I Think: When media reports a rape, somewhere a girl feels violated

C Sekar, auto-rickshaw driver, Chennai

‘It pains me to say we Indian men have tarnished India’s image.’ Photo: Sukanya Sriraman

I usually get my news from Dinamani and Dina Thanthi. I personally feel that media tends to focus more on events that happen in the city than in villages. A working class woman’s virtue or ordeal is taken for granted and is not given proper coverage. This allows the accused to escape. The ones who committed the crime must not be allowed to escape.

Death penalty won’t be helpful at all. Life sentence is the best way to punish a rapist. Death penalty means we are revoking someone’s right to live and it is no different from the crime the accused committed.

The recent rape case that jolted me was the Ayanavaram case. It was reported that over 10 men raped a child. I could not understand it at all. The child’s parents have been negligent and careless, in my opinion.

It is true that media reports do not exactly reveal a victim’s identity. But the fact that they are publishing a report means that a girl’s family somewhere feels defamed and violated. If I had a daughter and she has gone through an ordeal like this, I would not want the media to talk about it at all. It is true that it’s the only way people will get awareness, but I am still not for the detailed reports on rape that media puts out at times.

It pains me to say we Indian men have tarnished India’s image. Rape can be reduced only if the women know how to conduct themselves. They should be careful in the way they interact with men so as to not give men any wrong ideas. Women should know how to put men in their places.

There is no guarantee that media can change anything. Media can only tell the issue as it is. That is all it can do. It can write articles again and again. Everyone reads the news and will forget about it in a matter of minutes.

If I were a media person I would probably hesitate to write rape stories. But if I am made to write still, I would focus on the accused and not the victim and talk more about him so as to ensure he gets caught.

I would like to tell all journalists to be sensitive while covering rape. If a girl in Kanyakumari is raped, I will not think much of it. But that won’t be the case with her, her family and neighbours. She will be ostracised and looked at by people differently. So the media needs to think twice before deciding to let the entire nation know about a girl being violated.

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 12.