Sensitise police to prevent victim-shaming: Experts

We need to look at the system that’s responsible for victim-shaming, senior lawyer Vrinda Grover

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Pranita Kulkarni | November 8, 2017 | New Delhi


#Victim shaming   #police   #sensitise   #human rights watch   #Vrinda Grover  

 In order to prevent victim-shaming of the rape and sexual assault survivors, there is a need for continuous sensitisation of the police staff, said retired IPS officer  Meeran Borwankar, during the release of a report on victim-shaming by the Human Rights Watch in Delhi on Wednesday. 

The report titled ‘Everyone Blames Me: Barriers to Justice and Support Services for Sexual Assault Survivors in India’ was released in the presence of Geetanjali Goel, special secretary, Delhi State Legal Services Authority, Vrinda Grover, senior lawyer and human rights activist, Jayshree Bajoria, author of the report, Human Rights Watch and Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director, Human Rights Watch.
 
The 82-page report is based on field research conducted in four states – Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, along with New Delhi and Mumbai. 
 
The report gives details of 21 cases, including 10 cased of minors, finds that women and girls who survive rape and other forms of sexual violence often suffer humiliation at police stations and hospitals. It states that the obstacles to justice and dignity are compounded by inadequate healthcare, counseling and legal support for victims during criminal trials of accused.
 
Grover said that women, to an extent, have been able to shed the stigma associated with sexual violence.
 
“The victim is not blaming herself, but the victim-blaming is happening. So, we need to look at the system that’s responsible for it,” she said. 
She also noted that more women are willing to assert their rights as citizens. “Even if it means buying vodka or whisky at 9.30 in the night. It’s not a fun thing. It’s about assertion,” said Grover. However, she said that the legal system is still resisting the change, but is on the “cusp of a change”. 
 
The investigating agencies, on the other hand, are not responding, according to Grover. “Nobody’s asking them to be sweet towards the victims. What we’re asking for is professional investigation. I believe, courtrooms, too, are never going to be a friendly place for the victims, but it can be at least sensitive,” she said.
 

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