In a shocking instance of victim blaming and shaming, a judge of the Karnataka High Court said that it is “unbecoming of an Indian woman” to fall asleep after being raped.
A 42-year-old woman had lodged an FIR accusing her employee of rape, cheating and criminal intimidation. After a sessions court rejected the accused’s plea for advance bail, the High Court agreed to take on the matter.
Justice Krishna S Dixit gave the following statement in an order that granted anticipatory bail to the accused:
“.. the explanation offered by the complainant that after perpetration of the act she was tired and fell asleep, is unbecoming of an Indian woman; that is not the way our women react when they are ravished.”
As if this wasn’t enough, the complainant was questioned for not approaching the court sooner and was subjected to victim blaming.
“Nothing is mentioned by the complainant as to why she went to her office at night i.e. 11.00 pm; she has also not objected to consuming drinks with the petitioner and allowing him to stay with her till morning”
He further remarked that the court could not lose sight of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the increased threat of infection that it poses to prisoners.
What is a “becoming” reaction to sexual assault?
Here’s what we’d like to know…
What exactly constitutes a “becoming” reaction to being sexually violated? Who decides what is the best reaction to rape? And since when did WhatsApp University start handing out law degrees?
Twitter, too, had a few things to say about this bizarre statement:
This why women can never beat patriarchy. It will trample us to the ground one way or another:https://t.co/5v7d4ytDIw
— Cassandra ranjona banerji: prophet of doom (@ranjona) June 24, 2020
If falling asleep and consenting to drink dilutes the crime – “RAPE” then we all should be ashamed
There should be zero dispute on how a female and her body will/should react to trauma. She should not be judged for that
This verdict of HC is “unbecoming of gender equality” pic.twitter.com/Bk6ecNlwTy
— Snehal S (@Speakingpsyche) June 25, 2020
— Siddharth K Dwivedi (@SiddharthKD) June 24, 2020
Such regressive and insensitive statements by a judge of a High Court are alarming and irresponsibly propagate the normalisation of rape culture. When authoritative figures themselves hold on to such stereotypical notions about women, it’s difficult to hope for any changes in the societal mindset. It’s 2020, and it’s about time we shifted the focus of sexual assault investigations from the victim to the perpetrator.
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