Chili powder self-defense could be the next trend in rape prevention in India. Bags of the spice are being distributed in and around Mumbai, but it's New Delhi that is considered the "rape capital" of India, according to a Jan. 25, 2013 report by Yahoo! News.
The Shiv Sena party, India's radical Hindu nationalist party governing Mumbai, distributed bags of chili powder and small kitchen knives in an attempt to empower woman following a brutal rape and beating that left one young woman dead from massive internal injuries.
Shiv Sena spokesman Rahul Narvekar acknowledges that the small knives and chili powder are symbolic. The non-weapons are intended to send a message to potential attackers that women "can take care of themselves." However, Ajay Chaudhari, who orchestrated the knife distribution, encouraged women to use the blades to protect themselves if necessary, even offering legal help in such a situation. "We have set up a team of nine advocates to protect you from any potential court cases that may arise," she said.
On the night of the rape in December 2012 that inspired the chili powder self-defense and distribution of 100,000 knives, a woman and her male friend were taking a bus home after going to see a movie in New Delhi, India. Six men on the bus attacked the couple. She was gang-raped by six men, penetrated with an iron rod that destroyed her organs, stripped and thrown off a bus along with her male companion. After two weeks in a hospital in Singapore, the rape victim finally succumbed to her injuries. Could using chili powder as self-defense prevent another woman from suffering the same fate?