India's deadly gang rape: 6 troubling attempts to blame the victim

Among the unsettling rationales: She should have begged. She shouldn't have been out so late. She should have known better

Indian students protest against Hindu religious leader Asaram Bapu, on Jan. 8.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

As massive street protests rage in New Delhi, Indian authorities are preparing to try the men accused of brutally gang-raping 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh Pandey on a bus last month. She later died from her injuries, and the case has brought to light the growing problem of assaults against women in India. But some Indian leaders, in their attempts to explain the violence, are making a series of incredibly insensitive comments that seem to smear Pandey and other victims. "This is the mentality which most Indian men are suffering from unfortunately," said Ranjana Kumari, director for the New Delhi-based Centre for Social Research. "That is the mindset that has been perpetrating this crime because they justify it indirectly, you asked for it so it is your responsibility." Here, a sampling:

1. Self-described "spiritual guru" Asaram Bapu told his followers that "guilt is not one-sided." He went on to say that Pandey should have been friendly with her attackers if she wanted to save her life. "She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop … This could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don't think so." A case has since been filed in local court against Bapu for insulting women and trying to "hurt to the sentiments of the people."

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Jessica Hullinger

Jessica Hullinger is a writer and former deputy editor of The Week Digital. Originally from the American Midwest, she completed a degree in journalism at Indiana University Bloomington before relocating to New York City, where she pursued a career in media. After joining The Week as an intern in 2010, she served as the title’s audience development manager, senior editor and deputy editor, as well as a regular guest on “The Week Unwrapped” podcast. Her writing has featured in other publications including Popular Science, Fast Company, Fortune, and Self magazine, and she loves covering science and climate-related issues.