A Disclaimer to begin with! If you have clicked on this link assuming this to be a woman-centric article written by a woman author, you must not read further from hereon.
Yes this is about rape – this is about the basic human right justice, we as women demand, where rape as a term has become synonymous to the mainstream media coverage. This inhuman act which makes women so vulnerable, probably leaving them in a vegetative state, has hardly or possibly no hope for justice despite the below mentioned laws provided by our just, yet handicapped judicial system.
375 – Rape
376 – Punishment for rape, 376A – Punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative state of victim, 376B – Sexual Intercourse by a man with his wife during separation, 376C – Sexual Intercourse by a person in authority, 376D – Gang-rape, Intercourse by any member of the management or staff of a hospital with any woman in that hospital, 376E – Punishment for repeat offenders
377 – Unnatural offences
Before I proceed further, let me emphasise. I advocate the strongest and toughest punishment to any offender in case he has been found guilty. However, do we ever spare a thought, whether all rapes that are reported in India lead to conviction?
Do we really follow up on any media story to conclude whether the accused had really been an accused? What was the judgement in each rape case reported? Was there a different background to the story which did not get reported on the face of it?
As humans, we tend to have a herd mentality and largely believe what is widely accepted. However, we rarely care to unearth the other side to a story, which could also possibly exist.
This is not about women’s rights being suppressed, or a movement against women empowerment or trying to inflict patriarchy, but to make people like you and me realise that men cannot be always on the wrong side, and what women allege and speak may not be the gospel truth always.
Most of the newspapers/websites with popular readership, publish data on number of cases “reported”, but rarely do we see any publication reporting on the gap between the number of cases reported Vs number of convictions that take place.
There can be a strong counter that men in India get away with this heinous crime, which leads to a low conviction rate. However, do we care to find out, how many rape cases get settled with :
Money demanded by victim
Professional Favours executed by the accused
Accused compelled to Marry
Blackmailing for Lifelong Benefits
Any other demand forced to be met
Question : What could be the reasons that prompt women to file false rape cases? : [with links to a few stories covered by media, yet unknown to society]
(I) Soured Relationship after prolonged partnership and Consensual Sex :
a) There have been numerous such examples ranging through all age sections, the most famous one I can recall is of the renowned film director Madhur Bhandarkar, who had been allegedly accused of rape by Priti Jain, after the two were allegedly in a consensual relationship on the pretext of casting Jain in movies. The court drama continued for several years, for almost a decade and eventually the latter voluntarily backtracked from the case since she didn’t wish to pursue the same further. Reason for the same was never given.
b) Delhi Man gets acquitted from a rape case filed by a 12 year old Girl who was influenced by her aunt
(II) Blackmail using HoneyTrap :
a) The most recent case of a high profile woman in New Delhi running a honey trap racket, blackmailing the man or threatening to file a rape case against him. The case got highlighted against the woman in this incident, since the man involved was a sitting Member of Parliament.
b) Jaipur CA blackmailed for Rs. 75 Lakhs else threatened with Fake Rape Case
(III) Settling scores with collegaues/family:
a) A 73 year old ex Army man charged with rape by daughter in law, which was later proven to be a case of settling score with the family due to an ongoing matrimonial dispute between the son and daughter-in-law. In a rare scenario, the court ordered a perjury proceeding to be faced by woman for filing a false case
b) 4 Women from Haryana put on trial for filing false cases to settle scores with the known
Question : How Does this actually Work?
It is probably easier to file a rape case in India today than to order your grub online.
Going through several such cases, we learn that the system is so corrupt and fragile that the complaints are lodged on the mere word of a woman without proper inquiries.
Many a times, there is a bias towards the women, due to constant media reports on real horrendous incidents that take place frequently. While some are planned FIRs, many can be random instigation with a trigger that has not been in line with woman’s demand.
There is no age bar on for women filing false rape cases, some who are in their teens while some even 60+.
There is no age bar as well on false rape cases filed on boys/men, some as old as 80 and in some cases, boys under 10 years have also been accused
Consequences on the Innocent and his Family:
It could be any boy today who can face a false rape charge before he even knows the law to this effect. He is arrested by a mere FIR filed by the woman. Before he is convicted legally, he is pronounced guilty by media trial, relatives, society, colleagues and almost all.
His career is virtually finished with the tag of a rapist, since he has to frequent courts for years/decades to prove himself innocent. It can get worse, if he is a married man and has kids who are also brought under the ambit of a rapist family as well.
It becomes impossible for the boy’s parents to face society despite claiming innocence of their son, many of them resorting to the extreme step of committing suicide
Question: Why Do We Need to Address this as a Society?
After years of court dates, change of multiple judges, harassment from the system within, all the man gets, is a mere “Acquittal.” Is there any acquittal from his sufferings?
Does the court restore his Right to Dignity? Can he build a career from the scratch which he has lost out in so many years?
What does the future hold for such a man’s reputation in society? Will he be always looked as a womaniser? Do the women who file false cases get any conviction? Why does our judicial system have No Deterrent for a woman who garners courage to file false rape charges (in some cases, women have repeatedly filed cases on different men)
India has been a patriarchal society at large, but this does not give rights to any of us women to trap men with false cases, just because we are believed easily. We women should understand that filing false cases on men is only going to make us weaker in society and the real victims will always be doubted for justice eventually. We have our own rights to demand equality in every respect, but misusing these rights for personal egos is an absolute slap to womanhood. As a woman, take a stand for a better society that will not make our sons/brothers/fathers vulnerable to such traps, which lead to destruction of many innocent lives.
A thought for us as a society to ponder upon….
(Arnaz Hathiram is pursuing Masters in journalism and also an activist. Views expressed here are her own and Janta Ka Reporter doesn’t endorse them.)