A Seed- where it all begins; the affection, the desire, the homeliness. Two souls together build a bond, with patience, love and care; just to move ahead to call something ‘theirs’, something they built on their own, something they divided their attention for. They knew they could fight every battle for it, and give it everything it needed until it stood by its roots and bloomed for as long as it could.
To watch it grow was their only desire, and to give it safety was their only duty. Spent day in and day out; keeping it close to their heart, they always kept a lookout. It wasn’t always easy for them, but they learnt. They made mistakes, and they relearnt. But they never gave up- they wanted the best of everything, for they knew they were creating a beauty; but maybe they forgot how everyone doesn’t only cherish a flower’s beauty; some may, for fun, let it rot.
Eventually, the day came- the little gang came playing about, having the time of their lives until they saw the pretty flower and believed they could ‘own’ it; own it in a way it permitted them to use it, play with it, have fun with it, pluck it, ruin it, and leave it to its ultimate tainted death. Ignorant of the pain they were about to cause, they simply cared of themselves and took away the last essence of happiness from someone’s incomplete life.
They never meant to take care of the flower, they just wanted to have some ‘entertainment’– an amount, which was enough to ruin the hard work and care once put in. They had their share, and left the pretty, young bud to crumble. They watched it dissolve in the same ground, it once bloomed from.
This enacts the exact situation of Sexual Violence- mainly Rape; the fourth most common crime- in India. We- as broken citizens of the system- remain helpless and eventually resort in the judiciary; the same judiciary, which despite of continuous efforts to expedite such cases, remains a huge backlog encouraging the eroding trust in ‘our’ police and law. The poor treatment of survivors, when combined with a few perpetrators being convicted and a perception of lenient sentencing- tacitly signals to society the ‘decriminalisation of rape’.
Seven years after the crime, the infamous Delhi gangrape case laboured on in the Supreme Court with the filing of a new review petition. In the Unnao case, the victim was killed even before the final verdict. In India, justice- even in high-profile cases- can take time. These delays not only hurt the victims, but also affect the society by crumbling its faith in institutions and increasing the clamour for extrajudicial justice.
The initial problem with the provision of Criminal Justice System for survivors is the lack of disclosure of ‘in-question’ sexual violence. Over 80% of survivors never report their experiences to the police often due to deep-rooted fear of disbelief, of unjustified blame, of retribution, of re-traumatisation, of the impact on their family and community, and of being let down by the system; the system which assumes such terrible proportions in the minds of some victims, that they would rather prefer to forego any prospect of justice than engage with it.
And even when such heinous incidents are reported, their solution is delayed. Like with any other crime, rape-related crimes are also first dealt with by the police and then by the courts- both of which prove to be extremely slow.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau data- 36% of all cases of rape remain unresolved by police forces across the country. The court backlog is even worse: nearly 89% of all rape cases in Indian courts possess a pending resolution.
This pendency persists even after concerted efforts to expedite rape cases, which remains far worse than the pendency rate for other crimes. Even the fast-track courts that were established to expedite cases have a pendency problem. Though the government proposed establishing 1,800 fast-track courts, only 700 are currently operational with the total number of pending cases in these courts standing at around 700,000.
With this rate of delay and lack, the barriers of justice in India still believe they can supply their people with the faith and belief. We, as a collective, deserve to be known that we’re worth it- their time, their effort, their justice, their verdict, but most importantly their punishment. If they cannot play fair, what’s even the point of making the rules?