#India – Gang rape survivor, a Dalit, sentenced to ten days imprisonment #Vaw #WTFnews


A Rape  Story

In a country where a gangraped woman is sent to jail for going back on her statement in court, justice for sexual assault survivors is still a far cry
BY Neha Dixit EMAIL AUTHOR(S), Open Magazine, June 8, 2013
A VICTIM TWICE OVER Kiran (indoor) with her mother-in-law (Photo: ASHISH SHARMA)

A VICTIM TWICE OVER Kiran (indoor) with her mother-in-law (Photo: ASHISH SHARMA)

Sitting on a cot on the semi-terrace outside her room, 20-year-old Kiran (name changed) pulls the strings of the jute chaarpai, murmuring in rage. It is anger tempered by the presence of her mother-in-law in the courtyard downstairs. It has been five months since Kiran has gone out to answer nature’s call alone. Women like her are not trusted to be allowed out alone even for that. Kiran was raped by four men repeatedly over four days in different parts of Haryana like Panipat, Sonepat and Kurukshetra before being dumped at the Panipat Railway Station. That was on 28 September 2012. Last month, on 24 April, she was sentenced to a ten-day imprisonment. “The judge, my father, my brother, my husband, my mother-in-law and thebiraadari—they are collectively raping my head. Still,” says Kiran.

The month she was raped, 12 more gangrapes were reported. Yet, in many quarters, her case has become a cautionary tale—the risks of a woman, especially one of a ‘lower caste’ landless community, exerting her free will and demanding justice.

In caste terms, Kiran is a Dhanuk.

Banwasa village is in Gohana town of Sonepat district. It is crisscrossed by paddy and vegetable fields. The Dhanuks who live here, like in other North Indian villages, are considered untouchable. Their houses are on the outskirts of the village. Their traditional job was to remove night soil from ‘upper caste’ houses, but they have long switched to working as agricultural hands, basket weavers, midwives and construction labourers. Landless and ostracised, their only sense of security is their biraadari, which acts as a tool of social control and an informal welfare association.

As she talks about the rape for the first time in many months without the fear of being judged, Kiran starts crying.

“Don’t cry, they want to break you down through character assassination,” I tell her. “Can you tell that to my father and my husband?” she says.

+++

On 28 September 2012, Kiran was at her parent’s place in Banwasa, when Sunita, a neighbourhood housewife, gave her a message that her husband Sudeep had come to meet her near a local railway crossing.

“I had told him once that I want to meet him outside the house like they do in Dilwale Dulhaniya le Jayenge. When the boy comes to get the girl? I thought that’s why he had come to meet me,” says Kiran.

As soon as she reached the outskirts of the village, two men of Khandrai village— Sunil and Sanjay—kidnapped her and took her to a rice field on the Gohana-Kakrohi road. They were later joined by Anil of Ahmedpur Majra village and Sarvan of Hadtari village. Two of them pinned her hands down while the third and fourth raped her. “They laughed as they ripped my clothes with a blade and described my body parts to each other. I was a toy they were trying out.”

From the paddy field to a mini-van to the Brahmsarovar in Kurukshetra to a small room next to railway tracks in Panipat, the ordeal continued. “I begged them to let me go.” They didn’t. She was asked to discard her clothes and change into an old salwar kameez. She remembers waking up the fifth day and fleeing.

Kiran registered a case with the Sonepat police. It took over a week to arrest the four rapists and Sunita, who had allegedly helped them.

According to Yashpal Singh, DSP, Gohana, “We registered Kiran’s statement under Section 164. Once a statement is recorded under this section, rape is confirmed. During the interrogation, the rapists confirmed Kiran’s accusations.” A medical examination conducted at Gohana civil hospital also indicated rape.

Over the next three months, however, Kiran was labelled a prostitute, a thief, a serial offender and a Dalit nymphomaniac. Her in-laws threatened to abandon her, the parents wanted to get rid of her.

“They kept saying, ‘Why did you leave the house? Why didn’t you tell your parents [where you were going]?’” she says. When she was 17, Kiran had eloped with a lover. That episode was cited as justification of her rape, as if her past record had called it upon her. “She ran away with a mechanic from a nearby village,” says a relative of hers who does not wish to be identified, “Her brother Gurmeet brought her back and tried to hang her. We intervened and saved her life. She has always been like this.”

