On the night of 15th August our bus from Delhi to Kullu stopped on a dark road after the driver got warnings about land slides ahead. There were some tourists and sixteen cyclists in the bus. And lots of conversation. We stayed up all night with no mobile connectivity and endless rain, joking about how the adventure had already begun. The next morning as the traffic crawled, tea, bananas, makki ki roti and kadhi chawal were bought. That evening we checked into a hotel, waiting for the landslides and traffic jams to clear. (Everybody agreed this reminded them of ‘Mr and Mrs Iyer‘)
The bananas we ate came wrapped in this news headline in Hindi.
“Chamba mein premi ne looti aabru” (Roughly translates to – ‘Her lover looted the dignity of a victim.’)
Do you think the Indian media needs a clearer understanding of sexual crimes? Being victim of a sexual crime (or any crime) does not rob a woman (or anybody) of dignity.
I also feel the use of the word ‘lover’ (premi) trivializes the accusations made by the victim who seem to have seen the man as her future husband.
There is serious taboo against premarital sex for Indian women and it seems Sunita (not her real name) would not have sex with anyone but a husband (or a future husband). So it seems this man assured her that he was going to marry her and then for years, found excuses for not marrying her. If what the victim says is proved true, the man could be charged for cheating.
If Raj is convicted he could be jailed. But maybe Sunita would rather the dishonest, manipulative, disrespectful and irresponsible man married her since Indian women are raised to believe that nothing is as important as Getting Married and Staying Married.
And sex without being married, is seen as worse than being married to an abusive man. How do such taboos and values help Indian women?
Should it be legal for media, police and lawyers (etc) to imply that the victim has not only been cheated and exploited but has also lost her dignity?? Aren’t such implications the biggest reason why Indian women and their families don’t report sexual crimes?