Sex Roles

, Volume 71, Issue 5–8, pp 233–245 | Cite as

Sexual Assault Portrayals in Hindi Cinema

  • Uttara ManoharEmail author
  • Susan L. Kline
Original Article


The Indian film industry has been criticized for perpetuating an environment for sexual violence, but little research has analyzed whether Hindi films provide a script for engaging in sexual assault that may perpetuate such violence. In this article, we employed script and sexual scripts theory to determine if there is a recurring sexual assault script in recent Hindi films that describes the pre-conditions, actions and outcomes of sexual assault. Our analysis of 24 Hindi films from the years 2000–2012 confirms the general presence of a sexual assault script. Pre-conditions for assault involve unmarried young males sexually assaulting young females who have assumed traditional gender roles. Female victims are often depicted as being responsible for the sexual assault. The assault itself is depicted with perpetrators combining sexual, physical and verbal assault actions, and females actively resisting the assault. The assault aftermath depicts the woman mostly suffering social damage or losing her life, while the perpetrator is killed by the woman or her family, or remains unprosecuted. We discuss how stereotypical and dramatized depictions of sexual assault in Hindi films may lead to inappropriate perceptions about what occurs before, during and after sexual assault.


Hindi films India Sexual violence Content analysis Script theory Social cognitive theory Interpersonal behavior Rape scripts 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of CommunicationOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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