Skip to navigationSkip to content
Women-Rape-Gender
Reuters/Adnan Abidi
About 60% of the boys surveyed think that women dress provocatively and instigate men.

It’s not just the Delhi bus rapist—even India’s college students believe women invite rape

The 2012 gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in New Delhi shook the nation. Many young boys and girls from schools and colleges across India held protests and candlelight marches condemning the rape. But a study conducted in 11 Indian cities, including New Delhi, suggests that attitudes towards women haven’t really changed—even among the young and educated.

Mukesh Singh, one of the men who raped the 23-year-old woman, said in a soon-to-be-released 63-minute documentary, India’s Daughter that “housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes.”

“She should just be silent and allow the rape,” he said.

Singh moved to Delhi from his village in Rajasthan in the early 1990s, and worked as a day labourer and a driver. Sadly, even school and college students hold similar views.

Findings of a survey by Bangalore-based nonprofit Children’s Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA), in cities including Kolkata, Guwahati, Jaipur and Bangalore, show that gender biases in India still persist at large. The survey interviewed a total of 10,542 students—6,168 in grade IX and 4,374 in first year of college—across 330 high schools and 220 colleges.

Almost 60% of the boys surveyed think that women dress provocatively and instigate men, leading to violent crimes against women. More than 50% of the girls surveyed share this view.

While 43% of the boys think women have no choice but to accept a certain degree of violence, the proportion of girls sharing the same view is slightly lower at 39%.

Ironically enough, 71% of the surveyed students think women can perform equally well or better than men in all professions and yet 52% of them said the main role of the women is to run the house and raise children.

What explains the regressive attitudes towards women?

According to Manjunath Sadashiva, director of CMCA, the education system may be the problem. ”Our education system is not helping at all in removing the stereotypes in the society. It is not moulding or shaping young minds to be humane citizens. This (survey results) isn’t surprising.”

So, unless India manages to revamp its curricula and promote gender sensitisation classes in schools, patriarchal attitude is likely to thrive. Harsher laws can do only so much.

Also read: Delhi bus rapist: Women should allow men to rape them if they want to live

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.