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After the shocking Hyderabad rape case, the Unnao case has jolted the nation. The question remains – in which corner of the country are our girls safe?
It is sickening to read new reports cropping up on the Unnao case. Some are believing it. Some are calling it lies. It’s not been two days since the victim’s death and many men’s rights activists are already calling the girl a liar.
Now, feminism is all about equality and equal rights for both men and women. And it is only just to give a fair chance of attention to this side of the story too.
This narrative says that the girl (the victim who died) and the prime accused were in a relationship, and the guy’s family refused their marriage, and the girl, in an act of rage, filed a rape FIR against the guy and his friend. The guy was kept under arrest for 9-10 months, and when he got released, he asked the girl and her family to withdraw the case. When they refused, in an act of vengeance, he and his male friends and male family members (a total of 5 accused), beat the girl, stabbed her and then burned her.
However, I personally feel there are a lot of loopholes in the narrative. I see the typical DARVO (deny, attack, reverse victim, offender) behaviour at play here. And I will explain why.
Even if she lied, why did the police take so long (months) to finally file her case? Isn’t it the police’s responsibilty to immediately file the case and begin investigations?
Clearly by the time the report was filed (rape happened in December 2018 according to the victim, the case was filed in March, 2019), all evidences of rape (if it happened) disappeared.
The police did not act on the girl’s complaint promptly, but she did not give up even if it took them months to finally file a rape FIR.
“Were in a relationship”
What does it have to do with a relationship?
Firstly, there is no proof that she and the prime accused were in a relationship. Secondly, even if they were, how does it matter as far as rape is concerned?
Yes, there are cases of false rape, but there’s no guarantee that a girl who is in a relationship with a guy can’t be raped by him (or his friend, or other male members of his family).
Remember rapes are also about ‘power equation’ and ‘teaching a lesson’ in a patriarchal society. It is also about hatred, suppressing the voice, and aggression. Sometimes, there could be no reason behind a rape at all. It’s a crime that takes place and it should be seen as a crime.
Also, any sex under the pretext (promise) of marriage is also a criminal offence.
In her testimony she said she was abducted by the prime accused and his friend and then raped by them.
In this age of scientific advancement and methods of examination, lying about something as serious as gangrape is no joke for a girl from a small village in Uttar Pradesh, that too against men who were so powerful. On the contrary, one of the accused guys’ father is the chief of the village panchayat (not to forget, from upper caste), and some reports say the girl was from the OBC caste of blacksmith.
Now I am not a casteist and I am not attacking people from the upper caste. But if you are familiar with how things work in a state where caste matters A LOT, women are doubly marginalized, especially if they are hierarchically placed close to the bottom end in a society that primarily functions on this hierarchy (there was Bhanwari Devi’s gangrape case from 1992, Rajasthan, known for its landmark Visakha judgement of 1997).
Even if this particular victim had not belonged to a lower caste, most villages (especially in North India) have Panchayats that are male dominated. The voice of any young girl can be easily marginalized, especially when the man she is accusing of such a grave crime is so powerful and from such an influential and affluent family.
It is not easy. It is no joke. It is not safe. She had constant pressure to withdraw the case and constant threats, according to her and her family’s testimony.
Why was there no investigation in the case of abduction?
How did it happen? Where did it happen? The place? The evidence? The samples?
How and why was the guy released on bail if the charges against him were this serious, that too four days before he was to be produced before the court?
Why was the friend (whose father is Sarpanch) not arrested for the same duration?
Why was the girl and her family not provided with protection when she complained regarding threats from the prime accused and his family?
What (if not power and entitlement, and the surety of a skewed social and justice system) made the 5 men think they can get away with stabbing and then burning her?
It was a miracle that even after 90% burns she could be airlifted to Delhi.
Now as this narrative by the accused rapists is slowly spreading on social media, there is still not enough media coverage over the fact that the victim’s kin had repeatedly asked for police help.
The victim’s kin alleged that the brother of the prime accused asked them to change their testimony and insisted they accept that this was self-immolation, a suicide attempt by the girl. Couple this trauma with threats, social ostracization and regular humiliation.
The victim’s kin even added in a report that false promises of marriage to young girls to lure and rape them, videograph them, and then blackmail them has been seen in some cases but people are scared to report due to caste and financial differences.
The sad fact remains that there was no proper police intervention in this case at the right time. The sad state of affairs is such that because cases like these get more and more complicated and involve all sorts of societal norms, hierarchies and politics, people shy away from commenting on them or standing up for the victim.
Let’s not forget that this case is no less serious and deserves no less attention than any other case. Let’s not forget that the girl who kept fighting for her life is no more alive to defend any of the accusations on her character today by the very same people who have (allegedly) raped and burned her.
And as another woman got acid thrown on her because she refused to take back a rape complaint in Muzaffarnagar, let’s not forget our Unnao victim’s last words were – I don’t want to die, I want to live.
Let that sink in.
Image source: YouTube
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