Americans aren’t the only ones rushing to buy guns.
After the gang rape of a 23-year-old Indian physical therapy student, Indian women began asking for gun licenses in unprecedented numbers, the Times of India reported Monday.
Of course the numbers, barely more than 1,200 in the Delhi area since the student called “Nirbhaya” died are miniscule compared to the hundreds of thousands of license applications after the Sandy Hook shootings in the US. However, figures are the entire nation of 1.22 billion are undoubtedly higher.
In India, where one rape is reported every 20 minutes, women do not feel they have the support of police or the law. In many cases, alleged rapists don’t go on trial for more than six years. Some accused rapists keep their jobs in the government.
In the US, victims of domestic abuse have often said they lacked the support of police. In a famous Castle Rock, Colo., case, a mother won a court restraining order against her estranged husband. Police failed to keep him away and he ultimately killed the couple’s three daughters before dying in a shootout with police. The US Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit against the city south of Denver for failing to protect the family.
It is difficult to say whether the gang rape of the “unknown victim,” as she is called, was simply an aberration, even though rape figures are high.
The initial reaction of Indian authorities to the increase in gun license requests has been to refuse them, although they admit they often cannot keep women safe even on public transport.
In Hanna Rosin’s new book, “The End of Men," she talks about how Indian women find it easier to learn English than men, thus making them more likely to win good jobs in call centers.
Whether this violent act, or other violence, could be generated by economic advances of women remains unknown.
But in the US, for example, the recession has left many men dependent on their wives to earn a living to find the basic necessities of life. This is not likely to endear them to men, who have dominated women in almost all of the world for thousands of years.
If it is true that many are moving up, partly thanks to the way the old macho man jobs are disappearing, it could signal more friction in many countries. While men in the past may have simply commiserated with women about how they got paid less, they may now fear them as competitors for the same reason.
The vast majority of rapes in the US involve victims who know their attackers. This latest beastial attack seemed almost like vengeance for the progress of women. The men still are to be tried, and facts will emerge.