Category Archives: Rape

India: Sisters Sentenced to be Raped for Brother’s “Crime”

‘I can’t sleep, I’m very scared’: One of two Indian sisters sentenced to rape after ‘untouchable’ brother ran off with a married woman from higher caste reveals her terrifying ordeal

  • Meenakshi Kumari, 23, was sentenced to rape alongside 15-year-old sister
  • Feared un-elected council of upper caste men ordered savage punishment 
  • Brother ran away with married woman with whom he had two-year affair 
  • Family has appealed to India’s Supreme Court and Prime Minister for help 
'I can't sleep, I'm very scared': Meenakshi Kumari, 23, has described how she has been unable to sleep or leave the house for fear of the village elders, who condemned her to be raped after her brother ran off with a married woman from a higher caste

‘I can’t sleep, I’m very scared’: Meenakshi Kumari, 23, has described how she has been unable to sleep or leave the house for fear of the village elders, who condemned her to be raped after her brother ran off with a married woman from a higher caste

One of two sisters sentenced to be raped in India after their brother ran off with a married woman from a higher caste has spoken out about her fear.

Meenakshi Kumari, 23, has described how she has been unable to sleep or leave the house for fear of the village elders – who sentenced her and her 15-year-old sister to rape – sending someone to deliver the punishment.

‘I can’t sleep, I’m very scared,’ she said from a secret location in Delhi, 30 miles from their village Sankrot, in Uttar Pradesh, central India.

‘How will we ever return home or to our village? If we ever return they will harm dus or rape us. If not today then in the future.

‘Jats never forget and they will not forget this humiliation. They want their revenge. Loving someone is not wrong.’

Meenakshi and her little sister were with their family in Delhi for a wedding when a neighbour called and told them not to return to their village.

The neighbour warned that the un-elected village council, Khap panchayat, dominated by the upper caste ‘Jat’ men, had ordered the two sisters be raped and paraded naked with their faces blackened as punishment for their brother’s actions.

Their brother, Ravi Kumar, 25, from the Dalit caste – historically known as ‘untouchables’ – had been in a relationship with 21-year-old Krishna from the Jat caste for almost two years.

How will we ever return home or to our village? If we ever return they will harm us or rape us. If not today then in the future.
Meenakshi Kumari, 23

When both families discovered the relationship, they did all they could to keep the two lovers apart.

The siblings’ older brother Sumit Kumar, 28, who works as a constable in the Delhi Police, told his younger brother to end the relationship immediately, as they would never be together.

‘We belong to a lower caste, they are from an upper caste,’ he said.

‘I told him this relationship could never work. We are treated as untouchables but he didn’t listen to me and now we are paying for it.’

Ravi met Krishna two years ago, when she joined his computer classes for children in Khekada, Uttar Pradesh.

They exchanged phone numbers and quickly fell in love. They were on the phone to each other all the time and arranged covert meetings in secret locations.

But when Ravi’s father Naik Dharampal Singh, 52, heard of the relationship he ordered it to end immediately.

Even though Ravi ended the relationship, the pair couldn’t bear to be apart.

Eventually Krishna’s parents started looking for prospective husbands for her but she refused.

‘It was hard for my brother but he understood the situation,’ Sumit said.

‘Her family knew about their relationship before the marriage. They beat their daughter a lot and gave my brother warnings many times.

‘In the end my brother told her to go ahead with the marriage, she had to. She went ahead with the marriage in Haryana but she was very unhappy. They treated her like a maid.

‘So she left and returned home. And that’s when she and my brother started their relationship again.’

Ravi and Krishna had eloped twice before but had returned. Each time Sumit claimed her family beat her.

‘We made him understand it was dangerous. At the end of the day it’d be our family who would suffer. He understood what he was doing, he knew the risks but love took over.

I told him this relationship could never work. We are treated as untouchables but he didn’t listen to me and now we are paying for it.

Older brother Sumit Kumar, 28

‘When the girl got in touch with him he just couldn’t contain his emotions. We are now helpless. His future is ruined completely and our family is in danger.’

Krishna’s family was so furious that the couple had eloped again they told the police Ravi was involved with drugs. When they were caught in Delhi at the end of May, Ravi was arrested and has been in Meerut Jail ever since.

