Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vitcimisation of the aggressor

The recent case when an American student at TISS, Mumbai accused six others of sexual assault shows the shortcomings in our implementation of "rule of law" and in our failure to reform social norms. It only reinforces the belief that Police instead of acting as the watchdog to safeguard people from crimes, have been reduced to a bureaucratic, self-serving machinery that takes the path of least resistance out in most cases. It is ironic that in most cases, we feel safer approaching another citizen than approaching the police for help. We must reform our police force before we end up surrendering our liberties.

Our social norms however are a bigger threat. For a country that claims to stand for liberty, equality and fraternity, our norms are depressingly patriarchal. Nothing is as disturbing and disgusting as the claims that a victim has brought it upon herself the crime that was committed. The basic defence against accusations of sexual assault seems to be to cast aspersions on the character of the victim and then to conclude, "She brought it upon herself".

From Jessica Lal to Soumya Vishwanathan to this case, consensus seems to be to accept a moral judgement against the victims actions and then condemn the act. In this particular case, the accused has submitted a statement
"The act of the victim accompanying the accused persons who was lonely lady (sic) with six male persons in long midnight itself shows the nature of the victim and therefore, whatever would have happened might be due to willingness of the victim (sic)"
It is a shame that we even entertain a statement such as this. Whence the pink chaddi lobby? Or is it a cause just not glorious enough for the great liberal progressive thinkers? Moral righteousness has no place once a crime has been committed. Crime should be treated as a judicial issue free from any moral judgements.

To extrapolate, the same should be the case with any other crime and that includes terrorism. Conservatives argue for "no compromise" on terrorism, but don't hold the same position when it comes to crimes against individual liberty. Liberals wouldn't compromise on individual liberty and fight against moral judgments on crimes such as these, but don't apply the same logic to terrorism. Hypocrisy thy name!

UPDATE: Exactly the mentality I'm talking about . And they call it "an age-old debate" Beyond disgust.

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