"My mother is a goddess", "I am an inmate here": Male prisoners' attitudes towards women and their perceptions of culpability from Delhi Prison

Pandey, Madhumita (2018) "My mother is a goddess", "I am an inmate here": Male prisoners' attitudes towards women and their perceptions of culpability from Delhi Prison. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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While research on sexual violence in India has considered victim perspectives and policy reforms, offender perspectives remain highly underrepresented in the literature. The aim of this research was to understand the underlying social mechanisms that support and maintain violence against women, and in its extreme form, rape in Indian society. For this purpose, attitudes towards women and perceptions of culpability were examined in a sample of convicted rapists and non-sex offenders from Delhi Prison (N=142). Convicted offenders filled out the short version of Attitudes Towards Women questionnaire (n=122) and also participated in-depth semi-structured interviews (n=20). Comparison of both groups of offenders did not reflect the popular belief that rapists have more traditional and conservative views towards women as no significant differences were found in the way gender was socialized. Home was the main gender socialization site and the mother was central to this process. At the same time, both groups of offenders differed with respect to their self-perceptions of offending. Rapists referred to themselves as “inmates” and non-sex offenders referred to themselves as “offenders”. Non-sex offenders accepted responsibility for their actions but attempted to justify their intent whereas rapists denied responsibility and attributed blame to the victim. Rapists also used various identity-management mechanisms to reject the label of ‘rapist’. Integration of offenders’ gender and crime narratives led to the development of an empirical model linking traditional attitudes towards women and rapists’ perceptions of culpability. As one of the first studies examining accounts of convicted rapists in India, this research has implications on policy, social reform and prison research along with contributing to the larger body of literature. The findings are discussed in light of their significance within the unique socio-cultural setup of India along with future recommendations.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: Rape, Attitudes, India, Rapists, Violent Offenders, Justification, Gender Roles, Sexual Violence
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2019 17:05
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:57
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/704101

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