Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A disturbing judgement

A 19-year-old mentally challenged woman whose mental age is described as nine was raped by an attendant in a shelter home in Chandigarh. A few weeks later, when she developed what has been reported as "some complications" it was realised that she was carrying. And the authorites approached the High Court to have her pregnancy terminated. The High Court was in favour of terminating the pregnancy.

Then some activists on the woman's behalf approached the Supreme Court to have a stay on the High Court order. They wanted the woman to give birth to a child. The Court was told that the woman was an orphan, and as she had no blood relative she should be allowed to keep the baby. The woman too, it was said, wanted to have the baby. The Supreme Court has stated that the woman be allowed to carry the child full term.

As a woman I am horrified.

First, the woman who is bearing the child needs looking after herself as she has the mental age of a nine year old child. The State has been found to be deficient in its care of the woman. One of the attendants of the home where she was kept raped her.

Now the judges want the woman to carry full term, bring into the world a baby who would neither have a father, nor a mother who could look after it. Who would then take care of the baby? The State that has been found to be lacking?

Second, the pregnancy follows a rape. Now, I do not know of any woman who would want to carry a child of a man who has raped her. One must realise that her feelings for the foetus have yet to be developed. But her feelings for the rapist exist. And these would be unhappy and torturous. Usually if matters are in a woman's hand, she gets rid of such a foetus at the first opportunity.

It is said the woman wants the baby. In this case, the woman is not in a position to decide what is in her best interest. She does not know was bringing up a child entails.  The decision has to be made for the woman.

Third, are the persons who are so vociferously fighting for the woman to carry the child, prepared to help the mother look after it? Are they ready to assume the responsibility for the child till he or she attains adulthood? If not, then they have no business to advocate that she carry the child full term. Why saddle the woman, who is herself a child, with the task of looking after a baby?

The court is reported to have cast aside the objection to the prospect of the mentally challenged girl delivering the baby when she is not able to take care of herself. “The nature has its own methodology,” it said. Now what does that mean? That nature by some magic is going to take care of the baby? I found this statement reported in the media about what the judges said, very horrifying.
Three years later the court pronounces its judgement on the rapist. It was found that the girl was gangraped. What makes it worse is that the people who the state had appointed to take care of abandoned and orphaned children had raped the girl in their care. And there were two women who allowed the men to exploit the girl. Horrifying!
The link to the article as it appeared in Indian Express

Rape and punishment

The National Commission for Women recently came up with a host of suggestions to deal with rape in the country. But it has recommended very short terms for rapists. I wonder why? Does the commission think that a rapist can be 'cured', or would regret his crime by spending a few years behind bars? Can a rapist be ever cured? However, that is a topic for another post.

The commission has suggested somewhat stiff punishment for men in uniform and those who hold responsible positions. In cases of a police official commiting a sexual assault on the premises of the police station where he is appointed, or if he assaults a woman or child under 16 years of age, the commission proposes he should be liable for a minimum punishment of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment. The staff or management of a hospital, remand home or a women's or children's institution committing such an act should be liable to punishment from five years to 10 years in jail and a fine, the commission has proposed. Five years, is really a very short term for rape, especially if the woman is under treatment in a hospital or under care of a remand home. And just five years for raping a child? This is no punishment for bodily harming and scaring her or his psyche for life. In fact, the punishment for raping a child should exceed that of raping a woman.

The commission has proposed a prison term for seven years for incest. Is that enough?

Whenever I write about rape, the situation of women in Saudi Arabia horrifies me no end. That is one of the countries where a rape victim is punished! Lashes and a jail term! This tragic incident happened not so long ago in Saudi Arabia. See what the woman's husband has to say about it -http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/11/21/saudi.rape.victim/index.html

In Pakistan till recently, the testimony of four pious (I wonder how they define that!) persons, sorry it should be MEN, was needed for a rape to be proved! Now where in the world would you find four eyewitnesses for rape? And what kind of men, and pious men at that, would they be, if they let the rape be committed and did nothing to prevent it?

See how the Afghan men reacted to a protest by Afghan women to the introduction of a new law – they spat and threw stones at them!

The law introduces some more restrictions on women -- it bars them from leaving their homes without the permission of their husbands and also legalises marital rape.

The world over there are few convictions for rape. I wonder why that is so? Is it because that often it is only men who man the judiciary? Or the fact that men can never really understand the trauma of rape? Of is it that we use different yardsticks for defining wrong and right for men and women? Or that in some countries the adherence to some warped male interpretation of religious text takes precedence over everything else? Whatever it is, there is no denying that around the world men get away lightly with rape.

Though India does not have such archaic laws, the rate of conviction in rape is abysmal. It is still very tough for a woman to come out openly and say she has been raped. And after she does that, little or no action is taken in majority of the cases. Insecurity, public censure, lack of support drives some women to take the extreme step – commit suicide.

Most horrifying is the way judges behave. Read about the way a Pakistani judge conducted the trial of a 13 year old girl who was gangraped -
Shouldn’t he be punished? Why does he get away with the wrong he does? Just because he is a judge?

In my earlier post I wished to share what women in different parts of the world feel the punishment should be. Though I did not get any response from a Pakistani or an Afghani woman, I am sure they too would advocate life imprisonment, if not death and castration.

There is a great schism between how women view rape and how the state reacts – in most countries in a very patriarchal fashion. Raping a child should be considered more serious than raping a woman. Is there any country in the world where this is being done?

