Sex with under-18 wife is rape. 62 year old man convicted to 12 years RI with fine for raping minor girl of 12 back in 2015.
One is the Supreme Court of India coming down hard on ‘child marriage’ that is rampant across the country and the other is the POCSO Court sentencing an elderly man for raping a minor.
One in New Delhi and the other here in Imphal.
The common thread running the two cases is sex with minor girls.
So while the former had to do with child marriage the other had to do with raping or forcing oneself onto a minor girl.
Both testify the fact that minor girls are not safe anywhere, least of all in a place like Manipur where a special day is set aside to pay homage to womenfolk on Nupi Lan on December 12 every year.
It is also good to note that the POCSO Court delivered its verdict fast, in the sense that while the rape took place in 2015, the conviction was passed this year.
This is significant in the sense that the justice delivery system is deemed to be slow in many cases.
Not that sentencing the rapist will heal the traumatised girl child and her mother, the lady who lodged the complaint, but it can certainly go a long way in instilling the belief that not all rapists can expect to walk free.
It may also be presumed that this may just be the tip of the iceberg and chances of numerous such other sexual assaults going unreported may be high, very high.
Stigmas attached to rape victims can be high, very high and this says something about society as a whole.
It is this mindset that needs a serious review.
Not that the conviction of the 62 year old rapist will put a stop to rape once and for all but it can certainly go a long in acting as a deterrent.
In this particular incident, the POCSO Court has done its job, but society too need to ask itself where girls and by extension women are placed in its scheme of things.
This should start from each individual household and the first lesson would be for all to respect womanhood.
The mentality that women can be placed on the pedestal in the public sphere but subjected to the status of a punching bag within the four walls of a house should go.
It is this mindset which gives birth to rapists and molesters.
Moreover society too need to seriously take a relook at the prevailing culture of eve teasing, which seems to be socially acceptable.
This is what is unacceptable.
The rape of 2015 should not only be seen through the prism of a man sexually violating a minor girl but should also be seen through the wider spectrum of where women stand in today’s society.
Make women safe and this will extend to the safety of the girl child.
The Supreme Court has already dealt with the question of the child bride, but so widespread is child marriage that it is here that The Times of India while reporting the Supreme Court verdict, raised some questions, such as “whether the minor wife would overcome social compulsion and bring rape charge against her husband.”
A reference to the status of women in Indian society and this says something significant.
Source : The Sangai Express