5 Sit-Ups Cannot Be Punishment For A Heinous Crime Like Rape, Right?

"MAN MADE TO DO 5 SIT-UPS AS A PUNISHMENT FOR RAPE", I read the headline again, 5 sit-ups cannot serve as a punishment for a heinous crime like rape, right?

[Trigger Warning: Mention of rape of minors.]

Another day, another hour, another news about rape pops up on my mobile. Sometimes the accused is a stranger, or sometimes it can be the father, the husband or an uncle, the victim can be a minor or a grown up lady, an animal or even a mere corpse.

But there is one thing that remains common—  BARBARIC REINFORCEMENT OF PATRIARCHY.

One out of every 100 (reported) rape cases that might have occurred today.

Around 2 pm, while keeping myself updated with the scores of an India vs New Zealand ODI match, a notification from a news app popped up that read, MAN MADE TO DO 5 SIT-UPS AS A PUNISHMENT FOR RAPE”

I read the headline again, thinking I may have misread it in the first place. A gentle physical warm up of 5 sit-ups cannot serve as a punishment for a heinous crime like rape, right?

Even then I found it hard to trust my eyes, being bewildered and dumbstruck.

I shared the screenshot of the news byte to my best friend and her reply just sums up the entire thing — “Jahaa classroom mein baat karne ke liye 10 sit-ups karne padte hai, wahaan rape ke liye 5 sit-ups karva rahe hai!”

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“They used to make people do 10 sit-ups for talking in classroom, now it is 5 sit-ups for rape!”

I was amused reading it also, realizing we are not faraway from the day when — the victim will be asked to do 5 sit-ups as a punishment for getting raped.

The incident

A video of a man doing sit-ups went viral on the internet on 25th of November 2022 allegedly recorded in a panchayat meeting in Narwada district of Bihar. This prompted local media attention, eventually leading to police registering a case against the accused.

According to the girl’s family, the man, who owns a poultry farm in Kannauj, lured the girl on the pretext of offering her chocolates and raped her.

The man supposedly sought help from the panchayat’s mukhiya [village chief] who suspiciously cleared him of any wrongdoing. He was ordered to do sit-ups as a punishment only for taking the girl to a secluded place rather than raping her.

Also, the girl was instructed by the panchayat to not report the case to the police as it will bring ill-repute to the family.

Local police is currently conducting the investigations and raids to nab the culprit.

The panchyat conundrum

This is not the first time when the role of panchayat is under the scanner in such a situation. Often these informal panchayat and community setups have been staunch advocates of discriminatory and biased old age practices, emphasizing chauvinism and misogyny.

Some may consider the victim lucky that she wasn’t sent to a tantrik who enjoys the freedom of harming her to any extent in the veil of so called ‘purifying’ her.

Such practices are still very much prevalent in the rural sections of India. The public are in constant fear of the powerful men and the so-called moral leaders of the society that they fail to vouch for their own rights.

The maa-behen-beti syndrome regarding rapes

As I followed this news, I came across tweets bashing this punishment and rape in general, which seems good, but there was an obvious flaw in most of those reactions.

The most seasoned dialogue in a rape case is — “Kya tumhari maa ya behen ya beti ke saath aisa ho toh acha lagega?”/ “Would you like it if this happened to your mother or sister or daughter?” or “Tumne ye nahi socha ke wo kisi ki behen hai, beti hai?”/ “Did you not think she might be someone’s sister or daughter?”

I find this absolutely rubbish thing to say. According to this, a woman should not be raped just because she is a mother, daughter or a sister?

I guess being a living entity itself is enough for giving or denying consent, isn’t it ?

A woman is a human being. Period. I don’t think any further reasoning is necessary for her to not get raped. It’s high time we all understand this.

As I finish writing this peace, another pop-up reads, “Kerala teacher offers lift to student rapes her on the way.”

Image source: Still from trailer of Lakshmi, edited on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Sagar Dalwani

1st Year MBBS student

7 Posts | 4,724 Views

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