crime and then to fight the case.
    If there was no shame attached to being sexually assaulted, more victims would report the crime and hence more rapists would be convicted.

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  32. tLooool this is from ethical or religious class. We did a similar one but with a different twist, the woman wanted to visit her ex, in order to get across she had to strip naked or the boatman would have not let her pass. Her ex wouldnt want let her in as she was naked and then eventually she died. Cant remember the details correcly anymore.
    However in both of these stories, i think the exes as well as the ferryman have contributed to the plight of the woman by being coldhearted and refusingf to help or offer any assistance. But in the raping part is of course due to the rapist,therefore if no rapist no rapee no dead body. Of course the overall behaviour of all of the characters with exeption of the husband,whom we hear nothing but one sentence is quite poor.
    But since this is an ethical question there are no right or wrong answers per se, the most is gained is from discussing and thinking about these types of scenarios.
    Another story that is also quoite similar a girl and a boy fall in love. Their parents disapprove of the relationship thus they decide to run off. Now they must cross a bridge, the boy goes first and then due to rain the bridge is flooded and breaks and crumbles. The girl cries she can no longer cross. While shes crying a boatman comes and she tells him the
    story. He says i will take u across if u have sex with me then. The girl is shocked but what can she do? Its the only way to reach her love. She agrees and does tjhe deaal. But when shes on the otherside and tells her boy about ithe says how could u have sex, i cant accept you now and storms off. The sad girl goes to anothrr village and one day a kind boy comes, and listens to her story he likes her and agrees to marry her.
    From all the characters in the story which one did u think acted right?
    Lol it can be interesting sometimes…..

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  33. I agree the thugs are to blame there are no two ways about it. BUT I feel everyone should take care of themselves. It doesn’t matter why the wife was on the island. What is important is that she should have taken better care of herself. Made sure she had money, if not, then called someone for help, contacted police, or stayed on the island at a safe place. When it comes to making choices in life, I would rather choose being safe than to salvage a marriage that is already on rocks. I disagree that the only option she had was go to that bridge which she knew was not safe.

    When I was studying, a lot of times we would get security alerts saying some student was mugged while walking home alone later in the night. Along with the alert there would be a list of things that we should and shouldn’t do. Not walk alone at night. call university police if we have to walk alone at night. Take the college shuttle whenever you can. Or just stay in college and go home in the morning. But still there would be such mugging cases ever once in a while. So when it is obvious that the student who gets mugged is not the one who is punishable by law, it is his/her duty to take care of himself/herself and avoid getting in such situations.

    I think the problem is the fact that the wife thought that it was more important to keep up pretences with her husband. More important than her safety.

    Me – So how would you answer the question? Would you say the thugs raped her because the wife wanted to keep pretences/didn’t take care of herself?
    Is there a chance that if she was on the island for her husband’s medicines (or any urgency) and her money had been robbed, then she would have been safer?
    //Who’s to blame for the wife being raped?//

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    • If the only thing we want to get out of this is that we find someone to punish/blame, then very obviously the thugs are the only ones. There is no connection between WHY the thugs raped her and what her actions were. But there us a connection between what her actions are and the situation that she lands herself in. All I am saying is that if you know that a place/locality is dangerous – then you do not go there alone (true for both men and women). If you know that there is a jungle and there are tigers in it. Would you go through the jungle at all, whatever the urgency?

      As I said, it doesn’t matter why she was on the island – to be with other men or to get medicines. That’s immaterial. What I have a problem with is the desperation to get home at the peril of her own life. That desperation to me is not justified, at least in this case.

      I have a problem with you saying that she has no option than to go on the bridge. I think you always have options. You just need to look for it.

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      • No one can guarantee it… When I talked about options, I was talking about options other than her desperate bid to get home by using unsafe means. Here I am assuming that the wife knows that she is doing something that can potentially put her in harm’s way.

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      • I think we are talking about two different things here….

        One is about what should happen after someone is sexually assaulted? And the answer is always the one who assaults should be punished. There is no justification for rape. Ever. Please do not at any time assume I am saying anything to the contrary.

        But what I am talking about is putting yourself in harm’s way. Why do we say that motorcyclists should wear helmets? Does it guarantee that they will not meet accidents? No!! It just increases the probability of them not getting a fatal head injury if they are in one. If a guy who is not wearing a helmet dies of a head injury because a drunk driver banged into him, would that absolve the drunk driver of his crime? No. Not at all. But wouldn’t you wish that the motorcyclist would have worn his helmet. May be he would be alive today.

