Bikinis Blamed for Rise in Rape in Goa, India

The bikinis made them do it.

That’s the defense Goa, India’s state ministry of tourism responded with after a series of sexual assaults against tourists vacationing in the area, topping off most recently with the alleged rape of a 9-year-old Russian girl last week.

“You can’t blame the locals; they have never seen such women. Foreign tourists must maintain a certain degree of modesty in their clothing. Walking on the beaches half-naked (how else are you suppose to walk on the beach? Fully clothed?) is bound to titillate the senses,” said Pamela Mascarhenas, Goa’s deputy director of tourism.

Let me get this straight. Women (in some cases young girls) wearing bikinis in a tourist destination known for its renowned beaches are to blame for the rapes and sexual assaults on the rise in Goa, not the perpetrators – the “locals” – themselves who are committing the attacks. So women wearing bikinis at the beach are just asking to be raped?

This is victim-blaming – in this case bikini-blaming – at its worst. Not all together surprising in a highly patriarchal country that continues to devalue women, but nonetheless shameful.

“In India they still morally land the responsibility on the victim if the victim is a woman, because of cultural conditioning,” said 35-year-old Anurashi Shetty, a resident of Donapaula Goa. “[The impression is not always that] she must have done something to provoke it. It’s a national mindset.”

Making excuses for the men who commit rapes and blaming women for the violence committed against them is infuriating and moreover does absolutely nothing to address the problem of sexual assaults in the first place. Placing blame isn’t going to protect women vacationing in Goa or future beach-goers. Either is banning bikinis for that matter.

The notion too that “locals” cannot control themselves in the presence of women or young girls in bikinis is ridiculous, not to mention untrue. Seeing women and girls in bikinis may “titillate the senses” of some locals, but that does not give men the knee-jerk response to rape and it should not be used as an excuse for those who rape.

In the case of the most recent young Russian girl who was raped, her attacker had a calculated and planned attack, using an accomplice to distract her mother so he could lure her away and rape her behind a nearby rock. He did not spring into action at the sight of her in a bikini – he waited for the opportune moment, a moment that presented itself as a result of his planning.

Let’s face it. Bikinis aren’t going anywhere in Goa’s beach town, either are the tourists who visit every year for its renowned beaches.

What we do need to say bon voyage to is the victim-blaming mentality that leaves rapists absolved from punishment and with the freedom to rape again – that goes for Goa and the rest of the world.

Punit Paranjpe/Reuters -,0


Paul Carter
Paul Carter3 years ago

There are bigger problems here than India wants to admit to. There is a disproportionate number of boys to girls. Many have no hope of getting a wife and their culture puts almost all local women out of reach. They have frustration with no outlet. The vast majority cope, but in every society there are sociopaths who need no excuse to commit crimes. Most of India has a conservative culture, out of date to western thinking, but normal to their own men and women. When we visit them we should be mindful of their expectations just as they should be mindful of ours when they visit us. The culture does not condone rape, but may have different interpretations of the term, bride snatching feels to me like abduction and rape but some cultures see it as a form of courtship. The problem is how a rape victim is viewed. If women are expected to conform to a set of rules and do not then they are blamed; is this right? No, but it happens in the USA and UK as well as abroad. This politician is blaming the visitors because it is less embarassing than admitting there are deeper problems, made worse when cultures clash.

Carole B.
Carole Brown3 years ago

I think the only thing that can be done is for women not go to India at this time also not to take their children there!
When there is a noticeable drop in tourism they maybe will sit up and take notice of this shocking state of affairs!
India is mainly Hindu I think, but I also would go further and say that women are not safe also in muslim countries such as Egypt, Pakistan etc. I would never visit a muslim country because most of the men are warped because of their belief in the false religion of Islam which is satanic and teaches them it is okay to treat women this way!

Sandra K.
Sandra T3 years ago

This is right up there with Islamists insisting on making babies wear burqas to 'prevent' their rape. Because we all know how alluring & sexy female babies are. Reminds me a lot of a tiny tourist island in Indonesia where I lived & had a restaurant for 3 years. The attitudes of the local Muslims was identical. And yes, there were rapes there too, not to mention older Muslim Indonesian men pushing 13-18 year old girls to have sex with them. Tourists were never warned as the locals were of the opinion that these girls & women were getting what they deserved.

Joan Earnshaw
Joan Earnshaw3 years ago

The Russian girl that was raped was 9 (nine) years old. OMG--that's even too young to have tits.What is the matter with people? Whether a child wears a bikini or long underwear to cover her entire body, she is still a child and a man who rapes a child is a psycho criminal. There is nothing sexual about the rape of a child--it is only done to cause pain, show that the "man" has power and can damage the child. That is sick!!! Considering all the rape attacks in India, I have to wonder why anyone goes there. A complete boycott by all visitors/tourists would be an appropriate action, but considering the attitudes of both men and women there, I don't know if the Indian people would change even then.

Natasha Salgado
natasha salgado3 years ago

OOps i meant she not he....

Natasha Salgado
natasha salgado3 years ago

Absurd. How does this baffoon keep his position???? I'd fire his ass asap.

Maria Barbosa
MarĂ­a Barbosa3 years ago

plain stupid

Scott haakon
Scott haakon3 years ago

jack T you cannot compare rape in the us with rape in another country until you understand that in the Us the definition is very wide an encompass action that are not rape per se.

Scott haakon
Scott haakon3 years ago

Bikini have been in Goa for decades! This is another problem when social change occurs. The Country is going thru a revolution is social mores and interaction. Many are left behind. They have old fashioned notions from the days of wife stealing etc. It is not going to be a instant change but one of slow adaptation to the 21st century. many manners and morals have to be changed to the males to move into the 21st century.

ANA MARIJA R3 years ago

copy&paste Rajee S. !