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Politics of rape, molestation, state and police

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By Tarun Pratap

Delhi: A rape in Delhi has become as common as an upcoming mall, the latest smartphone or any new thing that can be associated with the fast paced 21st century. Yesterday alone, 6 rapes and 14 molestations cases were reported in Delhi. An average day for the capital, one would say.

A two and a half year old child was gangraped in Nangloi area. She was in the neighborhood watching Ramlila when she was picked up by three men. She was later found in a park, at two in the night, bleeding profusely from her genitals, and in a state of trauma.

In another case, a five year old girl was kidnapped and then gangraped in the JJ colony area of Anand Vihar.

Arvind Kejriwal, CM of Delhi, visited both the victims and weat ahead with the usual politics of blaming others. While he is not entirely wrong about the Delhi police, his comments were ill timed. Delhi CM said, “Delhi police has completely failed to provide the security to women, what are the PM and LG doing?”

He later tweeted and said, “PM sir, give control of delhi police to del govt for one year. If situation does not improve, take it back.”

Arvind Kejriwal, being the CM of the state, played it wrong. He put the blame on PM, police and centre. It needs to be asked, whether the lack of police force is the reason behind these ghastly incidents, or is it the insensitive patriarchal male mindset that doesn’t back off?

Delhi police data shows that in 95% of rape cases, victims knew the perpetrators. This includes closed relatives, neighbours, friends etc. In one of the two rape cases that took place on Friday night, accused person was the relative of 5 year old victim.

Police cannot possibly stop every such crime. It is not the justification in favor of the police, but it is about realizing the core problem of the issue. No matter by how much the police strength is increased to, we can’t have police in every house. As the data shows, half of the victims were raped by relatives. Arvind Kejriwal has to realize that public, especially males, need to be sensitized.

The male mindset is one of the main reasons behind the rapes. It is more of a mental issue than a legal failure. What else can possibly be the reason behind the rape of a two year old? Any crime has a lot to do with the mentality, if people could be sensitized repeatedly from their childhood, the number of such incidents would go down.

In 2012 when infamous Nirbhaya rape incident took place, Kejriwal had said that Sheila Dikshit was a weak CM; and if he was given the power of for just one day, he could change the situation. Since Kejriwal came into power in February, he has talked more about the PM and centre, rather talking about how to make things better in Delhi.

His first comments after visiting the rape victims on Saturday were, “PM and Lt General are busy arresting Delhi government’s MLAs.”

Delhi CM, maybe, does not hear himself. His comments were as insensitive as any other made by several politicians in past. It seems that Kejriwal has a habit of making everything personal and political.

Kejriwal somehow managed to show himself as a victim while talking about rape victims and that might be his biggest achievement. Next day he gave a sort of open challenge saying that he was not Sheila Dikshit and he would make PM’s life miserable over this issue.

In all this series of comments, Kejriwal and Modi were the ones who got mentioned. Everywhere, media covered what CM said and what he got in reply. But in all this, the actual victim got sidelined. Everyone should have been discussing that how this issue should be tackled but more discussion was about who is the right authority to tackle this.

Apparently, the job of politicians in India, whenever something like this happens, is to make their opposition look criminals rather trying to find real criminals, punish them and find ways to stop the crime. It seems that somewhere political parties wait for such cases so that they can go after the Opposition.

People don’t need sympathy which politicians are seen eager to offer. People want what they deserve, what is their own, their security, and their freedom. Why do people have to come marching on roads every time to demand their fundamental rights?

The question today is, how many more cases or how many more victims would it take before things take a turn?

Next Story

“We Can Make Difference By Rendering Services To The Women And Children” All-female Legal Group Fights In Sierra Leone

Most of the time the children, the women, are not aware of the signs and symptoms. They’re not aware of anything until it had fully happened, so the conversation has to start from the bottom up.”

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Sierra Leone
Fatmata Sorie, president of Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice (LAWYERS), is pictured in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Feb. 7, 2019. Pixabay

In Sierra Leone, cases involving the abuse of women have rarely been prosecuted. Spousal abusers, child abusers and even rapists have, too often, walked free.

A group of lawyers and judges — all of them female — has decided to take action to change that.

“We’ve seen a lot of issues affecting our women and girls in our society, and we believe that, with the expertise that we have, we can make a difference by rendering services to the women and children who need it most,” said Fatmata Sorie, an attorney and president of the group Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social justice (LAWYERS).

The group was founded 22 years ago and offers pro bono legal work to those in need. One of the founding members was Patricia Kabbah, a former first lady of Sierra Leone and a lawyer herself.

LAWYERS has about 50 members, and Sorie says they discourage out-of-court settlements in rape cases, preferring to prosecute attackers to the full extent of the law. They also prosecute accessories to the crime. The group conducts outreach to families, encouraging people to break their silence about sexual violence.

FILE - A five-year-old girl poses with her doll as she sits in her wheelchair in the courtyard of the Aberdeen Women's Center, one year after a sexual assault that her family says left her paralyzed, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Feb. 7, 2019.
A five-year-old girl poses with her doll as she sits in her wheelchair in the courtyard of the Aberdeen Women’s Center, one year after a sexual assault that her family says left her paralyzed, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Feb. 7, 2019. VOA

“We also start within our homes because, in most homes, we don’t sit down as parents, as families, to discuss issues,” she said. “So most of the time the children, the women, are not aware of the signs and symptoms. They’re not aware of anything until it had fully happened, so the conversation has to start from the bottom up.”

In an unprecedented move, President Julius Maada Bio in February declared rape and sexual violence a national emergency. The country had more than 8,500 reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence last year, but observers believe thousands of additional cases go unreported.

According to the Rainbo Initiative, a Sierra Leonean organization that helps survivors of gender-based violence, 93 percent of victims treated are younger than 17 years of age, and 24 percent are younger than 11.

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The president also created a special police division to handle rape cases. But Sorie believes there is more work to be done. Pixabay

The presidential declaration is already having an effect.

“We believe the most prominent impact so far is that we will have more numbers coming out because people feel more comfortable coming up to report these cases,” Sorie said. “And we also have a situation where the regulations are passed based on the declaration that was made by the president. The process for prosecuting sexual penetration and rape cases would be much shorter based on the instruction and the directives.”

 

Also Read:National Award Winning Filmmaker Rima Das Roots for More Female Directors

The president also created a special police division to handle rape cases. But Sorie believes there is more work to be done. She would like to see the maximum penalty for rape increased to life in prison from the current limit of 15 years and wants stronger witness-protection programs. She also said the nation needs additional medical facilities to treat rape victims and forensics labs to test DNA samples.

“We need to keep the fight going and to curb this menace within our society,” she said. (VOA)