American actress Alyssa Milano’s request from the social media has resulted in millions of tweets as she asked women to share their personal experience with harassment and sexual assault with ‘me too’ hashtag, which culminated into more than 6 million users talking about it on Twitter and Facebook.
All of this comes in the backdrop of new allegations against popular Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein has been accused by a dozen women of sexually harassing them, even raping them. Since these allegations have come to the fore, people all across the world are sharing their own personal experience with harassment on Twitter and Facebook. Some of the tweets are shared even by men who have been on the receiving end of indecent behavior.
‘Me too’ hashtag is exposing a very common yet abhorrent happening in the world. Alyssa stated that her friend suggested her the idea of ‘me too’ social media campaign. She tweeted that if women use the ‘me too’ hashtag for sharing their own experiences with sexual assault, it would help the world to figure out how grave the situation is. Famous female celebrities like Anna Paquin, Debra Messing, Sophia Bush, Brooke Smith, etc. have used the hashtag ‘me too’.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in jail on Monday, but what took the case 15 years is the question that needs consideration
He’s not the only self-styled godman to have been involved in sexual assault controversies
One of the most controversial ‘guru’ to make it to the list is Asaram
New Delhi, August 29, 2017: Self-proclaimed godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, now known as Khaidi no. 1997, was sentenced to 20 years in jail in a rape case, on Monday. The Dera Sacha Sauda chief has been convicted of raping two women followers in a case that dates back to 2002.
It was in 2002 that a rape survivor, who was also a Sadhvi anonymously wrote a letter that, eventually, led to the downfall of the empire of Gurmeet Ram Rahim. The letter was addressed to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and described how the sect chief sexually exploited several women. It was later in 2003 that the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered CBI probe into the rape and sexual exploitation of the Sadhvis by the so called “Guru.”
The long wait for justice finally ended on Monday, but the question that arises is: What kept the case pending for 15 years? Was it the power and political connections of Ram Rahim? Could he be a major contributor to the vote banks be the reason for the unconscionable delay? To find the solution to this riddle is a tough job, and keeping in mind how our system works, might take another 15 years, but why was the justice delayed is a question that certainly deserves an answer.
One amongst myriads of the reason for the delay in justice was the horror of being threatened by Dera Chief and the co-conspirator. Many victims preferred to keep close mouthed than exposing the wrong doings at the Dera. Often those who opposed the Dera Chief were either murdered or menaced for doing so.
Not to forget the infamous murder of Ram Chandra Chhatrapati, the courageous journalist who exposed the debauched Ram Rahim. His son Anshul Chhatrapati has been fighting for justice for past 15 years, however, the case is still unresolved in the same CBI court which sentenced Dera chief 20 years of jail. Anshul called the sentence, the first tribute to his dead father.
He was merely 21 years old when his father was shot dead on October 24. Helpless Anshul wandered here and there to save his father who battled death for 28 days in the hospital. Policemen refused to lodge FIR against Dera chief back then, recalls Anshul while speaking to wionews.
Anshul also explained what kept justice for more than a decade:
“The CBI investigation was perpetually being thwarted by Congress and other local political parties. I give all the credit of bringing this case to justice to the CBI investigating officer who, against all odds and pressure from various political parties, did his work diligently. It is because of his work that today we have been able to seek justice”
When CBI probed into the matter back then, 17 sadhvis showed up but only two of them agreed to present in the court.
The official system of government should work upon instilling the confidence amongst the sufferers of torment the Dera Chief inflicted upon them. Many people have come forward to confront their plight openly, however, there are also many of them who live in constant suspicion and fear.
The fact that he’s not the only self styled godman to add to the list of those who have been involved in sexual assault controversies is not pleasing to know. According to The Indian Express report, a woman in Kerala chopped off the genitals of one of the ‘godman’ to defend herself from sexual assault. The minor attacker claimed that the attacker, who goes by the name of Ganga Shashwatapada Swamy, had repeatedly been raping her since past few years.
One of the most controversial ‘guru’ that makes it to the list is Asaram. About the complaint that lodged on August 20, 2013, Asaram on the pretext of giving the 16-year-old girl his blessings, raped her at his ashram in Jodhpur. After his arrest and the girl and her family’s willingness to speak out against Asaram, many more victims started to come out, reporting similar incidents against him. According to the reports, Asaram allegedly assaulted many victims, including both the ‘sevikas’ and minors from his ashram. The case is pending with the Supreme Court.
Asaram’s son, Narayan Sai has also been accused of rape and sexual assault. He’s currently in jail for the rape of a woman at one of Asaram’s ashrams.
Salute the judiciary for standing up for what is right. Wish justice is not delayed and hope is not lost for any victim of rape & abuse.
The judgment against Ram Rahim, however, has given the people hope that Justice could be delayed, but would not be denied.
– by Samiksha Goel and Naina Mishra of NewsGram
NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.
New Delhi, August 27, 2017: Based on a pencil sketch of a 10-year-old child victim, Delhi court judge Vinod Yadav has taken the decision to punish her 45-year-old uncle for rape and sentenced him to 5 years in jail on June 2016.
Her uncle Akhter Ahmed, who has been jailed for sexual assault, said that the girl had been tortured to speak against him in the court. He also said that she is not a competent witness but the sketch she drew to keep herself busy during trial proceedings, made the Judge to put the rapist behind bars.
The judge gave the verdict based on, “A close scrutiny of the drawing reveals that she has depicted an abandoned house in gloomy colors, a girl carrying some balloons with intermingled threads and her dress lying removed.” The Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said that the sketch highlighted the lasting torturous impression of the sexual assault that is left on her the mind and this ruled what the uncle earlier said of her not being competent to testify against him.
The girl’s horrifying incidence which is like a nightmare had its origin in the year 2014, the time when she moved in with her aunt from Kolkata to Delhi. Her mother died and her father (who was a drug addict) abandoned her. This is also the year when her trauma started.
Her uncle used to sexually abuse her. The little girl tried to confide in her aunt, wanted to tell her what happened with her but she thought her aunt wouldn’t listen to her. So, one day, she just ran out of the home so as to escape the torture she was dealing with. A conductor saw her on a bus in November 2014, she was sitting all alone and crying. He tried to talk to her and find out what is wrong but she didn’t say a word. Thus, he handed her over to the police, who called in the counselors for help from a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Haq Foundation.
According to NDTV report, the girl’s counselor Uzma Pravin told, “For the first few sessions the girl was not revealing what was going on in her mind but as she became more familiar, she started opening up in bits and pieces.” Uzma joined the puzzle pieces of information together and started to shape up the young girl’s narrative until she was more coherent.
But when the counselors gave her a sheet of paper, pencil, and crayons during the proceedings of the court, they thought it was a way to help the child stay busy with something and would feel less nervous about what was going on. But, one day when the young girl showed the sketch she made to the counselor Uzma Pravin, she gave it to the judge.
She said, “Her drawings revealed a lot about her. There was always something in it. Most children can’t express themselves. However, if we try to look at their drawings, we can understand them,” mentions NDTV report.
Her colleague, Bharti Ali, said that drawing therapy was one of the child-friendly practices which the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Gita Mittal encouraged foundations like Haq to undertake Bharti Ali said that the court verdict was a kind of positive development and a moment of victory but she hoped that more judges in future could use and allow innovative methods like this.
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