By Nasrin Siraj for Thotkata, translated by Alal O Dulal
On 25 November 2015 the court sentenced Parimal Joydhar, a teacher of Viqarunnisa Noon School, for raping a girl in Year 10.
The incident happened in 2010. The situation in our country is so bad that the school-authority had tried to protect the criminal in many ways than to take the matter – of this horrific sexual abuse – to the law. The school-authority even expressed its concerns that ‘the attitudes and dresses of girls are inviting’.
But the youth and students of Bangladesh, our only hope, did not accept such a grave wrong and untruthful campaign. Girls of Viqarunnisa Noon School, at the time, built a powerful protest demanding the capture and trial of the rapist. This protest had spread beyond the school and reached the national level due to students’ protest.
That protest was behind today’s sentence.
Although girls’ protest (against rapes) is not the topic of this piece. Rather, I am writing about a comment made by Parimal’s lawyer. He had made the comment to a TV journalist, to transmit his client’s innocence via media. And the journalist, it seemed, was such a supporter of the rapist’s-party that instead of asking a counter-probing question, just telecasted the comment.
What was the comment? The TV news showed both sides lawyers making comments. The highlight of the news was court’s concern over serious oversight of the investigating team. As though, the news clip was edited bearing in mind that the accused would turn to a higher court. The journalist himself assumed the responsibility to broadcast that the rapist, Parimal, is not guilty. In a sequence of clips the defending lawyer of the rapist said, ‘… there was no evidence of a forced-rape even in the medical report ’.
In legal term, the plaintiff in this case is a school going child. She cannot consent legally. So it will be illegal and punishable even if she had consented to have a sexual intercourse with anyone. The court would have considered it as a rape. The TV channel could have used this logic to refrain from broadcasting the comment. However, perhaps they had sworn to support the rapist-Parimal, so did not even bother to question that the victim is a not an adult. This is the number one issue.
Second (and most important issue) is that in order to claim that ‘no rape had happened’, the insensitive, shameless or over-intelligent lawyer had stated, ‘the rape actually happened with acquiescence of the girl’. My question is, what did the lawyer mean by a rape? Has the lawyer presumed that a sexual intercourse is a rape? Or, all rapes are also sexual intercourse?
We see phrases like ‘enforced rape’, ‘ involuntarily raped’, ‘forcefully raped’, ‘unwillingly raped’ quite regularly. This means there are two kinds of rape: 1. consensual rape and 2. non-consensual forced rape. Yet, a rape is such an aggressive overpowering act that use of threats would only be natural to subjugate the victim. Would it not? The act is called: love, affair, living-together or cohabitation when it is consensual.
I don’t think this is really a grammar issue. Rather, the speaker is not being able to mentally and psychologically distinguish between a coitus cohabitation and a rape, or using a deliberate dirty deviousness. I say dirty deviousness as it did not seem to me that it was an unintentional spur of the moment comment. Instead, he probably had argued that the girl did not fight enough to stop the rape. Hence, the use of terms such as ‘enforced rape’ helps saving the culprit rapists.
The original in Bengali is at thotkata.net