A 22 year gang rape survivor was sent to jail for ‘misbehaviour’ by a court in Bihar. She allegedly raised her voice asking for her statement to be reviewed by a social worker before it was officially recorded. According to multiple news agencies, Bihar Court also charged two social workers for obstructing their proceedings. All three women are now lodged in a jail in Samastipur, located around 225 km away from Araria in Bihar.

The Case So Far

On 7 July, the 22 year old filed a complaint at the Araria women’s police station in which she alleged that she was gangraped on 6 July. After an FIR was registered, she had been called to record her statement before the magistrate under Section 164 of CrPC on 10 July.

The police said she appeared with two social activists from NGO named Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan to record her statement. Reports say police said no other people were allowed when a survivor files a report and signs her statement. The rape survivor wanted that the activists accompanying her to first read it out to her.

According to The Print, “While recording their statement, the accused trio ‘insulted’ the presiding officer by misbehaving with him and tried to obstruct the proceedings of the court.” As the survivor refused to sign the written statement, the court noted that they had ‘misbehaved.’

In the last six months Bihar has reported many rape cases. Only a few weeks ago Bihar reported another gruesome rape. A 16-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped by three youths at a village under Pipra police station in Supaul district.

Rapes In India

In 2018, 89 rapes were reported every day. According to data, every fourth rape victim in India was a minor while more than 50 per cent of them fell in the age category of 18 to 30 years, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

According to data for 2019, there is a rape case every 6 hours in Bihar. State crimes bureau reported that while Patna leads the state’s rape complaints, Araria is also a hot bed for rape and crime against women.

Questions to Raise
In India alleged rapists have roamed free. In 2015, it was Nirbhaya’s rapists before protests changed things on the ground. In this case in Punjab, the rapists were not arrested immediately. The rape survivor of the Ashiana Complex case said so in as many words, “I have to hide my face while the rapist roams free.”
What does this incident say about our courts? “It is clear that the judiciary needs to undergo a gender sensitivity and empathy training,” says Elsamarie DSilva of Safecity. “Clearly the system is faulty, when a survivor of rape is sent to jail. We need a thorough re-look at our laws.”
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