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Coincidentally, two much covered rape cases have both had verdicts handed down today – two different verdicts and two different courts. In the Pratibha Srikantamurthy case, where Pratibha, a young BPO employee was raped and murdered by a cab driver, the accused has been found guilty. In the TISS case, where six men were alleged to have raped an American national, all accused have been acquitted on grounds of insufficient evidence.
I don’t want to speculate on the judgements and whether they were right, particularly in the second case, but it is a good time to point out on what slender threads the prosecution of a rape case in this country hangs.
First, rape victims are subjected often, not just to humiliating questions, but to invasive procedures that violate their dignity. This is assuming that they gather the courage to go to the police, or have someone to support them in filing an FIR. It is well know that many rapes are never reported, what with families wanting to hush up the ‘loss of izzat.’
Trials take time, as they do for all cases in India. In the meanwhile, women may want to move on. Some, who have no other option, and fear that they will get no husbands, even agree to marry their rapists. Naturally, the case collapses.
Even if the case does go to trial, victims have to contend with the fact that it is their character, their actions, that will be placed under scrutiny. Indeed, in the TISS case (as in many others), early attempts were made to paint the victim as a depraved woman. That says something about our idea of consent. A woman who agrees to accompany a group of men, cannot possibly say no to sex, we think. Not just the victim’s character – in the Scarlett Keeling case, much energy was devoted to analysing the mother’s character.
Brave is the woman who can withstand this the scrutiny of her life and her actions being laid open for judgement. I’m reminded of the movie, Damini, made almost 20 years ago. Melodramatic as it was, it made its point – a rape victim in India is raped once by her assailants but condemned again and again by the society she lives in.
How much has changed in these 20 years, do you think?
Founder & Chief Editor of Women's Web, Aparna believes in the power of ideas and conversations to create change. She has been writing since she was ten. In another life, she used to be read more...
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He said that he needed sometime to himself. I waited for him as any other woman would have done, and I gave him his space, I didn't want to be the clingy one.
Trigger Warning: This deals with mental trauma and depression, and may be triggering for survivors.
I am someone who believes in honesty and trust, I trust people easily and I think most of the times this habit of mine turns into bane.
This is a story of how a matrimonial website service turned into a nightmare for me, already traumatized by the two relationships I’ve had. It’s a story for every woman who lives her life on the principles of honesty and trust.
And when she enters the bedroom, she sees her husband's towel lying on the bed, his underwear thrown about in their bathroom. She rolls her eyes, sighs and picks it up to put in the laundry bag.
Vasudha, age 28 – is an excellent dancer, writer, podcaster and a mandala artist. She is talented young woman, a go getter and wouldn’t bat an eyelid if she had to try anything new. She would go head on with it. Everyone knew Vasudha as this cheerful and pretty young lady.
Except when marriage changed everything she knew. Since she was always outdoors, whether for office or for travelling for her dance shows, Vasudha didn’t know how to cook well.
Going by her in-laws definition of cooking – she had to know how to cook any dishes they mentioned. Till then Vasudha didn’t know that learning to cook was similar to getting an educational qualification. As soon as she entered the household after her engagement, nobody was interested what she excelled at, everybody wanted to know – what dishes she knew how to cook.