Film does not probe sexual violence as a systemic issue, opines eminent lawyer Vrinda Grover in her Facebook post
I have seen the documentary film, India’s Daughter. I think we need to take a position of engagement rather than posit it simplistically as a ban or no ban issue, which to my mind is much more convenient but not necessarily a helpful position.
One significant issue here is of rule of law; the fair trial and rights of victim and accused. It is critical to remember that the legal process has not yet concluded, the appeal is pending in the Supreme Court of India.
The other concern is that the film serves to amplify hate speech against women and broadcast misogynist views.
It is quite interesting that NDTV has spent a major part of the last evening discussing the issue of Violence Against Women, including the problems with the criminal justice system , impunity etc. This to my mind is the ONLY unintended positive fallout of the Udwin documentary.
What is terribly misleading in NDTV’s programmes though is the projection that Udwin’s documentary discusses or raises these issues.
In fact the precise problem with the film is that it does not probe sexual violence as a systemic issue; it isolates the 16 December gang rape and the murder accused. It profiles poor Indian men as rapists.
Thus, on the one hand, the film will serve to incite the wrath of the public and very soon cries of death to the rapists will resound, for they now carry the tag of ‘monsters’.
On the other hand, the film will, for many others, particularly men, reinforce that women deserve rape and their lives must be circumscribed by misogynist and patriarchal notions. Either way it is a lose- lose situation for women in India.
Telecasting this film, even as legal proceedings are pending does not advance the cause of women’s rights or the rule of law or the right to a fair trial
I do not subscribe to the government’s stance that the film defames India. India should be ashamed of each and every act of violence against women.
This film is however not an act of global solidarity. March 8th marks the day of struggle for the rights of women. The telecast of this film on that day will provide a platform for the broadcast of hate speech against women on International Women’s Day.