India's Top Cop Compared Rape To What?

by Adrienne Vogt

Wow, talk about the wrong choice of words. India's highest-ranking police official now wishes he bit his tongue when he used a comment on rape as an analogy for legalizing sports betting and gambling. Central Bureau of Investigation chief Ranjit Sinha apologized for saying, "If you cannot enforce the ban on betting, it is like saying, 'If you can't prevent rape, you enjoy it'" during a conference on Tuesday. Granted, hemay have been making valid points about the legalization of betting, but they've since been eclipsed by the outrage over his rape comparison in a country already ensnared in scandal over the issue.

Sinha maintains that his metaphor was a clumsy moment, but not malicious. "I regret any hurt caused as the same was inadvertent and unintended. I reiterate my deep sense of regard and respect for women and commitment to gender issues," Sinha says. But his apologies seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Activists were quick to pounce on Sinha's comments, calling for his immediate removal from office. "It is sickening that a man who is in charge of several rape investigations should use such an analogy," Communist Party of India leader Brinda Karat says. "He should be prosecuted for degrading and insulting women."

A video of Sinha at the conference reveals his full speech. Although quite bumbling and confusing, he was basically saying that if the country could not stop gambling, it could legalize it as a way to draw in money. Again, he probably could've used another metaphor besides rape — literally anything else — to illustrate his point.

News outlets were quick to blast Sinha, but some people say the backlash was unwarranted.

As Cordelia Jenkins at Live Mint and The Wall Street Journal writes:

Sinha in no way suggested we should enjoy rape. His analogy doesn’t suggest we should accept rape. It merely points out that being apathetic about a social problem because it is perceived as not solvable is not the answer. Sinha is attacking that kind of apathy not encouraging it.

But in a country where accounts of rape and assault seem to come out on an almost daily basis, this may not be enough, though. Indians have been reeling since the highly publicized December 2012 gang rape of a woman on a New Delhi bus, with protests around the country and a flurry of new laws enacted to prosecute sexual offenders. Nonetheless, reports of a girl begin set on fire and raped, a female rape victim setting her alleged perpetrator on fire, and a rape victim allegedly being ordered to marry her attacker's son have all recently come to light.