Britannica defines ‘crime’ as ‘the intentional commission of an act usually deemed socially harmful or dangerous and specifically defined, prohibited, and punishable under criminal law.’

But social stereotypes, stigmas and the patriarchal culture in India have given rise to our definition of crime where we give illogical references to blame someone. Here’s what’s not a crime versus what is.

1. Going out late in the night is not a crime, rape is.

Time and again people in the position of power have said that rapes happen because girls stay out late in the night. How about we cage our boys in homes?

Recently, Goa CM Pramod Sawant blamed the girls for staying out late in the night and their parents for allowing them to do so with respect to the gangrape of minors on a beach. He said:

They were on the beach the whole night, two boys and two girls. Teens, particularly minors, should not be spending the nights on beaches. 

2. Marrying someone from another religion is not a crime, killing is the name of ‘love-jihad’ is.

Why is choosing our life partners, even across religious lines, a matter of concern? So much so that state governments are coming up with laws to police the private lives of its citizens.

Not just governments, people also do not have tolerance for interfaith marriages, be it in real life or advertisements and movies.

3. Showing love and affection in public is not a crime, moral policing is.

Be it the Valentine’s Day or any other random day, kissing, hugging or showing affection and love in public is looked down upon and couples are beaten. At times, they are even forced to marry.

Just recently, a society in Borivali, Mumbai painted a sign saying ‘No Kissing’ in its premises.


4. Eating with people of upper castes is not a crime, lynching is.

Caste system is deep engrained in Indian society. From discriminating against househelp to openly murdering people belonging to lower castes, we see such instances very often.


5. Asking for divorce is not a crime, domestic violence is.

India reports the highest number of domestic violence cases in the world, while the divorce rate in India is less than 1%. We have normalised domestic violence so much that it is not considered grave enought to end a marriage.


6. Being a single parent is not a crime, an abusive relationship is.

Single parents, especially women, are judged harshly and stigmatised for their personal, marital and parenting choices in India. Instead, we should appreciate and encourage them for coming out of an abusive or toxic relationship.

7. Wearing short dresses or ripped jeans is not a crime, eve-teasing is.

Should it really make a difference, what women wear? But apparently, it does because men feel horny seeing women in revealing clothes.

The Swaddle

8. Protesting peacefully is not a crime, beating a person to death is.

The Indian Constitution bestows on us the right to freedom of speech and expression. Despite this, protesting is dealt with in a violent manner at times.


9. Hailing from Northeast/any other part of India is not a crime, discriminating against them is.

Remember, recently when a group of women from northeastern states of India were stopped on the street by men in Delhi who asked them what their “rate” was?

10. Consuming alcohol is not a crime, but harrassing women after drinking is.

Granting bail to a rape accused, Justice Krishna S Dixit of the Karnataka High Court said he found the woman’s statement “a bit difficult to believe”. Justice Dixit went on to ask why the woman had gone to her office at night – at 11 PM; why had she not objected to consuming drinks with him and why she had allowed him to stay with her till morning.

India Today

11. Premarital sex is not crime, but sex without consent (marital rape) is.

Premarital sex is obviously not acceptable in a society where no one converses about sex and everyone is bent on controlling women’s sexuality. 

The Quint

This should make it clear as to what is not crime so that we do not blame people unnecessarily and let the accused go free in the process.