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HomeCampus VoiceShahdara rape shows we need to learn more about bodily autonomy

Shahdara rape shows we need to learn more about bodily autonomy

Campus Voice is an initiative by ThePrint where young Indians get an opportunity to express their opinions on a prevalent issue.

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The recent incident of public shaming of a gangrape victim in Delhi perturbed me. This case is capable enough to shake the moral conscience of any ordinary sensible individual. But the accused party was so ruthless that it did not leave any method to torture the girl. The accused family is allegedly involved in the selling of illegal liquor, and they also boasted of their links with local politicians. The question is, if someone’s family is politically strong, have they obtained the right over the bodily autonomy of others?

Unfortunately, citizens of India have become very intolerant and they don’t stick to the principle of justice. Now, the mob is made the judge, and it doesn’t check who is right. In this particular case, a 14-year-old boy asked for sexual favours from a married 20-year-old woman. When she rebuked him, the minor boy opted for suicide. This started the game of taking the law into one’s hand. The family of the boy brutally beat the woman, shaved her head, raped her, put a garland of slippers on her, painted her face black and paraded her in the locality. Each and every action possible to outrage her modesty was committed by the accused. This shows that intolerance has grown to such a level where people don’t consider who was wrong in the first place. People seek revenge when their sexual advances are resisted in any manner.

What makes the incident more shameful is that such things have become common in a country that apparently respects women as goddesses. Today, the reins of the citizens are in the hands of politicians who have double standards on the issue of women safety, and whose reaction to such cases depends on the caste/religion of the victim. On most occasions, they care more about the vote bank of the accused person’s community than delivery of justice to the victim.

Also read: ‘Filmed, watched from terrace’: How Delhi locality let ‘gang rape’ victim be paraded, didn’t help

One shocking thing unravelled by this case is that masculinity, promoted by society, hasn’t kept the concept of ‘male-superiority’ exclusive to men. The active and leading participation of women in the Delhi public shaming incident bears testimony of this fact. Now, misogyny isn’t absolute to men. We also have women who encourage the rapists to increase the brutality level.

If such incidents and thinking are not curbed, it would cripple the mindset of our young generation and impair the development of the country. Mob rule will directly hinder the progress of girls and minorities. Education is necessary in order to stop these barbaric activities, and everyone must be taught to respect others’ bodily autonomy. There is also a need for speedy trial guaranteeing justice, to reinstate the trust of politically weaker sections of society in the Indian constitution, whose adoption anniversary was being celebrated a few kilometres away from where this brutality took place.

The author is a student at Jindal Global Law School, Haryana. Views are personal.

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