Ranjit Sinha, the head of India's Central Bureau of Investigation, was speaking at a panel on illegal betting on Tuesday when his argument took an unexpected turn.
There was no harm in legalizing betting, Sinha argued, because a betting ban is difficult to enforce.
"Above all, do we have the enforcement agencies. It is very easy to say. If you can't enforce it, it's: if you can't prevent rape, enjoy it."
There was an immediate outpouring of rage at Sinha's logic.
The next day Sinha apologized, saying his words were taken out of context and he regretted the inappropriate analogy. But in his statement he referred to his rape claim as an "idiom," thereby igniting a second wave of controversy.
In this video of yesterday's panel, Sinha does not appear fazed after making the initial rape comparison.
But context included, activists say Sinha's statement is particularly appalling because of his position of power at India's FBI equivalent.
Government statistics estimate that 1 woman is raped every 20 minutes in India.
In 2012, a young Indian woman was gang raped in the back of a moving bus in New Delhi. She later died from wounds sustained in the attack. Her attackers initially went unpunished.
Activists say victim-blaming is part of the problem: The idea that the victim is to blame detracts responsibility from the police and politicians, like Sinha, with the authority to protect and punish.
Sinha's statement has reignited conversation about how to prevent rape in India and around the world — whether he likes it or not.
Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor
Contact Miriam Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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