The distraught teenager told family members that their neighbor had pushed her to the floor, stuffed a cloth in her mouth and raped her. The relatives, with a number of villagers, found the man she had accused and beat him.
Then, declaring that the 16-year-old girl had brought shame to the family, the group tied the girl to the suspect with a rope and paraded them through fields and markets in a village in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Some spectators kicked, punched and spat on her.
Videos of the shaming this past Sunday circulated widely on social media, triggering a nationwide outcry over one of the most distressing aspects of India’s rampant problem with sexual violence: victim blaming.
wrote Raveena Tandon, an Indian actress, on Twitter.
set afire after her parents told a village council that men in the area had raped her. That year, reports that an 11-year-old girl in Chennai had been gang-raped drew an outcry, but in the city, people soon started to blame the child’s mother.
Even at the highest levels of the country’s courts, recent decisions have drawn scrutiny and anger over what rights groups describe as regressive, patriarchal attitudes toward women. The head of India’s Supreme Court recently drew calls for his resignation after he had asked a man accused of raping a minor whether he would marry the victim as a way to settle the case.
Amid this week’s uproar, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, a government body, directed the police in the state of Madhya Pradesh to submit a report within 24 hours on the parade incident in the village, where about 1,200 people live. And on Wednesday, the local police said officers were investigating more people suspected of involvement in parading, beating and punching the girl.
In the videos that emerged the crowds lining the streets also shouted “India, my motherland, is great.” The slogan has come to define the Hindu nationalist fervor that some say is sowing divisions in the country, including between men and women.
Ms. Kumari, the activist, said the state of Madhya Pradesh had witnessed some of the most horrific incidents of sexual violence against women in recent years.
“Over 95 percent of people watching the events of Sunday were men,” she said, referring to the parade crowd in the village. “This is a reflection of our society. This is how we see crime against women.”