10 Jan 2013

India rape: Is this the turning point?

Will the indian gang rape scandal have a lasting impact? A discussion with writers Kishwar Desai and Natasha Walter, the founder of the charity Women for Refugees.

Award-winning author and chronicler of modern India, Kishwar Desai and charity founder Natasha Walter have spoken to Channel 4 News on their views on whether the recent gang rape in India marks a turning point for women in India.

Speaking from India, Ms Desai said she worried, that despite the public outcry and media interest, nothing would change for women in India.

She said: “It’s extremely frustrating because we’ve had similar rapes taking place all over this country. In India a woman is raped every 22 minutes so you have a huge backlog of cases already which have been pending before the courts and I have found that in many of these cases people are let out free, whereas the woman, who is the victim is ostracised if she survives and her life is made a living hell and while we might hope that this horrible, horrible case is a turning point, my fear is that after the media storm dies down we will be back to normal.”


But she also said she was pleased that so many young men had joined the protests to insist that rapists were not representative of all Indian men.

But Ms Walter the author of two books on feminism, and the founder of the charity Women for Refugee Women said she was hopeful that some good could come out of the appalling crime.

She said half of the female refugees she worked with, from all over the world had been raped and replied: “It’s such an horrific case and it’s hard to draw anything positive out of it, but it’s fascinating to see how this case has sparked so much interest, so may protests and if anything positive can come out of it this case, that would be amazing.

“I have to say I’m not shocked that this violence happens and not just in India.

Global phenomena

“I think we do have to remember that this is a global phenomena so if we are going to see change it’s not going to be just about the response in one country, this is a time to seize this energy globally.”