Tag Archives: rape

Will Logarani Be The Last Victim Of Violence Against Women? Cayathri. D

GUEST POST BY CAYATHRI D via Ground Views

All photographs by the author, or sent by the author (in the original post)

Around 5pm on 17 October 2013, within the Jaffna municipality, one of our friends (a male youth resident of Jaffna) came to our home (a few friends were gathered there) looking very disturbed.…

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A Burden of Proof: A Response to “White Woman’s Burden” by Ameya Naik

This is a guest post by AMEYA NAIK

[On the 26th of August 2013, Newslaundry carried a piece by Rajyasree Sen titled “White Woman’s Burden“. This post is offered as a rebuttal of the views expressed in the essay.]

Dear Rajyasree,

Michaela Cross, aka RoseChasm’s CNN blog piece about her experience of India is, as you say, currently unavoidable on the internet. It does seem to be provoking a dialogue on women and safety in India – at least in social media circles. If the result is that Indian girls and women acknowledge and share their own negative experiences, perhaps thereby to make some Indian men re-examine their perceptions and behaviour, it would still be a step forward.

Unfortunately, some responses represent two steps backwards instead. Your writing (“White Woman’s Burden”, 26 Aug, 2013) is one such; it made me profoundly uncomfortable. The gist of your argument appears to be this: Michaela was not suitably prepared, and she *SHOULD* have known better. Indeed, given her account of her actions and experiences, and the trauma she has experienced therein, it is surprising (to you) how unprepared she was.

Did I just read a young, educated Indian woman entrepreneur – from the hospitality industry, no less – say that an exchange student left traumatised after experiencing molestation (and worse) because she was unprepared? I describe myself as a cynic, but surely this is a new low!

What, pray tell, would suggest she was sufficiently prepared? That she came here, had the experiences she did, and considered them “par for the course” in India? Or that she came here aware of (what you call) the skewed psycho-sexual dynamic between Indian men and women in all its rich and diverse forms, behaved in the most conservative and appropriate fashion – only dancing in “safe places”, avoiding public transport entirely, staying only with trusted hosts or in one of Goa’s five star hotels – and left having experienced only milder forms of violation, like the persistent gaze (which she would know to expect)?

This assertion of yours does have one unexpected benefit – it lets us ignore the fair skin debate. If complexion plays no role, she should still be at least as careful as any Indian woman. If complexion does play a role, she should be even more careful! As silver linings go, though, this is pewter on a thundercloud.

How, pray tell, would the students or the University prepare for their visit to the land of the skewed psycho-sexual dynamic? With little docu-dramas of all the kinds of harassment you can expect, and how to be safe at all times? Would you not seed the most pernicious mistrust in your potential visitors? In fact, why would any of them come at all? Surely the University would simply cancel the trip!

And, while you seem to suggest that this is precisely what the “easily traumatised” should do, we would be the first to protest. Already we cry ourselves hoarse over travel advisories saying India is unsafe for women. That, apparently, is an insult to our national pride. And that seems to be the source of this article: “how dare this unprepared white girl write about India this way?” Only Indian writers can suggest that India has a skewed psycho-sexual dynamic, right? (An interesting dynamic which, of course, makes some – but not all – lechers or potential rapists. And on current evidence, I shudder to ask you who these corrupted ones are, and why only they succumb to this taint.) Because Indian women are prepared for such behaviour, and they know – even when they face it abroad – that it is only an aberration.

Too many responses, too many comments, seem to be in this vein. Why this parochial-with-my-fingers-crossed-so-as-not-to-offend-gendered-perspectives reply at all? My thesis is that it is because Michaela’s account makes us ask a few uncomfortable questions. Such as, how many aberrations to make a norm? How much preparation is enough?

Answering those questions is not a White Woman’s Burden – the onus to answer to them lies on us. Discrediting the person who asked them as “easily traumatised” – and really, as someone who says she has lived through incidents enough of her own, how dare you! – is a thoroughly inadequate reply.

[Ameya Naik is currently in a graduate programme in Boston. A psychologist and lawyer by qualification, he worked in New Delhi across 2012-13.]

Another rape, still more incompetence: Time to teach Delhi Police a Lesson?

