Rape Victim Versus Media And Police

Even as a lawyer, it is really not possible to describe a crime like sexual assault. It is the most gruesome act which, though more is a crime of anger than attraction, should be dealt with very sensitively as possible.

The focus of the present post is not to give a legal perspective but to make us all think that are we really being sensitive and supportive towards the victim or just like the Peepli jokers with a cameramen and makeup staff, sensationalizing the act?

Peepli journalists’ recent coverage of rapes in Gurgaon, Haryana and the knee kerk reaction of the authorities is pathetic, shameful and borderline illegal so to speak.

After the recent incident of alleged gang-rape in Gurgaon, there were news stories like where the victim worked, her family background–married and has a kid–who she was traveling with etc etc. As if protecting identity of the victim never came to minds of authorities–apparently, it never did.

Compare this incident with the alleged assault on a foreigner studying in Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in 2009. Short of showing the photograph of the girl, nearly everything about her was in the press. That is another aspect that the case resulted in acquittal of the accused which was upheld by the Bombay High Court as well.

For media, a sexual assault is not just a news, it is THE news.

See how badly Peepli journalists presented the background of the victim, employee of the Gurgaon pub. From the timings of her job to the description of her  job about the seating arrangements, arranging entries for guests in pub etc etc. What relevance it has to the assault?

None whatsoever.

So what if the victim’s predominant nature of activity was to make sure guests are seated comfortably? Does it amount to an invitation to sexual consent? It does not.

Interestingly, in 2002, Govt removed sub-section (4) to Section 155 of Indian Evidence Act which read as following:

“(4) when a man is prosecuted for rape or an attempt to ravish, it may be shown that the prosecutrix was of generally immoral character”.”

The intent of removing the provision was that Prosecution and Police will not be allowed to assassinate character of the complainant. It is  another sad part that law used to allow such assassination till 2002. It is also another aspect that we see such character assassination as a matter of course in Peepli channels.

Now Gurgaon authorities have released an order that women should not be working post 8 pm. I am sure the Chief Minister (CM) of Haryana must have cogent reasons for such draconian action. We have not heard, as of now, a single statement from the Union Home Minister (HM), who is from the same party as the CM.

Fact of the matter is, for the police and Peepli media there is no sympathy for the victim but only hunger for masaala to gain TRPs.

Mr. Shekhar Kapoor during promotion of Bandit Queen said that he wants the audience to witness what exactly is sexual assault and how tormenting it is for the victim. Just that the media and police have given the sensitive aspect a go by for good it seems.

9 Comments

Filed under In Accordance With Law, Menace in Town, Uncategorized

9 responses to “Rape Victim Versus Media And Police

  1. Very nice article Mr.Mahant. Hope this peepli media learn importance for hidding victims identity. More and more commercialized media is too dangerous for the society. If this tread my Indian media doesn’t change it will be cancerous for the society and nation.

  2. yeah,1) ofcourse peepli media nvr have any ethics except 4 sensationalism. We need law to protect charecter, i mean should not allow charecter assaination of rape victims. 2) Gurgaon will see more like this, very uncivilised ppl got rich by selling lands and control police. Delhi NCR is much worser than one effects, we are protected mainly by our culture and ppl here don’t have that. Respecting women is primary part of our culture. One will see much worser situations in delhi NCR in coming years.

  3. yeah,1) ofcourse peepli media nvr have any ethics except 4 sensationalism. We need law to protect charecter, i mean should not allow charecter assaination of rape victims. 2) Gurgaon will see more like this, very uncivilised ppl got rich by selling lands and control police. Delhi NCR is much worser than one expects, we are protected mainly by our culture and some ppl here don’t have that. Respecting women is primary part of our culture. One will see much worser situations in delhi NCR in coming years. Normally parents here ruin their children.

  4. Nicely articulated.

    “For media, a sexual assault is not just a news, it is THE news.” remains a shameful truth.

    My two-bit about this crime – “How exactly do you stop it from happening? Secondly, if it’s happening, how do you stop it from happening? Thirdly, if it has happened, how do you stop it from happening again?

    • Lokesh

      Right knowledge at right time along with timely marriage of the people in the society can reduces such frustration….

  5. Really loved this one the way you have opened up the Pipli Media. The race of TRP and associated revenue has left media with no sensitivity, but with sensalization. An incident is a news or not a news based on how sensitive it can become. Remember the role of this media during Mumbai attacks?
    Trauma of a rape victim cannot be felt by anyone else. Unfortunately, I had a moment in my life when I had the responsibility of consoling a girl who was molested and had to spend around two days and nights with her. No one else was there then. Believe me, this trauma cannot be described in words!!! And those who are supposed be the fourth pillar of democracy make a mockery of it in the biggest democracy (really?) of the world.
    Story in pieces

  6. So aptly put. After any incident of rape or sexual harassment, the discourse immediately gets divided between two extreme opinions, none of which makes it any easier for the victim. First end starts talking about death penalty, hanging, torture for the perpetrators etc and the other starts speculating on what the woman did and how she lives to somehow blame the act on her.
    Feminists for long have spoken against death penalty in such cases, not because they do not want harsh punishments, but because this is tantamount to accepting that the girl is now dead (since death penalty has traditional been accepted only in cases of murder). In a country where issue of rape becomes one of community protection and outrage to societal sentiments, the victim has to be spared the rhetoric of ‘end of her life’, ‘worst thing that could ever happen to her’ and slowly work her way out of the humiliation. The other end which will speculate on how she lived, how many relationships she has had, how late does she travel at night, are just trying to further ‘victimize the victim’.
    Harsh policing will have to combine with greater senstization of what sexual assault means, of understanding the underlying causation and several effective police-community campaigns. Several women’s groups are doing great work, now the state, media and police needs to get involved in multi-layered strategies. I remember the Mumbai case of girl being murdered in Vadala and all the media could talk about was her ‘LIVE IN’ status

  7. I hope this publication can create impact to Media House Jokers, at least they can understand the emotions its not always about THE NEWS. Whatever no one can stop them from showing they wanted to gain more TRP’s and they call themselves International Media

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