WHO IS TO BLAME? RAPE OF HINDU-MUSLIM WOMEN IN INTERETHNIC VIOLENCE IN INDIA

Authors


  • I would like to thank Dr. Dorothy Espelage, Dr. Helen Neville, Dr. Manisha Desai and Dr. Stefan Fiol for their support. I am especially grateful for the generosity of the communities that participated in this research. This research was funded through the Barbara. A. Yates International Research award and grants from the Department of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Meera Murthi, Senior Instructor of Clinical Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14627. E-mail: mmurthi@ur.rochester.edu

Abstract

This research examined attitudes that predict rape blame in contexts of interethnic violence between minority Muslims and dominant Hindu communities in Mumbai, India. I hypothesized that, in contexts of interethnic violence, prejudicial attitudes toward communities and attitudes that view rape as a conflict tool (i.e., an effective strategy to control an ethnic community) would predict victim blame. This study is among the first to provide empirical support that ethnic prejudice and specific misogynistic attitudes are important predictors of rape victim blame in ethnic violence contexts. Findings indicate that attitudes that exploit women's positions across categories of gender and religious community predict higher victim blame attributions. Findings are relevant to current intercommunity relationships and provide insights for community-based responses and primary interventions.

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