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Last year, Delhi High Court overturned rape conviction against director Mahmood Farooqui, due to survivor’s ‘feeble No’. With such regressive ruling, how assured of justice can women speaking up in #MeToo be?
The ‘#metoo’ movement has created a large-scale revolution in our country today and is exposing the murky underbelly of the entertainment and publication industries. It is also threatening the ‘unblemished’ persona of many personalities who till now believed themselves to be above the law because of their powerful position. However, while on one hand, a metamorphosis of this proportion is in progress, on the other hand, some survivors of harassment have still not got the justice they deserve.
About a year ago Delhi High court overturned the rape conviction against the director of the film Peplie Live – Mahmood Farooqui. The court agreed with the defense, which said that the survivor did say ‘no’ but was not firm enough, and finally went ahead with the act after some protest in the beginning. The survivor explained that she did so, as she feared for her personal safety, but could not convince the court. It further said that a strong no is necessary if the parties know each other and may have had a physical relationship in the past.
Our country has seen many disturbing sexual assault cases which turned violent and took many innocent lives. If a woman fearing for her life decided to go ahead with the act, then it does not signal that she was a willing participant.
This kind of judgement sets an extremely disturbing precedent, especially since most rapes are done by someone the survivor knows. Whether or not she may have had relations with the concerned person in the past, if she is saying ‘no’ at that moment and is still being forced upon then it is rape. Imagine a scenario where a girl is assaulted by someone she trusts, she depends upon. Imagine her fear when a protector suddenly turns into a predator. Her first reaction would probably be that of confusion and shock. Her protests may well be feeble as she is still recovering from this betrayal.
To borrow from the movie Pink, ‘No means no’. It does not matter whether it is feeble or aggressive, it means that she does not consent to the act at that moment. Getting her consent by coercion or force is still rape.
Now the nation is taking a firm stand against harassment and assaults. Women are refusing to be the victims anymore and instead have decided to fight back. They are naming their attackers without fearing the consequences and at such time they should get support from the justice system of the country.
But rulings like that in the case of Mahmood Farooqui are misogynistic and patriarchal in nature. Even the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed against the Delhi Court’s judgement saying that it was an “extremely well decided case.” Let this not become a precedent for many similar cases to come in the future as then getting justice for such acts will become even more difficult and will be a major step back for women from across the nation.
Image Source – TOI Video
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