Kiran is the second of five children born to a beldar and his daily-wage labourer wife. They share a two-room hut made of corrugated tin and decaying wood, and led a simple life until what happened to Kiran. “We suddenly did not deserve to be talked to because our daughter was raped and she filed a case. She did not know that poor people do not fight cases in courts,” says the mother. The family’s primary source of income is the daily wage of Rs 250 she earns. She also looks after a couple of buffaloes owned by land-owning Jats who have promised her 30 per cent of the proceeds once they are sold.

+++

Pressure on Kiran’s family and in-laws started mounting as soon as the four men were arrested. “We had anyway started losing days of work: to submit papers in court, to get medical reports, to visit the police station, to attend the court hearings,” says the father.

Various biraadari panchayats from Attadi, Ahmedpur Majra, Hadtari and Banwasa, the five villages the accused belonged to, came together to forge a decision on the matter. The arrest of Sunita, the woman who Kiran says misled her into the paddy field trap, was considered an attack on the pride of the village. “They said that since Kiran is now Ikdaana village’s daughter-in-law, it is Sunita and not she who deserves their support,” says the mother, “They pressured us into asking Kiran to change her statement.”

Kiran has no idea why Sunita misled her that day. “She was one person I used to spend a lot of time with. Though, I now know that she is friends with Anil.” Sunita’s husband Deepak did not let us speak to her. “Why are you questioning my family for a whore like Kiran? Ask her, why did she go?” he asked.

Kiran’s parents were told that they would not be granted work on any farm until Kiran signed a reconciliation letter.

“It’s the harvesting season and this is the time we get maximum work. How will we feed the buffaloes and kids?” asks the mother.

Kiran’s father-in-law, who sells kulfi for a living, and her husband, who sells steel utensils on his bicycle in nearby villages, were also pressured to get the case dropped. “There was a threat to my son’s life. We were anyway ready to take her back even after such a big blot on her character. Tell me, who accepts such a girl back into the family? And then you want us to help her fight the case too?” asks her mother-in-law.

Kiran is schooled only till class five. With few skills to make an independent living and no money to pursue court proceedings, she surrendered. “I thought of committing suicide,” says Kiran, “but they don’t let me out alone.” She was not just forced to change her statement, but also falsely explain her medical reports. “I was forced to say that I left my parents’ house on 28 September and stayed at my in-laws for the next four days. And that my medical reports were positive because I had sex with my husband.”

What added to Kiran’s sense of helplessness was the gap of six months from the rape to the court. Raj Kumari Dahiya, an activist of the Mahila Samiti, Sonepat, says, “This puts in perspective the demand of the women’s rights movement to try rape cases in fast-track courts and deliver verdicts within three months.”

When Gohana DSP Yashpal Singh was asked about the pressure on the family to drop charges, he said, “Who knows what compromise was made? We received no such complaint in this regard.”

On the day of the hearing on 24 April, Additional District and Sessions Judge Manisha Batra sentenced her to 10 days imprisonment for backtracking on her statement and imposed a fine of Rs 500. She had committed perjury.

“Didn’t you tell the judge what happened?” I asked her.

“How could I?” she replied, “The biraadari panchayat people were present.”

+++

If Kiran was a victim twice over, it was plainly because the Indian Judiciary—represented in this case by a woman judge—failed to take into account the power equations at play. It ignored how her voice was stifled by her social conditions, how her vulnerability within a caste-and-gender hierarchy had weakened her will to get justice.

“Did the judge talk about the lack of rehabilitative measures in her court order while charging the girl with perjury? Why could the girl not muster the courage to approach the state machinery and police following threats?” asks Senior Supreme Court lawyer Vrinda Grover.

In January this year, a 600-page report of the Justice Verma Committee following the Delhi gangrape case documented how women face intense insecurity because of dominant caste hostility or threats of communal violence. But it made no mention of a mandatory rehabilitation package for survivors.

In 1993, the Supreme Court, in a writ petition, Delhi Domestic Working Women’s Forum vs Union of India and Others, had directed the National Commission for Women (NCW) to evolve a ‘scheme so as to wipe out the tears of unfortunate victims of rape’. It observed that it was necessary to set up a Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, and demanded that compensation be awarded to rape victims for the pain, suffering, shock and loss of earnings as a result of such an assault.

