A rape survivor, an intellectually-challenged tribal woman from the hinterlands of Maharashtra has received justice thanks to the initiative of Video Volunteers’ Maharashtra correspondent Krupakar Chahande. The survivor recieved a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh under the ‘Manodhairya Yojana’, from the state’s Department of Women and Child Development (WCD).
Because intellectually challenged women fail to realise that they are victims, or fail to communicate the act of violence, the survivor’s family was oblivious to the rape. But warning signs rang when her health started suffering. “She wasn’t feeling well for a while. So I suggested that she go to a doctor,” says her brother. Her family only realised what had transpired after a check-up revealed that the survivor was pregnant.
A shaken brother reached out to Krupakar who decided to take up the issue and make a video on the same. He put out a plea to the public to demand justice for the survivor. However, justice took a while. Even though compensation under ‘Manodhairya Yojana’ does not require a proof of caste, the family had to prove their caste before their plea was considered by the department for compensation. “They wouldn’t make our caste certificate without proof from 1950s. Krupakar and I ran in circles for two months before we got supporting documents of our caste” reveals the victim’s brother. However, justice prevailed as Krupakar guided the survivor’s brother through the procedure of recieving compensation from the regional office of WCD, even as the perpetrator of the survivor, a high-caste man roams free.
While the state gives compensation to a rape survivor, it isn’t justice enough. The disabled population of India has been ignored from all spheres of life – our society, culture, infrastructure nor policies acknowledge the disabled population A rape survivor needs proper justice where the perpetrator is mete with severe punishment. However, “Almost 80% of women with disabilities are victims of violence and they are four times more likely than other women to suffer sexual violence,” says a report submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 2013.
The disabled people have been the unseen population in India even though they account for 2.21 per cent of India’s population, or 26.8 million people; a number termed as underestimated by disability activists. Of these, 44 per cent are women, but there exists little data by the government agencies on violence against disabled women.
The National Commission for Women in its draft of the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2006 tries miserably to protect women with disabilities against sexual assault. But the nitty-gritty of the legal language leave these women to languish. India is part of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international binding instrument on disability rights in its member countries, since 2007. The anguish of women with disabilities is recognised in the preamble of the convention stating, “that women and girls with disabilities are often at greater risk, both within and outside the home, of violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation” and emphasizes “the need to incorporate a gender perspective in all efforts to promote the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities.” However, India’s efforts towards protecting disabled people’s right, especially those of women, has drawn flak for not being in tune with the norms of UN convention The Indian government, the protection force and the judicial system ought to wake up to the violence against disabled women and introduce stringent laws and rehabilitation programs.
Community correspondent Krupakar Chahande reports from Maharashtra for Video Volunteers.
This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent. Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ they give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change. we could hyperlink to some VV pages, like our take action page.