Richa Chadha: Why is rape phrased as 'izzat lootna'?
Pointing out the stigma attached to rape, Richa Chadha on how Section 375 argues both sides of the crime
A courtroom drama that sees Richa Chadha play a prosecution counsel in a rape case, Section 375 shines a spotlight on how the law is sometimes misused in India. Even as she is a strong critic of gender crimes, Chadha argues that the Akshaye Khanna starrer opens a dialogue that is vital in the post-MeToo era.
Arguing that the film doesn't take sides, she asserts, "The law is clear that the burden of proof lies with the accused. In this case, the law is friendlier so that women can report their sexual harassment cases. However, there are myriad problems in India when it comes to reporting these crimes. Rape cases often don't get reported because of the social stigma attached to them. Why are phrases like izzat lootna or naak katna used to describe rape? There needs to be a multifaceted approach to fix this. No law is made without context, so after the Nirbhaya rape case, there were amendments made to the clauses of rape law. But to what extent it is implemented is crucial in determining how successful rape law is."
A still from Section 375
Reiterating that the Ajay Bahl-directed film approaches the subject with deep sensitivity, the actor describes it as her career's most challenging role. "I did extensive research, and Ajay had a lot of material on reported versus unreported rape cases. The material of UN Women was available for reading. Some women lawyers also guided me on how to approach cases of sexual violence."
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Public review of Prassthanam