Monday, June 09, 2014

Indian official on rape: ‘These incidents happen accidentally’

By Terrence McCoy, WashPost
June 9 at 6:16 am

In summer 2012, Republican Representative and U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri offered an assessment of rape that would come to define him. He was asked whether he thought abortion was justified in cases of rape. “It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare,” he replied. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut the whole thing down.”

Akin had a chance to win that Senate race, but got trounced.

Thousands of miles away in India, some politicians haven’t learned from Akin’s mistakes. In the last week, two high-ranking officials have offered insensitive, if not outright offensive, statements about the country’s struggles with rape, which activists say highlight an endemic social problem. Despite the recent gang-rape and lynching of two teenage girls that brought international attention, some fear the recent comments signal the government’s reticence to confront the problem.

A minister in Madhya Pradesh state was the first to bumble forward. “This is a social crime which depends on men and women,” Babulal Gaur said, according to the Guardian. ”Sometimes it’s right. Sometimes it’s wrong. Until there’s a complaint, nothing can happen.”

Next up was Ramsevak Paikra, a minister in Chhattisgarh state who manages law enforcement, who explained that rapes don’t happen on purpose. ”Such incidents [rapes] do not happen deliberately,” he told reporters, though he later claimed he’d been misquoted. “These kind of incidents happen accidentally.”

(More here.)

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