Mumbai: Will people ever learn? As a society, every time one feels that we have stood up for something worthwhile, there are tens of other instances that pull us down.
Trivialising the dignity of women perhaps tops the list. Recently, the Delhi High Court was misquoted by the media, which stated that a judge had said the rape of a 65-year-old could not be deemed as rape because the victim was menopausal. But in the actual statement, the fact that she was menopausal was mentioned in isolation and the accused was acquitted because although the sex was not consensual, the medical evidence wasn’t enough to prove that it was “forcible”.
But according to human rights lawyer Greeshma Rai, the actual judgement too isn’t any less regressive than the alleged one. “There are times when a victim is silent out of fear, so there aren’t enough injuries on the body. Isn’t it still rape?” she asks. Many agree with her as online, this discussion has been trending with angry reactions.
A few days ago, a 23-year-old postgraduate student from Eflu was raped by two male students when she was in an intoxicated condition. But not many are sympathetic to her plight.
“A lot of people would say that she put herself in the spot and unfortunately the burden of proof is always on the victim rather than her perpetrators,” adds Greeshma.
And the problem is not confined to India. Recently Welsh footballer Ched Evans was acquitted after serving half of his sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman, who was again not in a state to give her consent.
According to Evans, he was wrongly accused and he had even boasted to the policemen during his arrest that: “We were drinking, having fun there. It’s not uncommon we pick up girls, we are footballers, that’s how it is.”
Two and a half years on, over a 100,000 people have signed a petition calling on his former club Sheffield United not to sack the player.
And it is this attitude that lead to the bigger crimes. Recently actress Parineeti Chopra, who has often voiced her concern about molestation and eve-teasing, played a prank on Bigg Boss contestant Ali Quli saying that he had touched her inappropriately.
It was rather surprising to see the actress, who has previously been vocal about her rights as a woman, to even agree to be a part of something like this.
And her response to the whole issue has been rather frivolous. She said: “It was a prank I could have played only on Ali, as he is a close friend of one of my cousins. Bigg Boss is not my show and I had to do what I was told. It was one of the show’s creative’s ideas. I did ask them if this would work and they were confident about it. However, we need to take it as a prank and nothing more. Salman, Govinda and the audiences enjoyed the spoof. Sirf kuch logon ne isse PR stunt bola hai, they had some problem. I personally have stood up for the cause of women. People should not suspect me. It was only a prank, nothing else.”