Guilty or Not, Rhea Doesn’t Deserve Rape Threats, Abuse

If Rhea Chakraborty is guilty, law will take its own course. But not by degrading women and women's rights.

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Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj, Vivek Gupta

Rhea Ckaraborty in a recent interview said that her 'aukat' (stature) is that she loves Sushant Singh Rajput. To know why she made that remark, we need to know how the case has unfolded so far.

Let's give you a quick recap – not of the case so far, but of the misogyny and patriarchal assault that followed. Yes, if there's foul play involved in Sushant's death then he should get justice but not by strengthening misogynistic and patriarchal mindsets.

Misogynistic Attack #1: Questioning Rhea's 'Aukat'

On 19 August, the Supreme Court ordered a CBI inquiry into the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Let's start with a comment by Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey that came right after the Supreme Court's ruling. He made the remark to the media, reacting to the ruling.

“Rhea Chakraborty does not have the ‘aukat’ (stature) to comment on the Bihar chief minister.”
Gupteshwar Pandey, Bihar DGP

This remark came after Rhea commented on the politicisation of the police investigation. The question here is, why does she not have the 'aukat'? Though the DGP later apologised for his remark, even the apology is problematic. He apologised on a TV channel, and I quote:

“The liberty of being a woman does not mean that you pass an uncalled for and indecent remark on a chief minister – especially a chief minister who is known to be an honest person.”
Gupteshwar Pandey, Bihar DGP

But Mr DGP, what liberty of being a woman has Rhea misused? She has asked a question. Everybody has the right to ask questions to anybody, irrespective of whether one is a man or woman. Yes, whether you agree with the question or not is up to you, but to ask a question, one doesn't need any specific 'aukat' or the 'liberty of being a woman.' This is every person's fundamental right.

Misogynistic Attack #2: Vulgar Songs About Rhea

A misogynistic mindset was also witnessed when Sushant Singh Rajput's 'loyal fans' – some local Bhojpuri singers – composed vulgar songs about Rhea Chakraborty, to show their 'creativity.'

The very titles of these songs either have abusive language or demand a death sentence for Rhea, even before she is proven guilty. These songs, uploaded on multiple YouTube channels got lakhs of views. These songs are so abusive in nature that to listen to them, even for the purpose of reporting, is traumatic.

The mindset of the composers is clearly evident from the songs. The NCW has demanded the arrest of singer Vikash Gop. NCW Chief Rekha Sharma has said, “Even if a person is guilty, no one has the right to use such filthy language against the person. Let the law take its course.”

Misogynistic Attack #3: Associating Bengali Women With Kala Jaadu

Based on the accusations against Rhea, Bengali women are being stereotyped – "Bengali women practise 'black magic,' control men, and catch 'big fish'".

Rhea in her interview said that she was even called a 'Vishkanya'. She asked, how these people knew whether she could do black magic or not.

Misogynistic Attack #4: Remarks On Rhea's Clothes

Now listen to this – unfortunate but true. Sushant Singh Rajput's family's lawyer Vikas Singh, too, made a misogynistic remark. When Rhea had issued her first video statement, she wore a white salwar suit. Giving a statement to news agency ANI on that video, Vikas Singh said, and I quote:

“More than what Rhea is saying, the video focuses on how she is looking. I don’t think she ever wore a salwar suit like that. She is trying to portray herself as a simple woman.”
Vikas Singh, Sushant Singh Rajput’s Family’s Lawyer

Really? So, are we now going to look at Rhea's clothes to prove the accusations against her? Often, rape survivors are asked why they wore the clothes that they wore.

Misogynistic Attack #5: Rape Threats To Rhea

Last but not the least, Rhea was given rape and death threats on social media. Murder is a crime, so is abetment to suicide. Similarly, rape threats are crimes, so are death threats. Rape or death threats are no means to ensure justice.

Rhea said in her interview that she even contemplated suicide after she got rape and death threats. She even said plaintively, 'shoot me instead'.

If Rhea is guilty, the law will take its own course. Sushant Singh Rajput must get justice, his family his fans are praying that he gets justice. But not by degrading women and women's rights. Else, we'll only end up strengthening the misogynistic and patriarchal mindsets, which are the root cause of several crimes against women.

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