A recent Times of India headline went something like, “Badaun exhumation plan off, CBI turns to first post-mortem”. If that alone does not make you want to tear the paper up in frustration, read the newspaper further and something else will catch your attention which will spoil your mood. Before you judge that this article will be another plea to decrease rapes which falls on deaf ears always, you are mistaken. No, this article is about what happens after a rape is committed.
Let us have a look. If it is a case of death after rape, the Police find the body along with the media or if the victim is still alive, a small percentage of the victims muster up courage and report the crime. Depending on the heinousness of the crime, and the age of the victim, media houses give it “coverage”. The ministers of that constituency put “pressure” on the police to catch the culprits. The other candidates give statements blaming the political party in power and visit the house of the victim offering their condolences and announcing cash to be provided to the family to media. Depending on the media reports and debates in newsrooms, the police commissioners and police officers of that constituency are given a transfer- like that provides a solution. A friend of mine corrected me and said it is about accountability rather than a solution. I agree but can’t accountability be shown by showing faster results in investigation? How does a transfer help anyone- least of all the victim or her family? A new officer comes in who needs to be acquainted with the facts and knowing our nation- some error occurs.
For a month at least and hopefully maximum, we keep hearing about the post mortem report( in case of death after rape cases) which says clearly that is it rape- because it does not take a genius to figure it out considering the condition of the victim who might be either thankfully dead or miserably alive and cursing her fate. I say thankfully dead not because I think the rape has demeaned or degraded the woman in any way, as I believe it is a black spot on the men of our society and the society itself and they are the ones who should be ashamed that not a single woman can trust a man today. No, I say thankfully dead because the victim is spared from the farce that follows the rape in our country. Take the Badaun rape case itself- the victims were tortured and hung until dead on a tree. If by any chance they had remained alive, the slow, torturous investigation, faulting almost inhumanly in its medical reports itself, would have destroyed them.
Coming back to the point, the post mortem report comes out which will have surely some fault or the other and thus begins the red tapism or in this context, the death of morality, sensitivity and humanity. As the anguished parents and relatives of the victim cry for justice, they are fed delay by our system. Along with downright stupid statements by our so called leaders who are either insensitive or dumb, in both of which cases they should keep their mouths shut and not blabber nonsense which is inhumane. Discussions, debates were also held after that black night of December 16th also. What happened? “The SC stays the death conviction of culprits”. I won’t even bother going into the reason behind it. The evidence, the accused, the judgement from high court, all were there.
However our system does not merely delay justice, where one can insert the often repeated statement of “justice delayed is justice denied”. No, this is not mere delay in justice. This is cruelly killing the faith of every single woman in this country, which is ironically home to more than a 1000 goddesses. This is rubbing salt in the wounds of the victim’s family who have already lost so much and now await justice from a system that may not deliver it.
I am not going to elaborate on the status of the Badaun rape case, or the Lucknow rape case, or the Bangalore rape case or the countless many that exist now because one can read the newspaper and get to know about them. What I am going to state is that when a woman is raped once, it is a crime, but what would you call what the system does to the victim and the family after the rape, which is akin to getting raped repeatedly?- nothing but social rape.
To the media houses discussing rape incidents depending on the degree of their cruelty or sensationalism- Every act of rape committed is cruelty. No incident is big or small or worth your TRP. Start discussing why don’t we have speedy inquiries and quick investigations in rape cases. Especially when the accused is known and caught and the victims were clearly raped. Why don’t we have quick judgements? Raise these questions instead of blame games and ask where we as a nation are going wrong? Why is sex so tabooed in our society when it is the most natural phenomenon and clearly Indians know about it considering we are the second largest population in the world? Why are the men in our country not afraid or ashamed of taking away the dignity and life of a person who is physically weak and the will of the gender that is such an inbuilt part of his life? Are they that sexually starved that they start acting worse than animals?
Rather than leaving the discussions at “what has the world come to” add the line – “what can we do about it” to it. Show some sensitivity to this issue because a society whose women are afraid and suppressed can never prosper for the future is always born out of a womb.
About the Author
Sonakshi is a first year law student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. She completed her schooling from CJM Convent St. Anthony’s Junior College, Agra, where she was the Head Girl of the student council. Her interests include reading, writing and debating and she enjoys good music, appreciates humour, thrives on sarcasm and generally annoys the hell out of her friends (that last bit is unintentional, well most times anyway). Currently, she is experiencing and surviving through the first year of law school and is extremely excited about the opportunity to share her views on the platform provided by Model Governance Foundation.