It is never easy for an abuse victim to raise her voice against the culprit. Sadly, when the abuse victim raises her voice, rather than celebrating her courage, our society tends to harass or blame the victim.
One such heart-breaking incident surfaced recently when an additional session judge laughed at the rape victim during the hearing.
As per the sources, the 22-year-old woman who accused ET Now anchor – Varun Hiremath of rape has written a letter to Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde. She has written the letter to bring his attention to the additional sessions judge’s insensitive, inappropriate and traumatising behaviour during an anticipatory bail hearing in the case.
Referring to the anticipatory bail hearing, the woman mentioned the details of how the counsel for the accused repeatedly made humiliating jokes at her expense. But, rather than putting a stop to this disrespectful and insensitive behaviour, the judge, Sanjay Khanagwal, laughed along.
In the letter dated March 11, 2021, she mentioned:
“During the hearing, the counsel representing the accused, one Mr. Vijay Aggarwal repeatedly made false, gravely humiliating and disparaging remarks against me and assassinated my character throughout the course of the hearing by slut-shaming me. All this happened in the presence of the Judge, Sh. Sanjay Khanagwal, who to my shock, instead of reprimanding Mr. Aggarwal and restraining him from doing so, laughed with him, on multiple instances.”
The woman mentioned that though the accused’s counsel’s behaviour was “horrendously traumatic”, she was more “shaken and ashamed” by the fact that the judge too was party to that behaviour. She mentioned that “…further aggravated my misery by laughing at Mr. Aggarwal’s filthy arguments aimed at disparaging my character.”
In her letter, she added:
“I was traumatized after the rape incident, and with great difficulty I had gathered the courage to approach the Police and pursue this Complaint in order to ensure that the accused is held accountable. However, given the painful innuendos aimed at scandalizing me, and the deeply humiliating remarks aimed to sully my character made by the Counsel for the accused and the participation of the Judge, it has further aggravated my misery and trauma. The course of the events yesterday has totally shaken my faith in the functioning of our criminal justice system. Sir, I deeply regret pursuing my complaint in the vain hope of getting justice.”
The victim also mentioned why she is writing to CJI Bobde.
“in the hope that you will take appropriate steps to ensure that no other victim has to undergo the same humiliation and trauma that I have suffered – simply because I expected decency and justice for my suffering”.
It is heartbreaking to see how a woman raising voice against abuse is not only ill-treated by society, but by our judicial system as well. In recent times on multiple occasions, the court has left many disappointed with their regressive rulings. We hope the Chief Justice would take corrective action in this regard so that no victim would ever feel harassed and shamed for seeking justice!