A Slap On the Face, Not a Slap On the Wrist, for Rape

In India, a man was accused of raping a deaf-mute neighbor. The police failed to do anything, arguing that the deaf-mute couldn’t give evidence. (What, the booming Indian tech economy can’t afford a few rape kits?) This is kind of doubtful, because here’s how they found out:

Communicating through hand signals, the woman, a mother of three, said she was raped in a field last Sunday when returning home from work in Rampur, 330 kilometers (205 miles) northwest of Lucknow, the state capital of Uttar Pradesh.

So the village elders stepped in.

Their punishment? A 5,000 rupee ($110 US) fine and 51 slaps to the face in public.

“We can’t do more than that. The village court doesn’t have powers to arrest anyone,” said Hasan. “By public slapping, the court wants to put (him) to shame.”

I think this illustrates the challenge facing India. Despite the booming tech sector, there is a completely different world in most of the rest of the country that isn’t going to be contributing very soon until a minimum level of modernization happens. The US has grown a lot in no small part since 1970 because the South finally started joining the 20th century and was able to contribute.

So here’s a provocative question: could the most important economic development in the US in the latter half of the 20th century have been Brown v. Board of Education?

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