Later posts: Rape and molestation, mindset and judgments
                  Another gangrape in Delhi, how will we act?

Some opinions from around the world. One of the posts states that in India rape is equated to murder. That is not true.
You must see this oneSociety elders decide five shoe smacks enough punishment for a rapist!

Can a rapist ever be cured? Read what is being said about it.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Is there something seriously wrong with the way we bring up boys?

Is there something seriously wrong with the way we bring up our boys? Why are there so many cases of men who rape children? And what does this say of us? This shocker of a story really saddened me - a child raped every other day in Tamil Nadu! Think of the poor little girls and the trauma they would have to carry with them all through their lives. Just why do we do this to our children?
And shouldn't there be some very stiff time-bound action against men who rape children?
At Blogcatalog, I had asked a group of female bloggers from around the world, what they thought should be the punishment for rape? Women from different parts of the world had one verdict - yes, we all think alike- and the punishment sought is life imprisonment. Some even said castration. It sure seems to be an apt punishment for men who rape children.
Remember what Lorena Bobbit did to her husband who raped her? It happened long ago. Watch as she tells Oprah. I am sure many girls who have been through the trauma would wish they could do that to the rapist.

Earlier posts -
The vile men of religion

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Obama checks out a girl

Don't they look like a couple of college boys?
It doesn't matter - you may have a Michelle or Carla by your side...
I loved the photo. It is one of those photos that brings an instant smile. The photographer was alert and fantastic at his job.
But of course, the media has to be condemned... now I see stories on the net that the photograph was doctored! Does the photo make the Americans uncomfortable? The speed with which the video appeared saying that the photo is lying ...excuse me, he wasn't looking at her behind, but watching his step, or ,or , or ... watch the video and decide... maybe he didn't mean to see her rear, it just appeared in his line of vision!
The video clears Obama, but poor Sarkozy is framed.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Another police excess

More on police brutality. This time from the eastern part of the country. A truck driver was shot dead by a policeman because he hit the police car! Cases like these show how those in power deal with common people. The incident shows their utter brutality towards defenceless persons who are not in a position to retaliate.

It is indeed sad that the police meant to protect people do just the opposite and become perpetrators of crime.

Do you think that the punishment for those in uniform, or those who hold posts of power and responsibility, should be stiffer than that slapped on ordinary persons who commit an offence?

Earlier posts
Cops as criminals
Haryana police needs better training

Friday, 3 July 2009

The ghost employees of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi

You must have heard of employees not showing up for work.
Even heard of employees that shirk work.
But have you ever heard of phantom employees? Employees that draw their salary every month but do not exist in human form? Well our Municipal Corporation of Delhi has thousands of such ghost employees.
But what is the number of the ghosts that inhabit the payment rolls of the corporation, no one knows, least of all the MCD.

The Times of India has been carrying a series of articles on the rot in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which Delhiwallahs have nicknamed the Most Corrupt Department - where things move only by palm grease.

This corporation we are informed has two kinds of employees - the permanent ones and the daily wagers. Many of them do not show up for work. The report says that thousands of them may not even exist, but their names appear on the rolls and these phantoms draw salary!!

No wonder I have not seen a safai karamchari ( the sweeper) ever on the lane on which my house stands... though MCD has assigned sweepers to every street. On record there are hundreds of these workers. So no surprise that you see Delhi's streets so piled up with filth and the municipal parks neglected. The gardeners too exist only on the salary rolls and are not seen in the parks. If they were you would not find them neglected and overgrown. If you see a well laid out park, you can be sure, the residents' association is taking care of it by hiring its own gardeners.

One estimate is that the phantom employees could number around 45,000. Though they never show up for work, they draw their salaries, milking the system dry of crores of rupees every month, according to these reports. The rot has been known to our political masters, the councillors who we elect. The paper says that the move to weed away these fictitious workers was opposed by these councillors and MCD staff way back in 2002.

And by the look of things, the councillors are once again trying to stop the enquiry, says the Times of India today.

The MCD needs to come clear on many fronts. The people of Delhi need to know --
The number of employees the corporation has
The total salary bill of these employees

How many of them are permanent and how many temporary
What is the need to have 'temporary' workers if there are posts that are still lying vacant (according to some reports)
The residents associations need to be given the names of the sweepers and gardeners assigned to their locality, so that a check can be kept on their attendance and to confirm that they do exist!

Earlier posts on the MCD -
The most corrrupt Municipal Corporation of Delhi
Where is my leader

A later post
Shocking scandal - Over 22,000 ghost employees in MCD

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Want to work for a better India?

Unnati Features and Women’s Feature Service are looking for dynamic young persons for an exciting short-term project that reaches out to young people

TWO POSTS (Based in Delhi)
The person, between 20 to 30 years old, should be -
* proficient in the use of web-based software for audio, video and data integration
* a good communicator in English and Hindi with an ability to address small and large groups
* able to interact personally with young people/students in particular
* available for the project from mid-July to mid-November to work on part-time basis
Postgraduate students/research scholars are welcome to apply. Salary will be based on ability and experience.

We also welcome volunteers with good communication skills interested in reaching out to colleges and youth groups in other parts of the country. Those selected will carry out the work in their respective towns and cities and be in touch with the project coordinator in Delhi by email. Remuneration will be based on tasks accomplished.

Please send your CV by July 7, 2009 to -
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