Many Victims in Sex Scams Awaiting Justice
The Kerala High Court order in the 17-year-old sensational Pandalam sex scandal on Friday gains significance as accused in most of the sex scandals that emerged in the last 18 years have either been acquitted or escaped the clutches of the law while the victims are dead or still awaiting the case’s closure.
Consider any case from the Suryanelli one to the Paravur sex scandal, where the minor victim, who was sold to a pimp by her father, recently wrote a letter to the Chief Minister to expedite the trial so she could carry on with her life, the plight of victims is almost the same.
“The main reason for this order is that the victim did not change her statement over the years. The same could have repeated in Suryanelli case too. But that did not happen as some influential persons were involved in Suryanelli case. In Pandalam case, though the accused were influential, it was limited,” said P Geetha, an activist who has done a research on sex scandals.
The main factor differentiating Pandalam from all the other sex scandals is that the victim was not a minor or ignorant about the world.
The victim, a final year degree student, had decided to fight for justice against all odds.
“This is a positive signal which proves that punishment can be given to those who commit heinous crimes against women, which is increasing day by day. The change in the attitude after the Delhi gangrape case also helped to be more gender sensitive on sexual offences,” said K V Bhadra Kumari, who was counsel in two sensational sex scandals -- Suryanelli and Ice-cream parlour case. Even in cases where the accused are punished, activists allege partial victory.
“In Kaviyoor, Kiliroor cases, only accused belonging to the lowest social strata were punished. Only the agents received punishment in both the cases,” Geetha said.
In some cases, factors that have an indirect connection can decide its fate, lawyers opined.
“At least in some cases, the ‘character’ and ‘history’ of the victim was taken into consideration while pronouncing the judgment. There are instances where it weakened the case. Even in cases where it is evident that the victims changed their statements, accused are acquitted on the basis of technicalities,” Bhadra Kumari said.