The Anatomy of a Rape

Illustration: Samia Singh

Like last week, each time a woman is raped, there is a peculiar kind of ‘us’ and ‘them’ that stories around it take on. As if the 23-year-old girl who worked for a pub in Gurgaon inhabited another universe. In which these things happen. The precise way in which news of the rape is received by a society and the way it is discussed are often a fairly accurate and disturbing gauge of its people and how they think. Why are the conversations around a rape focussed on the victim rather than the perpetrators? Do we care to know anything about the seven men from Rohtak in Haryana? Why is the way a woman dresses important to this discussion? Or questions raised about women being out at night? These are the conversations that do come up. The ones that do not are far more disturbing. For those, turn to Nishita Jha’s conversation with a rape victim who was asked repeatedly in court to describe the number of times she was penetrated and the size of the rapist’s erection. Turn also to Brijesh Pandey’s candid conversations with a policeman, and with a village elder of a hamlet in Noida who believes that if a couple is dating, then the girl is asking for trouble. Or Revati Laul’s conversations with the chairperson of the National Commission for Women who believes what a woman wears is not the primary, but definitely an issue in a rape. All of these conversations dovetail into one large question underlying this special report — when will we change the way we talk about rape? The woman in Gurgaon and  thousands of others who have been raped know something we don’t. If we continue to talk the way we do, we are all part of the ugly anatomy of rape and changing our conversations around it is the only way it can actually begin to change.

‘You have to live with your violated body, you have to live with the memory of what was done to you’

Divya*, 23 spoke to Nishita Jha about the nightmare that never ends Read More >


KS Ram*, 40

‘We are an 18th century force operating in the 21st century’
KS Ram*, 40 tells Brijesh Pandey that a couple of faux pas can’t be used to portray the police as an insensitive institution Read More > 



‘A rape victim I knew was shattered by the media’s character assassination’
Deepak Bajpai, 38 spoke to Revati Laul about the pressures faced by reporters to dig out the juicy details Read More >


Rebecca John

‘Court proceedings ensure a complete loss of dignity’
Rebecca John, 48 tells Nishita Jha how the legal system is unfair towards rape victims Read More >



‘When you project yourself as a sex object, you will be treated like one’
Dusaundhi, 72 of Bisrakh village, tells Brijesh Pandey that scantily-clad girls are inviting trouble Read More >


‘Women should take their Indian culture along when they go out’
Mamta Sharma, 62 spoke to Revati Laul about why women should be ultra cautious Read More >


Kavita KrishnanTHE NGO 
The majority of rape victims in India see no justice 
Kavita Krishnan, All India Progressive Women’s Association
By Nishita Jha Read More >


  1. Apart from all the reasons pointed by authors we Indians do understand the libertarian principles. In the debate no one mentions that even a sex worker cannot be raped. Even for sex with a prostitute it has to be consensual. From our experiences it appears we think backwards. Therefore, if we can implement the laws against rape for the most vulnerable we can protect everyone else.

  2. I heard that during the time of India/Pakistan partition Muslim males used to rape Hindu women and Hindu males used to rape Muslim women. The roots of rapes go deep into inter-religious rivalry also. Whenever there is a problem, the women at the opposition will be attacked if possible will be raped. Rape is a weapon to be used against enemies, to silence them. If rape is not possible, then of course there will be character assassination.
    I understand rape is a symptom of a social problem. It should be dealt at grass root level. Capital punishment is not a solution.
    Our children should be learned to respect other people (women of other religions). Every home/family may not be a suitable place to start with, as grownups may be with strong/unhealthy religious rivalries. The best

  3. who have the solution The goverment No, The people No, The Women No, The Men no, there is only one Soluction that Women must be so strong Physically and Mentally that instead of Tolrate such a mis behave , Give ahard Hand on the face of person.
    There must be Karat / Marshal Art for all girls appearing in8th to 10th grade so that they become power by themselv and show the World that Women are not Weak and Dpendent.
    Salute to the women on India.

  4. From a french woman: How do you want indian people respect the women? What is really done to stop female foeticide? Why nothing is done to forbid dowry? Violence done to indian women begins in their mother’s womb and, in case they are authorized to be born, goes on with the burden that a girl will be to pay a dowry. No speaking of this “ayojit vivah”? How many girls feel themselves violated by a man they don’t love?…Open your eyes on the real reasons of all these rapes in India.

  5. Punishment to any crime should also be proportional to the damage it caused to the victim. The government & judiciary need people with courage and commitment. Most of the top officials have no strong backbone to stand for the truth even though they want it. We need strong and fearless people in police and judiciary to bring justice to people and not just cowards.

  6. Sex is a strong biological need of man and woman. This need is often suppressed easily by woman than man. Under provoking situations the beast in man emerges out breaking his control. Castration can not suppress the desire and the beast in man. It can only deactivate the genital organ. The result can be more disastrous than the death of a girl or two! The revenge of a man deprived of his sexual ability could be more dangeorus than a rapist.
    Kill them by stoning! That is what Islam says!

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