A foreigner-made documentary called “India’s Daughter” is much in the news. What is clear is that the Government of India supported and cooperated in its production on the express understanding that the film was “being made purely for social purpose without any commercial interest”. There is enough now in the public domain to infer strong commercial interest, including the sale by the film-maker of this film for commercial advantage. She violated other terms of the permission too and it is fair to ask why she did so.
Leslee Udwin, director and producer of the film, says that “I began this film with a narrow focus. `Why do men rape?’ I discovered that the disease is a lack of respect for gender. It’s not just about a few rotten apples, it’s the barrel itself that is rotten.”
From the context of her film it is evident that by “rotten barrel” she means India, that is, India itself is rotten. Such a label is entirely in consonance with other labels for India in the Western media such as “rape culture” and “rape capital of the world’.
But, first, let us look at the data. The timeline below is merely for convenience and, if some of the numbers seem inconsistent, the sources explain them away with reasons like totals may vary because they may include more than one type of sexual victimization.
- persons age 12 or older experienced an average annual 140,990 completed rapes; 109,230 attempted rapes; and 152,680 completed and attempted sexual assaults;
- all rapes, 39% of attempted rapes, and 17% of sexual assaults against females resulted in injured victims;
- most injured rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault victims did not receive treatment for their injuries;
- only36% of rapes, 34% of attempted rapes, and 26% of sexual assaults were reported to police;
- females age 12 or older were victims of an estimated 98,970 attempted rapes annually.
- child sex offences showed a 15% annual average increase, making sex offences among the fastest growing crimes handled by the criminal justice system, and child pornography made up 69% of sex offences referred to government advocates.
- about 97,000 women aged 18-24 (and over 9,000 men aged 18-24!) reported rape or sexual assault victimization;
- fewer than 1 in 5 of the females received assistance from a victim services agency.
- an estimated 285,400 children were victims of a sexual assault and 35,000 were victims of some other type of sex offence;
- an estimated 44% of the child victims of sexual assault and other sex offences experienced an act of sexual penetration;
- sexual assault victims were disproportionately female (89%) and ages 12 to 17 (81%);
- 95% of the sexual assault victims were assaulted by a male;
- 29% of the sexual assault victims were assaulted by youth age 17 or younger;
- police were contacted in regard to only 30% of the sexually assaulted children.
- there was 1 statutory rape for every 3 forcible rapes involving a juvenile victim reported to law enforcement;
- 95% statutory rape victims were female;
- regardless of victim gender, almost 3 of every 5 victims of statutory rape were ages 14-15;
- more than 99% of the offenders of female statutory rape victims were male;
- of all offenders of male statutory rape victims, 94% were female;
- of all offenders of female statutory rape victims, 18% were younger than age 18;
- of all offenders of male statutory rape victims, 70% were age 21 and older, while 45% of offenders of female statutory rape victims were 21 and older.
- for all females aged 12-24 over 138,000 cases of rape/sexual assault were reported; 25-49 over 125,000; 50-64 almost 30,000, and 65 and older over 7,000, totaling over 300,000.
- 191,670 victims of rape or sexual assault were reported.
- 8% of rapes of women and 16.7% of rapes of men were gang rapes.
- nearly 90,000 people reported beingraped;
- the arrest rate was only 25%;
- “more than 216,600 people were sexually abused in prisons and jails…overall, that’s almost six hundred people a day – twenty-five an hour”.
- over 300,000 rape/sexual assault crimes reported in (officially-defined) “poor” households (and more than 63,000 in “low income”, 100,000 in “mid-income” and almost 60,000 in “high income” households);
- juvenile sex offenders (ages 6-17, of whom 93% were male) comprised more than ¼ of all sex offenders and more than 1/3rd of the sex offenders against minors;
- 5% of the juvenile sex offenders were younger than 9 years, and 16% younger than 12 years;
- the proportion of victims younger than the age of 12 was 59% for juvenile sex offenders, compared with 39% for adult sex offenders;
- offenders younger than age 12 were somewhat more likely than offenders age 12 or older to be female and to offend in multiple offender and multiple victim episodes;
- 30% of military women were raped while in service, 71% were sexually assaulted, and 90% were sexually harassed;
- some 90% of sexual assaults of military personnel while in service were never reported.
