I Think: Media must scrutinise how rape cases are handled by police and courts

A Chandrasekaran, lawyer, Chennai

‘Freedom for women in India is still in a primitive stage.’ Photo courtesy: A Chandrasekaran

I get my news through newspapers and social media. I’m an avid newspaper reader and I feel anguished seeing so much news about rape and sexual violence. Law enforcing authority in this country is working for the affluent people in the society.

The last incident I read about was in Kumbakonam, in which four men raped a young girl from Delhi who had landed at the railway station at midnight, on her way to join a new job. The girl tried to lodge a complaint but the police did not register FIR. The complaint was registered only on the instigation of her employers.

Such officers should be punished. This is dereliction of duty. Cases against women should be tried within three months.

Apart from reporting incidents, news media must follow up. They must use their power to see to it that law enforcement and legal actions are put on the right track. They must see to it that the culprits are punished.

Gandhi said we have freedom only when a girl can walk alone at night. But freedom for women in India is still in a primitive stage. In this country, women must be mindful of the evils in the society and must try their maximum not to invite trouble by going alone during night hours.

Journalists must focus on assisting the victims psychologically. They must make sure that offenders are punished. If I were a journalist, I would write about the way sexual assault cases are handled by police and the courts.

This is one in a series of articles that NewsTracker published from 25 November to 10 December as part of the #16Days activism, aligned with the UN’s International Day for Ending Violence Against Women. This piece appeared on Day 16.