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‘Rape Festival’ Satire Not Clever, Says Charity

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November 07, 2013
The Wall Street Journal
Joanna Sugden

An Indian charity promoted in a spoof article about a “Rape Festival” in India on a satirical website has denounced the stunt, which aims to get readers to donate to causes helping women in the country.

The report, headlined “The Assam Rape Festival In India Begins This Week,” is hosted on the, a website that describes itself as an online portal for citizen journalists. Contact details for the website’s creators could not be found. It was unclear where it originated from.

Other posts on the include “Analysts forecast drop in holiday spending as more families rely on presents from Santa Claus,” and “Sesame Street’s Big Bird comes out as transgender.”

The Rape Festival piece, which was widely shared on social media, confused some and angered others and was reported in Indian media. The Hindustan Times reported that police in Assam’s cyber-crime unit were investigating the posting.

The posting includes a link to, a Mumbai-based nonprofit, which connects donors to around 200 charities working in India on issues including child welfare and women’s empowerment. Jai Bhujwala, head of online and retail giving at Give India, said the charity was in no way connected to the website or the piece and had requested the author to remove it from the Internet.

“We support women’s causes but this is not the right way that we would like to present it,” Mr. Bhujwala told India Real Time. India has been gripped by a bout of national soul-searching over women’s safety following the gang rape of a young woman in New Delhi just under a year ago. The woman died later of her injuries after being raped by four men and a juvenile on a moving bus in December.

The men were sentenced to death for her murder in September and the juvenile was given a three-year sentence in a correctional facility. The satirical piece described an annual festival in Assam, eastern India, during which, it said, “every non-married girl aged 7-16 will have the chance to flee to safety or get raped.” It quoted the fictional head of the festival as saying,

“We rape the evil demons out of the girls, otherwise they will cheat on us and we will be forced to kill them.” At the end, the piece claims that India “is second in reported rapes in the world only behind the United States, though critics are quick to point out that is only because most rapes in India go unreported.” It then asks “Want to help women in India? Then do something! gives 90-95% of the money that you donate directly to the cause of helping women in India.”

Give India has received a number of comments about the piece from donors asking about the piece, Mr. Bhujwala added. “We are trying to reassure then that this is not a form of fundraising that we would want to endorse and would not want it to be associated with what Give India is trying to do.” Many in India discussed the piece on social media Thursday.