The NCW sent a draft to the Central Government in 1995. After lying in the freezer for over a decade, the Commission came up with a ‘Scheme for Relief and Rehabilitation of Victims of Rape, 2005’. It proposed that the Ministry of Home Affairs issue directives to state governments for aid to rape survivors.

After the Delhi protests, activists revived demands to implement the scheme, but neither the state nor the Centre earmarked a budget for it. Charu Walikhanna, an NCW member, says, “We have proposed the scheme, but its implementation lies with the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare.” In the words of Krishna Tirath, India’s minister of women and child welfare, “It is the state’s responsibility to implement it, the Centre cannot intervene.” And so it gets buried in bureaucracy.

In Kiran’s context, her social status makes the need of a rehabilitation package all the more important. Jagmati, vice-president, All India Democratic Women’s Association, has long been pushing for compensation for rape survivors in Haryana. “Some people laugh at it by calling it ‘compensation for getting raped’,” she says, “They do not realise that Kiran and her parents cannot bear the expenses of a legal process. It is not enough for the State to provide a lawyer. Public prosecutors don’t take these cases seriously and private practitioners ask for upto Rs 70,000 per hearing. It places justice completely out of reach for such women. The question of loss of work, of sometimes having to shift residence, of frequent consultations with lawyers and trips to the court, incurring expenses and losing a day’sincome are all critical issues in the [victim’s] decision of whether or not to fight for justice.”

As proposed by the NCW’s original draft, the National Mission for Empowerment of Women has the funds. However, what is missing is the political will to implement it. Laughably, a circular issued on 3 April by the Ministry of Home Affairs states that financial help for rehabilitation of rape survivors should be taken care of by NGOs. Says Jagmati, “It’s unfortunate that the State has vested [donors with] the responsibility of ensuring justice for rape survivors.”

Kiran was released on bail on 25 April. The rest of her life is likely to be one of drudgery and keeping her mouth shut. Her brother-in-law, who is as old as her, studies in class ten. When she asked him what he was studying in school these days, he replied, “Nothing that you do. You focus on dancing and sleeping with people.” When I asked him, “Why don’t you learn cooking?” he roared in laughter, “For that, I will get a wife. If she doesn’t, I will beat her up with batons!”

Kiran is right. It’s unpardonable, what everyone is doing to her head.

+++

Some other names have also been changed to protect their identities

#India- ‘Rape victim’, 10, threatened with stoning unless she withdraws claim #Vaw #WTFnews


The family of a ten-year-old girl who was detained after complaining she had been raped by a neighbour is under police protection amid claims that she will be stoned to death if they do not withdraw the allegation.

CHILDRAPE
Dean Nelson

By , New Delhi

2:30PM BST 11 Apr 2013

The young Dalit girl’s overnight detention, alone in a cell in a special women’s police station, has caused growing anger throughout India as it seeks to improve security for women following the gang rape and murder of a Delhi student last December.

Four officers from the Kotwali women’s police station near Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh were suspended pending an investigation after an Indian television crew which happened to be in the station filmed the girl behind bars.

She had gone to the police station with her mother who had found her unconscious in a field after, she said, a 35-year-old higher caste neighbour had raped her.

The girl is from one of four poor Dalit or “untouchable” families in a village dominated by higher caste Lodhe Rajputs. Since making the complaint they have been under intense pressure from village elders to drop the claim and accept a “settlement” instead.

In an interview with the Indian Express, the girl’s mother said the family had been warned they would be killed if they did not back down. “They have been threatening to kill us, burn down our ancestral home and stone my daughter to death if we do not withdraw the rape case. Even the village panchayat (council), including the sarpanch (leader), is in favour of the accused and is asking the family to settle the matter,” she was quoted as saying.

Additional Superintendent of Police Vaibhav Krishna, who has been appointed to head an inquiry into why the girl was jailed, said two constables and a sub-inspector had been posted outside the family’s home after two relatives of the accused abused them in the street.

He was not aware of any threat to stone the girl, he said, but had put the family under police protection to avoid any further confrontations.

He said the girl had been detained in a cell because of a “misunderstanding” and an investigation into the decision was continuing.

“I feel very sad for the victim, we feel sorry she had to undergo such a trauma but it was not intentional,” he said.

