Sexual Assault Portrayals in Hindi Cinema
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.
KeywordsHindi films India Sexual violence Content analysis Script theory Social cognitive theory Interpersonal behavior Rape scripts
- “We the People” (2013). Do films celebrate women or “item”ize them? NDTV. Retrieved from http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/we-the-people/do-films-celebrate-women-or-item-ise-them/261719.
- Bandura, A. (2002). Social cognitive theory of mass communication. In J. Bryant & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (2nd ed., pp. 121–153). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Basu, K. (1978). Movement for emancipation of women in the nineteenth century. In Role and status of women in India (pp. 36–51). Calcutta: Firma KLM Limited.Google Scholar
- Baxi, P. (2000). Rape, retribution, state: On whose bodies?. Economic and Political Weekly, 35, 1196–1200. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4409115.
- Bennhold, K. (2012). The best countries to be a woman—and the worst. International Herald Tribune. Retrieved from http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/the-best-countries-to-be-a-woman-and-the-worst/.
- Census of India (2001). Religion, Census of India 2001. Retrieved from http://censusindia.gov.in/Census_And_You/religion.aspx.
- Central Board of Film Certification (2011). Annual report 2011. Retrieved from http://cbfcindia.gov.in.
- Chaudhury, R. (1978). Status and role of women: Great Indian women through the ages. In Role and status of women in India (pp. 8–35). Calcutta: Firma KLM Limited.Google Scholar
- Chudasama, R. K., Kadri, A. M., Zalavadiya, D., Joshi, N., Bhola, C., & Verma, M. (2013). Attitude and myths towards rape among medical students in Rajkot, India. Online Journal of Health and Allied Sciences, 12(3), 1–6. Retrieved from http://www.ojhas.org/issue47/2013-3-4.html.
- Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance (2013). The criminal law (amendment) ordinance. Retrieved from http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/criminalLawAmndmt-040213.pdf.
- Dasgupta, S. D., & Hegde, R. S. (1988). The eternal receptacle: A study of mistreatment of women in Hindi films. In R. Ghadially (Ed.), Women in Indian society: A reader (pp. 209–216). New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
- Derne, S. (1995). Culture in action: Family life, emotion and male dominance in Banaras, India. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Doniger, W. (2003). The Kamasutra: It isn’t all about sex. Kenyon Review, 25, 18–37. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4338414.
- Doniger, W. (2007). Reading the Kamasutra: The strange & the familiar. Daedalus, 136(2), 66–78. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20028111.
- Donnerstein, E., & Smith, S. (2001). Sex in the media: Theory, influences, and solutions. In D. G. Singer & J. L. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of children and the media (pp. 289–307). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Dutt, N. (2012). Eve teasing in India: Assault or harassment by another name. BBC News Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16503338.
- Eicher, J. B., & Roach-Higgins, M. E. (1993). Definition and classification of dress: Implications for analysis of gender roles. In R. Barnes & J. B. Eicher (Eds.), Dress and gender: Making and meaning in cultural contexts (pp. 8–28). Oxford: Berg Publishers.Google Scholar
- Ellis, L. (1989). Theories of rape: Inquires into the causes of sexual aggression. Washington: Hemisphere Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
- Emmers-Sommer, T. M., Pauley, P., Hanzal, A., & Triplett, L. (2006). Love, suspense, sex, and violence: Men’s and women’s film predilections, exposure to sexually violent media, and their relationship to rape myth acceptance. Sex Roles, 55, 311–320. doi: 10.1007/s11199-006-9085-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fiske, S. T., & Taylor, S. E. (1991). Social cognition. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Flood, G. (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Gagnon, J. H., & Simon, W. (1973). Sexual conduct: The social sources of human sexuality. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
- Ganti, T. (2013). Bollywood: A guidebook to popular Indian cinema (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Harris, R. J., & Scott, C. L. (2002). Effects of sex in the media. In J. Bryant & D. Zillman (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (2nd ed., pp. 307–331). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Inglehart, R., & Welzel, C. (2005). Modernization, cultural change, and democracy: The human development sequence. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- International Center for Research on Women (2011). Evolving men: Initial results from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES). Retrieved from: http://www.icrw.org/media/news/men-and-gender-equality-evolving-union.
- International Center for Research on Women (2012). Baseline findings from the Safe City Delhi Program. Retrieved from: http://www.icrw.org/files/publications/Baseline%20Research%20of%20Safe%20Cities%20programme%20(1)[smallpdf.com].pdf.
- Kohli, A. (2011) Gang rapes and molestation cases in India: Creating mores for eve-teasing. Te Awatea Review, 10, 13–17. Retrieved from: http://www.vrc.canterbury.ac.nz/docs/Te%20Awatea%20Review_Dec_2012_Vol10.pdf.
- Mehta, S. (1982). Revolution and the Status of Women in India. Delhi: Metropolitan Publishers.Google Scholar
- Menon-Sen, K. (2006). Better to have died than to live like this: Women and evictions in Delhi. Economic and Political Weekly, 41, 1969–1974. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4418236.
- Mukherjee, C., Rustagi, P., & Krishnaji, N. (2001). Crimes against women in India: Analysis of official statistics. Economic and Political Weekly, 36, 4070–4080. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4411293.
- National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs (2012). Crime in India 2012 report. Chapter 5. Crimes against women. Retrieved from http://ncrb.nic.in.
- Osella, C., & Osella, F. (1998). Friendship and flirting: Micro-politics in Kerala, South India. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 4, 189–206.Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3034499.
- Pandey, R. (1986). Rape crimes and victimization of rape victim in free India. Indian Journal of Social Work, 47, 169–186. Retrieved from http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=104400.
- Ram, K. (2000). Instabilities in the discourse of ‘rights’ in India. In A. Hilsdon, M. Macintyre, M. Stivens, V. Mackie, & M. Stivens (Eds.), Human rights and gender politics: Asia-Pacific perspectives (pp. 60–82). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Schank, R. C., & Abelson, R. P. (1977). Scripts, plans, goals, and understanding: An inquiry into human knowledge structures. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Sikdar, S. (2012). Delhi gang-rape: Victim narrates the tale of horror. The Hindu. Retrieved from http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/delhi-gangrape-victim-narrates-the-tale-of-horror/article4230038.ece.
- Simon, W., & Gagnon, J. H. (1987). A sexual scripts approach. In J. H. Greer & W. T. O. Donohue (Eds.), Theories of human sexuality (pp. 363–383). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
- Singh, K. (2004). Violence against women and the Indian Law. In S. Goonesekere (Ed.), Violence, Law & Women’s rights in south Asia (pp. 77–147). New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
- Sugirtharajah, S. (1998). Women in Hinduism. In P. Bowen (Ed.), Themes and Issues in Hinduism (pp. 56–79). London: Cassell.Google Scholar
- Suri, S., & Khan, S. (2013). An analytical study of rape in Delhi. International Journal of Education and Psychological Research, 2, 60–68. Retrieved from: http://www.ijepr.org/doc/V2_Is3_Aug13/ij10.pdf.
- UNESCO Institute of Statistics (2013). Emerging markets and the digitalization of the film industry. Retrieved from http://www.uis.unesco.org/culture/Documents/IP14-2013-cinema-survey-analysis-en.pdf.
- Verma, R. K., & Mahendra, V. S. (2005). Construction of masculinity in India: A gender and sexual health perspective. Journal of Family Welfare, 50(1), 71–78. Retrieved from http://medind.nic.in/jah/t04/s1/jaht04s1p71g.pdf.