7 things that can make ‘Rape sometimes right’.

So here is yet another statement highlighting the general ignorance (and misogyny?) that prevails with regards to sexual assaults on women and children.

Rape sometimes right, sometimes wrong: Gaur

“This is a social crime which depends on men and women. Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong,” said Gaur, the home minister responsible for law and order in BJP-run Madhya Pradesh.

“Until there’s a complaint, nothing can happen,” Gaur told reporters.

What can make anybody think that rapes can sometimes be right? 

1. I think, atleast partly, it’s the lack of understanding of what a sexual assault is.

2. Many Indians seem to define rape as an assault on a woman’s honor, (or her community’s honor, or on her future husband’s rights and honor)

3. Many Indians do not seem to see rape as an assault on a woman’s person, rights, dignity, personal autonomy [link] or freedom etc.

4. Which is why, Premarital Consensual Sex [link] is seen as rape but sexual assaults on married women or minors by their husbands are not defined as ‘rape’ [link]

Rapist was married to the survivor = Right Rape

5. Many Indians seem to have no idea that a woman can consent or withhold consent for sex. Not being married to the partner means consent is forbidden, and being married means no consent required.

Premarital Consensual Sex = Wrong Rape

The rape survivor was sexually active = Right Rape

6. The concept of izzat/honor does not involve the victim’s right to consent or withhold consent. She is less valued than her ‘izzat‘.

It implies that when there is no ‘dishonour’ then the rape is ‘Right rape’.

(And marital rapes are not seen as dishonour – in fact marriage can make a rape honourable, which is why –Five rapists in Patna want to marry gangrape victim.)

Dishonour = Wrong Rape

No Dishonour = Right Rape

Rapist willing to marry the rape survivor= Right Rape

7. Also, it seems, sometimes when a man has been living away from his family, then sexually assaults by him are seen as ‘less wrong’ [link]

Rapist was helpless = Right rape

8. Right rapes include assaults when the criminal claims to have been provoked by what the victim did or didn’t do.

Rapist was provoked = Right rape

This includes a majority of rapes, because, “Sometimes it seems like every single thing… has the potential to be something ‘provocative’.”

(Note: This is not too different from being provoked by beards, opinions and beliefs – ‘I felt like a raped woman being told How could you wear such clothes?’)

We need massive media campaigns to make it clear that lack of consent is rape, but that’s unlikely to happen because we don’t talk about such things.

Related Posts:

A response to: Why we think women activists should change their attitude of “wear what you like”
Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.
“As long as the men do not understand that they CANNOT and WILL NOT get away with such behavior and criminal acts, the rape culture will not go away”
In Rape Culture, we understand that if the rapist was living alone, away from his native place, he could lose control over himself.
Classmates who rape and burn to death are not Spurned Lovers, they are dangerous, violent criminals.
Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.
Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.
Forced intercourse in marriage not rape: Delhi court
Forcible sex with wife doesn’t amount to marital rape: Court
Why should all acts of sexual harassment be taken seriously, even when there is no grievous physical injury?
Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge
Who will benefit from criminalising sexual assaults within marriages?
Justice Verma Committee is inviting solutions and ideas in regards to sexual harassment/ assault/ molestation/ rape.
How Victim Blaming confuses rapists, police and the society about when exactly does non-consensual-sex becomes a crime.
“Instituting the idea of marital rape raises the specter of a man going for long periods without sex even though he’s married!”
Yet another rape that was not about lust but about aggression, revenge and putting the victim in her place.
“Girls should be married at 16, so that they don’t need to go elsewhere for their sexual needs. This way rapes will not occur.”
Would this crime have been reported if he had mercilessly raped her but not sodomised her?
The ‘Legitimate Rape’ song. Love this!


26 thoughts on “7 things that can make ‘Rape sometimes right’.

  1. Like

    • Society’s attitudes towards rapes make it easier for rapists to get away with assaults, so simply blaming men won’t help control rapes. Conviction and reporting rates, victim blaming, understanding why rapes aren’t taken seriously will all help in controlling rapes. An honest look at Indian tolerance of crimes against women will be a beginning..


        • //Poor India, a developing nation with countless challenges, managed an impressive 24.2% conviction rate in 2012. That’s thanks to the efforts of a lot of good people — police, lawyers, victims and their families — working heroically with limited resources//

          Interestingly, a study of the state-wise data of rape conviction rates shows that the all-India average would have been way lower but for the impressive rates recorded by some north-eastern states, and, surprisingly, Uttar Pradesh. The 2012 conviction rate in rape cases in north-eastern states like Mizoram was 82.4%, Nagaland (72.1%), Sikkim (50%) and Meghalaya (46.7%). UP recorded a conviction rate of 50.3% last year, and Uttarakhand (63%).


