Monday, August 27, 2007

Woman Empowerment

Woman Empowerment. Two words done to death by repeated usage is all possible contexts by the media.

Empower is defined by the dictionary as “ to give or delegate power or authority to or to give qualities or abilities to”

So let’s discuss what exactly Woman Empowerment is.

Is it Sania Mirza reaching world no. 29 in the WTA rankings?
No, that’s just her hard work & dedication finally paying off.

Is it more women joining the workforce or the corporate world & standing shoulder to shoulder with men ?
No, that’s women just claiming their due. This had to happen sooner or later & I guess you will agree with me on this.

Then, is it SRK’s rag tag bunch of 16 winning the hockey world cup & the movie making money inspite of it being unabashedly feminist ?
Nah, the movie’s just a reflection of society & how it has come to accept females in roles other than home makers.

Then, it must be the Election of Pratibha Patil as the FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT of India. This is the first case of “empowerment” we’ve got among all the examples discussed. But again, wasn’t that just dirty politics, or should I just say politics, the word dirty always implied !!

So now let me discuss a concept which is as far from Woman Empowerment, as it is a reflection of it in some twisted way.

It’s about RAPE.

Hindustan Times – August 21, 2007

A local court has rejected the defence's contention that conviction in a rape case cannot be based on the sole testimony of the victim and sentenced a man to 10 years in jail for raping a minor two years ago.

The judge said, “Conviction can be based on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix (girl) if she is trustworthy

The defence had, during the trial, challenged Kumar's prosecution, contending that since the girl's testimony was not corroborated by any other evidence and there was no independent witness, he could not be held guilty. The court, however, refused to accept this argument and cited various judgments of the Supreme Court.

So, had the Supreme Court set a precedent for this judgement ? The answer, as it turns out, is a resounding YES.

The Times of India – July 29 2007

A recent Supreme Court judgment convicted a rape accused relying solely on the victim's testimony despite the medical evidence not proving occurrence of intercourse.

The key for the court is that the testimony of the victim should be "cogent, convincing and trustworthy."

Very subjective & idealistic indeed

In the given case, a medical test was carried out on the victim & also her body was examined. No proof of intercourse was established. Also, there were no injury marks found anywhere on her body implying a struggle or forceful intercourse.

But, the court said any departure from this rule of attaching weight to the victim's statement would put women in a more vulnerable position.

It said that no woman would lie about a crime, an act so grave & violating. Idealistic, yes. True, no.

So guys, any “trustworthy” girl whose testimony is “cogent & convincing” can put you in jail – maybe for cheating on her, maybe for no reason at all.

There is definitely a possibility that women will try & harass men by leveling false rape charges on them as they know that the law as well as the sentiments of the judge would be in their favour.

So, don’t get me wrong here, I’m a complete feminist at heart. Let’s all be idealistic here. Let’s assume. . . NO, let’s agree that no woman will ever lie about an act so violative of the woman’s body, mind & spirit. But, you CAN, you always CAN.

Isn’t that Empowerment ?

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