Meenakshi and her family were already in Delhi when a neighbour called them to tell them it’s not safe to return to their village called Baghpat, in Uttar Pradesh, 30 miles from Delhi. It has approximately 250 Dalits compared to 7,000 Jats.

Meenakshi said: ‘My father got a call from a neighbour and told us not to come back. They said that the Khap panchayat – that are all Jats – took the decision to rape my sister and me and parade us naked. They want revenge.

‘It is wrong. We did nothing wrong so why should my sister and me be punished. They loved each other and it is they who decided to go. Why should we suffer?

‘We have not left the house, as we are scared they might send someone to attack us. I am finding it very difficult to cope. I am very scared.

‘People today are still living in the caste system; it’s the root of everything here. Right now I do not have any hopes, our future is ruined.’

Family bond: Meenakshi (pictured) and her little sister were with their family in Delhi for a wedding when a neighbour called and told them not to return to their village, as the village elders had ordered their punishment 

Family bond: Meenakshi (pictured) and her little sister were with their family in Delhi for a wedding when a neighbour called and told them not to return to their village, as the village elders had ordered their punishment

Sumit said: ‘I am still in shock that the Khap panchayat could be so disgusting. I knew it was going to be bad, I knew our family would be in trouble but I never expected this. The situation is getting worse and I do not see any hope.’

India’s Supreme Court has ruled that these village councils – known as panchayats – are illegal, but they continue to operate across India.

The family has appealed to the Supreme court for protection and Sumit has written to the Prime minister, Chief minister, Human Rights commission, schedule caste commission but no one has come forward to help yet.

Ravi got bail on June 26 but the family made the decision to keep him in prison because his life would be in danger if he was out on the streets.

Horrific tradition: India’s Supreme Court has ruled that these village councils – known as panchayats – are illegal, but they continue to operate across India. Pictured, the Ganges River in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 

Horrific tradition: India’s Supreme Court has ruled that these village councils – known as panchayats – are illegal, but they continue to operate across India. Pictured, the Ganges River in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Family’s lawyer Rahul Tyagi, 39, said: ‘We’ve been everywhere asking for action but nothing has been done. So now were are at the Supreme Court.

Where caste is concerned it is wrong, and this is all based on caste. But there is no caste in love.
Meenakshi Kumari, 23

‘We’ve asked a few things. No one has seen the girl so we are asking that the girl be produced before the court so we can ensure her safety and well being. We’ve also asked for an independent investigation into the false accusation of the boy.

‘And thirdly, a case should be registered against UP police for torturing the Dalit family and finally some security so the family can return to their home. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will come down heavily on these cases; I have every faith in the judicial system of this country.

‘These cases happen often in rural India. After media attention local politicians have come forward but still the family are in danger. But these cases would not happen in this country if the police act appropriately and did their job. The government officials have a duty to stop such atrocities.’

Meenakshi said that no one has seen Krishna since May and it is believed she is now allegedly saying that Ravi and Sumit held her captive for 10 days in Delhi and raped her.

Meenakshi said: ‘She is now saying that my elder bother Sumit and Ravi raped her for 10 days. She is saying that Ravi told her that he would get her a job in Delhi because his brother is in the police so she came with him and there they forced her to have sex.

‘But they have pressurised her. I know she loved my brother a lot. Loving someone is not wrong. But the girl is Jat and we are the untouchables.

‘Where caste is concerned it is wrong, and this is all based on caste. But there is no caste in love.’

Tortured Sex Slave Rescued by Truck Driver

Tortured Sex Slave Saved By Trucker From This Iowa Couple

Tortured Sex Slave Saved By Trucker From This Iowa Couple

A tortured sex slave, later revealed as a 20-year-old female victim, was saved by trucker Kevin Kimmel, according to WTVR. Kimmel saw the suspicious activity at a New Kent Pilot gas station and truck lot in January, and reported it to Richmond, VA, police because, “It was a no brainer what was going on.”

Kimmel, a veteran truck driver speaking about the incident for the first time, didn’t know what happened until he saw “the gruesome details through the news.” According to WTVR, what was allegedly going on was abuse, fraud, forced prostitution, and torture, among other crimes.

