Beaten by cops for reporting rape, a ‘perturbing’ interview, priest arrested
The 9 July edition of Note This — our weekly round-up of media reports and opinions on sexual assault
The sexual assault of a seven-year-old girl in Jaipur last week was widely covered in the national media after it resulted in “violent protests” , an internet shutdown in parts of the city, and a political blame-game. Other cases making headlines include the beating of a Dalit man in Uttar Pradesh by the police when he tried to report his wife’s rape and the arrest of a Kerala priest for allegedly sexually assaulting the residents of a boys’ home run by him over a period of six months.
The 35-year-old man who was arrested for the rape of a seven-year-old girl in Jaipur has admitted to sexually assaulting as many as 35 children, and was out on bail. This resonates with what clinical psychologist Dr Rizwana Begum told NewsTracker’s Spurthi Venkatesh in an interview about the psychology of survivors and perpetrators: ‘A perpetrator doesn’t simply jump to a heinous crime: there would be a history which has been neglected’.
Across India: news since last Tuesday
Several stories over the past few days highlighted the various manifestations of rape culture, from the hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh to glitzy Bollywood.
In Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, a lower caste man was “tortured by cops” after he approached them to report his wife’s kidnapping and gang-rape. According to a report in the UK’s Independent, “the case is indicative of the discriminatory treatment Dalits still receive…”
In Bhadohi, also in Uttar Pradesh, a woman was killed after she and other family members were beaten for reportedly objecting to the sexual harassment of her daughters. The woman’s husband says an earlier police complaint went unheeded.
In Arkalgud taluk, Karnataka, a 13-year-old girl was forced to marry the man who had raped her, reported the Hindu. She was later rescued after a call was made to a child helpline.
Bollywood actress Esha Gupta was trolled on Twitter and “victim-shamed” after she tweeted about a hotelier raping her “with his eyes”.
A ‘perturbing’ interview
Sandeep Reddy Vanga, the director of the controversial film Kabir Singh, has come under fire for saying in an interview, “If you can’t slap, touch your woman wherever you want…I don’t see emotion”.
Anupama Chopra, the journalist conducting the above interview has also been criticised. In Firstpost, Sonali Kokra writes, “I’m not sure who perturbs me more, Vanga or Chopra… she “mollycoddled [Vanga], and chuckled benevolently at some of his vile pronouncements”.
In the courts
The Delhi High Court today turned down a plea to declare marital rape as grounds for divorce, observing that the matter was a province of the legislature rather than the judiciary.
The central government has taken a stand against making rape laws gender-neutral in India. The counsel for the Ministry of Home Affairs told a Delhi High Court bench that “the existing definition of rape [perpetrated by men on women] should be left untouched” as a counter to a public interest litigation that stated “ men sometimes fall victim to the same, or at least very similar, acts to those suffered by women”.
The Supreme Court has stayed the execution of seven men convicted for the gang-rape and murder of a “mentally challenged” woman in Rohtak, Haryana. The crime had made headlines in 2015 for its brutality.
Assault of minors
A report titled ‘Child Rights in India — An Unfinished Agenda’ has said that according to official crime statistics, India has witnessed a more than four-fold increase in child sexual assault between 1994 and 2016 (inaccurately reported as five-fold in some publications). The report said, “In all the states, girls reported that their mobility is severely compromised due to safety and security reasons and this does not affect boys to the same extent”.
The past week saw several cases of very young girls being sexually assaulted, including a 6-year-old in Dwarka, Delhi, a 17-month-old in Mayurbhganj, Odisha, and a five-year-old by two boys, aged 10 and 11, in Kapashera, Delhi.
This roundup is curated from the RSS feeds of more than 30 English news publications from across India.
See the full list of rape and sexual violence cases reported this week and earlier on our web tool, NewsTracker Data. Use our search function or select one of our boards (such as #MeToo, #KeralaPriest, or #PoliticsofRape) to read reports on specific cases and/or themes.
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