Friday, May 20, 2005

Hang him/Shoot him or hang him & then shoot him!

Gaurav of Vantage Point writes about the predicaments of a rape victim, behavior of the rapist, etc here

I disagree with some of the opinions mentioned there. My take on it:

So is the person who covers the head, the guilty one?

I think that the rape victim covers the head more due to embarrassment rather than the feeling of guilt. Imagine this scenario: you are on a live tv show & someone pulls your pants down (lets assume that you were not wearing anything under your pants that day). Now when you come back from the tv station, would you not cover your head & come? You are not covering the head because you are guilty; you are covering because you are embarrassed. You know that it’s not your fault that the idiot or a SOB pulled your pants down. You know & the world knows that he was the guilty one. But you also know that its still you who have to live with it. You can react to this either by covering your head & assuming that no one notices you or by being open & not caring a damn about it .Both are human nature & I guess the same choices holds good for a rape victim as well.

We cannot/should not coax the rapists to cover their heads and neither should we campaign for the girl to open the veil. For both of them, it’s their personal choices. Irrespective of who covers the head, I think that the main issue here is that justice should be served quickly & fairly.

Gaurav also writes in “Only a society which attaches unnecessary stigma to a rape victim would think of advocating a death sentence for rapists” Again, I have to disagree. Gaurav has not voiced his opinion about what he thinks is the correct punishment. But according to me, rape is a serious criminal offence and ‘Capital Punishment’ or ‘Death Sentence’ is definitely the way to go for a rapist. It dissuades people like Sunil More and would go a long way in reducing the number of rapes in India. But I think our wise men who framed the rules have not gone for death sentences for rape because sometimes the definition of rape can be difficult to interpret. Can a woman who had sex with a man for a favor cry rape after the man did not carry out his promise?, Can a wife claim rape if her husband had forced sex with her? Also can the girl cry rape even though she agreed in the first place but wants the guy to stop halfway through, but the guy refuses to stop? Our lawmakers have indeed been wise that they have not gone for the strictest penalty for rape cases. But for a ‘slam dunk’ case like Sunil More, I definitely support death sentence/capital punishment.

P.S: Since ‘Comments’ are not enabled in ‘Vantage Point’ blog, I have mentioned my views here. Normal service should resume from next post...after I watch the FA cup final between the Red-devils & the Gunners ;-)


At Sat May 21, 03:05:00 AM EDT, Blogger Gaurav said...

Firstly, the face-covering. Shame, embarrassment, all the same. It is basically society's perspectives that cause this embarrassment. I don't think it's a given that someone would cover his face if someone pulled his pants down.

I am not coaxing the woman to show her face. I am just commenting on the mindset of our society where a rape victim has to be embarrassed. A society which makes crap movies like "Huma aapke dil mein rehtey hain" where a rape victim turns down a wedding proposal because she thinks she isn't "pure" enough for the guy.

Secondly, the death sentence. I do not support the death sentence for rape. Consider the following crimes -

1. Cutting off someone's limb(s) or gouging out their eyes.
2. Stealing/embezzling from someone almost his total wealth leaving him bankrupt.

Would you consider capital punishment for these crimes too? Basically what are the criteria on which you would decide whether a crime should be punished with death or not?

At Sat May 21, 04:16:00 AM EDT, Blogger amit varma said...

As Yazad once put it in conversation, having the death penalty for rape is actually an inducement to murder. After all, if the punishment for rape and murder is the same, then it makes logical sense for a rapist to murder his victim, because that minimises the risk of getting caught and doesn't stand to increase his punishment. That is a pretty convincing argument against having the death penalty for rape.

At Sun May 22, 07:26:00 PM EDT, Blogger tifoc said...


I hear your first opinion. Thanks for the clarification.

Regarding your second point, “criteria on deciding death penalty’, It’s a tough question & a very valid argument for not having death penalty. After hearing this argument, I am beginning to see your point “Only a society which attaches unnecessary stigma to a rape victim”, but I am not convinced that it’s the ‘society-unnecessary stigma’ issue. Let’s assume for argument purpose that the society is cool about it. Even then a rape victim goes through a lot of trauma. It leaves a scar with/on the rape victim. There are no celebrity rape victims in the world (lets leave phoolan devi apart ;-)) People have never bounced back after being raped, people have been successful after being stolen, handicapped, etc…but rape seems to leave a permanent mark. Also my grudge is that till now we have been fair with the rapists, and that it has not helped things. They are still taking place in an unabated manner.

I tried to find some actual statistics on rape in India found out this link:

An excerpt:

“Every 26 minutes a woman is molested, every 42 minutes a sexual harassment takes place and every half hour a rape takes place. But what is frightening is that majority of the cases are never reported for fear of reprisal, shame and guilt. Worse, the conviction rate is so low that most offenders know that they can get away with it.”

We have been fair to the rapists & they think that they can get away with it. Now is probably the time that we get nastier with them.

At Sun May 22, 07:29:00 PM EDT, Blogger tifoc said...


Brilliant point! Interesting and a very strong argument for not having death sentence. I do not know the psychology of how a rapist reacts after the rape. Are these guys capable of killing? Would Sunil More have killed in that public place? And more importantly does the argument not hold good for murder & mass murders too. After killing somebody, do the murderers go killing other people because they know that they are anyway going to be charged with one murder?

But let’s assume that it does entice them to commit murder, then we should probably up the stakes. If a rapist gets death sentence and it is carried out after 10 years or so; a rapist + murderer should be beheaded immediately (as soon as it is proved without any doubt)

My whole crux of the argument is that the rapists have gotten away too easily. Again particularly in the Indian context, where some % of women are still oppressed, fairness is not how we deal with these rapists, but with unequivocal rudeness. The message has to be simple & clear to these rapists: That they will not get any mercy from any quarter.


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