I am for zero tolerance of rape

Forcing a #rape survivor to marry the convict/accused is reprehensible and condemnable

 

Friends, recognising that a problem exists is the first step towards resolving it. The same is true for #rape, which is being reported with an alarming regularity. I realise that we have a problem on our hands and the best way to address it is by tackling it head-on. That is how the #KDSinghFoundation came into being. The thought behind my Foundation was simple: To bring about positive change. Armed with a clarity of vision and purpose of mission, I organised my team and inspired them to focus their energies on supporting rape survivors in #Haryana, to begin with. Going forward, my Foundation will expand its activities into #YouthEducation and health care. More such initiatives on the anvil.

I am sharing this with you because there is another problem that we need to first recognise and then tackle, and here I’m talking about the practice of encouraging a compromise between a rape survivor and the convict/accused, in general, and forcing a rape survivor to marry the convict/accused, in particular.

In a shocking case, a middle-aged man raped a six-year-old girl. Instead of registering an FIR, the Panchayat ordered that the rape survivor be married off to the eight-year-old son of the man who raped her! That is not all. The case was still being processed when the accused again raped the minor. A similar case was reported from Uttar Pradesh where a Panchayat ordered a rape survivor to marry the accused. Only after the media highlighted the incident was an FIR registered in the case. A few years ago, a man accused of rape was given a choice of either marrying the rape survivor or paying Rs 15,000 as fine and getting ‘excommunicated’.

There is a general belief that a major reason for the practice of forcing a rape survivor to marry the convict/accused is the social stigma associated with rape. As an activist says, ‘A rape survivor can find herself ostracised and as a result she is made to believe that a wedding, whether surreptitiously with the aggressor or to someone else, is the best possible solution’.

I couldn’t agree more with the Supreme Court’s observation of 27 August that compromise between a rape survivor and the rape convict, offer of marriage to a rape survivor or the survivor forgiving the accused for the crime, cannot be a ground to reduce a sentence of imprisonment. Also, noting the tendency amongst trial courts to permit such compromises, the court warned: ‘Don’t be soft on rapists’. Compromise, it said, can’t be believed because there is every chance that the convict may have put pressure on the rape survivor. The apex court was hearing the case of a man who was sentenced to 10 years for a gang-rape in #Haryana. He subsequently married the gang-rape survivor and has children from her; therefore, it was pleaded before the court that the convict should be released early from prison.

Friends, I am for zero -tolerance for rape cases. Also, I am of the firm view that forcing a compromise and/or marrying off a rape survivor to the convict/accused is reprehensible and condemnable.

I am committed to working towards a #RapeFreeNation. My Foundation has adopted 90 rape survivors in Haryana, to begin with. I encourage you to #ReportARape at #KDSinghFoundation’s 24×7 toll-free help line number 1800-200-2056.

Jai Hind.

 

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