Sunday, December 23, 2012

A nation's shame

If I ever wanted to join in a protest, it was the one that happened yesterday. Nothing would have stopped me but alas I am far away from it all and the only space that I can vent my feelings is on this blog.
The whole world shared the angst of Indians yesterday. But is anything going to change? Yes the rapists have been arrested and the law will take its course so why protest is the question many are asking? Because history just repeats! We have low rape convictions and even if convicted while the rapists may get a few years the victim is hounded for the rest of her life.
The conviction rate in rape and molestation cases in India is a dismal 27 per cent. Long drawn trials and pressure on the families of victims are some of the major reasons for this. Police norms and behaviour are a deterrent to many rape victims who do not lodge any complaint against the crime at all, say experts.

The stigma surrounding rape needs to change. We as a society feels that the life of the girls ends with rape. The first emotion that comes to our mind is that of defeat. The more emotional kills the victim even if she was his beloved daughter and we call it as saving the "honor" of the family! 

Even our movies have reflected this time and over. After a rape, the director either kills the victim or lets her commit suicide. It is seldom that we see the victim fight it out and come victorious. Late Padmarajan, the acclaimed Malayalam movie director did try to work around this in his movie "Nammuku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal" where the heroine after being raped by her step father is married by the hero. I can also remember a Hindi movie which dealt with the same subjemmct. Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai There must be others too. But in each one of these movies, the director has made sure that the victim shall never be blamed for rape! In real life this rarely happens. As soon as a rape is done we look for excuses. We wonder how she was dressed, where she was at that time and with whom. And mostly why at that time of the day! Even the Delhi CM had this same question. We also wonder if she was a sexually active individual. Everything about the victim is thoroughly examined but we seldom worry about the rapists. For the society he is just another male being excused for his libido. Yesterday I heard a lady doctor say that rapists are people with psychological problems and that they are not normal. How sweet! Are even the school bully’s psychological cases who only shuts up when another bully mightier than him appears on the scene? So is the case with most rapists. They are just bullies who grew up without being reprimanded when they should have. Maybe it is time these bullies are recognized. It is time they are confined to their houses specially at night since they have no business outside. Instead don't ask the women folks to confine themselves at home.

There was a season in Malayalam movies where a rape scene was a must. We had famous rapists; Janardhanan, T.G. Ravi, Jose Prakash and many more. The rape scenes were taken in such a way that the male audience enjoyed every bit of it! Rape was done mostly as revenge.

But why should the life of a girl be over after a rape? If she was involved in an accident and suffered the same injury why your views are different? Yes, we as a society need to change our views on rape.

And have you seen how the crowd jeers and jostles when a rape victim appears in court? I am sure many of those who were protesting yesterday would appear with a different mindset if the poor girl is brought to the court. Why? Oh! Why?

The girl is fighting for her life and if she succeeds she will be taking baby steps once again. It will not be easy to regain the trust that she lost on this world. On top of that our society will not make it easy for her. Let there be fast track courts but can we have a virtual one where the victim is not required to appear physically? Aren’t we a nation selling IT to the world but can’t implement the same for our own needs? Or let all these women organizations make it a point to appear along with such victims while protecting the victim from further humiliation. Will they do it?

As for our police; reforms need to be done urgently. They should no longer be at the beck and call of our politician when many of them have got away with violence against women.

