The depressing similarity between the Delhi bus driver Mukesh Singh and Oxford’s Police

You might not have seen the new BBC documentary India’s Daughter yet. But it’s likely you will have heard of the shocking interview that the bus driver Mukesh Singh gives in it.

Singh, who’s awaiting the death penalty, talks frankly about his involvement in the brutal gang rape and murder of a young undergraduate on his Delhi bus in 2012. His justification for what he did is completely mind boggling.

“A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy,” he says. “When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy.”

And according to Singh, “The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls. Now when they rape, they won’t leave the girl like we did. They will kill her. Before, they would rape and say, ‘Leave her, she won’t tell anyone.’ Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death.”

You don’t need me to tell you how shocking this is. But what’s also shocking is that similar attitudes can be found in Western culture too. If you want proof of this, then just read the latest report on the gang rape of young girls in Oxford. Yes, Oxford. Prestigious, leafy, wealthy Oxford. The last place you’d expect 300 school girls to be systematically groomed, drugged and brutalised — and then victim blamed.

If the situation wasn’t tragic enough, this response makes it all even more depressing. The case review, produced by Dr Alan Bedford, found that children as young as 12 were treated by police as “wayward girls”, complicit in their own abuse, despite being groomed by adults who had ensnared them through drink, drugs and menace.

Women and girls should know their place, and if found in the wrong place, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, then assault, rape even death — is to be expected; the victim is culpable. On the other hand, the perpetrator is a helpless being chained to his primeval but rational urges. They’ve been provoked by the wiles of young girls. These are the hideous narratives that the views of both Singh and Oxford’s police reinforce.

As Freda Adler wrote in 1975, “Rape is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused”. Whether it’s in Oxford or Delhi, I hate living in a world where this is still the case. No-one should ever be guilty of being raped.

This article appeared in Independent Voices on 5th March 2015

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