Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Rape in India

In a recent rape case, the judge decided to postpone his verdict by a day so that the victim could consider the marriage proposal. Fortunately, the victim in question, a nurse at a Delhi hospital, had the courage to say no and insist on the punishment of the rapist. How does marriage to the rapist make the rape a right? And what would the judge do if the victim was already married? It is incredibly absurd. Agreed, in India, the woman who is raped is ostracised by society, and the object of much sexual harrasment at work, and yes, she definitely has very minimal chances of ever getting married. But is marriage to a beast a better fate? The rapist would probably be the kind who would abuse her - just makes things better for her, doesnt it?
The way rape cases are treated in India - the very injustice of it rankles so much. In one rape case a policeman said that sometimes the victim 'deserved' to be raped because she dressed improperly!!!!! Firstly, in a large number of rapes in the country, the victims are poor - they can hardly be expected to wear fashionable skimpy clothes. And while I am all for women taking necessary precautions, how can anyone shift the blame on the behaviour of the victim? Whatever be the 'character' of the victim, it is no excuse for the blame to be shifted to her. Nothing, absolutely nothing can make a rape acceptable.
Take the case of the infamous Suryanelli sex scandal. A 16 year old girl was kidnapped and detained for 40 days during which time more than 30 men raped her!! She claimed that they tied her hands behind her back and loaded her with drugs and alchohol so that she would not be able to resist. She was finally abandoned only when she became too ill to serve their purpose. This case led to wide spread outrage in Kerala leading to the setting up of a special court which convicted 36 of the 42 accused.
You would think that was the end of it. No- an appeal went to the high court which acquitted 35 of the 36 accused!The judges looked at the girls past behaviours - wasting away Rs.450 her father had given her for hostel fees, then pawning her ornaments - implied that she was not a 'normal innocent' child! And then the judges felt that the girl had not tried to escape, that she had not seemed to resist the men enough - all these meant that she was a willing partner to sex - and so acquitted the men. What is wrong with those two judges?? Havent they heard what the girl said about how she was tortured? Cant they understand something so basic that just because she as unable to resist does not mean that she was a willing partner to it?
And it is cases like this which make the women hesitate to even report a rape. A confidence that because they are women born in a society such as ours, justice would be denied. Because in our society, a woman who has been raped is never the victim - she has always brought it on herself. Because it is the victim who is abused, it is the victim who is ostracised and who has to live in shame and fear for the rest of her life for having brought out her problem in public - while the rapist in all probability is living free, even free of guilt.
I do not understand nor would even attempt to understand how any man could abuse another person like that. What kind of mental perversity could lead to such behaviour is beyond my contemplation. But I have tried and failed to understand why we let such beasts go scot free. It is because of the shockingly low conviction rate in rape cases that men still go on commiting such heinous crimes...with the confidence that they can get away with it.
A 80 year olf woman was raped in Delhi last month. A 16 year old girl was raped by her school principal, another minor in Mumbai was raped by a policeman. And the story which always makes me shudder - the rape of a mentally retarded girl by a man on a Mumbai train. Not that one rape is worse/better than another. But what kind of animal would behave like this? How could one stoop to such brutality?
India desperately needs to tighten it rape laws. A string of rape convictions might atleast serve as a deterrent. And there is an increasing need for NGO's or other support groups - the victims need help, financial, healthcare, emotional support etc - and there is hardly any of it available to them. Organisations which can provide such support to the victims are necessary for them to be able to get their life back to normalcy and find acceptance in society.

19 comments:

kjgvjv said...

Very good, u have made a good analysis. i understand and feel pity for all these victims... i too have a doubt that y u havent considered male rapes. ok females rapes r always blown out of proportion. y the hell a male doesnt even have guts or evidence to prove that he was raped. u may think that i was making a unnecessary fuss and fun of this. there are also so many guys who r raped and they dont even have enough evidence to prove or support their claim. how can they b feeling ?? tell me

I too support this motion of urs given that it doesnt give any bias to the people of either sex while judging.....

Bj said...

"How does marriage to the rapist make the rape a right?"

who says it makes it right?....did the judge say that i acquit the rapist since he gave a proposal....he just felt that the girl would need to think about it before he gave his verdict...and you may feel that its better off not being married to a "beast"...but who knows what the victim might feel?...we should atleast let her decide before we decide to choose on her behalf...

The Walrus said...

agree with beej - the offer of marriage was made not so much as a reward to the rapist but as an option to live a respectable life for the victim - and rape victims, especially in india, need that option; they are vilified in society for no fault of theirs - this case was different in that the victim knew the rapist - such offers are not generally made in rape cases....

Anonymous said...

Madam, increase the font size ..

illusionaire said...

ha ha ha. Loved the last comment. Yup Rams, u gotta increase ur font size. Its taking a heavy toll on our eyesight.

I too do not agree to the much over hyped "women who dress provocatively invite rape onto themselves" line. Thats a stupid stupid stupid statement our culture police is trying to force into our minds. Not only is it preposterous, its utterly ridiculous. A woman who dress up provocatively may excite us, but 87% of rape in India happens in the rural area where the woman is wearing the most culturally defined and acceptable attire. 100 women dressed in saris or salwars get raped and nothing happens. The moment a girl wearing mini skirt and a low neck top with an open back gets raped, everyone says its because of the way she dressed. Thats fucking bullshit. A rapist will rape anything if he gets the opportunity.

Allen said...

You know the worst part - women are the most vocal in saying rape is because of dress and the victim herself is responsible etc.. I don't understand how women themselves can do this!!
Fully support your point of view. There was a very sick letter to the editor by a woman a few days back in the Deccan Herald blaming rape victims themselves for their rape. If you feel strongly about this write a letter to the editor and put across this point of view too.

Rhymonster said...

ok i just want to pick on the first comment in this set ...why does the chap "pity" women who are raped???? what!!!! decided on thier future already old boy???
as for ramya ...post is fair
arun

Anonymous said...

Mr Arun.. u have misinterpreted my sayin ....

vijay

arun said...

Hello all
I think the legal system is weak.
The rapists employ good( crooked) advocates and usually escape in most cases.
The delay in judiciary proceedings and the handling of news by media + politicians make things worse

The article was touching

-arun

!!~~S~m~i~l~e~~!! said...

Hey Ramya,
Fyi, its not a policeman who made that nonsense comment, it was a senior politician from Shiv Sena. I just hate these communists.
Btw, nice blog... but plz update this

mphaxise said...

hey ramya,

nice post and very well posted..

you might want to read my post on the same issues...:
http://mphaxise.blogspot.com/2005/05/rape-and-indian-context.html

pm said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
pm said...

once again :-)
some fodder for your thought http://hemanginigupta.blogspot.com/2005/06/train-to-chennai.html
btw, mphaxise is praneeth

Sleepy Sloth said...

this is 2 vijay very late but,iam kinda new 2 the blog
GET ME RAPED BY A BUNCH OF girlz n i will pay u for it

this is to ~~smile~~ - WHO the hell said shiv sena is a communist party plz c a doctor

Sleepy Sloth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The vulgar music video's and the shear degration of women displayed by Bollywood has perverted viewers thinking that all women are cheap game and wanting it badly. Take a soul searching look at the so called music and film arts that have near naked girls pouting into the camera asking men to "C'mon baby give it to me". Men leave cinema's or their TV sets so horny that they are desperate for it. The real villain are those that degrade women through, so called, Music and art!!

gfutfy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
indianhomemaker said...

Here's a link to the unbelievable case of the 15-16 years old Suryanelli kidnapping, confinement and rape.

Ramya said...

IHM: It's horrific! I don't have words to say....

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