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Ever since the 2012 gang rape and fatal assault of Jyoti Singh in Delhi, India’s rape culture has received much international attention. However, it doesn't seem like much has changed in perception and reaction to the crime.
Times of India reports that cellphone videos of gang rapes are being sold at roadside shops in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh—and they are extraordinarily popular.
“Porn is passé. These real life crimes are the rage,” one shop owner told Times of India. “Dealers will download videos directly into your smartphone or put them in your pen drive.” Prices range depending on how long and “exclusive” the videos are, and many are used to blackmail victims.
Several gang rapes have been reported in Uttar Pradesh over the past weeks, and the hashtag #LawlessUP began trending in protest of what many see as the government doing little to stop violence against women and minorities and corruption. Many have called for UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s resignation.Yadav recently promised justice for the rape of a mother and her teen daughter in Bulandshahr, and has also accused India’s BJP party (which has close ties to India’s Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) of using the rape to launch a political conspiracy.
Conspiracy or not, women are still being raped, threatened, blackmailed and silenced, and despite harsher punishments for rapists, change appears slow.