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India court blames 'promiscuous' gang rape victim for her sexual abuse

Judges accuse woman of smoking, drinking beer and not telling her parents about the abuse

Rachael Revesz
Tuesday 26 September 2017 14:20 BST
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Court case has sparked protests on social media
Court case has sparked protests on social media

A court order has reportedly labelled a gang rape survivor as “promiscuous” and has suspended the jail terms of the three perpetrators in India.

Two judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court agreed to give bail to the three students from the renowned Jindal Global Law School, who had been convicted in March for blackmailing and gang raping another student.

Hardik Sikri and Karan Chhabra were sentenced to 20 years behind bars. Vikas Garg will spend seven years in prison.

As shown in the court document, the woman had a consensual relationship with Sikri for one month and then she broke up with him. He then used naked pictures of her to blackmail and rape her. He also forced her to have sex with his two friends and gang-raped her on one occasion.

Justice Mahesh Grover and Justice Raj Shekhar Attri said the woman had a “promiscuous attitude and a voyeuristic mind”, pointing to her admissions that she had drunk a few cans of beer and smoked marijuana, which she said she had done to make “forced sex more bearable”.

The judges gave five reasons for granting bail, including the perpetrators’ “educational prospects”, the fact they believed the non-consensual sex did not constitute violence, family honor, the woman’s “character” and the fact she did not inform her parents.

“The entire crass sequence actually is reflective of a degenerative mindset of the youth breeding denigrating relationships mired in drugs, alcohol, casual sexual escapades and a promiscuous and voyeuristic world,” the judgement stated.

“No wonder, what is thrown up before us is a tragedy of sorts, driving four young lives and equal number of families into an abyss.”

They added: “It would be a travesty if these young minds are confined to jail for an inordinate long period which would deprive them of their education, opportunity to redeem themselves and be a part of the society as normal beings.”

CCTV shows men molesting woman on New Year's Eve in India

The court order document has sparked protests on social media. Friends of the woman started a petition to condone the judgement, which has gathered 4,500 signatures.

“This judgement is a perpetuation of rape culture,” the friends wrote.

“It worsens concerns with regard to security of women in public spaces. Does the Court mean to signal to our generation that if we drink and smoke, we shouldn’t expect justice from the system, even if it comes to rape and intimation?”

The judges have ordered the perpetrators to attend counselling.

Indian law until recently stated that perpetrators of rape would not be convicted if their victim “was of generally immoral character”. It was changed in 2003.

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