The attention paid to such high-profile cases involving urban, educated women attacked by strangers overlooks a crucial point about rape in India: Many victims are poor, marginalized women from lower castes, often living in rural areas, who know their rapists, according to Kalpana Sharma.
Days after the rape and murder in Hyderabad, police in the city issued safety tips for women. They advised women to “wait in crowded areas” and “talk loud when confronted” among other things. Social media users criticized the police for putting the onus on women to protect themselves against potential rapists.
“The focus on one or two incidents in bigger cities makes people believe that the major reason for violence against women is that women are out in the public space and are therefore unsafe and need to be protected from certain kinds of men,” says Sharma.