NEW DELHI — For six days, the frail 16-year-old high school student did not tell anyone about how she was raped last month by two men in an abandoned home far away from her neighborhood in New Delhi.
"I was afraid. While I was being raped, another man pointed a gun and recorded me with his cellphone camera," the teenager recalled, sitting crouched in her New Delhi home and running her finger over the tiny "Om" tattooed on her hand.
"He said he will upload the film on the Net if I tell my family or the police."
In the days after the rape, she grew very quiet, refused food and kept sleeping, worrying her family. On the sixth day, her aunt pried the truth out of her. The family took her to the hospital, which confirmed she had been sexually assaulted. The family filed a police complaint.
Women's welfare officials say that intimidating victims with a video recording is on the rise in gang rapes in India. These recordings complicate the government's efforts to encourage women to report the crimes and hinder police efforts to check the explosion of "obscene" online content targeting women.
"More and more women are reporting that men are recording the act of rape with their smartphones, and they are using these recordings to threaten women into silence," said Shamina Shafiq, a member of the state-run National Commission for Women. "In many cases, they actually upload the rape video or circulate it among friends on Whatsapp. The woman is raped not just once but again and again when people view the video."
Last year, 1,203 cases of publication and transmission of obscene content online were reported, up from 589 in 2012, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.