Thursday, 24 December 2015

I am NOT 16 can I rape?

Finally, the bill is passed in Rajya Sabha that juvenile delinquents above age 16 will be treated like adult criminals keeping the severity of their crime in consideration. 

Is this amendment a proactive action to lessen the growing rape culture in India?

As a clinical psychologist, I have my doubts about that.

The swiftness, severity, and certainty of punishment are the key elements in understanding a law’s ability to control human behavior.

Any crime should be seen in totality of the crime committed. Not just in the law books. When it is clear, visible, and objective that the crime committed was not the product of a juvenile mind but the product of a mind that is capable of premeditation, then the juvenile justice system must waiver the accused to the adult court.

And rape is one crime, which is ALWAYS PREMEDITATED. People can commit a murder in the spur of a moment, by mistake, but a person can’t commit a rape at the spur of the moment, by mistake. Therefore, the juvenile justice umbrella must be removed from law books in cases of coercive rape.

I don’t propose to lower down the age limit to 16. It doesn’t make any sense. Tomorrow, a boy of 15 years might commit a rape and we will start the whole circus again. My concern is not 18, 16, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, or 2…

For rape, the juvenile justice system of this country must waiver the accused to the adult court.Waiver is the legal transfer of jurisdiction procedure over the juvenile offenders to the adult court for criminal prosecution.

And before the legal system starts the debate of statuary rape verses coercive rape, I want to clarify that here I talk about coercive rape ONLY. Now, if law enforcement agencies of this country tell me that they don’t have means to figure out the difference between coercive rape and statutory rape; then I advice the women of this country to stop paying taxes. Seriously, in that case, at the risk of sounding rude, I will say that the law enforcement systems behave inefficient in one of their core responsibilities, that is to understand the nature of crime.

If a person is adult enough tocommit the rape, the person is adult enough to take the punishment, period.

Kirtida Gautam is a clinical psychologist and author of the novel #IAm16ICanRape: The War Against Rape Culture. 

Monday, 21 December 2015

A day of shame and Injustice: The Juvenile offender of Nirbhaya rape case walking free with negligible punishment

It’s 2.30 am and I can’t sleep. Today is the day of shame. I failed and all the people who stood for Nirbhaya and demanded justice have failed. Today the Juvenile offender of Nirbhaya case is a free man of our country. And not only that, he would be given 10,000 INR once he is released. The money we paid as tax to the government, which should have been used for our protection. But instead it is given to the criminal who raped and tortured a girl to death in the capital of India. Why should any women in India pay tax anymore?

The statistics gathered by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reveal that the juvenile crimes have increased significantly in last few years and it is still on the rise. Mumbai Joint Police commissioner Himanshu Roy emphasized on the fact during one of his interviews that the police faces challenges tackling crimes by minors. “Even 17 year old are aware that they are juveniles and take advantage of the fact saying you cannot take us in for questioning etc".
Some of the Human right activists claim that many of the juvenile offenders are grown-up in extreme situations, lack of parent support and healthy surrounding, and their minds are not developed. But I want to ask them, what about the crimes which prove that they were not the product of a juvenile mind. I also want to ask the Law-makers, who conveniently put this Juvenile umbrella on the head of such a wide population with the risk of them misusing it, why there are no special laws created when a crime is done on a minor. If you give negligible punishment to someone who committed a sever crime just because he was a minor, why the punishment is not doubled or the most severe and gruesome punishments are inflicted when the victim is a minor. India is among the list of top 5 countries for child abuse and yet again statistics prove that the numbers are on the rise. Also, in many cases minors are raped by minors. Who is the child now? One who is committing the crime or the one who is at the receiving end? We can’t live with a law that fails to look at a crime in its totality. We just can’t free someone in three years because he was few months less in turning eighteen when he lured a girl in a bus, raped her with his fellow culprits and brutally killed her.

Today is not the day we demanded the law to be changed and the juvenile offender to be treated like an adult in a crime as severe as rape. The youth of India was on streets demanding the juvenile to be waived to adult court in Nirbhaya rape case, but our voices were not heard, our demands were crushed.  Before the release of juvenile of Nirbhaya rape case, we just reminded the government that the justice was not served. But now the law-makers and government officials can easily say that he has already served his punishment and can’t be charged again. What about the fact that he was never charged fairly at the first place.

A man who raped and killed a 23 year old girl is walking free on the streets of our country with 10K in his pocket. He might be looking at your daughter tomorrow. Even if he won’t, the girl who is no more with us might be looking from the heaven at the person who killed her and thinking that I could have been walking on those streets, If only he wouldn’t have taken my life away.

I can’t sleep… it’s suffocating…how the women and children are getting raped every minute in our country and the officials of government are just looking at the law books and protecting the criminals instead of creating an environment where the fear of punishment in criminals is greater than the fear of the criminals in our society.