Two days ago an officer of the Indian Army committed suicide in Pune while in the midst of a Court of Enquiry over allegations of sexual harassment, ever since then the endless hate and unverified information directed at the alleged complainant has varied from shameful to just pure disturbing, and a lot of it has been disseminated by the same people who won’t let their daughters out at night because India is not a safe place. Read how this dichotomy is at the heart of why we don’t believe victims in India.
The Mumbai High Court recently overturned the sexual assault judgement of a sessions court in Nagpur stating that under the POCSO Act sexual assault must entail skin-to-skin contact. Expectedly this has led to outrage across the nation, but how is this judgement any different from the lessons we teach our daughters about what sexual assault is “serious enough” to merit noise?
Growing up in India, most of us never saw our parents express any physical affection to one another and very few of us are comfortable displaying affection to our partners in public. This may seem like a personal choice but it speaks to a much deeper culture of shame, taboo and violence.
We hear about rape constantly but there is little understanding as to what rape actually constitutes or entails for the many different kinds of victims that exist. While rape laws have changed over the years, the implication of the laws on society remains the similar. This is how socio-legal rape culture erases victims.
Every few months we hear of a brutal case of gangrape that involves a gruesome level of violence and we leave our houses to protest the injustice of it. Ultimately the nature and timing of our outrage creates this monolithic image of a rape victim and abandons the majority of rape survivors. Ranjhana Kumari of CSR weighs in on how outrage might be part of the reason why we are losing the fight against rape culture.