Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Go, marry a beast

AFter a long, long time... Read this in TOI.
Pretty interesting..

MAJA DARUWALA[ SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2005 12:00:00 AM ]
Suppose, for a moment, your rapist wanted to marry you. Should you refuse? After all your life is blighted. You are 'spoiled' forever. You're no looker, especially after he has gouged out your eye. You should consider this offer flattering.
What would the wedding night be like: quiescent and calm because you know each other well enough or a maelstrom of violent passion again? Bound in the sacred sacrament of marriage, would you feel safe from all the wickedness of the world in his strong embrace? At least, would you feel financially secure that there was a man to provide for you?
Well, maybe not: Because he won't actually be bringing home the bacon for another 10 years because he will be in jail for your rape. It's all too unfair.
This is not Mills and Boon. This is real life and the absurdity of this line of thinking is only trumped by the absurdity of a court entertaining a real application by a real rapist to marry his real victim. What if she had agreed? Would it change the course of the law? Marriage as an escape clause for a criminal should not enter the framework of law.
Rape is forbidden in all circumstances. Rape carries a minimum of seven years and a maximum sentence of life. It is a grievous criminal act against the body of a person. In addition, in the case where the judge had given time for the victim to respond to an offer of marriage by her rapist there is the small matter of gouging out one eye and damaging the other.
There is no concept of blood money or personal solace as alternatives to punishment in our books. You can't make verbal amends or innovative offers to get out of punishment. Crime is against the individual but it is also against society as a whole. It is no part of our law to allow criminals comfortable options to a long stint behind bars. Maybe the judge was following a new trend: Forgiveness instead of punishment.
This approach was followed in Mumbai, where an additional sessions judge is reported to have acquitted a rape accused after the victim agreed to forgive and marry him. Surely here is an example for the world to follow in innovative criminal justice reform and a solution to overcrowded jails.
The solution is especially tailored to the Indian context when it is well known that our women are world famous repositories of compassion able to forgive, forget and absorb endless suffering to ease the tensions of our rapists. Maybe it is best if we formalise this with a law that says where a rape has been accompanied by particularly gruesome violence, like gouging out an eye, and the sentence is likely to be severe, then all convicted felons should be given a chance to repent by marrying the victim.
The victim should not be given any choice in the matter at all, especially if she is unmarried. If she is old, ugly or - horror of horrors for the poor rapist - a widow, it would be providential for her. An exception can be made if the woman is of a religion or caste unacceptable to the rapist. Then he needn't be required to hold good to his offer. After all there are limits to punishment.
Is a second chance for a rapist such a hard thing for women to swallow? Would we not want to suggest this kind-hearted end to our own daughters? With a convicted son-in-law at home, it might be a tad too difficult to take him into the family bosom unless we lock up our wives and daughters. And while we are cleaning house to welcome the impending nuptials and new groom, let's throw out the law books forever.

2 Comments:

Blogger Dinakaran said...

In India, a woman who is raped is almost like an untouchable. It is impossible for her to get married.
If the rapist is punished - even hanged - what happens to the woman?
Are there Indian men who are ready to marry a raped woman?
There are innumerable movies where a rapist is forced - not by the judge or police, but by the woman or her family - to marry the woman. Why? Unlike in the West, there is no other way out for her.
Is there any solution to this?

4:08 PM  
Blogger Arattai Ambujammal said...

Ever heard of an elephant bull raping an elephant cow, or a rooster raping a hen? NO! Somehow, animals and birds never get so low. We humans say that animals don't have the sixth sense, they just have basic instincts and no romance. But after seeing such beastly homosapiens one often wonders if we are probably not so much the "elite" species as we think.
Considering the psychological, emotional and physical trauma caused by rapists, why do we even consider them humans? What was the judge reconsidering - moral values of a rapist? Please.... we expect better of the judiciary!

9:35 PM  

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