“Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen.”- Laura Hillenbrand
In a country where a rape is reported every 21 minutes, even the most horrifying crimes too… soon get forgotten… of course, except by the victims and their families. They are left to fight their long lonely battles for justice which, more often than not, is denied to them.
RAPE is a crime happening all over the world including developed nations. The only difference… that in India, the conviction rate is far lower than other developed nations.
Over 34,600 cases of rape were reported across the country last year with Madhya Pradesh and Delhi topping the infamous list. The rape victims were among the age group of below 2 years to over 60 years. Since most of the rapes happen behind closed doors and the victim is known to the assailant, stopping such rapes is very difficult for the police.
More and more children are becoming victims to it. Why do men rape children – 5 years, 10 years, 13 years? It is because some men cannot control their desires and know the fact that the government will not take any action against the crime they commit. It is ‘this’ thrill of not getting prosecuted and never getting caught. It is because the fear of law is not there. Speedy justice is not there. Fair trials are not there. Because the culprit knows that the victim won’t go to court, or even if she does, it will be a lot bigger punishment for her to carry out the whole years of delays to go through, and, he knows she will back out and would rarely go through the court case.
Girls wear even more skimpy clothes in foreign countries. How many of our Indian folks dare to even touch them? They know, they will be behind bars straight away. No connections, no money will help. Allow the same to happen in India and all harassments will stop. It is not only about the severity of punishment, but the surety of any punishment at all too. Women and children too should be bold enough to tackle eve teasing and violence against them. If potential attackers see their nerve, attacks will automatically be less. They should immediately complain about any kind of harassment and discuss the same with family and police.
Anand Jon was an Indian-born American celebrity fashion designer who appeared on America’s Next Top Model and was listed in Newsweek’s” Who’s Next in 2007?”. In November 2008, he was convicted at the Los Angeles Court on one count of rape and multiple counts of lesser sexual offenses. He was sentenced to 59 years to life. In USA, punishments are enacted depending on the different types of sexual assault, which also include rape. Punishment is categorised as 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree rape punishments. The maximum sentence for rape is life imprisonment. He was awarded with the maximum quantum of punishment.
The legal system of Saudi Arabia, being an Islamic country, is based on Sharia – Islamic law. The punishment for rape is public beheading. This is done in a public place where the victim is made to kneel down facing Mecca and his head is beheaded with a single stroke by the police.
In China, strict punishment is given to rapists. Rape is a brutal crime and a death penalty is declared once the rapist is convicted. This is done by firing a single bullet at the spinal cord joining the neck. Another punishment given to the rapists in China is castration.
In North Korea too, there is no leniency when it comes to punishing a rapist. The offender is either shot in his head or vital organs by a firing squad. This kills the convict relatively quickly and provides instant justice to the victim. Even in Afghanistan, the Islamic law is followed for punishing the rape accused. The rapist is either hanged to death or shot dead by a bullet in the head. The punishment is given within four days of the crime.
India too had gone into a frenzy over Nirbhaya gangrape case that had rocked not only Delhi, but also made a worldwide anger outpour over the safety of the modesty of a woman in India.Nirbhaya had suffered brutal injuries and had died subsequently.
Before 2013, rape was not considered a major crime. The highest degree of punishment that could be given to the convict was imprisonment for seven years. This was possible only when the culprit was arrested and proved guilty. After the Nirbhaya incident, the Parliament passed the Anti-rape Bill. Now, an act of rape is liable to life-long imprisonment and even death penalty in extreme cases. According to the new law, not only rape but other acts like sexual harassment, molestation, acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism are also liable to stringent punishments. The new law has the provision of awarding minimum 20 years of rigorous imprisonment, which can be extended to life imprisonment to those found guilty of gang-rape.
Nibhaya’s accused went on trial in a fast-track court. The juvenile was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment in a reform facility. His quantum of punishment came into scrutiny as he was a juvenile at the time of committing crime.
Showing leniency towards a juvenile is not right, because a person who can even think of such a heinous crime can never be a child. At a time when the public and youth were out on the streets of Delhi after Nirbhaya rape, Justice Sathasivam assured them that the judiciary would take adequate measures to ensure speedy trial in cases relating to sexual assault of women.
“The judiciary is aware of the situation and is in the process of taking adequate measures in this regard. I will request the public not to resort to violent methods of protest,” He had said that speedy trial was a must not only in the Delhi rape case that had sparked spontaneous public protests but also for all such incidents across the country.
It is mostly seen and witnessed that ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’, as happened in Scarlett Keeling rape case. Due to slow and prolong trial, there remains a risk of eyewitnesses’ back out, destruction and elimination of evidences during the course. Moreover, changing of judges break the connection with the case too.
Justice P Sathasivam quoted during the Nirbhaya Rape Case Trial, “”Fast track courts and day-to-day trial is a must in all rape cases, in which the police too are required to complete investigation expeditiously and scientifically to present cogent evidence before the trial court,”