        It was just wishful thinking on my part as I felt sorry for the wife. I wished she was more careful.

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        • If the woman had to go for some urgent work, say to get a life saving medicine for her husband, then she would still be ‘putting herself in harm’s way’. Isn’t there a need to change this situation where half the population has to be locked up inside their houses after dark – and they are still not safe, because 70% of rapes happen close to the victim’s place of residence by someone known to the victim.
          Just understanding what actually causes such unsafe situations could be the first step towards changing it. In this case the woman did try all other options, most people do that, they don’t want to be assaulted, so blaming them only results in shutting them up. We don’t want that. The victim must have a voice. Silence of the victims emboldens the rapists. Victim being encouraged to report and being supported through the procedures etc is a rapists’ nightmare.

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    • Yes absolutely we should change the situation. It *should* be safe for us to go out at night. For that matter, I think people like us will never understand what makes some people commit crimes like rape. Such people *should* not exist. In an ideal world they wont. But until we reach there, there are some basic precautions that we should take. But as you said the wife here has no other option. So my arguments are in vain. But when we do have options we shouldn’t be foolhardy. Though this seems like a very common sense thing, after all why would any one knowingly put themselves in the path of danger or make bad choices. But it does happen.

      About the victim being blamed. I frankly don’t believe in that. May be my words can be taken to think that I was blaming her. But I was talking of precautions. So something to do before wrong things happen. But when wrong things happen only the culprits are to be blamed. And I do understand that very well.

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      • Often even the victim, including victims of street sexual harassment, might blame themselves for taking that road, for not walking faster, for walking too fast; for looking that way; for not being stronger, for looking too strong (and hence challenging their masculinity); for not knowing how to prevent whatever happened, for fighting, for not fighting, for not being submissive, for being submissive… because they have heard everybody talk about how they should have somehow managed to prevent the crime from happening.
        If there was no more shame associated with being a rape victim than with any other crime (like being killed/robbed) – it might become easier to report, punish and hence control the crime.

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      • Yes very true. But there is a difference between knowing what is right and wrong and doing some things to possibly avoid some wrong happening to you.

        Personally I believe in all that you have said above. Tomorrow if I am the victim, I will not feel shame or blame myself. But I will still say that there are some things I will not do as I know the situation around me is not ideal. For e.g. When I was looking for an apartment to rent, here in US, a safe locality was my highest priority. Do I wish that I can walk freely outside at 3am in the night if I feel like? Yes. But do I do it? No. Why? Because I will blame myself if something bad happens to me? No. But because I know it is not safe. I wish it were.

        Just because I say one should take precautions does not mean that I am saying the victim is to blame. I somehow look at these things as two different things. To me they don’t seem related at all.

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  34. The thugs.
    No reason or no actions ever make it ok for a person to be raped.
    Drinking has nothing to do it it. Otherwise what you are saying is any women or college student who gets drunk is open to rape.
    The ferry captain was just doing his job. If he let her ride for free it could of been his job.
    The husband is not to blame. It sounds fishy on what he is doing but if he is working he is providing for his wife and doing his best. If she has issues with the hours she should be a grown up and talk with him rather than give herself an excuse of cheating. She has options and doesn’t have to be married. If the husband is cheating they should face that head on. 2 wrongs don’t make a right.
    The exes I am sure felt played and they were. If they knew she was married they got what they deserve by being played.

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  35. Simple ji .. The Bridge. If the bridge could have been in a well lit place where low life criminals and ” vulnerable women” could not congregate we might not have had such gruesome incidents . I blame the bridge and the Public Works Department for design problems.
    Kal Strike Hai

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  36. Some quick notes here.

    As Bhagwad has mentioned, neither due diligence nor contributory negligence would really come into play here. What are the chances of actually getting raped and murdered by a random bunch of thugs on the one day when you don’t have any transport available to get you home? She could hardly have been reasonably expected to take a host of precautions against a situation which she probably believe was exceedingly unlikely to happen.

    The sexual history of the woman would not be considered as any kind of exonerating factor in a court of law. It would be very hard to even create reasonable doubt about this being a case of rape, because we actually have a dead body here, very probably complete with trauma injuries or gun shot wounds. Consensual sex can go wrong but I would not think that it could result in injuries indistinguishable from those produced by deliberate murder.

