Activist Sunitha Krishnan has defended posting of two rape videos, soon after which her car was attacked and damaged last week.
Krishnan, the co-founder of Hyderabad-based NGO Prajwala, says the two videos, uploaded by her on social networking sites under ‘Shame the Rapist’ campaign, nauseated her when she first watched them.
“They were smiling, cracking jokes, making a video and taking photos while they went about sexually assaulting the victim. They also circulated the videos on Internet and WhatsApp. It is their utter lack of fear of committing such an act, remorselessness and insensitivity that shocked me… I felt that these persons must be identified, shamed and brought to justice,” she says.
“The fact that these videos were in circulation for six months, seen and forwarded hundreds of times but still no one thought of reporting it to the authorities is also disturbing.”
Prajwala works for rehabilitation of sex workers and their children and those rescued from the sex trade, and Krishnan has been using the social media and Internet to gather information about offenders.
“Offenders make videos and take photos to shame victims and use these to threaten them into silence. I used the same strategy against the offenders while concealing the identity of the victim. I am hoping people will be sensitive enough to give information if they can identify the rapists,” she says.
On Monday, Krishnan met judicial officers too to seek advice on how to take the matter forward.
While YouTube took off the rape videos the next day, the Hyderabad Police has not made much progress in investigation into the rapes or the attack on Krishnan’s car.
Krishnan is herself a gang rape survivor, having been assaulted when she was 15. Living in Bangalore then, she had started teaching children living in slums.
Krishnan says she does not remember much about the gang rape but the anger she felt about how she was treated after it and the way people looked at her gave her strength for her struggles since. She finished her schooling, graduated in environmental science from St Joseph’s College in Bangalore, and went on to do PhD in social work from Harvard University.
In late 1995, Krishnan was sent to jail for two months for leading protests against the Miss World event at Bangalore. Some years ago, she was attacked near Bangalore, leading to partial loss of hearing in her left ear.