SC stand on victims of rape Change society’s attitude


No to disclosure of identity of rape victims, even after death. This is the Supreme Court of India and one needs to understand the social reality under which this order was issued by the apex Court of the country on December 11. Protection of the identity of rape victims has also been extended to social media posts. Even if parents of the rape victim gives the green signal to take names, the apex Court has ruled that names of rape victims, even if they are dead cannot be disclosed for public consumption. The ruling of the Court is based on the premise that rape victims, even if they are dead cannot be named for even the dead have dignity. This is where the Indian society need to look inwards and study why so much stigmas have to be attached to rape victims, that in most cases it is not the rapists who come under scrutiny from society but the rape victims. In other words, it is the rape victim who is subjected to social ostracisation and not the perpetrator of the most heinous of crime. Says something significant about the mental make up of the great Indian society. The reality is the ruling of the Supreme Court may have come in the face of the fact that in some of the most high profile rape cases in the country, the real name of the victim was inadvertently revealed on the assumption that since they are dead revealing their name may not do any harm, particularly after the parents went public with the identity of the child, who was raped and then killed. This reminds one of Nirbhaya and more recently the Kathua gang rape case.
It is in cognizance of this reality that the Supreme Court has come out with such a ruling. Rape itself is horrendous but ironically it is society again which seem to rape the soul of the rape victim with its judgmental stand. This is where it becomes important to protect the identity of the rape victim and it is in line with this that the Supreme Court has come out with such a ruling. Even the dead have dignity and they cannot be named and shamed, is the reasoning that the apex Court of the country has given. It is here that it becomes important to question why rape victims should feel victimised again and again when they are mentioned as victims of rape. Shouldn’t the shame be with the rapist/s ? As the Supreme Court noted, society’s attitude towards rape victims need to change. Or else the very idea of handing down the harshest punishment on rapists will stand defeated. It is not only penalising the rapists that is needed but also a mechanism wherein rape victims are saved from society’s myopic view and attitude towards rape victims. Back home here, in Manipur, the situation may not be as bad as in other parts of the country, but still rape victims continue to be objectified or cited as examples while chastening a child. This says something profound about how society treats rape victims and this is something to be very, very ashamed about.

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