  • 6 MLAs have declared that they have charges of rape against themselves in their sworn affidavits submitted with the Election Commission of India at the time of their election.
  • Of these 6 MLAs with declared rape cases, 3 are from SP namely Sribhagwan Sharma, Anoop Sanda and Manoj Kumar Paras from Uttar Pradesh, 1 from BSP namely Mohd. Aleem Khan from Uttar Pradesh, 1 of BJP namely Jethabhai G.Ahir from Gujarat and 1 of TDP namely Kandikunta Venkata Prasad from Andhra Pradesh.
  • 36 other MLAs have declared that they have other charges of crimes against women such as outraging the modesty of a woman, assault, insulting the modesty of a woman etc.
  • Of the 36 MLAs who have declared that they have charges of crimes against women, 6 MLAs are from INC , 5 from BJP and 3 from SP.
  • U.P. has the maximum number of MLAs (8) who have declared that they have charges of crimes against women, followed by Orissa and West Bengal with 7 MLAs each.
  • 2 MPs, namely Semmalai S of ADMK from Salem constituency in Tamil Nadu and Adhikari Suvendu of AITC from Tamluk constituency in West Bengal, have declared that they have charges of crimes against women, such as cruelty and intent to outrage a woman’s modesty etc.
Each party has one or two “heroes” who have got away with crime. With such people guarding our interests will any good come out?

There has not been any reform since our constitution was formed and when I believe that only an independent police force shall work, many fear the same. Why should it not work when it works in many developed/democratic countries?

India's police are governed by archaic and colonial police laws harking back to 1861. Under the Indian Constitution, policing is a state power, which means that state governments have the responsibility to provide their communities with a police service (the national government has the responsibility for policing in union territories). Most state governments have a police law that adopts or reflects the basic ideas of the 1861 legislation.
Our Supreme Court has issued directives but not a single state has yet implemented it.

The Court's directives seek to achieve two main objectives: functional autonomy for the police - through security of tenure, streamlined appointment and transfer processes, and the creation of a "buffer body" between the police and the government - and enhanced police accountability, both for organisational performance and individual misconduct

But before all this happens, we as a society can do much more.

Maybe the policeman can take his family out at night? Watch a movie and use the bus?

Maybe the youngsters can take their girl friends in a group and travel on these buses? 

Maybe we shall approach the policeman when we are eve teased? Since it is these who get more bold and commit crimes like rape.

Maybe our policemen will be more sensitive and so also our judges?

Maybe.. maybe more older women shall start wearing jeans! Ah…… 

Edited to add:

How the Indian system, society works against rape survivors

A traumatic event like this scars and haunts you through life. And you need tremendous courage to stand up and face the world. For that you need sustained and professional support and counselling, both of which the child did not get.


  1. So this time around too the post on the topic that is prime time has appeared in your BLOG finally.

    A correction, I'm afraid the film in question was of Padmarajan. A great theme and a good film!

    You were right ,once upon a time rape was the sine qua non for a films success and we had quite a few rapists in Mallu film world.A statement of power and vicarious pleasure enjoyed by men.

    The points you mentioned are indisputable.
    The onus has to be on the accused to prove his innocence and not on the victim or say survivor.
    I feel most rape cases doesn't see conviction because the legal fraternity sees even rape where even if it is an open and shut case as a means to make money and the defendant's legal team will publicly virtually rape and humiliate the woman to prove that she is of lose morals and had volunteered to have consensual sex.
    And how many women will have the gumption to stand up and face all the ruckus. The perverse onlookers and jeering crowd at courthouses, the derision of relatives and friends?

    We have seen on TV the scenes of abused women being produced in court rooms. The spectators are like in T20 matches.

    I do not agree with death penalty, but a lifelong solitary incarceration must be on the statute. Such men should never see light of the world thereafter.
    But the disease is not fought by stiffer punishment. How could we do that?

    1. Thank u..corrected the mistake...
      Yes it pains one to see the victim treated thus..nd even I am not for capital punishment...castration will make sure that another rape is not done. Even otherwise if one cannot control ones urges it is best that someone else restrain it.

