Of Misogyny And Violence Against Women: Here’s Why Even Lawyers And Judges Need Lessons In Gender Sensitization
While we were feeling jubilant over the death sentence awarded to all 4 accused in the horrific Dec 16 Delhi gang rape, we were equally shocked by the statements by defense lawyer A P Singh – ” if my daughter was having pre-marital sex and moving around at night with her boyfriend, I would have burnt her alive. I would not have let this situation happen…”
Now, these intemperate remarks were indirectly intended to question the morality of the dead victim as she had boarded the wrong bus with a male friend at 9 pm instead of 9 am. So, let us not get carried away by the euphoria and look into the ground realities of our society and judicial system.
This clearly reflects the patriarchy and the misogynist bias too deeply entrenched in the Indian mindset to be rooted out. When this sensational case was being highlighted in the news, we could also hear and read the tweets of the people desperately trying to blame the hapless victim.
The well-educated and aware masses are trying to raise awareness but everything seems to be turning futile as the Indian male continue to believe in fallacies as – She asked for it or she was wearing a revealing dress inviting men leading to rape. We hear such unfortunate statements made by policemen and elected representatives.
According to a collective and recent report by courts in Madhya Pradesh, in 98% of cases of rape, women were covered by traditional attire. Even if we intend to question the veracity of such findings, we should not overlook the fact that such incidents continue unabated even in the winter season in North India when girls keep themselves covered with warm clothes. Let us look at the dismal conviction rates in rapes and other crimes of honor killing. Rules of law may appear straight forward and just in fat books of law, but the final judgment in always open for interpretations in spite of several irrefutable evidences.
There have been such cases when even the judges question the character of the victims, apparently assuming her to actually be responsible for her plight. Many policemen too react in the same way while being asked to register an FIR. With police and law professionals with such antiquated mindset, we cannot expect the improvement in our justice system and the anti-rape law with exemplary punishments will remain ineffective.
Unfortunately, there are many humanitarian activists who live under the illusion that every evil human being can be transformed. We have to accept the harsh truth that there are many evil aberrant in our society who we need to get rid of through death sentences. So, let us welcome the judgment of the death sentence to all 4 convicts.
Don’t forget that the case will most probably move though probation and appeals in higher courts. But with several strong evidences, let us hope that they are not let off easily and suffer the way they deserve.
We should give our heartiest thanks to the judge, Mr Yogesh Khanna, and the public prosecutor, Mr Daya Krishnan. It was good to see defense lawyer Mr A Anand humbly accept the final judgment of the court. But we cannot thank the lawyer, Mr A P Singh, whose moral sense seems to be depleted in spite of being so educated. His last statement exposed his frustrated and misogynist mindset that the dead victim was wrong and the culprits were right in spite of the ferocious brutalities inflicted upon her.
Until such lawyers and judges are replaced by law professionals with more judicious mindset, things cannot improve much. We must have heard the staggering number of rape cases registered alone in Delhi in 2013. It is largely due to the increase in numbers of women coming forward to report such cases which mostly go unreported in other parts of India. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel that many culprits will be brought to book due to large number of FIRs being reported.