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Why are we so ready to believe that a woman who reports rape, is only doing this for ulterior reasons? Uber execs prove that time and again, we refuse to believe women.
The default, rotten mentality of the stakeholders of our society is that a woman who is molested is not to be taken seriously. That a woman who is harassed is not to be believed. That a woman who is raped automatically loses all her ‘izzat’ in the society and thus can be treated any which way, as the society pleases.
Barring a few instances, once in a decade or so, the issue of sexual assault/harassment never really gets taken seriously. The woman could be lying; she could be in the process of extracting revenge of some sorts on the alleged rapist; or, as some folks in Uber likes to imagine, the allegedly raped woman could be a figment of its competitor’s imagination, just to bring down the former’s brand name.
Yes! That, apparently, was what Uber’s head for Asia Pacific believed, as reported by technology website Recode. So, he obtained the victim’s medical report in order to dig further into to the authenticity of the charges. Uber’s former Asia-Pacific head apparently Eric Alexander sought the medical records of the Uber rape victim in 2014- a female rider who was raped by a driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav. Consequently, Uber was banned in Delhi till June 2015. The culprit was sentenced to life imprisonment in the November of 2015. The incident, however, naturally raised many red flags with regards to the safety of the passengers and the reliability of the verification process of the drivers.
Over the past few months, Uber has been facing backlash from the authorities and the consumers alike about their attitude and way of dealing with issues of sexual harassment, especially after another such recent incident in January 2017.
The issue of digging up a rape victim’s medical records in order to prove that the whole incident was gimmick by a rival company in order to discredit Uber is highly condemnable, to say the least. Uber officials themselves have been aware of Alexander’s activities but it came to light only when some employees decided to bring the matter to the media’s attention on Thursday, 8th June, 2017.
Many newspapers and websites have reported the matter since and all are trying to find out the whole process of Alexander’s own personal little investigation, inviting comments from both Uber and its competitor, Ola.
However, what demands more concern is that how a high ranking executive from an MNC managed to have such control over the country’s investigative system so as to have acquired such sensitive reports? Is our police/legal system so weak and penetrable?
Alexander has left Uber. But if one looks at it, his act was (is) as much a crime as that committed by the driver. It was a crime, and criminals belong in jail, no matter their magnitude of crime, their economic status or gender.
I sincerely hope that this revelation will help bring justice to both the aggrieved and the incriminated.
Image credits Abhishek Sarda, used under a Creative Commons license 2.0
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