The nation-wide protests after the gang rape in Delhi have finally broken the silence around sexual violence, put women’s rights on the political agenda, and established that rape is not a sexual act but a legally punishable crime
No amount of money can restore the dignity and confidence of a rape victim, and certainly compensation is meaningless if the guilty are not punished. But monetary compensation does at least recognise rape or sexual assault as a crime, writes Manjima Bhattacharjya
The globalised economy of conspicuous consumption requires the outsourcing of domestic labour to migrant women – the Thai, Filipina and Ethiopian migrant in Europe, the tribal in India. Low wages and exploitative conditions are recognised problems, but what about the ethics of passing domestic work ‘down’ to another oppressed category?
Feminism’s deepest belief is that women’s voices must come to the fore, but when they do, we find these voices often scuttle our assumptions about what should be the right/legitimate form of ‘agency’. How do we account for the agency of women returning to violent partners, of women who decide not to throw off the veil but put it on, of women who want to be mail-order brides or sex workers? Manjima Bhattacharjya explores
Women are increasingly reporting sexual violations/exploitation within the home, workplace, friends’ circle or university that don’t quite match the strict requirements of ‘rape’ or the loose connotations of ‘outraging her modesty’, the two broad types of sexual violations that the law recognises. Will the long-pending Sexual Assault Bill help?
The Supreme Court of India recently asked the government why they don’t legalise prostitution if they can’t curb it. But do women in sex work really want a piece of paper called a license? Or police reforms that may lead to freedom from extortion, convictions against traffickers rather than new laws, directives and campaigns that make discrimination against women in prostitution legally punishable and socially condemnable?