- of sexual assault victims within the defence services, 54% of women and 27% of men did not report sexual assault because they feared retaliation;
- 47% of women and 20% of men did not report because they had heard other victims had a negative experience after reporting;
- at least 140,000 prisoners had been raped while incarcerated.
- over 80,000 prisoners reported sexual victimization while incarcerated.
- approximately 26,000 women and men were sexually assaulted within the defence services;
- of these, only 3,374 cases were reported;
- rape was described as an epidemic in the defence services.
- the number of reported cases of sexual assault within the defence services rose to 5,061;
- of these, only 484 cases went to trial, and only 376 resulted in convictions;
- 90% of the assault victims were eventually involuntarily discharged;
- there were over 300,000 rape/sexual assault crimes within the country.
Note that these are officially reported numbers and that the sources themselves acknowledge significant under-reporting. These sample just the past 25 years of a much longer societal history, and it is a fair conclusion that a society with such a tradition of violence against women (and men, and men violating women and other men, and women violating men and other women) can only be a sick society, entirely deserving of labels such as “rape culture” and “rape capital of the world”.
Leslee Udwin is absolutely right that, in a society that is so diseased in lack of respect for gender, it’s not just about a few rotten apples, it’s the barrel itself that is rotten.
Except that all the data above is not about India, it is about the United States of America.
If, to Udwin and her kind, India is a rotten barrel, how much more rotten then is the American barrel? Or, for that matter, the British barrel that is Udwin’s own country of residence?
What actually is going on?
We need to go back a little into the politics of our history.
The missionary-colonial enterprise was to divide-and-rule India, and among their strategies was the destruction of our own educational system and the introduction of theirs that taught us – and still does – their construction of our history to demonize us brown heathens and portray White Christians as our saviours.
This is an ongoing enterprise, and its new front-line crusaders are the Western mainstream media, Western and West-funded NGOs, and our co-opted desis.
Look at that invitation to the US premiere of “India’s Daughter”. Its promoters are Vital Voices Global Partnership and Plan International.
The West-based Plan International works in 51 “developing countries” to promote the rights of children. Its “vision is of a world in which all children realise their full potential in societies that respect people’s rights and dignity”. Notwithstanding even all that officially reported sexual abuse of American children as well as the officially acknowledged “historic rise” and “explosion” of child pornography in the US, Plan International sees no need to work for American children.
Vital Voices Global Partnership is a US government initiative promoted by “by then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright after the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing to promote the advancement of women as a U.S. foreign policy goal.”
Its founder is Hillary Clinton and it has two leading American politicians as its “Honorary Chairs”. Its Board of Directors is chaired by a public relations businesswoman and includes a number of Clinton associates and sundry media and corporate honchos.
Its Global Advisory Council members from India are:
- Margaret Alva, Congress Party leader and “close adviser to its president, Sonia Gandhi”;
- Ruchira Gupta, honoured by the Clinton Foundation, and founder of the India / America NGO Apne Aap whose governing body here is overwhelmingly of businesspeople;
- Anita Gupta, currently the Director of Public Affairs for Emerging Markets for Citigroup and earlier Vice President and Director of Corporate Affairs for Citibank N.S., India;
- Jaya Arunachalam, who had an active connection to the Congress Party and whose NGO Working Women’s Forum includes “links and affiliations” to Citibank, to a Dutch multinational banking and financial services company recently fined USD 1 billion for unscrupulous trading practices, to a Dutch company in the gambling business, and to the US-based India Development Service whose website does not specify its legal persona, its financiers and its accounts and whose work is to be concentrated in India’s tribal areas.