Kimmel said he became suspicious when he saw the victim peeking out from behind dark curtains in an RV and, in what may have been an awkward moment, thought that the black curtains didn’t appear to be, “a families RV [sic], you know.”

A guy come up and knock on the door then go inside the Pilot–then quickly came back and knocked again, all of the sudden the thing was rocking and rolling.”

That was when he called the local sheriff’s department in Virginia, who, according to Daily Mail, eventually found Aldair Hodza and Laura Sorenson inside the RV, allegedly holding the victim hostage, who appeared malnourished and tortured.

She reportedly suffered from various wounds including burns on her abdomen, groin, and her back consistent with, “being struck and stamped with a hot metal key.” She also suffered wounds on her feet that were, “consistent with nails hammered into her flesh,” according to News & Advance.

Police charged the Iowa couple with various federal crimes ranging from coercion to sex trafficking by force after they uncovered that the two had turned the alleged victim into a tortured sex slave and forced her to service “clients” as part of an online prostitution ring. According to the Daily Mail, police found photos of the alleged victim being tortured. Some photos depicted the alleged victim bound and gagged while nude and others depicted her getting bleach sprayed into open and bleeding wounds.

The couple, Sorensen, 36 and Hodza, 31, are accused of taking the victim hostage on Christmas Eve in 2014 and forcing her into prostitution. They allegedly threatened to kill the victim and her family, according to the News & Advance.

The accused couple likely used these threats to scare the alleged victim, forcing her to comply with their demands.

A common tactic used by abusers, one example would be the case of Officer Stephen Maiorino from Boynton Beach, who threatened to kill a 20-year-old rape victim after allegedly victimizing her at gunpoint on the hood of his police car in October, 2014, according to the Palm Beach Post.

According to News & Advance, the victim also accuses the Iowa couple of denying her food and water during the trip from Iowa to Virginia. Also from Iowa, the alleged victim also states her alleged abusers expected her turn all the money made as a tortured sex slave over to them for their own food and gas for the RV, a 37-foot Sun Voyager.

According to WVTR, Kimmel said, “I’m just happy I helped her.”

The couple is expected to appear in a federal court in Virginia, according to News & Advance, as federal courts prosecute sex trafficking cases much more harshly than state level courts do in Virginia.

Japan: Man Allegedly Rapes 100 Women, Sells Videos of Attacks to Porn Sites

Japanese police  in Sapporo city, Hokkaido

Japanese police patrol in Sapporo city, Hokkaido. Officers have confirmed at least 39 victims, aged from their teens to their 40s, but the actual number is thought to be far higher. Photograph: Dai Kurokawa/EPA

By Ann Colwell and Will Ripley, CNN

(CNN)Police say around 100 women in Japan who thought they were participating in a sleep study were actually drugged and raped, their attacks recorded and sold to porn sites.

Authorities arrested 54-year-old Hideyuki Noguchi, after one of the women saw herself in a video online and came forward. Police investigated and arrested Noguchi, who has been charged with incapacitated rape, according to Chiba Prefecture Police spokesperson Satoshi Kono.

Authorities say Noguchi has told them the number of victims is about 100. Officers have confirmed at least 39 of those victims, and have filed charges in many of those cases already. More women could come forward.

The assaults allegedly began in 2012 when police say Noguchi took out a newspaper ad seeking participants for a sleep study. The ad sought women from their teens through their 40s and offered compensation for their time.

Noguchi would then arrange for women to meet him at a hotel or a hot springs inn, according to authorities. He would allegedly tell women he planned to test their blood pressure while they slept. He reportedly told women he was a doctor, but police could not confirm that.

But authorities say Noguchi has no medical training and the study was merely a ruse to isolate women, drug them with sleeping pills and alcohol, assault them and film the attacks.

Kono said Noguchi sold the videos to unnamed pornographic filmmakers and adult websites, making around $100,000.

Very little local coverage

The case of the assaults has drawn international headlines — but failed to resonate much in the local press.

Roland Kelts, University of Tokyo professor and author of “Japanamerica,” says the lack of media coverage has been “bizarre.”

“Usually sexual crimes are reported pretty avidly in Japan, especially in the tabloids,” said Kelts. ” The media sensationalizes these stories just like it does in the West.”