          Also, reporting rate is still very low in India, and marital rapes are are not included in these statistics.


      • To be quite frank with you, the attitudes I’ve encountered with regards to rape in North America and rape in India have been far far too similar for my comfort (that sex is something you “owe” a man, that forcing a woman to have sex, so long as it is not phrased as rape, is okay, etc). While I think cultural attitudes definitely play a role in how we look at sexual assault in India, and such things definitely need to be examined because our context is wholly unique, what that tweet does is portray the disparity that actually exists when two similar rape cases from two different continents are reported worldwide. It’s important to keep in mind that when such things are pointed out, it’s not condoning a culture that implicitly okays (and has legalized) various forms of rape. It’s an honest observation about a different problem that exists entirely, which isn’t within the scope of this blog.


      • Agree, but how do you make people understand? Many of the atrocious biases are inheritated cultural stances – my father did, I will do it…How do you get people out of this mindset? Mere reporting is not always the answer – look at what is happening in UP…The police themselves are biased and often refuse to take down the complaint… Those in the legal system are biased many of them have no qualms moralizing…


    • Rapists exist in both US and India. The difference – in US, a rapist is called a rapist. In India, he may be called by other innocuous names – he was “provoked” or a “rebuked lover” or he was indulging in “boys being boys” or “he took advantage of the fact that SHE was out late” or “SHE was out without friends in a remote area” or “SHE was working late” or “SHE was dressed inappropriately” or “SHE was at a bar”. So, you see, in India, a rapist is not always a rapist, he’s just someone who took a little advantage of the situation, so no big deal.


      • ” The difference – in US, a rapist is called a rapist.”

        Are you sure about that? Do you recall Steubenville? Where was there any mention or sympathy in the media towards the victim? The media kept talking about how these two boys who committed this crime were “victimized” and how their “futures were in ruins”. There are countless stories of women who have taken their cases to the police, only to be questioned in the exact same manner that you point out in your comment. Women in college campuses are constantly told to protect themselves, to “dress appropriately”, to “not walk around campus alone at night time”, to “not drink excessively or party”. Rape culture is alive, even in the US, even in North America and Europe. I’ve seen it, I’ve had friends who have been first hand victims, who have had their experiences dismissed entirely. I’ve heard groups of men joke about how they “felt up that drunk girl in the party last night” because “What? She was drunk, what was the big deal, she was totally into it, I could tell.” The sole difference that exists between India and the US is that sex is largely taboo in India. But I assure you, the attitudes are the exact same.


        • I think attitudes can be quite universal. However the power inequality is greater in India, and that makes a big difference. In a lot if places in the world, people would not think about raping girls and then hanging them so a message gets sent across, because the dynamics are so that they know that crap wouldn’t fly. Rape has a lot to do with power and as long as India has major social problems it will remain having major rape problems. So yes, it’s a universal problem but India has a lot of social dynamics that encourage this more and perhaps more varied then in other places of the world. I think that has to be acknowledged.


        • Rape culture exists in the US but there are also many loud voices against it. The US media may be messed up. I’m talking about families in India here, who will make excuses for the rapists openly, and blame the victim. In the US, a woman going out alone, working late hours, or dressing in skimpy clothes or hanging out ith her friends at a pub, is not frowned upon or hated as much a woman doing the same things in India. There is certainly a difference. I’ve felt a lot safer travelling anywhere on business in the US, than I have in India. In India, a lone woman business traveler is game for everyone – from the cab driver to the waiter to the hotel concierge. I do not agree that the sole difference between India and the US is the sex taboo. There’s a much greater difference in attitudes toward women. Yes, there is sexism and patriarchy, but it’s just not the same.


        • “but India has a lot of social dynamics that encourage this more and perhaps more varied then in other places of the world”

          I would not say more, quite frankly (and the reason this belief still holds is pointed out quite succinctly in the tweet posted in the original comment). I agree that the social dynamics that permit rape are vastly different, given that the cultures are vastly different. And I definitely agree that these unique social dynamics that are specific to our culture need to be examined (more often than not by people that belong to this culture). But the idea that it is “encouraged more” or that it “occurs more” (proportional to the population) is really not true and the reason why this belief still persists also needs examination (but again, this is a different problem entirely).


        • In india, the attitude that women don’t have sexual urges and desires like men is more common then other places. Women should be marriages before they have sex. That makes it easier to encourage rape then elsewhere. So the social dynamics is more. In a lot of countries, women do not get raped by police officers at a police station . If it happens, it is an exception. But in India, it is to be expected. That makes it “more”.