The family believes it was an attempt to intimidate them into dropping the rape allegation.

SP Krishna said a villager had been arrested for the alleged rape, but he said the man denied the allegation and said the girl had been terrified after he scolded her for picking tomatoes from a neighbour’s field.

“The girl was terrified, ran away and she said that he had misbehaved with her,” he said.

A medical examination had been inconclusive and had not confirmed a sexual assault, he added.

Ranjana Kumari, a leading women’s rights campaigner, said the detention of the girl highlighted the obstacles to justice for poor women in rural areas. “In spite of laws being in place, there is no justice. It shows how atrocities against women are neglected and the victims are victimized,” she said.

 

Explain how minor rape victim was put behind bars: SC tells UP govt #Vaw


 HEADLINES TODAY  |   New Delhi, April 10, 2013

TAGS: Rape | Rape victim |Uttar Pradesh Police | Police |Crimes against women
The Supreme Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognisance of media reports about detention of a 10-year-old rape victim by the police in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh recently.The apex court has now sent notice to the state government, asking how the police put the rape victim in custody.

The callous response of police came to fore after the girl’s rape as she was put behind the bars by women personnel when she approached them to file a complaint along with her mother. The victim was rescued after several hours only after locals protested over the matter.

Two women constables have been suspended while two sub-inspectors, including the station-in-charge have been sent to police lines following the incident, SSP Gulab Singh said.

Read more at:http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/supreme-court-10-year-old-rape-victim-bulandshahr-uttar-pradesh-government/1/261562.html

 

#India- Cop to woman: Who will rape you at your age? #Vaw #WTFnews


, TNN | Mar 23, 2013, 03.47 AM IST

A Dalit woman, who petitioned a senior Uttar Pradesh Police officer seeking registration of her rape complaint, was told that her’s was not an age to be raped.

Caught on camera: UP cop insults rape victim

Caught on camera: UP cop insults rape victim
LUCKNOW: An additional superintendent of police (ASP) in Deoria district refused to entertain the rape complaint of a housewife merely because she was over 35 years of age. To add to the insensitivity, the officer said: “Who would rape such an old woman?”

Coming at a time when Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is struggling to counter mounting pressure from all quarters over the deteriorating crime scene in the state, the incident has touched a new low. DGP A C Sharma expressed regret over the conduct of his subordinate and IG (crime) RK Vishwakarma said an explanation had been sought from the officer within 48 hours. “Action will be initiated for making such unwanted and ridiculous comments,” said Vishwakarma.

On Wednesday night, a housewife was allegedly assaulted and knocked unconscious by a local villager while she was going to the farm fields to relieve herself. When she regained her senses, she found that she had been raped. She reached home and informed her husband about it.

Early next morning, the couple when to the local Bankata police station in Deoria district to register a complaint against a local youth Santosh Singh. Allegations are that the couple returned home after being informed that the senior officers will contact them once the preliminary inquiry into her complaint was completed. “When no one came, we decided to approach the cops at the police station once again because I wanted them to get my wife medically examined to secure any possible evidence of crime. We were shown the door at the police station,” said the victim’s husband.

The couple then approached Deoria ASP Keshav Chandra Goswami at his office. They were made to wait for more than three hours before the officer finally agreed to meet them while he was walking out of his office. The victim’s husband tried to brief the ASP about his complaint when he was interrupted by the office: “How many children does she have?” he questioned her husband. When he said that they had three children, the officer asked him “What is the age of her eldest child?”

“Her eldest child—a daughter—is around 15 years of age,” the victim’s husband said. “Now, who will rape such an old woman? There must have been some other dispute behind the whole story…we will get it inquired,” the ASP said and instead of directing the Bankata police to register a case on the victim’s complaint and initiate action against the accused, got into his official vehicle and left, apparently unaware that the entire conversation had been recorded by somebody standing nearby.

Once the incident was aired by a local news channel, the police top brass in Lucknow took note of it. On the directions of the DGP, the IG (crime) directed the Deoria police to register a rape case while the ASP was asked to explain his conduct.

