Rapists Galore

Statistics reveal that on an average one woman is raped every hour in India. The Week (15 April 2007) noted that the conviction for rape crime in India is 4 to 12 per cent. As if this was not enough instances of gang rape is on the rise all over the country across all strata of urban and rural society.

The most recent gang rapes being that of a MBA girl, a senior executive by three Delhi Jal Board (DJB) officials- Sarat Chander, Praveen Bhargava and Ramesh Thakur-the three accused in the case and the village women in Dhanipurwa village under the Sirsiya police station area in Shravasti, Uttar Pradesh (UP) by the supporters of Dadan Mishra, UP Minister of State for Medical Education. In the former the FIR (610/07) dated June 9, 2007 under Sections 376, 354, 506, 384 (34) of the Indian Penal Code was registered at the Malviya Nagar police station on June 9 this year under the directions of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kamini Lau. The details about the police action in the latter has also underway. But the police action in the both the cases leaves a lot to be desired since no arrests have been made so far.

On June 1, 2007, The Gurdian carried a report 'The rapists' enemy' that is relevant to India as well. The story was about an ex crime prosecutor of New York who won 80% of the cases.

This ex crime prosecutor-Alice Vachss-was once described by a judge as "a woman who drinks blood for breakfast". She visited UK where an estimated 47,000 rapes occur each year and convictions rate is mere 5.6%.

She successfully helped prosecute a former director of a boys' club for sexually abusing boys in his care, she found out that he had done a deal with a supreme court judge.

Alice Vachss has coined the term "collaborators" to describe those who "provide a support system to rapists". "My first lesson about sex crimes prosecution is that perpetrators are not the only enemy."

"At least in my experience, there is no such thing as a sex crimes prosecution that is not 'against all the odds'.

She noted that majority of sex crimes are committed by men but does not let women off the hook as she has prosecuted a number of cases of child abuse where the women were complicit - by doing nothing about the abuse, or even, in some cases, holding the child down to be raped.

According to her women are not always victims of men's dominance. "There [is] a segment of the battered women's advocates community who argue that if the mother was being abused as well, that she could not be held accountable for failing to protect the child. I think that is a profound insult to the tremendously courageous battered women who do find a way to put their children's safety first."

In 2005, a survey for Amnesty International found that 5% of women (compared with 3% of men) believed that a woman was "totally responsible" for being raped if she was drunk.

"What I want is for people to feel horror about what rape really is" and "to feel indignation that we tolerate it," says Alice Vachss.

In India only one in 69 rape cases in India are reported. Indeed it’s not about sex but sick violence. According to the UN Population Fund, more than two-thirds of married women in India aged between 15 and 49 have been beaten, raped or forced to provide sex.

But instead of dealing with it as a case of crude violence akin to murder, rape is defined in India under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code as 'sexual intercourse with a woman' and the absence of consent. Even the Supreme Court in its order in the Sakshi v. Union of India, 2004 case followed this narrow definition and chose not to interpret it in the light of somewhat expanded definition envisaged in the apex court order in the Madan Gopal Kakkad v. Naval Dubey case.

Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, says, "Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, not being under 15 years of age is not rape." But recently, the abolition of Marital rape (Rituparno Ghosh's Antarmahal highligted the same) that was earlier excluded from the definition of rape under the Penal Code is a a step forward, at least legally.


Anonymous said…
for more about Alice Vachss and her work: www.alicevachss.com

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