  2. Thank you for sharing this information! I live in the US where thankfully marital rape is illegal, but it is still not viewed to be wrong by many, and the women that are victims of this crime are often among this group. I was raped by my husband throughout our 10 year marriage and was too scared to report it. I was afraid I would not be taken seriously. And you are right it is not enough to blame the men committing the crimes. There needs to be a widespread education to change the general public’s view of rape (marital or otherwise). I hope the situation improves when it comes to crimes against women in India and all over the world.


  3. again.. not sure what I made of this article but neverthless this is what i think.. why do we have to compare what happens in india or usa or uk.. they all have different laws.. so doesnot matter how its taken in other countries .. as long as we can concentrate on our own nation and try making a change to that ..

    The Biggest problem is this.. and pardon me if i am being angry or SORT of telling the truth , I was going to write 99%.. but then I thought I will re-phrase MAJORITY of the people in india they have a lot to say over anything as long as it is happening outside and not in their family .. MAJORITY of the people who shout out hoarse saying rape is bad, the man shud be hanged .. this or that .. MAJORITY of them will find this “RIGHT WAY OF RAPE”
    and thats WHERE the problem is ..

    everyone has a lot to say , as we can see from a LOT of comments that people give on various issues and helpful advice but how many out of them are really going to do anything about .. is the question ..

    THAT IS what needs changing .. PEOPLE need to wake up.. no use saying it is a heinous crime .. and then finding the RIGHT reason for rape is its a man from your own family ..

    Everyone knows its a crime , there are states in india where there is 100% intellectual people, people are educated… YET Rape takes place in those states .. so education surly has not worked …

    We need to get this mentality out of OUR DNA.. wrong is wrong .. there is no right way or any other way for it ..

    Harsher law
    Rapid justice
    People made accountable..

    is the need of the hour for sure


    • @Bikramjit,

      Agree and fully support your point.
      The law is already there it is the implementation part that is missing. As we saw in the latest Badayun case, those responsible for implementing law are the actual culprits, first they shooed the family making a missing complaint and now they are threatening to withdraw the complaint.
      Unless civil society starts asking tough questions about accountability of public servants things are not going to change. Anyone making a package of 18lakh is paying about 30% in taxes, why he/she fails to ask what is being done to his/her hard earned money?
      Unless we start seeing the green in the crime we’ll not go beyond dinning table condemnations.

      Desi Girl


  4. Stupid comments from ministers in such responsible position. Unfortunately, the system in India has become so corrupt that power in most of the places, especially govt organisations have gone to wrong hands. It is not as if good people don’t stand, they do but the system discourages them and encourages the bad ones.

    I run a coaching inst. and also teaches in that. And these 4 years of my teaching taught me lots of things, many things about women. I remember the first year, there were a few girls who were like extra cautious almost all the time, many times even for the silliest of things, many times even against me! So like if some girl is calling me for a doubt and I ask her for her pen to explain that, even the slightest touch between the fingers would cause some sort of panic like reaction in them like quickly pulling there hands away. I will be honest, it irritated me like hell though I never showed my displeasure to them. I thought as if I am being viewed as some kind of molester by them, which used to anger but also sadden me. That was my first year, I had thought teaching would be all about explaining the science and concepts, but realized soon there are so many other things involved. And perhaps one of the most important was how to make girl students feel safe and better, so that they can focus on the subjects rather than being cautious all the time and focusing on irrelevant things. Took many steps, by intentionally making them discuss concepts and problems with other guys, group competitions, demonstrations and many other related things. So what now happens is, so many girls and boys who will be shy of sitting next to or talking to people of opposite sex will become great friends by the end of the term, not only that but will also get great results which has surprised even me alot of times. It also taught me one more thing that introverts and shy people are often more intelligent :-).

    The sad thing is though, I still have to win the trust every new year as there will always be few who will be kind of afraid of you just because you are a boy or a man. But now it doesn’t irritate or anger me. I have now come to reality that atleast in India, there is a kind of mistrust against men and though not by majority of the women but few, but that few would still make up a lot of numbers, but it is not their fault they don’t trust. All these is because of the actions of few animals and then idiotic comments by ministers and people in power. I have been quite vocal about my anti-feminist stance in this blog, but I am not anti-women. All a girl wants from society is not some favor, just her own freedom and equal opportunities. We are wasting so much of hidden talent, but then again which other country wastes talent quite like India.


    • Not sure why you say you are anti-feminist. ” All a girl wants from society is not some favor, just her own freedom and equal opportunities.” This is what feminism is about. I think you misunderstand the concept. Feminism is not about male bashing or being superior to men, it’s about equal rights only.


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