      Have a look at the following recommendation:
      Statement by women’s and progressive groups and individuals condemning sexual violence and opposing death penalty.
      We, the undersigned, demand the following:

      Greater dignity, equality, autonomy and rights for women and girls from a society that should stop questioning and policing their actions at every step.
      Immediate relief in terms of legal, medical, financial and psychological assistance and long-term rehabilitation measures must be provided to survivors of sexual assault.
      Provision of improved infrastructure to make cities safer for women, including well-lit pavements and bus stops, help lines and emergency services.
      Effective registration, monitoring and regulation of transport services (whether public, private or contractual) to make them safe, accessible and available to all.
      Compulsory courses within the training curriculum on gender sensitisation for all personnel employed and engaged by the State in its various institutions, including the police.
      That the police do its duty to ensure that public spaces are free from harassment, molestation and assault. This means that they themselves have to stop sexually assaulting women who come to make complaints. They have to register all FIRs and attend to complaints. CCTV cameras should be set up in all police stations and swift action must be taken against errant police personnel.
      Immediate setting up of fast track courts for rape and other forms of sexual violence all across the country. State governments should operationalise their creation on a priority basis. Sentencing should be done within a period of six months.
      The National Commission for Women has time and again proved itself to be an institution that works against the interests of women. NCW’s inability to fulfil its mandate of addressing issues of violence against women, the problematic nature of the statements made by the Chairperson and its sheer inertia in many serious situations warrants that the NCW role be reviewed and auditedas soon as possible.
      The State acknowledges the reality of custodial violence against women in many parts of the country, especially in Kashmir, North-East and Chhattisgarh. There are several pending cases and immediate action should be taken by the government to punish the guilty and to ensure that these incidents of violence are not allowed to be repeated.
      Regarding the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2012, women’s groups have already submitted detailed recommendations to the Home Ministry. We strongly underline that the Bill must not be passed in its current form because of its many serious loopholes and lacuna.

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  3. Julian Assange is being charged with rape. I do not mean to say that our politicians are innocent, but it is easy to 'charge' even decent politicians with rape. If the opposition wants to, they can do it. Generally, only the people around the politician know the truth. So, unless convicted, I don't think we can take any 'charges' seriously, especially in India.

    The protest that is happening now across India is a very good warning to all future wannabe ones. Such show of solidarity is required and of course, stern and quick punishment will only help the cause (I still do not support death penalty).

    There is a bigger problem that our society doesn't acknowledge: There are rapists around us. There are rapists in the upper-classes, who move around in cars. Their methods of rape maybe different, and their money/status can be used to hide/disguise their exploits. But forcing others to submit to their whims/will happens in many places.

    Unless this issue is acknowledged and men/women come forward to fight it, we are going to face an uphill task of eradicating rapes among elites, in our country.

    Destination Infinity

    1. Yes.. the law can be misused but they can always face it and let themselves be acquitted? or is it that even they dont believe in the law that they are upholding for us?

      Yes... I hope something good comes out of the protest.

      The mindset of the society needs to change.. laws alone will not do.

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you~

      Christ will be born tomorrow.. to be buried soon after for many :)

  5. In Hindi, there was this movie..Ghar.where rapevictim was treated with lot of sensitivity and her trauma was shown very realisitcally.

    As for the solutions, it has to be multi thronged and long term one..we need to have values, education and good law and order..

    1. We need more such movies and we need organizations that should coordinate with rape victims to ensure that the justice is done. Not sure if we even have counselling centres .
      Yes.. catch them young! inculcate in them values.. to treat women as equals and no as someone to be subjugated/overpowered.

  6. Very well written post, HK. Cultural and moral aspects come in too, but the main one is one of bestiality, for which there is no caste, creed or even economic status. When the beast becomes dominant, nothing can stop it. But why is the beast getting ascendance? That should be addressed and redressed. And that is an uphill task.

    1. Thank you! much appreciated..

      It is indeed an uphill task but if the protesters have got the attention of the concerned then at least it is a start. I pray things will change for the better. The protest is a shock treatment for many including potential rapists.

  7. Malala Yousafzai's tweet:
    The rapists dumped her on road. The government dumped her in Singapore. What's the difference?

  8. Yes, ghar was that one movie that stood out. What a movie it was. But this girl was probably even more admirable. what a fighter she was, even after her intestines were ripped out. I heard Kiran bedi the other day speaking out to the NPR here, anyway hope something good comes out of all this.


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