    Specifically in response to Priya:

    In State of Maharashtra and Others vs. Madhukar Narayan Mardikar (AIR 1991 SC 207) the Supreme Court has categorically held that everyone is entitled to be protected against rape and violent assault, even if they be “unchaste” and “of easy virtue” (as the defense originally put it). Would the Supreme Court also come under the domain of “fool’s paradise” in your enlightened worldview?

    Unfortunately for your viewpoint, and fortunately for the rest of us, the law does not distinguish between protecting a “whore” and a “sati savitri”. Your childish, self-righteous, playground style “serves her right” logic is abhorrent to any civilized society in this day and age. I will refrain from telling you exactly what I think of your sense of ethics, but I do find it repulsive that you’d condone rape and murder purely because the victim did not quite fit in with your precious standards of sexual behavior. The degree of arrogance inherent in this line of thought is staggering and is matched only by its own inhumanity.

    No one here had any way of knowing what was going to happen. As I have stated before, the chances of being raped and murdered by a random group of thugs on that particular night are bound to be very small indeed in most countries. None of the protagonists (other than the thugs) can really be blamed for the events, any more than they could’ve been blamed if the woman had died due to, say, a lightning strike instead.

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  37. IHM, if I were the judge, I would convict the thugs. If I were the rapists’ lawyer (then I would have a convoluted conscience since I accepted the case), I would have talked about the character of the woman and proved that the sex was consensual and the murder was in self-defence from a violent woman. To support my claims, I would have taken testimony from her two ex’s who would gladly elaborate on her sluttiness and her belligerence.

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    • Priya, this post is not about adultery, this post is about rape. Even if a woman is cheating on her husband/boyfriend/more than one boyfriend – she still has the right to be safe from sexual assaults and murder.
      Khaps and Taliban (and a few others) would disagree, but legally, rape and murder are not seen as ‘punishments’ for adultery.
      In the past Indian movies solved complicated relationship issues by showing women giving their lives and men taking the spouse’s life.
      In ‘Qatl’ and Sanjeev Kumar kills his wife for cheating on him and then he was ‘baizzat bari’ – still honorable after the honor killing. He also gets to tell his wife how justified he was in killing her.

      ‘1947 Earth’ also has shown rape being used to punish a woman – but this is a more unbiased portrayal. In real life, Priya, divorce is one of the options a couple has.

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    • If the question was “as a judge, if the husband accused the wife of marital infidelity and demanded divorce, what would your response be”, then yes, she cheated, yes, it was adultery,and he has grounds for divorce. It was morally wrong, if your morality is defined by lack of integrity. However, does that have pertinence to her being raped? She and her husband could have been in an open marriage, and the same thing could have happened. She might have been a faithful wife, having to walk across the bridge to get emergency help for her sick husband and the same thing could have happened.

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  38. My sincere opinion is both husband and wife should be blamed, for her fate.First let us think of the husband first. He could have found the suitable job to work in the morning itself. But he had trusted his wife.and went to work in the night, leaving his wife alone at home,He could have made some provisions to protect her ,while he was away from home.Then comming to the point about the wife,If she really wanted her husband’s trust and faith he had in her , she would not have left the house ,that too after her husband had gone to work to protect her.After all why should he go to work in the night,? Because he would not have found suitable job to work in the morning. So in one way or the other ,circumstacially, both of them should be blamed for the fate of that woman.

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  39. Rape culture propagating arguments I have heard:
    1. You don’t leave your car unlocked and then complain when stuff gets stolen (particularly with regard to dressing a certain way)
    2. If you expect the police to protect you, then better do what they say. Better not go to at because they tell you it is unsafe. Better be safe than sorry.
    3. It’s OK to want an ideal world, but in the REAL world you have to follow all these rules if you don’t want to be raped.

    I’m sure you guys have rebuttals to all these arguments.

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  40. I am amazed that some want to reword the question. Lol, do we reword questions when asked in the examination hall too to suit our answers? The situation is there (filmi or otherwise, this can happen) for us and all we have to do is answer the question based on the scenario as to who is responsible for the rape.

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  41. Pingback: And the answer. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  42. My answer would obviously be the Thugs. The lawyer’s strategy could be difficult considering the sexist, victim blaming society we live in.. Sigh!

