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AN INVESTIGATION OF THE EFFECT OF RAPE ON SOCIAL STIGMATIZATION OF VICTIMS IN INDIA

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AN INVESTIGATION OF THE EFFECT OF RAPE ON SOCIAL STIGMATIZATION OF VICTIMS IN INDIA


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The social stigmatization of victims of rape is a dreadful crime that has profound and complicated consequences in India. However, there are still stigma associated with rape victims in many countries, including India. Stigma can have a profound impact on people's lives. It is psychologically and socially debilitating and has been argued to both reflect social inequality and to be a vehicle of social control (Parker & Aggleton, 2015). (Kennedy et al., 2018; Murray et al., 2018; Verelst et al., 2015) states that survivors of rape encounter a significant issue with stigma. Similarly, stigma mirrors, and replicates, prevailing gender inequalities and may be exacerbated by inequality based on socio‐economic status and race (Jackson‐Best & Edwards, 2018). According to Goffman (2016), stigma  has two dimensions: external and internal. External stigma describes how individuals with the stigmatizing condition are perceived by others to be socially devalued or discredited. Internal stigma reflects a sense of self-devaluation, primarily through self-blame and shame.  In addition, individuals may experience both internal and external stigma, and they may also find these are overlaid on other co‐occurring stigma experiences, for example, of rape and mental ill health (Jackson‐Best & Edwards, 2018).

Rape has a negative influence on the health of rape survivors along with to its social effects. According to studies (Hakimi et al., 2018; Kohli et al., 2014; Nöthling et al., n.d.), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression that continue in the months following the rape are linked to higher levels of stigma. Additionally, it has been discovered that stigma from rape  prevents people from overcoming their depression (Sirey et al., 2001). Rape is a grave and pervasive issue that has plagued societies worldwide, and India is no exception. According to World Health Organization (WHO) rape as a form of sexual assault, while the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDCP) include rape in their definition of sexual assault; they see rape, as a form of sexual violence. (G. & et al., 2022). In the same context, Anderson (2016), states that rape is a direct threat to the society; and it is spreading like a disease. It affects children and women badly as causes damage to their social, emotional, psychological, cognitive, and physical development. Also, Briere, J. & Jordan, C.E. (2017) asserts that rape can leave a deep scar on the minds of children and can destroy their whole personality. However, many women who experience rape in India face stigmatization and victim-blaming. Society often places the onus on the survivor to prove her innocence, which can exacerbate the trauma and deter survivors from reporting the crime.

Conceptually, the term ‘stigmatization’ is often referred to as "stigma,"  a social and psychological process in which individuals or groups are negatively labeled, stereotyped, or discriminated against based on certain characteristics, attributes, or behaviors that are perceived as deviating from the norms or values of a society. It is the act of treating someone or something unfairly by publicly disapproving of them. Stigmatization can lead to prejudice, discrimination, and social exclusion, resulting in harm to the individuals or groups who are stigmatized(Cohen, 2021). Further more, social stigmatization of rape is a widespread issue worldwide, although how it appears can differ depending on the context. In some cases, the most severe forms of stigma are observed in regions with deeply entrenched gender inequalities, particularly in areas affected by conflicts. For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), stigma after rape has been a huge problem for survivors of the widespread conflict‐related rape with many women rape survivors being rejected by their husbands, families or communities (Sandilands et al., 2017). A study conducted among women attending a hospital discovered that a third were rejected by their husband or community (Kelly et al., 2015). In settings where family honour is linked to control of women's bodies, such as in Afghanistan or Palestine, honour killings are an extreme manifestation of externalized stigma (Gibbs et al., 2019). Additionally, in settings where the status of women is higher, reports of extreme externalized stigma are less common, but women are often still stigmatized and blamed for speaking out against the perpetrators. Most victims of rape across settings report feelings of self‐blame and shame (i.e., internal stigma).

 Further more, rape survivors often face social stigmatization and exclusion from their communities. They may be ostracized, particularly in rural areas, which can lead to a loss of social support networks and a sense of alienation. Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to investigate of the effect of rape on social stigmatization of victims in India.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Stigmatization can have detrimental effects on the well-being and opportunities of individuals or groups who are stigmatized. It often leads to prejudice, discrimination, and social exclusion, which can perpetuate inequalities and make it harder for affected individuals to access essential services, achieve their goals, or lead fulfilling lives. However, in traditional Indian society, notions of "honor" and "shame" play a significant role. Rape survivors may be perceived as having brought shame to their families, leading to social isolation or stigmatization, ostracism, or even negligence. This fear of losing social standing can deter survivors from seeking help or justice.

Further more, some government officials let damaging stereotypes surrounding sexual assault interfere with their duties towards rape survivors. Many police officials tasked with registering criminal complaints and investigating rape recommend that survivors and their families drop their complaint to avoid potential “shame” in their communities. Many other police officers blame rape survivors. However, it is in the light of these that the study seeks to investigate the effect of rape on social stigmatization of victims in India.

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is on an investigation of the effect of rape on social stigmatization of victims in India. Specifically, the study will;

1.        Determine the prevalence causes of rape in India.

2.        Investigate on the factors associated with rape of women in India.

3.        Determine the extent rape constitute social trauma among women in India.

4.        Investigate on the effect of rape on social stigmatization of victims in India.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:
1. What are the leading causes contributing to the prevalence of rape in India?

1.        What factors are associated with the rape of women in India?

2.        To what extent does rape contribute to social trauma among women in India?

3.        How does rape impact the social stigmatization of victims in India?

1.5  Significant of the Study

An investigation of the effect of rape on social stigmatization of victims in India will be revealed to the government at various levels, women rights activists, NGOs, law enforcement agencies, women, media houses and  students in this study. it aims to provide education to students and women regarding the underlying causes of rape. It will support NGOs in devising preventive measures and intervention strategies for victims of sexual violence. Additionally, the study will assist law enforcement agencies in pinpointing deficiencies within the existing legal framework and areas requiring reform to better safeguard survivors and ensure the accountability of perpetrators. Also, it will help the government in establishing protocols for sensitive screening for sexual violence by health providers, and adopt standards for dignified medical treatment of rape survivors.  In addition,, the media will have the opportunity to utilize this information for informing the general public about the Sexual Offense Act of 2006, the stringent penalties associated with rape convictions, and to educate the public on risk factors, causes of rape, and strategies for preventing sexual violence. It will also be revealed to the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs in spearheading a Code of Conduct for all ministers, state legislators, and public officials, to guide their policy, speeches, and comments regarding women and girls, especially rape survivors. Further more, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to an investigation of the effect of rape on social stigmatization of victims in India.

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on an investigation of the effect of rape on social stigmatization of victims in India. Theoretically, this study will elaborate on the prevalence causes of rape in India, discuss the factors associated with rape of women in India,  the extent rape constitute social trauma among women in India and the effect of rape on social stigmatization of victims in India. Geographically, the study will be delimited to women in Bihar, India.

1.7 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Rape : Unlawful sexual activity.

Social: a result or effect, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant.

Stigmatization: the act of treating someone or something unfairly by publicly disapproving of them



This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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