Indian state to blame for poor gender rights: PUDR

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 31, 2012 13:00 hrs

New Delhi, Dec 31 (IANS) The People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) Monday said the Indian state was primarily to blame "for the sorry state of gender rights in this country".

Mourning the death of the Delhi gang-rape victim, PUDR said it was the state "that accentuates the inequality of women and sexual minorities in families, communities and in society.

"The Indian state is constitutionally mandated to treat all the citizens of the country as equal, and to actively foster equality. In reality, the state upholds and manifests dominant patriarchal culture and practices."

PUDR said in a statement that it was common knowledge that the odds were stacked against victims of sexual crimes.

"The home and the public space are unsafe. The reporting of such crimes is difficult, and when reported, women face long, arduous trials, the prospect of meeting their rapists repeatedly, threats, social humiliation, and finally, the possibility of a judgement that lets off the accused on the requirement that he marry his victim," it said.

"Rape continues to be defined in narrow terms and excludes insertion of objects other than the penis into a woman's vagina.

"Medical tests for rape continue to rely on judgements of the 'character' of women by deciding whether a woman is inured to sexual intercourse using the infamous 'two-finger rule'.

"And the state continues to divest itself of any responsibility towards survivors of rape.

"Leave alone a crime of power like rape, quaintly-named crimes against women such as 'eve teasing' and 'outraging modesty' are barely reported, investigated and prosecuted.

"Sexual violence against women, in word and deed, simply isn't important enough for law enforcement agencies," it said.

PUDR also accused government functionaries of routinely commiting rape.

"Conflict zones as well as the neighbourhood police (station) have been locations of gang and custodial rape," it said.

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