Monday, 8 March 2010

In which the Chief Justice asks us not to judge

The Chief Justice of India, K.G Balakrishnan, has been quoted in a number of papers today warning people against being "overtly paternalistic" with regard to a rape victim's personal autonomy...when it comes to her choosing to marry her rapist.


A couple of things:

One, he's absolutely right about respecting the victim's decisions. People do what they can to cope, and it's not always the most progressive or universally useful action. One sees a lot of this when complete outsiders hint that someone is not doing her duty by reporting a rape, whatever it will cost her.

Two, and this is where I say but. But does Justice Balakrishnan live in a different world from me? (Answer: yes). Because while I'm sure there are plenty of people disapproving of and passing judgment upon rape victims who choose to marry their rapists, should such women exist, I'm aware of many, many more stories where it hasn't been a choice. Rape victims in this country are still treated with a great deal of disapproval for bringing the rape up in the first place, and not choosing to take this easy way of ending the scandal quietly is likely to bring upon them even more pressure. The choice between marrying one's rapist and being cut off from all of ones support systems is meaningless, and I see no reason to "respect" such a choice or the people who forced it.

Three, would the number of victims marrying rapists be lessened if said rapists were found guilty by the courts and put in jail? I suspect it would.


(Oh and here is some further weirdness from the Supreme Court. Via Nanopolitan)

3 comments:

anonymouse said...

How about a judgement which says that the change in maritial status will not affect the rape case? Oh, and since the victim has married the accused and chosen not to give effective witness, the accused will be guilty until proved innocent (aka marriage as admission of guilt)?

iissarayu said...

well said!

Aishwarya said...

anonymouse - Heh, I like your brain. This would probably actually work.


iissarayu - thank you :)