A Gang-Rape Survivor Has Been Arrested For “Contempt Of Court” After She Showed Frustration Over Being Constantly Questioned About The Incident. This Is Shameful
We live in a culture that is largely apathetic to its violation of women’s rights and our sufferings. As women, our present and future depend on what the men think. With the lack of substantial female representation in our judicial system, it’s the men who have always decided for women – abortion laws, rape cases, and crimes against women. And these men unfortunately were born and raised in the same culture as other misogynistic men of India. No, I am not generalising or saying all of them are. We can’t ignore the fact that there are men of justice who have worked hard for women to get their dues.
Yet, every now and then we stumble upon cases where a woman has been robbed of her dignity by the very people who should have helped her. For the longest time, women feared filing an FIR against their rapists and the extreme apathy they face at the hands of the authority is one of the reasons for that. It only adds to the mental pain of an already traumatised woman because our culture has become so desensitised to our pain.
Recently, in a shameful incident, a gang-rape survivor and two social activists from Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, a non-profit organization got booked and arrested in Araria, Bihar for apparently not letting the court do its job. This is the most hideous thing ever and the state of Bihar owes an apology to the woman.
The woman had filed a complaint on 7th July that she was gang-raped and later she was called to record her statement before a magistrate. When she was asked to sign a copy of her statement, she insisted that she would do so only if one of the activists read it for her, since she was illiterate. She was well within her rights to know what she is signing under. Apparently, all of this was too much of a hassle for the court employees.
— apeksha (@applcrmble) July 15, 2020
In fact, these authorities were responsible for her frustration in the first place as she was made to recount the horrific details of the rape several times to several people. Any psychiatrist will be able to point out this is traumatising. Normal, empathetic people would too but somehow these authorities just didn’t. There was victim-blaming and she had to spend four hours with one of the men who gang-raped her waiting at the courtroom. How insensitive is our culture, really? And we expect our judicial system to make things safer for women when they treat a gang-rape survivor in such a ghastly manner.
“As per rule, no one can accompany a complainant during recording of her statement before the magistrate. The woman and two activists face charges of stopping public servants from doing their duty and threatening the presiding officer and were sent to jail,” Araria Sub Divisional police officer Pushkar was quoted.
And all this happened why? Because a clerk at the first class judicial magistrate of Araria felt it was too painful to show sensitivity to a woman who was raped. He alleged that the activists wanted a copy of the victim’s recorded statement and called it an “open threat to the judiciary.”
The survivor, who was raped on June 6, has been in jail for the past five days. Two women from an NGO there to help her were also placed under arrest.https://t.co/McksUe5IcK
— The Wire (@thewire_in) July 15, 2020
Ashish Ranjan, Secretary, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan said, “The survivor was well within her rights to ask for a confidant. The court mistook her agitation as a personal affront. The focus seems to have shifted from the rape case to the misbehaviour allegations on the survivor. We have full faith in the judiciary and are looking for legal remedies.”
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The three of them now face charges under IPC Sections including 353 (assault or criminal force to stop public servant from doing their duty), 180 (refusing to sign his/ her own statement made) as well as for “contempt of court”. What about them being responsible for the contempt of all womanhood? While one of the five accused has been arrested, four are still free while she is not.