#India Fix the Rape Problem #Vaw #Justice #womenrights


 #India-Towards a Decisive Victory in the Historic Battle for Women’s Rights
 Aruna Kashyap
Published in:

The Daily Beast

JANUARY 10, 2013
With politicians and the public at last giving sexual assault the attention it deserves, the time has come for action—and for dignified treatment of survivors of sexual assault.
Aruna Kashyap, women’s rights Asia researcher

MUMBAI—“You there! You are so dirty! Don’t sit on that chair!”

These were words that a woman in India—bloodied and soiled after she had been raped—heard when she sought help from a doctor. A social worker described this scene to me in 2010, recounting the kind of mistreatment she frequently witnessed when accompanying survivors of rape to hospitals.

Dr. Rajat Mitra of Swanchetan, a New Delhi–based group that supports survivors of violence, told me that when heaccompanies rape victims to police stations or hospitals, officials often say things like, “Why are you crying? You have only been raped.” Such statements, while anecdotal, capture the insensitivity many rape survivors encounter when they approach police officers and doctors in India.

The prompt response of the police following last month’s brutal gang rape and death of a 23-year-old New Delhi student—investigating the case and arresting the accused men—was a good thing, but unfortunately it may have given the world the wrong idea about how rape cases are generally handled here.

For while that response is commendable, it is the exception, triggered primarily by the national outrage and protests following news reports of the rape. A far more common response I found in researching some of the challenges Indian women and girls face in seeking justice after sexual assault is a combination of delays, inaction, and degradation by the very officials who should be helping these victims. Dr. Mitra told me that their treatment by police and doctors “adds to their overall trauma after rape. Some of them just become numb. Others find the whole process entirely dehumanizing.”

The good news is that in the wake of the December attack, Indian authorities are now focusing on creating harsher criminal punishments for rapists. The country’s sexual-assault laws need reform to ensure the full range of sexual assault is punished in accordance with human-rights law, and that existing legal immunities—such as requiring government permission for the investigation and prosecution of police officials and other public servants—are eliminated. But prosecutions are only one piece of the puzzle; equally concerning is India’s cultural attitude toward survivors of sexual assault.

Changing these attitudes—for instance, the tendency to question a woman’s clothes and conduct, suggesting she “invited” or did not “resist” rape—won’t happen overnight. But the government can play a role in that change, and it must start now.

One key is establishing a mechanism for police accountability. Currently, police often refuse to register complaints, or recommend that families “compromise” cases, citing the “shame” it will bring to the survivor in the community. As a result, survivors of rape either do not come forward to report the offense or feel pressured to give up their fight for justice midway.

But we must also change our approach to medical treatment and examination of rape survivors. Often a woman who reports rape is treated merely as a “body of evidence,” rather than as a person who needs medical attention and care.

It doesn’t help that India has no uniform national standards and protocol for treatment and examination of survivors of sexual assault, or specialized training for police and doctors.

This lack of standards has adverse reproductive, sexual, and mental-health consequences for survivors of sexual violence. It also undermines the potential for successful prosecution, and perpetuates outdated stereotypes about rape during investigation and trials. Many police officials, doctors, and judges look for evidence of “struggles” or “injuries” in medical reports, with the assumption that all rape survivors should struggle and have visible injuries, especially injuries to the hymen, suggesting that those who do not report such visible injuries have “consented.” Many medical reports reinforce ideas of “virginity” by noting degrading findings about the “laxity” of the vagina and whether the survivor is “habituated to sex.”

Rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, have urged the Indian government to establish national standards for medical treatment and the collection of medical evidence in sexual-assault cases. There’s been some improvement on that count: India’s Health Ministry has developed a protocol that omits questions about whether the survivor is “habituated to sex,” but it does not prescribe any minimum standards for therapeutic care. The Indian government should consult with leading health and human-rights experts to further amend and introduce this protocol across India.

The government has also announced that it will introduce a program of monetary compensation to survivors of rape—but the scheme has yet to be rolled out. This would indeed be an important step forward, but would be far more effective when supported by other measures. For example, around-the-clock services for survivors, and a uniform protocol for medical care and examination backed by training for police officers and doctors to ensure its use. These should be coupled with mechanisms for monitoring the use of such protocols and accountability where they are being flouted.

When it comes to even thorny challenges like maternal mortality, the Indian government has shown that political will can reduce the scope of the problem. With politicians and the public at last giving sexual assault the attention it deserves, the time has come for action—and for dignified treatment of survivors of sexual assault.

 

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