Sexual assault has become a flashpoint in a much deeper political dispute over the ways in which Indian culture is changing as the country becomes more urban and less traditional. A sort of culture war has emerged. One aspect of that war: sexual assault has at times become a weapon used to police Indian women’s adherence to traditional social rules and, by extension, society’s adherence to traditional values. That has come with disturbingly institutionalized victim-blaming that, along with impunity for perpetrators, allows a culture of sexual assault to flourish.
When we talk about rape culture, we’re discussing something more implicit than that. We’re talking about cultural practices (that, yes, we commonly engage in together as a society) that excuse or otherwise tolerate sexual violence.
Rape is one of the India’s most common crimes against women. It is reported that at every 20 min, a woman is raped in India. The majority of reports reveal that female youth are vulnerable group for rape victimization. According to experts, only 10% of rapes are reported, and the conviction rate for rape cases is 24.2%
In the recent past, gruesome cases of sexual assault have surfaced from all corners of the country, including the abduction, gang rape, and murder of a young lawyer in Jharkhand; the rape and murder of a 55-year-old cloth seller in Delhi’s Gulabi Bagh neighborhood; and a teenager in the state of Bihar who was gang raped and killed before being set ablaze.
Recently ,a teenager was raped by a police officer in Odisha’s Sundargarh district. A police inspector in Odisha’s tribal-dominated Sundargarh district was suspended on Friday over his alleged involvement in the gang rape and subsequent abortion of a 13-year-old girl over a period of two months.
Anand Chandra Majhi, the inspector-in-charge of Biramitrapur police station in Sundargarh district, was suspended a day after a case was lodged against him and five other people, including a doctor, for the alleged gang-rape and abortion attempt.
The girl had come to witness a fair at Biramitrapur area on March 25 but it was cancelled at the last moment due to the lockdown. The girl failed to return home and was roaming near the bus stand when a police patrolling team saw her and brought her to the police station.
Inspector Majhi allegedly raped her at the police station. She was dropped at her home the next day.
However, she was called to the police station regularly and raped by the inspector and other police officials. The girl later got pregnant following which Majhi tried to abort her foetus.
The matter came to light after the child, who was seen crying outside the police station last week, was rescued by a local NGO and handed over to the district child protection officer who lodged a complaint with Raiboga police station and Six persons, including the inspector, doctor and the girl’s stepfather, have been named as accused
Humans by nature are not violent. They are social animals. It is the society that shapes their attitudes and beliefs that give rise to their aspirations. Centuries of patriarchy have conditioned men to believe in their superiority and to look down upon women as inferior beings. The cosmetic industry, media, entertainment even sports thrive on the objectification of women
A system that ensures that no accused can manipulate or manage to wriggle out of the clutches of law. A system that deals with rape cases expeditiously from arrest till the execution of sentence and no one is spared. The message should go out loud and clear that ‘no one is above the law’. We need to prevent rapes from happening. Prevention and not punishment is the solution and that requires concerted efforts on part of all the stakeholders.