Doctored poster from India shared in Pakistan on International Women’s Day
Poster from 2012 Nirbhaya protests alleged to be from Aurat March
Claim: A picture shows a woman participating in Aurat March holding a poster that reads, “Real men don’t rape and real women don’t expose body.”
Fact: The photo is, in fact, from protests connected to the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case in India. The photo appears to be doctored as the text, “and real women don’t expose body,” was not included on the poster in the original photo. The poster in the original photo just reads, “Real men don’t rape.”
On 8 March 2022, a day that is celebrated across the world as International Women’s Day and in Pakistan as the annual Aurat March, Facebook user ‘محمد حسن’ shared a picture of a woman at a protest with a poster that reads, “Real men don’t rape and real women don’t expose body.”
The caption accompanying the photo was, “The best i got from ‘Ladies March’.”
The photo appears to be doctored due to a difference in the text fonts, which is why Soch Fact Check investigated it. The Aurat March is frequently the target of disinformation campaigns that fuel backlash against the event and put the lives of those associated with it in jeopardy.
Soch Fact Check has previously debunked numerous claims about Pakistan’s Aurat March, including viral posts claiming that a majority of Pakistanis agree the march should be banned, reports pertaining to a quote by Prince Charles on women’s rights and Islam, photos of allegedly blasphemous banners, slogans, and doctored posters, and news reports of a rally allegedly held by religious parties alongside Aurat March 2020 in Islamabad.
Fact or fiction?
Soch Fact Check used Google Reverse Image Search and TinEye Reverse Image Search to investigate the source of the photo. The search turned up hundreds of results spanning almost a decade, with most featuring the same text as is in the photo in question.
Some of the results of the TinEye Reverse Image Search showed the poster without the text, “and real women don’t expose body”.
One such result led us to Reddit user u/DetachedObserver’s profile, which we scrolled through to find a post from 3 July 2016 in which a DNA India article was shared. The article, headlined ‘Ban on Nirbhaya documentary: Let’s accept it, we are offended by our own ugliness [NP],’ carries the same picture without the text “and real women don’t expose body”.
Soch Fact Check compared the image being circulated with the image featured in DNA India’s articles and found the following:
- The photo being circulated has been darkened and/or a filter has been applied to it.
- In the photo being circulated, some portions of the alphabets E and A in the word ‘REAL’ have been erased or distorted, alphabets M and N in the word ‘MEN’ blurred, alphabets N and T in the word ‘DON’T’ enhanced and distorted, respectively, and alphabets A and E in the word ‘RAPE’ distorted and blurred.
- In the photo being circulated, the right side (left from the viewer’s perspective) of the woman’s clothing below her neck has been slightly moved and her hair darkened. Additionally,The elbow portion of the man’s jacket has been enhanced and blurred.
- The image being circulated does not feature two straight lines that appear underneath the word “Don’t” in the original photo.
- In the photo being circulated, the text, “and real women don’t expose body”, appears to have been typed out and edited likely using the paint brush, smudge, blur, and/or liquify tools of Adobe Photoshop or some other digital text distortion tool.
- The text “I.CREATION_BEATS” has been superimposed on the image being circulated as a watermark.
We used three digital forensic tools — Forensically, FotoForensics, and ImageForensic, all of which are available online for free — to compare the images.
We also found three posts from a decade ago — by Facebook page ‘India Against Rape.’ on 20 December 2012, ‘Kal Se Pakka Padhunga 😛 😛’ on 22 December 2012, and the verified page of ‘Aam Aadmi Party Ludhiana’ on 24 December 2012 — that carry the original photo.
Soch Fact Check can, therefore, conclude that the doctored photo is from the 2012 Nirbhaya protests in India and is now being shared in an attempt to discredit Aurat March.
Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis using the search phrase, “real man don’t Rape,” for the period from 1 January 2022 to date. The analysis turned up almost 350 posts on Facebook that received more than 16,000 interactions; however, it is worth noting that the search term “real man don’t Rape” did not exclusively turn up false and/or misleading posts since the term is fairly generic.
Pakistani Facebook users and pages posted the image here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Facebook user ‘Mind X TeaXer’ also shared the image in ‘B o n g i y a n シ︎’, a public group with over 33,000 members. One social media user also made a video using the image.
We also found viral posts from previous years, such as this one from 2016, as well as this, this, this, and this, which were shared 6,700 times, 4,400 times, 1,100 times, and 2,000 times, respectively.
Conclusion: The viral image in question is doctored to mislead people. It is not from Aurat March 2022 but from protests connected to the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case in Delhi. Additionally, the text “and real women don’t expose body,” appears to have been edited onto the image. The poster the woman is carrying in the original photo just reads, “Real men don’t rape.”