Gang-Rape Survivor Breaks Down & Is Arrested For “Disrupting” the Court. Are We Living in a Dystopia?

Gender

Gang-Rape Survivor Breaks Down & Is Arrested For “Disrupting” the Court. Are We Living in a Dystopia?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Highlighting once again the enormous task it is for women to report rape in our country, a 22-year-old rape survivor was arrested in Bihar for disrupting court proceedings a few days ago. According to the NGO that helped the woman file an FIR, the rape survivor was sent to judicial custody after she demanded that social workers be present when she was recording her statement before the judge.

Two social workers associated with Jan Jagaran Shakti Sangathan, and who accompanied the woman to court, were also arrested, leading to outrage on social media.

The woman was allegedly raped by four unidentified men on July 6, none of whom have been arrested yet. A fifth accused, who was accused of abetting the assault, was held.

On July 10, when the woman was presented in the judge’s chamber, the social workers were not allowed to enter. Once she had relayed her oral statement, she was asked to sign a written statement which she said she couldn’t understand.

She then demanded that the two social workers be allowed to read it first. The social workers, Kalyani Badola and Tanmay Nivedita, then attempted to intervene, but all three were remanded in judicial custody. They were sent to a quarantine jail for women.

The NGO later said in a statement that the rape survivor was understandably agitated when she was presented in court, because of the trauma she had faced, and because she had been made to narrate her horrific ordeal multiple times before the police.

“She was held responsible for the incident several times,” it said, adding that she also had to spend over four hours waiting in the court corridors with one of the accused present.

“The trauma, fatigue, her mental condition, and the long wait for hours in a hot and humid corridor that had no arrangements for people to sit proved too much for the survivor. She gave her statement before the magistrate, but when it was read out to her so that she could sign, she had a nervous breakdown,” social worker Kalyani Badola said.

In a country that’s seen its fair share of victim blaming, the case is another reminder of how hard it is for women to report rapes. As LABIA, a queer feminist collective, noted on Twitter, if she had been calm she would have been accused of being complicit.

With calls now growing for their release, hopefully the women will soon be freed.

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