A five year old girl is now in a critical condition in a Delhi hospital after being brutalized and raped by a neighbour. The Delhi police, which has dealt with the situation with its characteristic incompetence, first refused to file an FIR when her parents went to the police station, and then, tried to bribe the girls parents with two thousand rupees so as to ‘hush them up’. Subsequently,a young woman who tried to protest against the behaviour of the police at the Dayanand Hospital were the girl was initially taken for treatment was slapped by a policeman, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, in full public view. His actions have been recorded on video. It is believed that the policemen who tried to bribe the victim’s parents and the policeman who slapped the young woman have been suspended.

But can the suspension of a few individuals address what is obviously a deep rooted culture of misogyny and class prejudice (what else is it but class prejudice – would a policeman in a thana, say in an affluent South Delhi colony be able to offer two thousand rupees as ‘hush money’ to parents of an assaulted child with the same ease with which they could in Gandhi Nagar in East Delhi) within the Delhi Police? Is more severe and strict action that goes right to the top and to the source, not necessary in order to send a signal that this kind of behaviour within the police force cannot be tolerated? Must Delhi’s police commissioner not be compelled to resign, for his abysmal failure in terms of dealing with sexism and for failing to address the contempt for citizens who are not affluent that is now clearly endemic to the Delhi Police’s work culture?

Continue reading Another rape, still more incompetence: Time to teach Delhi Police a Lesson?

The Verma Committee: Alchemizing anger to hope: Arvind Narrain

ARVIND NARRAIN has an op-ed in today’s Hindu about the Justice Verma Committee. This is a longer version of the article

The public discourse post the brutal rape of Nirbhaya has witnessed a persistent degrading of the public discourse. Having been subjected to crudely offensive remarks by members of the political establishment, right from belittling a serious movement for equality as led by  ‘painted and dented ladies’ to ostensibly sympathetic responses which belittle women who have suffered a serious violation of their bodily integrity as nothing  more than ‘zinda laash’, we finally have a document authored by a Committee set up by the state which honours Nirbhaya.

The Verma Committee Report most fundamentally alters the public discourse on crimes against women by placing these crimes within the framework of the Indian Constitution and treating these offences as nothing less than an egregious violation of the right to live with dignity of all women. What is particularly moving and inspiring about the Report is that it does so by placing the autonomy and indeed the sexual autonomy of women at the very centre of its discourse.

Continue reading The Verma Committee: Alchemizing anger to hope: Arvind Narrain

What Do Men Have To Do With It?: Rahul Roy

Guest post by RAHUL ROY

I have been sitting quietly trying to finish my new film and had promised myself that I would not get side tracked and concentrate on the task at hand. But enough is enough. I am shocked and disappointed at the way men high jacked a protest that could have been and probably still is the most significant pouring out of women who may never have thought in their wildest dreams that they would be facing water cannons and cops giving them a chase with iron tipped sticks. I am sure it is a coming of age moment for many young women of the city of Delhi.

I am aware that there has been a fair bit of cynicism about middle class women running up and down Raisina Hill and whether it adds up to anything. It damn well does. The next time they see adivasis being chased down by the police in Chattisgarh or in Orissa a penny will drop. It already is, today there is an article by a 19 year old student form Lady Sri Ram College narrating her brush with Delhi Police at the Parlaiment Street Police station and quite significantly she adds that if they are capable of behaving the way they did with a group of ‘well connected’ college students in Delhi then what must be happening in the more remote areas of non metropolitan India. Continue reading What Do Men Have To Do With It?: Rahul Roy

Stop Shielding Criminals in the Army and Security Forces in Assam: Bondita and Anjuman

This press release was issued on 23 December by BONDITA and ANJUMAN of WING and WSS, Guwahati

Aggravated sexual violence in Guwahati in July 2012 and gang rape in Delhi this month have led to public outrage and anger, compelling the media and the government to take serious note of the rampant sexual violence against women.  Even as the current attention on sexual violence on women raises several questions over laws, their enforcement and policing, there continues to be absolute silence and complete denial about sexual violence by the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces. It is high time to review and repeal laws and practices that promise complete impunity to the armed forces for sexual assault in counter insurgency conflict areas. Continue reading Stop Shielding Criminals in the Army and Security Forces in Assam: Bondita and Anjuman