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#MeToo: Woman cannot be punished for raising voice against sexual abuse: Major highlights from Priya Ramani acquit case
Most of the women who suffer abuse do not speak up about it or against it for simple reason “The Shame” or the social stigma
In a victory for the MeToo movement in India, a Delhi Court at Rouse Avenue today acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar.
Akbar had taken Ramani to court after she published tweets and an article in Vogue Magazine levelling allegations of sexual harassment against him. Ramani claimed that in December 1993, MJ Akbar sexually harassed her when she was called to The Oberoi, Mumbai for a job interview.
As social media breathes a collective sigh of relief on behalf of Ramani, who fought the case for nearly two years, we take a look at some of the key observations made by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey in his order passed today.
1. It cannot be ignored that most of the time, the offence of sexual harassment and sexual abuse committed in the close doors or privately. Sometimes the victim herself does not understand what is happening to them or what is happening to them is wrong.
2. Despite how well respected some persons are in the society, they in their personal lives, could show extreme cruelty to the females.
3. The Court takes consideration of the systematic abuse at the workplace due to lack of the mechanism to redress the grievance of sexual harassment at the time of the incident of sexual harassment against the accused Priya Ramani and witness Ghazala Wahab prior to the issuance of Vishaka Guidelines by Hon'ble Supreme Court of India and enactment of The Sexual Harassment of women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, or their option to not lodge the complaint of sexual harassment due to the social stigma attached with the sexual harassment of women.
4. The time has come for our society to understand the sexual abuse and sexual harassment and its implications on victims. The society should understand that an abusive person is just like rest of the other person and he too has family and friends. He can also be well respected person of the society.
5. The victims of the sexual abuse do not even speak a word about abuse for many years because sometimes she herself have no idea that she is a victim of abuse. The victim may keep believing that she is at fault and victim may live with that shame for years or for decades.
6. Most of the women who suffer abuse do not speak up about it or against it for simple reason “The Shame” or the social stigma attached with the sexual harassment and abuse. The sexual abuse, if committed against woman, takes away her dignity and her self-confidence.
7. The attack on the character of sex abuser or offender by sex abuse victim, is the reaction of self defence after the mental trauma suffered by the victim regarding the shame attached with the crime committed against her. The woman cannot be punished for raising voice against the sex abuse on the pretext of criminal complaint of defamation as the right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right of life and dignity of woman as guaranteed in Indian Constitution under article 21 and right of equality before law and equal protection of law as guaranteed under article 14 of the Constitution.
8. The woman has a right to put her grievance at any platform of her choice and even after decades.
9. It is shameful that the incidents of crime and violence against women are happening in the country where mega epics such as “Mahabarata” and “Ramayana” were written around the theme of respect for women.
10. Indian women are capable; pave the way for them to excel, they only require the freedom and equality. The 'glass ceiling' will not prevent the Indian women as a road lock for their advancement in the society, if equal opportunity and social protection be given to them.