Student raped for scoring high marks, daycare assault, ‘Kabir Singh’ debate
The 2 July edition of Note This — our weekly round-up of media reports and opinions on sexual assault
Today, we are pleased to announce the launch of NewsTracker Data, a web tool that collates and categorises news reports on rape and sexual violence from more than 30 sources. NewsTracker already contains about a year’s worth of news coverage, and will allow journalists, academics, activists and students to easily follow or research media reporting of cases by date, source and theme (such as #Kathua or #DeathPenalty). Do try it out here.
TV journalist Padmaja Joshi says the media can help fight rape culture, but not by running “awareness campaigns”. In an interview with NewsTracker’s Aakanksha Singh, she also explains why she “can live with the criticism” that the media sensationalises rape cases.
Across India: news since last Tuesday
Much media coverage has been given to the ‘toxic masculinity’ of the film Kabir Singh, the parole plea (and its subsequent withdrawal) by convicted rapist and Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, and the Mumbai police’s booking of actor Aditya Pancholi after a leading actress accused him of raping her 10 years ago.
Last week, it was also widely reported that actress Tanushree Dutta did not appear before the Women’s Commission regarding her #MeToo case against actor Nana Patekar, who was later given a “clean chit” by the police. Datta has, however, said that this is “fake news given by Nana’s team” and that she is “bored with these psychological games in the press”.
Meanwhile, in the Hindi heartland, women continued to be ‘punished’ for their (or others’) perceived transgressions.
In Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, a student was raped by four of her cousins and a teacher for excelling at her studies. They reportedly wanted to “cut her down to size”.
In Vaishali district, Bihar, two women were beaten, tonsured and paraded across a village for resisting a rape attempt. Five people have been arrested, including a ward councillor.
In Agra, UP, a woman died after she was gang-raped by two of her brothers-in-law. The suspects apparently wanted to teach their wives, the victim’s sisters, “a lesson” because of a property dispute.
In Bulandshahr, UP, two women were crushed to death under the wheels of a car after they protested against the driver’s “lewd remarks” about a member of their family.
Politics and rape
Sunita Singh Gaud, a leader of the BJP’s women’s wing in Uttar Pradesh, said last week in a Facebook post that Hindu men should gang-rape Muslim women and then hang them up for all to see. She has since been expelled from the party.
Congress national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi and the Uttar Pradesh police have engaged in a “Twitter war” after she accused law enforcement of first, not caring about the safety of women and then, of “surrendering before criminals”, reported the Times of India. The police countered her with statistics to counter her accusations.
Assault of minors
In Gurugram, Haryana, a four-year-old girl was allegedly raped at a daycare centre by the 14-year-old son of the owner. The assaults reportedly occurred multiple times, and came to light when the child’s mother was explaining ‘good touch and bad touch’ to her.
In Chennai, a 60-year-old ex-serviceman has been arrested for the rape and murder of his four-year-old neighbour. He attacked the child when her mother stepped out to drop her son at a tuition centre.
In Delhi, a 3-year-old girl was raped by her maternal uncle, while her mother and aunt were at work. The man found her playing outside with his 6-year-old daughter and took her inside to assault her.
Rape culture and films
Two films — both of which have done excellently at the box office — have triggered a discussion on rape culture.
Shahid Kapoor -starrer Kabir Singh has been criticised widely in the media for glorifying “toxic masculinity”. Amid social media calls for a “boycott” of the film, Meher Manda in Firstpost contends that “Kabir Singh shouldn’t be banned for its toxic masculinity; its existence should be validly critiqued” , while Raja Sen in Hindustan Times calls it “injurious to health”. However, while there is general consensus in the mainstream media about the film’s problematic treatment of sexual violence, Animesh Pandey of Right Log argues that “the outrage against Kabir Singh exposes the hypocrisy of the left-liberal brigade”.
Meanwhile, Ayushman Khurrana’s critically acclaimed Article 15, which is loosely based on the mysterious Badaun case of 2014, has inspired a more low key discussion on the intersection of case and sexual violence.
This roundup is curated from the RSS feeds of more than 30 English news publications from across India.
Use our case filter to read reports on specific cases: #MeToo, #KeralaPriest, #RapeOfMinors, #Muzaffarapur, #PoliticsOfRape (use the dropdown menu in column A).
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