So why are these Western corporate /American government-backed NGOs interested in promoting a film whose producer proposes that rape in India is central to our male identity? And why did Udwin make this film, her production company aptly named Assassin Films? As rightly has been asked, what was her motive?
“If Miss Mayo had confessed that she had come to India merely to open out and examine the drains of India, there would perhaps be little to complain about her compilation. But she declared her abominable and patently wrong conclusion with a certain amount of triumph: `the drains are India’. So that’s what it boils down to for Udwin: motive.”
Udwin self-righteously claims: “I will not allow them to besmirch my name and say that I made it for commercial gain. I came using my own money and I am now in personal debt for £120,000 and rising. I gave it free to NDTV, because I told myself that I would not make a penny out of the Indian version.”
Surely Udwin has very deep pockets indeed that she can afford >£120,000 of her own to make this film but, all her protestations notwithstanding, the evidence is that she didn’t do it as charity. It is an investment, her pennies – or pounds – to be recouped from the foreign version, a version she accepts, apparently without protest, edited by the foreign media to focus on the India presented by her as a rotten barrel, just as Mayo had presented India as a drain.
Prima facie, Udwin lies about her motive, her money, and her method, and so her denial that the central villain of her film was paid for his story needs to be taken with a barrel of salt.
So much for Udwin. But she’s only the film-maker, the mukhota, and her work done, she scuttled away from India. Who are behind her, promoting the film?
There is, of course, Britain and its BBC, but the trail, involving Italy, Canada and Denmark too, reportedly leads to the Ford Foundation through “a carefully constructed web of film companies whose presence fade in and out as if through the lens of a camera.”
The Ford Foundation’s connect to the CIA is a matter of public record. Vital Voices is a politico-business front of the US government, explicitly intended to further US foreign policy.
It is incredibly naïve to believe that because these Westerners allow us to hug them and call them by their first names they will lose sight of their missionary-neocolonial agenda. “Barack” was a recent proof of that, with his hypocritical homilies to us on “secularism” and India’s progress.
The conclusion does not go far enough that “the outcry against the ban of India’s Daughter….. wants India’s poverty and social disabilities to become an excuse for imposing Western culture and commerce on the country [with] the Western media reaping commercial gains from the poverty industry.”
The role of Western and West-funded NGOs in fomenting social unrest to further Western missionary-neocolonial agendas is well-documented.
It is no secret that the missionary-colonial divide-and-rule agenda for India was centred around the break-up of Hindu society and the demolition of the Hindu dharma. It first constructed caste as central to Hindu identity and initiated what today flourishes as vote-bank politics. To that it added the fostering of religious divisiveness, successfully using “secularism” to pit the monotheisms against the pluralism and, within the pluralism, to encourage dharmic panthas and sampradayas to take on characteristics of a monotheism. Macaulayanism engenders Hindu self-loathing. Now rape is being broadcast within India and the world over as characteristic of the Indian (read, Hindu) male identity.
There’s more, but suffice it to say that wherever these missionary-colonials conquered, they erased the meaningful survival of any pre-existing beliefsystem, and their successors openly declare their unfinished agenda for India.
All this is not for a moment to exculpate rape in India but, if Westerners are sincere about “challenging the social norms that perpetuate violence against women around the world”, they must first tell us, in what they call the “developing countries”, why they have failed to eradicate violence against women in their own world, that they call the First World. And failed they have.
Then we must ask why, when they have failed, we will succeed, given that they are trying to develop us to follow them and we are trying to develop to be like them. Indeed, does their missionary-neocolonial corporate-NGO nexus in truth really want us to succeed?
The US acknowledges itself – and is acknowledged by our macaulayans – as No.1, the world’s only superpower, the world’s most advanced country, and more. Consider that the US has had about 240 years over which to create a society that is free of violence against women – and has failed. Why? Consider whether there is a direct link between their sexual mores and their sexual violence, and whether the American social paradigm itself is inherently violent.
