The Gender Beat: Mental Age of Rape Victim as Factor; Jirga Settles Gang Rape With Wheat

A round-up of what’s happening in the worlds of gender and sexuality

Two women. Credit: Johanes Randy Prokoso/Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Two women. Credit: Johanes Randy Prokoso/Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Can mental age of rape victim be used to invoke strict law?

According to a Hindustan Times report, the mother of a 38-year-old woman with cerebral palsy wants the man who raped her daughter to be booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO). The report says that advocate Aysweria Bhatti has argued that the woman’s ‘mental age’ is comparable to a child’s.

At the moment, the accused has been booked under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), but the bench has agreed to examine the question, and has asked the police to respond to the petition.

In 2010, the Supreme Court upheld the rights of persons with disabilities to hold employment, and called for cases involving persons with disabilities to be sensitively handled.

Tribal women to intensify stir against Bevco liquor outlet

An ongoing protest led by a group of tribal women entered its 66th day on Friday, says a report in The Hindu.

The women are demanding that a Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) liquor shop in Mananthavady be shut down. The report says that even though local people, the Adivasi Forum, and the Kerala Madyanirodhana Samithi (KMS) had reached out to various ministers, including the Chief Minister and the Tribal Welfare Minister, no action has been taken to shut down the outlet.

Vella, an adivasi woman leading the agitation, said “If the government continues to be apathetic, we will stage a hunger strike in front of the official residence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.”

Ian McEwan criticised by campaigners over transgender remarks

Writer Ian McEwan has been criticised by campaigners over remarks he made about transgender people in a speech to the Royal Institution.

“The self, like a consumer desirable, may be plucked from the shelves of a personal identity supermarket, a ready-to-wear little black number. For example, some men in full possession of a penis are now identifying as women and demanding entry to women-only colleges, and the right to change in women’s dressing rooms,” McEwan said.

UK-based organisation Stonewall released a statement condemning McEwan’s comments. “The complexity of gender identity extends beyond genitalia. Trans people need and deserve acceptance and equality,” it read.

Jirga in Mirpurkhas ‘settles’ gang rape case for 30 maunds of wheat

Local community leaders in the Umerkot district of Pakistan attempted to ‘settle’ an incident of gang rape for a ‘compensation’ of 30 maunds of wheat, according to a report.

The family of the 14-year-old victim were forced to leave the area after they refused to accept this decision, says the report.

The deputy inspector general of police, Mirpurkhas division, has asked the senior superintendent of police, Umerkot, to investigate the case, and give protection to the family.

Shani Shingnapur temple row: Day after Bombay HC order, women activists ‘beaten’ during bid to storm temple

Women activists of the Bhumata Brigade have alleged assault by local villagers after they tried to enter the inner sanctum of the Shani Shingnapur temple in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, the Indian Express reported. The incident occurred a day after the Bombay High Court ruled that men and women had equal rights of entry into places of worship.

According to the report, after the alleged assault, the women were “dragged and whisked away” by members of the police force deployed at the site. The leader of the Bhumata Brigade, Trupti Desai, said the group was going to file an FIR against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for failing to comply with the high court’s order.

A short profile of Trupti Desai, published in the Hindustan Times quoted her as saying: “If the government fails to act against the Shani temple trust, the Bhumata Brigade will launch an even bigger agitation.”

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