Sexual Violence: A Global Pandemic
Written by Vrishti Kapoor
Sexual violence is a global pandemic. One in three women experiences sexual or physical violence – most likely from their intimate partner, according to a report from the World Health Organization. There is an urgent need to increase sensitization regarding sexual violence and the awareness of consent and sexual violence amongst persons at large. In this series, we examine sexual violence and related issues that have come up in the news, on a weekly basis, published every Saturday. This is an attempt to improve awareness regarding incidents of sexual violence and related matters, so that we, as a society can take steps towards collective action to reduce its incidence. It is an effort to ensure that we acknowledge the rampant sexual violence that exists, lest we forget.
This issue looks at news from 9th to 15th June 2018.
1) The Infamy of Nobel prize scandal slapped with rape charges
Jean-Claude Arnault, a 71-year old French photographer, was charged with the sexual assault allegations, that led the Swedish Academy to postpone the Nobel Literature Prize 2018 for the first time since 1949. He had allegedly raped the victim twice in the year of 2011, which involved violence as well. 18 other women also accused him for sexual harassment and assault. The allegations have also led to the academy’s reconsideration over his wife’s job, who is a part of the academy. If proven guilty, Arnault will be sentenced to six years imprisonment.
2) Caretakers accused for neglecting and sexually abusing minor victims
Curtis Cochran and his then girlfriend, Valerie White, have been accused of neglecting and sexually abusing three children younger than 12 years of age and a 24-year old female with developmental disabilities, at their Tulsa home. A victim and at least six witnesses testified the allegations. The minor victims had been previously subjected to child neglect and sexual abuse. The previous case’s convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment. Further, the couple is summoned for trial on 25th June.
3) High School graduate refuses to muffle despite the authorities’ futile attempt
Petaluma High School made a fruitless attempt to silence a senior student when she began sharing her ordeal of being sexually assaulted within the school premises, during her valedictorian speech. The authorities abruptly muted the microphone during her speech, which was followed by a loud applaud and the chant ‘Let her speak!’ by her classmates in her support. As a result she moved to the edge of the stage and continued her speech. She further told the reporters that the school authorities did nothing despite her formal complaints and rather warned her to refrain from sharing the same during the valedictory speech.
4) An eight-member ‘ravening and sardonic’ gang jailed for sexual assault
A gang of eight members were found guilty of plying five young girls with drugs and alcohol, grooming them with flattery and then sexually assaulting them in cars, laybys, parks, and guest houses, in Oxford, during a seven-year period from 1998 to 2005. As per a victim’s report, the convicts took chances to rape her after intoxicating her with drinks and drugs. The convicts were caught during the Operation Silk, a Thames Valley police investigation. All the eight members have been entitled to sentences ranging from life imprisonment to seven and a half years in prison.
5) Sexual abuse of minors in Govt. shelter home: uncovered by TISS
Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, an NGO that ran a shelter home got caught by the social audit team of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) for sexually abusing forty-four minor girls, followed by a case filed against them by the Bihar government’s Social Welfare Department. Subsequently, nine people were arrested, which included one of the board members Brajesh Thakur, superintendent Indu Kumari, and other staff members Minu Kumari, Manju Devi, Hema Masih, Neha Kumari, Kiran Kumari, and Chanda Devi. and Muzzafarpur Child Welfare Committee member Vikas Kumar. The TISS report provided in the FIR further stated serious instances of violence along with sexual abuse, as delineated by the NGO residents.
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