Kelts points to the recent kidnapping crisis and subsequent murders of ISIS hostages Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, which have dominated Japan’s national media headlines. There’s also another grisly story gripping Japan about a murder of an elderly woman.

After such a gruesome news cycle, Kelts says the media just “might not have the tastes” to cover the rapes, as they normally might do.

What’s more, police have released very little information about the alleged attacks, citing the victims’ privacy. Authorities have granted no interviews on camera.

Information or exclusive interviews on big stories is often given to newspaper beat reporters in Japan. But even they have been unusually short on information regarding Noguchi’s alleged crimes.

Recent changes to Japan’s laws that regulate the classification of sensitive information have tightened punishments for leaking information.

The so-called “state secrets” law was drafted under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and took effect late last year. The law imposes prison sentences of five to 10 years for leaking state secrets, depending on the position of the leaker.

The law has been criticized by Internet activists and groups including Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders.

A 99% conviction rate

Noguchi will most likely receive a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, if convicted, according to Jin Imaeda, an attorney and former prosecutor in Japan.

For the type of assault Noguchi is accused of, a conviction would lead to a maximum sentence of 20 years for a single victim, and 30 years if the number of victims is two or more.

If convicted, Noguchi could be eligible for parole after serving 80% of that term, or 24 years, Imaeda said.

The Japanese legal system does not sentence criminals to life imprisonment.

Japan has a general conviction rate of more than 99%, according to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

Japanese prosecutors will often wait to bring charges against a suspect until they are certain they have a conviction. Thus, if charges are brought against someone for a crime in Japan, there is a near guarantee that he or she will be found guilty.

 

Lawmaker Questions if Sex with an Unconscious Person is Always Rape

‘What if it’s your wife?’: Utah lawmaker questions whether sex with an unconscious person should always constitute rape
  • Representative Brian Greene, a Republican from Pleasant Grove, questioned a measure to clarify the state’s criminal code regarding rape
  • What if an ‘individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious, or the other way around–if that is possible?’ scoffed Greene
  • In the end, the committee voted unanimously–with Greene’s consent–in favor of letting the bill move forward
Wondered about wives: Utah Rep. Brian Greene took issue with a bill that would make all sex without consent a criminal act

Wondered about wives: Utah Rep. Brian Greene took issue with a bill that would make all sex without consent a criminal act

By JOSH GARDNER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

Utah state lawmakers considering a sexual consent law found themselves debating whether sex with an unconscious spouse constitutes rape.

A measure to require clear consent won early House Judiciary Committee approval Tuesday, after advocates said Utah’s current law doesn’t adequately protect victims.

However, Republican Rep. Brian Greene of Pleasant Grove said he feared the law would let prosecutors charge a man with sexual assault for having sex with his wife while she’s unconscious.

Greene said sex with an unconscious person on a first date shouldn’t be allowed, but it’s different for long-term relationships.

‘If an individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious…a prosecutor could then charge that spouse with rape, theoretically,’ Greene said in committee Tuesday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. ‘That makes sense in a first date scenario, but to me, not where people have a history of years of sexual activity.’

Other lawmakers said the statute should be clear.

Democratic Rep. Brian King of Salt Lake City says an unconscious person can’t consent, and sex in that situation is rape.

Sex with an unconscious person ‘is rape. Period. End of story,’ said King, a Democrat from Salt Lake City. ‘Let’s make the statute clear. Let’s not dance around it.’

Advocates for Utah’s HB74 say the state’s criminal code for sexual assault needs to be altered to clearly state that sex with an unconscious person is rape.

The current law begins: ‘The victim has not consented and the actor knows the victim is unconscious, unaware that the act is occurring, or physically unable to resist.’

The bill was introduced by Salt Lake City Democrat Rep. Angela Romero.

Bill sponsor Angela Romero says the state's criminal code needs clarifying Greene wondered in Tuesday's committee session if the change might open a door to prosecution if 'a individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious, or the other way around if that is possible...'

It’s the ‘and’ in the language that appears to concern Romero. She wants to remove ‘the victim has not consented,’ according to KSTU.

‘At the end of the day, when we took out that language, if somebody is unconscious you probably shouldn’t attempt to try to have sexual relations with them,’ Romero said.

