While some questions are steps in the right direction, few betray a mind-set which still does not understand rape.

 Judge who suggested castration for child-rapists now has questions about womens rape
news Rape Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 14:26

In October 2015, Justice N Kirubakaran of the Madras High Court sparked off an impassioned debate when he suggested that child rapists be castrated for their crime. While he had his critics and supporters, his approach to addressing women’s rape seems to be more thoughtful.

On December 14, passing the verdict on a gruesome case of two men raping a 60-year-old mentally challenged women and then stoning her to death, the evidently disturbed judge has sought a response from the Tamil Nadu and Union governments on 25 questions on women’s safety and rape. While some questions are steps in the right direction, and some betray a mind-set which still does not understand rape.

Justice Kirubakaran cites the gruesome crimes perpetrated against women in the country and explains the nature of these offences as being both an invasion of bodily privacy that every citizen is entitled to as well as the permanent mental agony that the survivor is subjected to. Seeking responses from governments, his questions include broad one regarding the ‘increase’ of crimes against women to the distribution of modern devices and gadgets for the emergency use of women in danger. The order also asks for the specific rate of conviction in rape cases both across the country and in the state. 

The order, however, also questions if reasons such as men being "sex starved", watching pornographic content are contributing to the rise in crimes against women. These questions tend to perceive rape as a ‘sex’ problem, when it is well established that it is about power, too. The order also focuses much on the ‘increase’ in crime in recent times, while sexual assault is deep-rooted and only seems to be increasing now because of more awareness and women speaking up.

In a progressive step towards gender sensitization, however, the order asks if the central and state governments have taken any steps towards introducing "Age Appropriate Sex Education" in schools. As a crucial juxtaposition to these statistics, the order also asks of the government: Is it a fact that in spite of rise in complaints of sexual violence, many cases are not reported by the victims fearing stigma and exclusion by society and family?

The order impleads the Centre through the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Women Welfare and Child Development, and the National Commission for Women who are expected to respond on January 10, 2018. The order also expects response from the Tamil Nadu state government as well as the Director General of Police. 

The full list of questions is below:

1.     What are all the reasons for increase of sex crimes against women and girl children in India?

2.     What are all the problems faced by the police authorities while dealing with the complaints involving sexual violence against women and girl children and prosecuting the case properly?

3.     What is the rate of conviction in rape cases throughout the country and Tamil Nadu for the past 10 years? [Year-wise details have to be given separately.]

4.     What are all the steps taken including making use of latest technology like DNA finger printing taken to effectively investigate and prosecute the culprits to get conviction to prove “certainty of punishment” in cases of offences against women and girl children?

5.     Why not the Central and State Governments install CCTV cameras in public places, junctions, malls etc., to have surveillance to prevent offences being committed especially against women and to detect the offenders in case of commission of offences and to prove the guilt of the accused to the hilt as the brutality of the murder was exhibited by the CCTV clippings captured in the closed circuit television fixed in the locality while Shankar was murdered in the busy market area at Udumalpet on 14th March 2016, in the name of honour killing?

6.     Why not the Central and State Government establish centre for DNA Finger Printing and Diagnostics (CDFD) to investigate crimes effectively and prove the culpability of the offenders in India which is the second populous Country with thousands of offences committed every minute?

7.     Whether the victims of sexual violence are given proper counselling and support system to overcome the trauma and mental agony and paid compensation?

8.     Is it a fact, in spite of rise in complaints of sexual violence, many cases are not reported by the victims fearing stigma and exclusion by society and family?

9.     Whether alcoholism is one of the main reasons for spurt in offences against women and children?

10.  Whether sexual violence against women is due to fall in sex ratio due to female infanticide and foeticide?

11.  What are all the reasons for gang rapes of women including toddlers, as more such cases are reported in the recent times?

12.  Whether more sexual violence against women is due to “sex starvation” among Indian men in view of various prohibition/prescription regarding sex on the ground of culture, religion, morality and ethics?

13.  Whether sex offences/crimes against women and girl children are due to lack of knowledge and understanding about sex?

14.  Are sex crimes, especially rape is committed due to the wrong impression of the male that women are their objects of pleasure and to prove their dominance and control over women?

15.  Is it a fact that the rise in sex crimes is due to easy accessibility and availability of pornographic materials through internet and smart phones which are easily available to all?

16.  Is it a fact that now-a-days films and serials shown in the television give tips/clues/ideas for the men, especially, youngsters and juveniles to indulge in sexual violence against women and girl children?

17.  Whether the Central Government and the State Government have taken steps to introduce “Age Appropriate Sex Education” in school curriculum itself to educate students/youngsters about sex to clear their doubts and wrong notions, as per the directions given by this Court in xxxxxxxx vs. State, Represented by Inspector of Police reported in 2015 SCC OnLine Mad 9441?

18.  Why not the Central Government and the State Government include a subject 'Moral Education' to teach moral and ethical values and equality of women and girl children in the society to the students especially to boys?

19.  Why not the Central Government and the State Government sensitise the public, especially young men about the punishment and stringent laws for sexual assault on women and children?

20.  Why not the film stars and celebrities, prominent personalities in the society be roped in, to advise the boys and youngsters to treat the women and girl children equal to men and boys by way of short films, issuance of pamphlets, commercial advertisements, seminars, lectures, etc.,?

21.  Why not Central Government appoint a committee/commission headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge with Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Andrologists, Sociologists, Anthropologists, Women activists, Advocates, retired police officers, men of eminence to look into the various reasons especially psychological/mind connected reasons for increase in Sex crimes against women and children and to give recommendations suggesting remedial and preventive measures to be taken by the Central Government including suitable amendment in laws?

22.  Why not the Government appoint well trained counsellors/psychologists in every school or for 5 schools, so as to note anti-social and narcissistic personality disorders and identify potential sex offenders and give appropriate counselling with the co-operation of the parents discreetly, to avoid stigma on the children?

23.  Whether all the States and Union Territories formulated a uniform scheme for providing victim compensation in respect of rape/sexual exploitation of physically handicapped women as per the directions of the Hon'ble Apex Court dated 11.02.2016 in Tekan @ Tekram v. State of Madhya Pradesh (Now Chattisgarh) reported in AIR 2016 SC 817.

24.  Is it a fact that many false complaints alleging sexual assault are being filed for various reasons to wreck vengeance against the opposite party?

25.  Why not Government distribute modern devices/gadgets to women which could be used by the women at times of distress or while facing sexual violence?

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.