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What were these women thinking while clicking selfie with a rape victim?

Social media is rightly outraged at the selfie. Many are, in fact, are demanding the resignation of the two women, given these are 'responsible' posts.

Written by Hemani Bhandari |
Updated: June 30, 2016 4:46:47 pm
Member of Rajasthan State Commission for Women clicking a selfie with the rape victim/ ANI Member of Rajasthan State Commission for Women clicking a selfie with the rape victim/ ANI

For the past three days, the story of a 30-year-old woman in Alwar, Rajasthan, who was raped has taken social media by storm. The woman was raped by her husband and his brothers, who went on to tattoo expletives on her arms and forehead because she failed to give them the dowry of Rs 51,000 they had demanded.

One should be thankful that at least the FIR was launched against the culprits because had it been only the husband, the police may have refused to charge him for rape because given our existing laws, marital rape is untenable due to the ‘nature of society and beliefs’. Similar cases in the past give us good reason to think so.

Today, another report related to the case has caught people’s attention. It’s regarding a picture that went viral on WhatsApp. In the picture, two women can be seen taking selfies with the rape victim. The women in question are none of other than the members of Rajasthan Commission for Women who are expected to help women in distress.

The chairperson Suman Sharma and member Dr Somya Gurjar visited the victim on June 29 at the police station, when Gurjar decided to take a selfie. In the picture, the chairperson can be seen holding the victim’s hand – as if trying to showcase her tattooed arm in the photo – and looking into the camera. It’s strange how she, being in the picture herself, has asked Gurjar to send a written explanation for her act.

What this photo brings out is the insensitivity regarding rape victims in our society. Not only are these women mistreated and judged by everyone, but it seems that the very people – who happen to be women themselves – whose job it is to address the grievances, safeguard the interests, and investigate and analyse all unjustified acts committed against women are committing the same “misdemeanors” they are ‘fighting’ against. How else does one explain women’s rights activist clicking a selfie and sharing it on WhatsApp?

What this incident also brings to fore is our unhealthy obsession with selfies. Did these women absolutely forget how insensitive it was to click a ‘selfie’ with a person who has allegedly been raped by her own husband and her brothers? Gurjar is even smiling into the camera, which is beyond comprehension!

Social media is rightly outraged at the selfie. Many are, in fact, demanding the resignation of the two women. And no matter what ‘written explanation’, nothing can explain this horrible act.

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