How Many Rapes Go Unreported in India?

That’s been the question on my mind as I’ve read about the tragic news from India. The Times reports that “India, which has more than 1.3 billion people, recorded 24,000 cases of rape last year, a figure that has increased by 25 percent in the past six years.”

That’s a staggeringly low number, when you take into account that just under 85,000 rapes were reported in the United States in 2010. So India, with about four times the population of the U.S., has fewer than a third as many rapes reported. There’s of course a risk of overgeneralizing here given that India is the second-largest country in the world, but given what we’ve heard about the culture of sexual violence there since the bus incident was reported, how many unreported rapes does all this extrapolate to? It’s difficult to even think about.

(And none of this is to say the U.S. doesn’t have its own problems with rape under-reporting.)

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Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.