India's Rape Culture Can End

Protests offer hope that things will change: Sonia Faleiro

By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 2, 2013 1:43 PM CST

(Newser) – Sonia Faliero lived in New Delhi for 24 years and says sexual harassment there "is as regular as a meal." The culture is "habituated to the debasement of women," she writes in the New York Times, evidenced by the "packs of men" who harass women on the street, the police who don't seem to care where it leads, and male politicians' absurd blame-the-women attitudes. Still, the outcry that followed the horrific rape and killing of a 23-year-old medical student gives Faliero reason to hope that things will change.

It was practically a "miracle," she writes. "Tens of thousands of people took to the streets and faced down police officers, tear gas, and water cannons to express their outrage." Theirs "was the most vocal protest against sexual assault and rape in India to date." Now this must translate into police taking assaults seriously for once—last year, only one of 600 reported rape cases in the city led to a conviction. "If victims believe they will receive justice, they will be more willing to speak up. If potential rapists fear the consequences of their actions, they will not pluck women off the streets with impunity." Click to read Faleiro's full column.

Indians hold a candle light vigil to salute the undying spirit of a rape victim and to mourn her death in New Delhi, India.   (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)
Indian women carry their children as they march during a protest to mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi, India.   (AP Photo/ Dar Yasin)
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