On reporting rape

On Dec 4, a partially visually impaired nine-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a former neighbour. Hindustan Times carried a detailed report about how it happened, the filing of the police complaint and the subsequent arrest of the neighbour — http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Visually-impaired-minor-raped/Article1-968527.aspx

In the Times of India report, a single column story, the headline was: Blind girl ‘raped’  — http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-12-05/delhi/35619109_1_neighbour-blind-girl-aman-vihar

The report goes on to give the same details as the HT story. Why then has the word rape in the headline been put in single quotes? There seems to be no doubt about the case, at least in the way it was reported: the victim identified the perpetrator, he was arrested and a case registered. TOI doesn’t make a practice of this — on Dec 6, they carried a story of a Rwandan woman raped with the headline: Rwandan woman gang-raped near DU.

The use of single quotes here, feels like the report is calling into question the veracity of the crime, and perhaps making it seem like less than it was.

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