    This discussion is brilliant, anything that came to my mind has already been said.

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  43. Pingback: What is rape culture? | Shail's Nest

  44. My first reaction is, Bad karma of the wife! she was cheating on her husband, was a jerk with her lovers, and was stone drunk. Then it struck me, this is what social conditioning is all about!!

    Let us say, she wasn’t cheating, she went for a friend’s party and got drunk and lost her purse and had to take the bridge, wouldn’t she be raped? Let’s say she wasn’t drunk, was mugged and had to take the bridge, wouldn’t she be raped? yes she would have. She was irresponsible, but that doens’t mean the thugs had the right to take advantage of the situation. When somebody is raped it the rapist to be blamed.

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  45. The thugs. How can anyone else be responsible for the rape & murder but the perpetrators? But I see where this question is going. I’m sure there are plenty of people in the world who would blame the woman – like those cops & politicians who make crass comments about why women are raped.

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  46. 1. I blame the thugs first for raping and killing her.
    2. I blame the woman for being in the situation where in she gets raped and killed
    Assume that you are in a hurry to go to the party and forget to lock your house.You do live in a virtual “safe” place. You come home in the night and you find that the thieves have robbe your house and taken your belongings!! Who do you blame? The thugs or yourself??

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    • uh…the thugs? See the thing is….thugs dont go out every night looking for open houses. They go out looking to burgle. If a house is accidentally open, it makes their job easier, but by that time the decision to burgle has already been made.

      We live in a relatively safe society not because all of us have awesome locks to our house or a supreme police force but because most of us think that taking other people’s things without their consent is a bad thing to do and that the society will not function if everyone broke the rules. It is only a few people who choose to do otherwise and they need to be dealt with harshly if we have to preserve the safety of the society.

      Usually when a house is burgled, the owner of the house is not shamed and shunned by everyone. No one takes the burglar’s side even if the owner of the house was a little careless regarding locking the house. The judge does not call into question how many times before the owner allowed guests to enter his house to see if the burglar actually took something without asking or if he was actually a guest and the owner decided to change his mind. Being burgled does not reduce your status in society. Which is why most of the houses do not get burgled.

      Now look at women safety. Everything is done is opposite. The woman is shamed, her personal life is ruined and she is shunned by everyone even though she was the victim. The rapist sometimes even has the judge’s sympathy! No wonder more women get raped than houses get burgled. If we want a safe society, we need to deal with offenders harshly. Period.

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      • You can call them burglers, thugs..but they all mean one and the same..and of course they go out every night to burgle because that’s what burglers do..I don’t mean that they go to each and every house to see if a lock is open..LOL!! My only intention of giving an anology is not to de-sensitivise the situation but clearly to make a comparison of the 2 situations!! Also one thing we need to understand is we are living in a wicked world and not in ideal world as we think it should be and so long as the law is strengthened for the safety of the society as a whole and women in particular, we should be in charge of our own safety and cannot completely hold them accountable because blaming someone else before blaming ourselves is foolhardy as opposed to other way around – IMHO

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      • Sorry Clueless, this is addressed to Pragmatic Man who commented below, not you.
        I could not see the reply tab to his comment and I just had to respond to him.

        Another analogy, Pragmatic Man.
        Assume that you are the father of a teenaged 14-year-old daughter.

        Also assume that you fired 25-year-old chauffeur because of his drinking habit.

        Also, let us say that you are a hyper-vigilent father, who takes every precaution in the book.

        1) You pick up and drop your daughter from school.
        2) You never leave her unsupervised at home or outside it.
        3) You ensure that she wears “modest clothing” and you forbid all unsupervised contact with boys and men.
        4) You have hired a full-time female companion whose duty it is to keep an eye on your daughter.

        Also assume, that the driver has, in true filmy style, sworn revenge. He wins the trust and affection of your daughter’s companion and convinces her to let him into your house.

        Once inside, he knocks the companion senseless, and rapes and kills your daughter.

        Who should we blame in this case? You, your daughter, the companion or the man who raped and killed your daughter.

        Going by your logic, we should blame you and arrest you for culpable homicide and negligent parenting! Each of us is responsible for our own safety after all.

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  47. Is this a true story? She must have been such a sad, lonely woman!

    What if she was drunk, what if she was promiscuous. what if she was all alone – what makes men think they can assault and kill her!

    I hope they have been arrested?

