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Slate Reveals Startling Language-Creep in AP’s India Rape Report

September 11, 2013

Given the recent Guilty verdict for the four men who raped and murdered a 23-year-old woman on a bus in India, this AP study is timely. Sadly the vehemence of the protests–outside the courtrooms crowds of men and women alike shouted “Hang the rapists!”–is belied by the findings that at least a quarter of men in India have raped a woman.
Many have pointed to patterns of sexist abuse in the region before. The tradition of child brides so powerfully brought to light by National Geographiclast year is another embedded symptom. And while this case has thankfully gained international attention, others go unnoticed, such as the April 30 rape and subsequent death of a four-year-old who was lured by the offer to buy bananas, according to The NY Times:

The number of reported sexual assaults of girls under the age of 18 has climbed steadily in India since the 1990s, and reported rapes of girls under the age of 10 have more than doubled from 1990 to 2011.

For readers in the Western world though, Even more startling is Slate’s meta-analysis by L. V. Anderson. She accurately calls out AP staff for its misuse of the data and language. The antiquated vocabulary, the vital omission, is a dangerous slide.

The Associated Press headline is horrifying: “Study: 1 in 10 Men in Parts of Asia Have Raped.” …The problem—apart from the fact that many men answered that question in the affirmative—is that the AP headline is wrong. The study didn’t find that 1 in 10 men had raped a woman. The study found that 1 in 4 men had raped a woman

…when spouse or partner was included as “woman.”  20130911-062648.jpg

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