Not until they – or, better, we – make “America’s Daughter” (and, for that matter, “Britain’s Daughter”) will India’s daughters and sons and mothers and fathers and Mother India and the Indian State understand the Western politics of rape in “rotten barrels” and determine how most effectively to deal with it.
It is an American who, identifying the characteristics of rape-prone and rape-free societies, classified America as a rape-prone society. We in India need to re-educate ourselves in those traditions of rape-free societies that, yes, we do have in our own civilization, and to build on them to evolve our own solutions. Blindly imitating the failed American way is a remedy worse than the disease, and we ape it at our peril.
- http://indiafacts.co.in/indiasdaughter-dear-foe-advocates-this-too-revolts-us/ ; http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/mar/01/indias-daughter-documentary-rape-delhi-women-indian-men-attitudes.
- http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsarp00.pdf ; http://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fpcseo06.pdf ;
Tables 1, 3, 9 – http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsavcaf9513.pdf ; https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/214383.pdf ; https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/208803.pdf ; Table 2 – http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cae0313.pdf ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_in_the_United_States ;
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_of_women_in_the_United_States#Sexual_abuse; http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/hpnvv0812.pdf ; https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/227763.pdf ; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8005198.stm ; http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_assault_in_the_United_States_military ; http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_rape_in_the_United_States ;
Table 1 – http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv13.pdf .
- http://www.more.com/news/india-rape-capital-world ; http://world.time.com/2013/11/08/why-rape-seems-worse-in-india-than-everywhere-else-but-actually-isnt/ ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics#United_Kingdom ; http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/Statistics2.php ; http://hvk.org/specialarticles/udwin/udwin.html ; http://www.newindianexpress.com/prabhu_chawla/columns/Indias-Daughter-Needs-Respect-Not-Ugly-Display-of-Violations-by-Western-Media/2015/03/08/article2702750.ece .
- g., https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/why-this-focus-on-rapes-in-india-by-world-media/.
- http://www.vitalvoices.org/get-involved/events/indias-daughter ; http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/subjectareas/childporn.html; http://www.vitalvoices.org/about-us/history ; http://www.vitalvoices.org/about-us/board-directors ; http://apneaap.org/about-us/our-board/ ;
- http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/i-am-not-a-flybynight-operator/article6972722.ece ; http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-india-s-daughter-rape-convict-paid-rs40000-for-interview-2066496.
- http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Deception-Lies-Behind-Making-of-India%E2%80%99s-Daughter/2015/03/09/article2704869.ece. The native collaborator Anjali Bhushan, Udwin’s purpose served, was then dumped – http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Co-producer-Puts-Blame-on-Leslee-Udwin/2015/03/10/article2706450.ece!
- g., http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?Itemid=109&id=843&option=com_content&task=view.
- Nicholas Dirks, “Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India”, Princeton: 2001. For example, in Parliament, the noted Indian secularist Javed Akhtar declaimed that crores of Hindustani men think like rapists – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsuDxiE8t3c. Ours is a “traditional culture of misogyny” – http://indiafacts.co.in/indias-daughter-and-richard-dawkins-racism/ . Such typecasting appears mainstreamed in Germany and though Germany’s Ambassador to India diplomatically protested there, here he said “India’s Daughter” showed the “reality” [of India], it showed “things as they are”. So, how about a “Germany’s Daughter” that shows the reality of sexual violence in Germany? – http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/german-professor-leipzig-university-india-rape-culture-refuse-student-internship/1/422825.html ; – http://www.niticentral.com/2015/03/08/german-ambassador-welcomes-debate-over-bbc-documentary-ban-305829.html ; http://www.thelocal.de/20140305/study-female-assault-above-eu-norm-in-germany ; http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/germany/140514/germany-rape-gender-equality.
- Krishen Kak, “Enucleated Universes: An Ethnography of the Other America and of Americans as the Other”, Princeton University, Ph.D. dissertation, June 1990. Luke 12.51-53, Matt 10.34-36.
- http://www.csub.edu/~jgranskog/inst205/benderly.htm ; http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=300&Itemid=55.