Struggles and Scars

How to tackle the rise in popularity of rape videos and porn in India

Shocking statistics reveal that rape videos are a popular search term on pornography sites in India. This indicates a profound problem that needs to be addressed
man holding phone watching video

India is third in amount of porn consumed worldwide

Pornhub, an online pornographic video and image sharing website, on their tenth anniversary, released data collated by them over the decade. The statistics declare that India ranks third when it comes to consumption of pornographic content. Another shocking revelation is that in the year 2017, India witnessed a 75 per cent rise in porn consumption, especially in tier II and III cities.

From 2015, Internet penetration and data consumption have been on the rise in India, thanks to the launch of various packages by telecom service providers that allow the users to consume as much as 1 GB a day. Interestingly, data released by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), 2016 reveal that there has been a sharp increase in the number of rape cases, particularly those of children. NCRB states that the year 2016 witnessed an 82 per cent rise in this trend.

Related reading: Here’s how to teach your sons not to rape

Watching porn does have ill effects

While those standing in solidarity with porn consumption might shout that porn has no link with the rise in the number of rapes committed across India, experts have a different take. “Easy access to the Internet and smartphones has definitely led to the rise in pornographic content in India. People watch such content and then get titillated. With a patriarchal mind-set, they grab on to the most easily available woman, whether a child or an adult perhaps doesn’t matter. Many might not agree, but doing my bit to fight human trafficking, I have realised that porn definitely creates a demand, which men often satiate either by going to trafficked women or indulging in crimes like rapes,” states Leena Kejriwal, Kolkata-based social activist, who uses art to combat human trafficking.

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India hit another low when the name of the eight-year-old child, who was recently gang raped and murdered in Kathua, Jammu, surfaced as the most searched name on a leading porn website, thereby highlighting a darker side of porn consumption in India.

The business of rape videos

According to a report by Al Jazeera, there is a thriving business of rape videos in India. The sting operation conducted in Uttar Pradesh by the international news agency revealed that rape videos can be easily purchased at a price as low as Rs 20 and as high as Rs 200. According to the news report, most of these videos are recorded to threaten the victim, but they end up getting leaked when the owner sends the phone to repair shops.

According to the news report, most of these videos are recorded to threaten the victim, but they end up getting leaked when the owner sends the phone to repair shops.

“There is definitely a rise in the number of rape videos being circulated with the motive of threatening, blackmailing, revenge or intimidating. But the victims need to understand that they need not fear their perpetrators. They should muster courage and approach the police and seek legal help. The Information Technology Act is well equipped to help in such cases,” says Bivas Chatterjee, Public Prosecutor of West Bengal for Special Public Prosecutor for Cyber Law and Electronics Evidence.

 

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According to Chatterjee, the first thing that a rape victim needs to do is report a case, even if the rapist has recorded the video. “Remember, in India, watching porn may not be a crime, but sharing it or making others view pornographic content is a punishable offence. Section 67, 67A and 67B of the IT Act, 2000 and Section 292 of the Indian Penal Codes makes publishing and transmitting of any kind of pornographic content a punishable offence.”

Laws and regulation are direly needed

Those who still support pornography and consider it to be harmless are wrong on all counts. Most psychiatrists and sociologists believe that pornography does have ill effects. “The social fabric of India is decaying, with youths and elders having very little values to hold on to. With frustrations seeping in and having easy access to the Internet, most Indian adults are consumers of porn. People searching for videos of rapes indicates that India is witnessing the decay of morality,” says Kolkata-based psychologist Paromita Mitra Bhowmick.

Jaipur-based psychotherapist Dr Anamika Papriwal adds, “Regulation of pornographic content in India has become a must, given that now men are recording their act of rape in order to blackmail the victim and rape her further. There have been cases where these videos, when accessed by other men, have been used to blackmail her again into another cycle of sexual abuse. This act of recording stems from the fact that these men are of feudal mentality and think of women as an object to satiate their physical needs. This can only be countered through mass education, regular counselling and educating the women to raise their sons as responsible men who don’t consider women as an object of desire. The process is tedious but not impossible.”

Related reading: What are your legal options when breakup leads to revenge porn?

Family and society have a role to play

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She explains, “Addiction to porn could be a symptom of voyeuristic disorder, which can be treated through support from family and psychotherapy. If a wife or mother notices that their husband or son is getting addicted to porn, then they need to come forward and teach these men the appropriate way to behave and not to seek voyeuristic pleasure. They need to be educated to control their sexual urges.”

struggle and scars

Where the law currently stands on porn and rape videos

However, the society can also come together to control the porn consumption of India by not sharing or encouraging people to watch porn. The porn industry comprises not just videos recorded in studios with adult actors but also of gullible men and women who are tricked or cheated to have their sexual activity recorded with the intention of blackmailing or character assassination. According to Chatterjee, when viewing porn one must remember the following points:

 

  • Viewing pornography (online or downloading) is legal and not an offence
  • Storing porn videos on your phone or computer is also not an offence
  • Publication of porn content is illegal and a punishable offence
  • Sharing porn content on WhatsApp, Facebook or any other mode is a punishable offence
  • If you come across rape videos being circulated, report the case, be a responsible citizen
  • Rape videos need to be reported to the police and this can be done by any responsible citizen
  • The family of the victim needs to be a strong support for her and have the case reported under IT Act, 2000 if the girl hints at the act being recorded

When the girl broke up with him, he posted all their sex videos online

Sending a naughty image or text to your love? Think again!

When it comes to women’s safety, what are some of the steps we need to take at an individual and societal level?

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