Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Victim(and Justice) Bites the Dust

The recent harassment of women in Kerala and Bombay on New Year's eve- our family had a quick indignation meeting at the dinner table. My daughter said it happens all the time, her Dad quickly rushed in- doesn't make it right-no, she agreed-Indians have no sense of public propriety and no respect for women.Me-using an analogy I use in my trainings- why should they let objects on dispay at stores alone but not women?-becoz those are inanimate but women can respond- but their response is likely to be no-becoz they think women who go out are available- and , my husband-becoz they know thye can get away with it. That's the crux of it- look at the police response in this case, a Commissioner who is unsensitive and higher officials whosimply shrug saying that no complaint was lodged.Reminds me of a case we fought a few years back- a highly respected official from another state was travelling on a train to Madras and reported a gang rape in a compartment. The victims did not file complaints- given the public response to women do you wonder-the state filed a case of wrongful complaint against the complainant and we had to argue really hard to get him off.
Which brings me to moral policing- predictably the response of the police has veered to locking women in at night as in the case of the bar girls.In Chennai the police have taken to going into private parties and booking people for nuisance, breaking into discos- instead of catching the perps- they're after victims and they demand apology letters! What price CEDAW, ICCPR and the Constitution? Sultana's dream seems so far off even though Qurrat-ul-lain Hyder has been republished.Lock up the men and leave the women to roam free.

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