Skip to main content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Chai Wai Series- Gender-based Violence in the Global South: South Asia and Beyond: Rape Laws

This guide, built in collaboration with Julie Laut's History 365 class, is a detailed annotated bibliography and a companion to a library outreach event on the topic of gender-based violence in South Asia.


This LibGuide focuses on rape laws in 21st century India and how those may have been altered after a gang rape in Delhi in December of 2012 that lead to the death of a young victim. Jyoti Singh Pandey was beaten and raped in a private bus by six men; she died thirteen days later. The circumstances surrounding her death led to mass protests for more protection for women and stricter punishments for rape. When an issue is broadly featured and mentioned in public discourse, the idea is that laws will be eventually passed on the issue. Politics is the driving force within any government, and the discussion among the government is important in the advancement of any topic. Major local and international news sources such as BBC News, The Hindu and The Huffington Post covered the crime as well as the protests, giving the cause a legitimacy that could not be ignored by the Indian government. The Indian government did admit to failures on their part and the police were identified as part of the problem behind crimes against women. President Pranab Mukherjee announced the Criminal Law Ordinance in March of 2013, and more fast-track courts were created to hear rape cases. Before this incident, there was not a lot of legal protection for women and the focus of preventing rape was victim-blaming. Shobha Saxena’s book, Crimes Against Women and Protective Laws (1995), and Pratiksha Baxi’s book Public Secrets of Law: Rape Trials in India (2014) outline the problems of Indian laws pertaining to the topic of rape and violence against women for the last three decades. Other sources on this page provide greater historical context to the construction of rape laws and the enforcement of those laws in India.

Films and Media

Web Pages



Newspaper Articles

Scholarly Articles