20 October, 2020

The Violated Body

Rape and the case for the death verdict. When should it apply?

Illustration by Sorit
The Violated Body

In the endless ongoing debate surrounding the Nirbhaya gangrape case, certain important issues have been sidelined. Crucial facts have been subverted by the nationwide clamour for justice, redressal and retribution. Early in the day, someone was shouted down by the public for suggesting that there were different degrees of rape. I think the idea bears scrutiny. Yes, there are degrees of rape and I list the most heinous of them below. These are the ones that should deserve the death penalty or imprisonment for the rest of their natural lives without parole, as suggested in the new ordinance. These crimes are amongst the rarest of the rare.

The raping of a small child is obviously the worst possible crime imaginable. The mind boggles at the ghas–tly physicality of the crime. The child's body is yet unformed. She is helpless, fragile, unaware and, above all, trusting, and in no way able to fight or resist the attack. The damage is not only to the psyche of the victim but would, by its brutal nature, tear apart her very innards. This crime is tantamount to murder. How...



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