Petition calling for fair treatment of sexual assault victims in India.

// 6 October 2009

British student Kaya Eldridge, who was unfairly cross-examined on her character and lifestyle in an Indian court room during the trial of a man who sexually assaulted her, contacted us to ask that we support her petition to ensure Indian courts uphold a 2002 amendment protecting victims from this kind of unfair questioning.

Kaya was asked whether she dranked alcohol, socialised with men and even how often she took a shower:

“My experience in court was intensely humiliating. It was not physically painful as sexual assault, but I was just as frightened and I was just as humiliated.”

You can sign the petition here.

Comments From You

saranga // Posted 6 October 2009 at 10:52 am


Nicki // Posted 6 October 2009 at 1:14 pm

I was sexually assaulted in Delhi in 2004 and did not report it for exactly this reason; I now feel that I should have. I wish Kaya the best of luck.

Gayle Rogers // Posted 6 October 2009 at 1:55 pm

Done… and thanks for the solidarity you are showing Kaya by supporting her stand.

Jennifer Drew // Posted 6 October 2009 at 6:55 pm

I too have signed the petition but just in case anyone thinks defence counsel cross-examining a woman concerning her character and lifestyle is unique to India – it most certainly is not.

Here in the UK women are routinely subjected to minute examination of their lifestyle, sexual history and even medical history when they are fortunate/unfortunate to have their charges concerning male sexual violence committed against them proceeded to court. Desoite claims routinely bandied around by the government, it is routine practice for defence counsel to cross-examine women rape survivors and also routine for the actions/behaviour/history of male defendant(s) to be ignored since common sense informs us women not men are responsible and accountable for preventing ‘poor innocent men’ from committing rape and other forms of sexual violence against women.

It is called women-blaming and is endemic in all societies. Feminists in India have been trying for years to change the law but still this has not happened.

Humilating women is the name of the game when men charged with rape or sexually assaulting women have their cases reach the courts. It is a very effective way of silencing all women because we all know women not men are placed on trial when the charges involve male sexual violence committed against a woman/women.

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