There comes a time when we are forced to have a long, hard look at ourselves and examine if we really have come as far as we have. And I believe that time has come.

We pride ourselves on being the torchbearers of progress, of equality of peace, of evolution from the rabid cavemen we were to the civilized society that we aim to be. One of the tenets of civilized society is the concept of logical thinking, one I believe we have fallen short of given this incident.

The incident I am talking about is the Peepli Live rape verdict, in which Justice Ashutosh Kumar of the Delhi High Court acquitted Peepli Live Director Mahmood Farooqui and canceled his 7-year jail term.

While you might think that this was simply a case of a false rape acquisition, it is not. If you look at the facts of the case, the victim voiced her opposition to this act clearly, yet this morally reprehensible act took place.

Now you might wonder why a Justice of the High Court would acquit this man, given the facts of the case and also that a lower court found him guilty. This is where the main issue lies. No matter how much we progress, this filthy mindset of ours will not go away. For context, read the Judge’s decision

“He had no idea that the prosecutrix was unwilling, and there are instances when a feeble ‘no’ on the part of a woman may mean ‘yes’ during the course of a sexual act”. “In cases where the parties are known to each other, it could be really difficult to decipher whether a feeble ‘no’ – (accompanied by) little or no resistance – actually amounts to denial of consent”

“A feeble no might mean yes”

What the honorable high court means to say is that a simple no from the woman does not suffice. The man is too dumb to understand that when a woman says no, she means no and not ‘ maybe yes’. The man has to be told in explicit words “No, don’t have sex with me”. As for the question of resistance, there is a difference between playing or filling around and resisting, the latter was clearly the case in this incident.

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The judge further elaborates in the Peepli Live rape verdict;

“There is a recent trend of suggesting various models of sexual consent. The traditional and most-accepted model would be the ‘affirmative model’, meaning that ‘yes’ is ‘yes’ and ‘no’ is ‘no’. However, there would be some difficulty in the universal acceptance of the aforesaid model of consent.”

This statement reeks of inherent and unhinged sexism. The judge is so high-minded so as to assume that even in a romantic relationship a feeble no is not really no, just another ‘natak’ by the girl. Forgetting the previous court verdicts upholding the validity and importance of even an iota of consent, the judge here completely invalidates the concept of consent.

He basically means that consent is something that is not supreme in a sexual encounter, it is alright if a bit of resistance is overcome to get the ultimate goal, if I may say so. The feeling and emotions of the women are invalid because of the simple fact she was romantically involved. And also that, just like marital rape, sex in a relationship loosens the definition of consent.

This is truly frightening, I mean I don’t want to be a doomsayer but this kind of stuff really scares the living daylights out of me. Remember this verdict comes on the heels of the government saying that marital rape should not be criminalized. If the patriarchy, sexism, and misogyny that we are working hard to get rid of creeps through the cracks in our establishment, all of our work has been for nothing.

Indeed, A sad day for all of us.

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