By Shruti Sunderraman
Even as the country observes the close encounter Varnika Kundu had with kidnapping and stalking, crimes against women show no sign of slowing down. A 28-year-old woman in Varngalwadi village of Maharashtra has been brutally ‘punished’ for helping her brother have an affair. A gang of men assaulted her, stripped her naked and paraded her in the village. The police have arrested arrest eight people. They have been identified as Maruti Satle, Baban Satle, Sanjay Ingole, Angad Ingole, Kunta Ingole, Lanka Satle, Rekha Ingole, and Zumbar Datal. They have also detained a juvenile allegedly connected to the case.
On August 2, the accused and his gang of men forcibly entered the survivor’s home to allegedly assault and beat her up. After repeated pleas for forgiveness by her husband, she was spared from further assault. But not before she was stripped and paraded naked. According to a report, the woman’s brother was having an affair with the accused’s relative.
The angry mob syndrome is not unknown, but it’s disgusting that stripping and shaming is being hailed as the default choice of ‘punishment’ when it comes to a woman. A tribal student in Jharkhand’s Santhal Pargana Women’s College was stripped and filmed on August 4, for an alleged theft of a mobile phone. According to a report, her father, a farmer was contemplating suicide after the ‘humiliation’. The video clip of stripping her was uploaded and shared on social media.
By stripping a woman to ‘punish’ her, what message does it send out? This blatant disregard for the law not only fuels mob justice, but reinforces the baseless conditioning that a woman’s dignity lies in her clothing or lack of it. It also puts focus on how it’s somehow always the woman’s fault in a crime or issue, even in cases of more than one person involved in it. In the Maharashtra case, there was no mention of the brother who had the affair being similarly ‘punished’. Assault of any form on anyone is a no-no, but why is a woman always the first target?
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