Rapes and the growing need for gender reading

The judgment is indeed a landmark in the judicial history of the State and for that matter delivery of justice. Of course, we are referring to the judgment of the Fast Track Court which awarded life sentence to the main convict of a gang rape case while his associates have been sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment. This is a sweet victory for the victim and the society as a whole. The judiciary through the Fast Track Court has rung out a strong message to all criminals as well as those with criminal tendency. It is also one major achievement of the BJP-led coalition for the Fast Track Court (for Crimes Against Women) was set up at the initiative of Chief Minister N Biren. Now justice has been delivered. But it is anybody’s imagination how long justice would have been delayed had the particular case been not transferred to the Fast Track Court. The bestial crime of gang rape was committed on January 22, 2014. After almost three years, justice has been finally delivered, and the exemplary judgment would certainly serve as a deterrent to all criminals as well as those with criminal tendency. Rape is a very serious crime not only from the legal perspective but also from the perspective of criminology. Rape is a huge issue that plagues the world today. It is a worldwide issue, and is not specific to any one country. Rape also can impact anyone at any time. It is not specific to any one neighborhood, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or financial status. If rape is a very serious criminal offence, gang rape is simply unspeakable. Yet rapes, sometimes gang rape and rape plus murder do happen in the tiny State of Manipur which is often given the sobriquets of being the land of Nupi Laans and the only place for women exclusive markets. Police and Court have done their jobs in the particular gang rape case of January 22, 2014. Even if the landmark judgment serves as a credible deterrent, the society needs to do a lot more to nip rape tendency.
Bizarre it may sound but the reality is, women in Manipur are elevated to the high pedestal of being champions of all kinds of socio-political issues and at the same time they are being reduced to wretched, discard-able sub-humans. Male chauvinism and hypocrisy have reached its zenith in the troubled State of Manipur. Rapes and murders are no longer isolated criminal cases. Rapes and murders have been fast evolving into some sort of a deadly infection which is eating into the vitals of the society. And in each and every incident, the violence is stark, brutal and inhuman. These brutal incidents also put a big question on the earlier understanding of our society as gender-sensitive where women are accorded a higher status as compared to other societies. When violence has become a way of life in Manipur wherein the weaker are at the receiving end, specially women, and in the light of the ever increasing incidences of violence against women, there is a growing need for active and sustained engagement on the issue in the form of collective people’s movements with the necessary doses of gender readings of the situation as well as the movements. Such an engagement becomes crucial all the more on account of ever increasing violation of the body of woman and her life in various spheres such as economic, political and social – or in short, in the everydayness of her existence. It is a tragedy that despite the rich and long tradition of women’s movements, Manipur is yet to witness any gender-centric mass movement. Its absence is conspicuous by itself given the fact that domestic violence, rape and murder of women have been disturbing the collective psyche of our people more frequently than ever before.

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