As the enraged citizens of the country are ready with their candles and smartphones to fight the rape culture which has never loosened its grip in the country, we as a nation have not just delayed but repeatedly denied justice to our women.
As we are yet to recover from the shocker when a veterinary doctor was gang-raped and burnt in cold blood in the outskirts of Hyderabad, at least two more similar cases have been reported from the same state and probably hundreds have gone unreported or have been pursued by their families to not file an FIR or blackmailed with the video footages of that heinous act. A single day doesn’t go when such gruesome acts fail to find a space in the pages of newspapers at any point of time.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A SURVIVOR DECIDES TO SPEAK?
Chinmayand, a former union minister made headlines when a young law student from Shahjahanpur alleged him of repeated sexual exploitation for over a year, the case was taken up by national media and huge candle marches demanded justice for the survivor, the Supreme Court intervened and quite a few substantial steps were ensured for further investigation. But soon after the media attention diverted the social media was demanding justice for another fallen daughter of our land.
Last week, the law student was denied permission to appear for the 3rd Semester of her LLM pursuit for low attendance in Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Rohilkhand University in Bareilly, where she was shifted on the orders of Supreme Court, but the misery of our legal system comes out in open as she is presently lodged in Shahjahanpur jail accused of demanding extortion money from Chinmayanand.
Just when she thought justice was in sight.
A case from Unnao also shocked the country when a teen alleged BJP legislator Kuldeep Senger of raping her. The BJP leader, now expelled from the party has been in Tihar jail since a year on the charge of gang-raping the girl in 2017, but is it serving the purpose? The notorious Kuldeep Senger and his associates are also accused of getting her father arrested on false charges who was beaten to death in judicial custody in April 2018.
Unsurprisingly, in an attempt to kill the victim, a truck-car collision was staged which killed 2 aunts of the victim and injured the lawyer and the victim to an extent where they were hospitalised for months.
These are few cases where a rape victim had the courage to look eye to eye with her powerful assaulter and have been carrying the burden ever since, justice to victims of sexual victims have been a rare possibility in India.
How fast are the fast track courts?
A brutal rape case in Delhi in 2012 shocked the nation to its core and the country-wide outrage also led to shift in power in the national capital, 4 men were convicted in the case, 7 years on and they are yet to face the gallows. India has seen its first fast track court in the year 2000 and yet a huge percentage of cases related to sexual offences stay pending until today. Many reports across media platforms have pointed out how these courts are understaffed and defeat the entire purpose of its inception.
How can proper education help us overcome such menace?
The prevalent situation in the country must force the decision-makers to introduce proper sex education in the country and encourage the people to talk about consensual and non-consensual sex in a comparatively larger and organised manner. The youth of the country must be technically taught how clothes are no excuse to breach someone’s privacy and girls must be encouraged to share their stories that will strengthen a hundred more to speak up against this devastating menace we have been fighting for centuries.
How important is acknowledgement?
Several politicians belonging to the conservative side of the political spectrum have repeatedly underplayed the devastation that rape culture has caused, acknowledgement of the menace will help us move towards a future where we can make daughters of our country feel safe in their homeland. Several politicians have blamed westernization for rape; some have gone down on record saying ‘jeans trousers’ encourage such crimes. The nation as a whole can start working on eradicating the rape culture only when it acknowledges it as a national shame.
A strong precedent will only be set when the powerful abuser will be brought to justice and political intent will mature enough to put an end to the victim-blaming through rigorous legislations and flawless implementation in grass-root levels. Finally, everything boils down to execution, will our netas rise above communal politics and start reforming our society so the following generations are spared of such horrific culture and have a better world to live in or will this just be an insignificant addition to the Twitter Trending list in this social media era.
(Article contributed by Rayan Mitra)