“India is not a country of rapists”
An email to an Indian student from a German professor rejecting his application because of the ‘rape problem’ in India has gone viral. While many people criticized the attitude of the professor, some focused on a different aspect of the problem.
The firestorm began when an Indian student, whose name is yet to be discovered, published a screenshot of an e-mail on an online forum recently. The student has asked the following question to the forum: “What should an Indian male student do if he is denied an internship opportunity on the basis of India being projected as an unsafe country for women?”
Social media folks soon picked up on the issue. Hashtag #GermanProfessor has emerged, and almost everyone started grilling the professor about her remarks on India. Here are some of the tweets related to the issue:
#German professor disallows Indian student from joining her program. This is what our ancient patriarchal system & education has created
— Randhir (@sinhgohil) 10. März 2015
— Chitra Subramaniam (@chitraSD) 10. März 2015
— Mayank Jain (@MaayankJain) 11. März 2015
— viveck shettyy (@viveckshettyy) 11. März 2015
German ambassador to India, Michael Steiner, has taken the issue seriously. He tweeted a letter on March 9, 2015 that he sent to Annette Beck-Sickinger, a biochemistry professor at Leipzig University, who rejected the internship application from the Indian student.
Steiner accused the professor of an “oversimplifying and discriminating generalization” in dealing with the student applicant. Steiner said the reason given for the refusal of the internship would offend millions of law-abiding Indians. “Let’s be clear: India is not a country of rapists,” he wrote in the letter.
— Michael Steiner (@Amb_MSteiner) 9. März 2015
@Amb_MSteiner That was a bold, brave stance. Thank you for standing up for Indians who have nothing to do with such crimes.
— Devina Joshi (@joshidevina) 10. März 2015
Apart from criticizing the German Professor, some people also pointed out the fact that ‘rape problem’ in India is hurting its image badly. Indian journalist based in Germany, Manasi Gopalakrishnan, wrote in her personal blog, ”India needs to finally realize how serious the problem of rape is, and more than rape, how its society needs to change attitudes against women.”
— Manasi (@Manasi_Gopal) 10. März 2015
According to statistics, a rape is reported in India, on average, every 21 minutes. International media have been covering the problem intensively. Indian government banned a BBC documentary about rape in India recently. That decision also received huge criticism on social media.
In India, 94% of rapes are committed by perpetrators known to the victim — their husbands. http://t.co/L6s8ju9ZaE
— CNN International (@cnni) 6. März 2015
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) 5. März 2015
— Christellar (@christellar) 3. März 2015
— Moni Basu (@MbasuCNN) 3. März 2015
Meanwhile, in the face of widespread criticism for her remarks, Beck-Sickinger apologized for the ‘rape problem’ rejection. In a statement, published on the Leipzig University website on March 9, 2015, she said, “I have made a mistake.”
However, Beck-Sickinger also mentioned that she did not write the email as the way it appeared on the internet. “I never wrote the mail in this way, it has been put together from individual segments taken from different mails.”
Author: Arafatul Islam
Editor: Marjory Linardy
You can follow Arafat on Twitter @arafatul
You will probably not believe this. It was hard for me to digest as well, but this police officer repeatedly said that girls should properly
cover themselves to avoid being raped. He told this to a female journalist while sitting in a police station.
Last week, an interesting post was doing the rounds in social media: 26 questions people from India are sick of answering. In the years I have been living abroad, I have been confronted with these questions over and over again. Do you speak ‘Hindu?’ Which caste do you belong to? But you actually pray to cows right?
“It’s been more than a year since my trauma. I still get nightmares and I find myself unable to trust any man. I am scared of getting married or having kids. My biggest fear is that the same thing might happen to someone I love, that someone I love might get raped.”
Date11.03.2015 | 17:15