I usually stay away from controversial topics in my blog and stick to entertainment like travel, movies, food etc. But something that I read in the newspaper today enraged me so much that I decided to do what I do best – blog about it.
The High Court today ruled that for a rape case to be given maximum penalty ie. Life imprisonment (20 years under Indian law which usually is brought down to 12-13 years for good behavior), the rape must be brutal. In this particular case, the man was a tutor for a minor girl and while her mother was out to the market, he committed the crime. In court, he had the audacity to ask for leniency as there was no brutality in the rape and despite evidence like the girl’s mother witnessing the act when she returned and positive DNA tests, the court agreed to give him 10 years (usually out in 4-5 years) as punishment.
What I would ideally like to know is whether the court bench that passed this order was made up of male members or female. How does one define brutality? Would it have helped if he had slapped her a couple of times? Inflicted some wounds? Drawn blood? Would that be enough to put him away for double that time?
What could possibly be more brutal than violating somebody forcefully? It is not just an act of physical violence, but one of psychological scarring. Imagine the life of that girl now, imagine her dealing with the shame that follows. Imagine the strength she will need to live when everone around her knows what she has been through and she will always be either an object of sympathy or taboo. Imagine her harassment on dealing with authorities, police, hospitals, courts, lawyers, media. Imagine what sort of impact this will have on her relationships, her school life, on her self esteem, on her will to live. Now put all of this together and tell me, what could possibly be more brutal than this? A murder in my opinion is not as brutal as rape. At least in murder, the victim’s suffering is over. In this case, the victim will suffer for the rest of her life.
Perhaps that is why the jury system works better than our court systems. Tell me one jury who would not give the death sentence to the recent case of a police official who not only raped a minor girl but harassed her family, periodically tortured (3rd degree) her brother in jail cells, got her thrown out of school and finally drove her to commit suicide.
Perhaps brutality of the act itself was much lesser than the brutality of the court verdict, and its leniency.