When Rape Becomes a Game


Directed by Jeanny Gering (2014)

Film Review

Power is a disturbing documentary about a South African martial arts expert Debi Stevens and her efforts to fight India’s rape culture by teaching Indian girls to defend themselves. The film was produced following the 2012 gang rape and murder of a 23 year old physiotherapy intern on a Delhi bus.

In addition to showing excerpts from some of Stevens’s classes, Power provides disturbing insights into a cultural framework that makes it “okay” for 75% of India’s urban males population to sexually assault women. As in the Middle East, India’s extremely patriarchal and misogynist culture, combined with a large population of permanently unemployed males seems to set the stage for this kind of violence against women.

I found this film particularly instructive in view of recent publicity about migrants committing group sexual assaults in Cologne – in a variant of the Arab rape game Taharrush (see It’s an Arab rape game called Tarrarush).

Jyoti Singh‘s attackers were neither Arab nor Muslim but Hindu.


9 thoughts on “When Rape Becomes a Game

  1. In conjunction with this mini-documentary, you may want to watch “India’s Daughter.”

    The director’s mission statement reads in part:

    “When the news of the ‘India’s Daughter’ gang-rape hit our TV screens around the world in December 2012, I was as shocked and upset as we all are when faced with such brazen abandon of the norms of ‘civilised’ society. But what moved and compelled me to commit to the harrowing and difficult journey of making this film was not so much the horror of this rape (I knew that violent and brutal rapes happen all the over the world with horrifying and relentless frequency), but the optimism occasioned by the events that followed it. It was the ordinary men and women of India, in unprecedented numbers, who poured out onto the streets, and withstood the onslaught of teargas shells, lathi charges and water canons, to make their cry of ‘enough is enough’ heard with extraordinary forbearance, commitment and passion. This was an “Arab spring for Gender Equality”, and it occurred to me that in my lifetime I had never witnessed any other country make such a stand for my rights as a woman. I felt inspired, and compelled to bend my skills, my energies and whatever talents I may have as a filmmaker to amplify those determined and hopeful voices[.]

    When we look at the worldwide statistics of rape and violence against women in general, needless to say India comes off pretty badly. But I think it is important to bear in mind that this is by no means an India-centric problem. Far from it. Patriarchy, discrimination against, and devaluation of women is rife the world over. The statistics which roll at the end of the film bear witness to that. In my own country, the UK, 33% – that’s 1 in 3 – young girls aged between 13 and 17 have experienced sexual violence. One woman in 5, globally, will be raped or be a victim of attempted rape, and 1 in 3, globally, is beaten, forced into sex, or abused. I have been raped.”

    URL: http://indiasdaughter.com/home/about-the-film/directors-mission-statement/

    I watched it on Netflix. Worth the viewing, I thought.

    You can also view it on Vimeo for about $6.00 CAD, here:

    URL: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/indiasdaughter


  2. Pingback: When Rape Becomes a Game | Talesfromthelou

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