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    • Didn’t think of that Purba, but you are so right. We condemn the woman for consensual sex and find excuses for the rapist who raped and killed her! I also sense some people think rape is the right punishment for a woman who is unfaithful. And not just Taliban and Khap – others think like this too.

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  48. The rapists are of course to be blamed. But honestly, if this went to Indian courts, the rapists would get away and the woman would be blamed for cheating on her husband and not being a devoted wife and therefore “asking for it”. It’s like how in countries where prostitution is legal, there is still the mentality that if they get beaten up or raped, well, they are in the sex industry anyway! What people don’t get is that if a woman has chosen to be a sex worker, it’s still based on her consent to have sex with someone…it doesn’t mean she is open slather for anyone!

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  49. Dear Bad Indian Woman,

    In reply to the thread above, I was almost anticipating the “who decides what is adequate protection” argument. I personally feel self-protection in any scenario – not just rape – should mean knowing basics like ‘we need money for public transport’ for adults. If one doesn’t agree with that, then it’s just a sad day for all the sane adults in the world. I feel that this sort of hypothetical situations where we harp on the most obvious, straightforward answer (that the thugs are responsible) and completely ignore what someone half-intelligent can do to save themselves the trauma of something nasty, don’t do the cause any great favour

    If I am to go one step ahead, I can even say that this sort of thinking puts down women like me who would rather take some precaution than solely rely on legal rigmarole. I travel late night by cabs, sometimes after a drink or two, and have also done it through areas like Noida and Ghaziabad in Delhi, in clothes ranging from salwar kameezes to trousers to skirts, but I always remembered to ensure my phone was charged, I insisted with the cab driver on the route I wanted to take and was familiar with, always had my brother (who was the family member working night shifts at the time, and I knew he’d be awake) on a speed dial and always always carrying spare cash. Even if these cab drivers are trained, I personally carried Car Servicing numbers and alternate cab company numbers, in case the vehicle breaks down somewhere. Are you saying we are programmed to blame ourselves in all bad scenarios? Or that we are gullible enough to have been brain-washed and fed some sort of guilt? Well then, you’ll just be insulting many women who think differently. Some people might prefer to be smart rather than just fiery.

    (Did not get either the clothes or the chilli stick analogy. I’m not even going to repeat myself on what I have already said in my very first comment on this page.)

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  50. While I am really late to the party, my choice though it is not an option:
    The person telling the story.
    This is obviously set up to be a b..ch deserved it. How is it important what she did before the incident? Why include all the judgy details? This is someone who desperately wants to believe that victim blaming is the right thing to do.

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  51. I’ve written down my answers to this story or one similar to it and they read : 1 the rapist 2 then the woman 3 the husband 4 the man she slept with lastly 5 the ferry man

    Though the more I think about it the more I want to say the woman.. That she did, in the most major way cause her own death.. Of course at this point I realize this is a metaphoric answer … She did not commit suicide and her intentions were based in keeping her husband from knowing of her betrayal. So of course rationally it was the thugs…

    Yet, the problem of the thugs was an environmental problem.. A hazard she herself knew of… And tried with some effort to avoid.. Like a sailor would want to avoid a hurricane. Though she was not rational, she was in fact drunk.. And for this reason she stumbled onward just hoping by chance she would make it home..

    The men whom she had slept with across the river seem unlikely to be responsible.. Although Thier sobriety is never mentioned so it may be possible that they each were using an obviously ‘ sex seeking woman who was obviously intoxicated ‘

    Though from the sounds of the scene her husband is a more likely suspect to bare the blame as he has perhaps inflicted some wound upon the woman that caused her to act out sexually and self medicate with alcohol.

    The era is never defined.. Though if time were of no realivance than we might assume that the woman could have left her husband after any wound was made by her husband. Though given that she will not allow herself to get close to any man tends to outline a condition that may even tell of the era of the story. Such as if divorce was frowned upon or even legal. In such case still it would have been the woman’s fault for betraying her husband regardless of his manor.

    More likely the captin is a symbol of humanitys duties and goodwill and as much as I wished that men sought to be noble there is ample evidence to suggest that it rarely passes most men’s thoughts long enough to direct Thier course of action. I.e. there is more than enough food grown on the earth to feed all mankind yet … Vast numbers of people feel insecure about Thier cupboards if they even have cupboards at all.

    woman? …,

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