British film-maker Leslee Udwin’s video interview with one of the Delhi rapists may not make for comforting viewing, but there are some home truths in there that must be faced up to. In the past hour, the Indian government has banned the video – a move which is both cowardly and futile. They fear the rapist’s remarks that he has ‘no remorse’, and that he ‘blames the victim for fighting back’ might create ‘an atmosphere of fear and tension’. In the West, a similar message is being touted around: that the rapist should never have been given a platform. Don’t show the video and allow him to justify his actions.
I visited Delhi’s Tihar Jail in 2012, where rapist Mukesh Singh is currently awaiting his death sentence. It is a terrible place – a mega-prison filled to the brim with men, predominantly very poor men, who have received little to no education. Singh is typical of the sort of character to be found there. He regrets nothing because he knows nothing. The horrific gang rape and murder in 2012 of the young medical student Jyoti Singh was a product of deep social issues that can only be addressed with education, as well as introspection on delicate topics such as religion, race and the caste system. If India genuinely wants to combat the problem of rape, there is no getting around this. Banning the video will not prevent rape.
For India’s many rape victims, the video must be broadcast. It must also be broadcast for the sort of people who end up in Tihar Jail. They, too, have been let down by a society that allows the creation of men with ‘no remorse’.