Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
Under fire for his statement asking parents to introspect what minor girls were doing on a beach at night, during when they were raped, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that his statement was taken 'out of context.' But parents and girl students in Goa are not convinced.
The two girls were allegedly raped by four men, who posed as cops, near Benaulim beach on 25 July. They also beat up their friends who were with them. All four accused have been arrested.
But CM Sawant's statements questioning parents' responsibilities have drawn a lot of flak from the state's citizens.
During a debate in the House on 28 July, he had said, “When 14-year-olds stay on the beach the whole night, the parents need to introspect. Just because children don’t listen, we cannot put the responsibility on the government and police.”
Speaking to The Quint, Goa-based Joanne Albuquerque, a parent of two teenagers, asked why the government is always blaming the victim.
"The blame is always on the victim. Why was she out at this hour? What was she wearing. People are getting raped in broad daylight even wearing a salwar kameez."Joanne Albuquerque, Parent
Between 2017-2020, Goa recorded 286 rape cases in the state. In the last four years, activists say, the rape cases have increased in the state adding that victim blaming has been the core of crimes against women.
"Tomorrow it could have been why did the daughters go out wearing such clothes or going out with a boy or using a mobile phone. It has always been victim blaming and that has been the core of crimes against women in this country."Deepali Desai, Goa-Based Activist
'Teenagers Cannot Be Kept Hidden Away'
15-year-old Athena Souza, a resident of Panaji, says that it's not fair to blame parents for such incidents. She says parents cannot be expected to lock-up their teenagers.
"I think we really can't put the blame on parents. As a teenager, I would not appreciate my parents keeping me hidden away. I don't think it is working like that. So, I think instead of just teaching our daughters to be careful, to be so cautious, I think it is time to really start teaching our sons to be respectful and to ask for consent and to just behave."Athena Souza, Student
Anisya Sheth, an undergraduate student, said that young women are sick of being told what to wear and where to go – because men do not know how to respect fellow human beings.
"We are sick of being scared to go going to certain places without a male accompanying us. I think the solution that we are being offered to this problem is no where near good enough. To stop going to unsafe places at unsafe times, instead of making every place safe at any time, is ridiculous. I think that if dangerous people with the capability of hurting other people are being left to roam the beaches all night, then their parents need to introspect."Anisya Sheth, Student
Sheth's mother, said that it is not just her daughter, but she too does not feel safe going out at night.
"Forget minors but I don't feel safe going out at night. As an adult woman who has travelled all over the world, Goa's roads are not lit, there is hardly anyone to be seen for miles around. And one should feel safe going out at night. It is not about...It is about finding solutions and being better than where we are. Have night patrolling, have the roads lit up, have more vigilance, more enhanced security," she said.
What Happened On 25 July?
A group of four girls and six boys, including two minor girls and a minor boy, visited Benaulim Beach at 11:30 pm on Saturday, 24 July. Due to poor weather conditions, some of them left early. Three boys and the two minor girls were left behind.
The incident took place around 3:30 am. The four accused approached the two minor girls – and later allegedly raped them. They then beat up the three boys. The group was then asked to go home, according to the Times of India.
The police have arrested the four accused – 21-year-old Asif Hateli, 33-year-old Rajesh Mane, 31-year-old Gajanand Chinchankar, and 19-year-old Nitin Yabbal. Of these, Rajesh Mane is believed to be a government servant.
The accused have been booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and the Goa Children's Act and have been remanded in four days of police custody.