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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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"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
The Railway Men. Mili. Cuttputli. The Diplomat. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. And more…
Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
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