Coverage of rape crimes is often sensational not because of the rarity of the crime, but the rarity of reporting. In the past few months, several particularly horrific rapes-- ones that resulted in the deaths of their victims-- have made international headlines. Each of these tragic stories intimates the greater tragedy, that the headline is but one of many, the vast majority unreported and untried. Revealed below the surface of these stories are conditions-- legal, political, and cultural-- that make sexual violence systematic, and often shrouded in impunity.
Of the stories that garnered international media coverage recently, the most widely covered was that of a 23-year-old Indian woman gang raped on a bus in Delhi in December 2012, who succumbed to her horrific injuries in a Singapore hospital not long afterwards.
Then there was the agonizingly grim case of five-year-old Lama, a Saudi Arabian girl "raped to death" by her father, an Islamist preacher who often appeared on Saudi TV, advising the pious on how to live moral lives. He reportedly suspected his five-year-old of sexual activity, torturing and raping her to death in response, then chuckling about it to her tormented mother, as Lama lay dying in...More >>