I Think: Will media people publish so much details if it happened to them?

Lakshmi, domestic worker, Chennai

I have been working in households ever since I came to Chennai. I left my home when I was 18. I was forced to marry a man and I did not like living in his house, so I ran away from there. I was pregnant when I came to this city.

I cannot read or write, but I know a person who does. She usually reads the news out to me every day and I listen.

I hear about so many rape cases happening in the state. They anger me a lot. Rape means a man is forcing a woman to do something she is not willing to do. It is not a small thing. It is one of the reasons why I left my village and ran away when I was pregnant.

I think a man commits rape to prove he is stronger than the woman. If this is the kind of reassurance he needs, he is not fit to live.

The last rape incident I remember from the news was that of a child. It shocked me because I have a granddaughter that age. I put myself in the position of the victim’s family members. If it is that child today, it could be mine tomorrow.

I think the media is doing well reporting on rape cases. But I would not allow my kin to speak to the media if they go through an incident like this. Will the media people publish such details as they do now if they face something like rape? Will they talk to strangers holding pens and cameras hours or days after the incident? I do not think so.

If a rape accused is caught, he should be given the death sentence. I am for killing rapists because no one should have to go through the kind of pain that person inflicts on others. It violates both a girl’s body and mind.

The media can only tell people about rape. It cannot shame people into not raping women and children. If a man who has married you and considers you his wife can rape you, then why will a stranger show any kindness?

If I were a journalist I will definitely want to write about rape incidents. As difficult as it is for the victims, it is the only way people like me will also be aware of the cruel things people are capable of. But I will not pry and make the victim feel worse.

So I will say this to the journalists: be sensitive. Please know that the victim, if she has not been killed in the incident, has to live afterwards. And if she has been killed, remember, she has a family. No one wants to answer how they lost their daughter hours after the incident.

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 15.


A conversation on the news coverage of rape and sexual violence in India. A MAAR initiative

Sukanya Sriraman

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A conversation on the news coverage of rape and sexual violence in India. A MAAR initiative