However, it’s also the word of the law that concerns Greene, a public servant elected in 2012 with the help of a pro-business, pro smaller government platform.

‘It looks to me now like sex with an unconscious person is by definition rape,’ Greene said. ‘I hope this wouldn’t happen, but this opens the door to it — a individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious, or the other way around if that is possible…’

Greene scoffs at the notion of what ‘the other way around’ entails, and some gentleman at a dais beside him appear to chuckle, before he continues.

‘But a prosecutor could then charge that spouse with rape,’ he said.

In the end, the committee voted unanimously, with Greene’s consent, in favor of moving the bill along.

Seen here with his wife Renee, Greene--a vocal proponent of small government elected to the state government in 2012--called rape 'abhorrent' but questioned the wisdom of a law that defines it so unequivocally

Seen here with his wife Renee, Greene–a vocal proponent of small government elected to the state government in 2012–called rape ‘abhorrent’ but questioned the wisdom of a law that defines it so unequivocally

 

Judge: 16-Year-Old “Groomed” Emotionally Vulnerable Teacher

The scales of justice at the Old Bailey

‘I am not so sure that appointing more female judges in and of itself would solve the particular issue of victim-blaming.’ Photograph: PA

 

Another shocking trial, another shocking verdict. This week, Judge Joanna Greenberg QC gave a non-custodial sentence to a teacher convicted on two counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust. In justifying her decision, Greenberg said of Stuart Kerner’s victim, a 16-year-old schoolgirl: “If grooming is the right word to use, it was she who groomed you, [and] you gave in to temptation.

The judge said Kerner was “emotionally vulnerable” because of problems with his wife’s pregnancy. It would be easy to assume that he is the victim here.

This certainly isn’t the first time that such attitudes towards victims have emerged in court, and over the years feminists have been loud and tenacious in protesting against them. This includes a number of rape survivors who have waived their anonymity to speak out against their own dreadful treatment by the criminal justice system.

Go back to the 1980s and there are many egregious examples. In 1982, for instance, in Ipswich crown court, Judge Bertrand Richards fined John Allen £2,000. Allen had been found guilty of raping a 17-year-old hitchhiker, but the judge decided that the victim was guilty of “contributory negligence” for accepting a lift from a stranger. The case caused outrage, leading to Margaret Thatcher (who, let’s face it, never had a reputation for being pro-women) to make a statement in the Commons about the inappropriate remarks.

In that same decade there was the judge at the Old Bailey who said of a sexual assault against a seven-year-old child that although it was a serious offence it was the sort of accident that could happen to almost anyone; and the judge who told an attempted rapist that he hoped his employers would regard his fortnight in prison as a holiday. In 1988, I was part of a feminist protest outside the court after Judge Harold Cassell sentenced a former policeman to two years’ probation for sexually assaulting his 12-year-old stepdaughter, putting the abuse down to the difficulties encountered by a “healthy husband” whose wife is pregnant.

But it would be wrong to think these instances are confined to the past. I mention the 1980s examples to illustrate just how long this has been an issue, and how long people have been calling for change.

But despite the endless promises that “lessons will be learned” in rape and sexual assault cases, barely a month goes by without some dangerous, victim-blaming comment being made by police, lawyers or judges.

In 2012, for instance, at Caernarfon crown court, a 49-year-old man was convicted of raping a teenage girl. Jailing the rapist, the judge said: “She let herself down badly. She consumed far too much alcohol and took drugs, but she also had the misfortune of meeting you.” In August 2013, Neil Wilson, 41, was given a suspended prison sentence for sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl. Judge Nigel Peters accused Wilson’s victim of “egging him on”. Shockingly, even the prosecution lawyer, Robert Colover, called her “predatory”. The court of appeal later lifted the suspension on the sentence and replaced it with a prison term.

In April 2014, Bob Bellew, a gymnastics coach who sexually abused seven girls as young as six over a 40-year period walked free from court. Judge Joanna Korner said Bellew had demonstrated “genuine remorse”.

And in March 2014, 19-year-old Adam Hulin pleaded guilty to the oral rape and sexual assault by penetration of a 12-year-old girl. He had also given her a soft drink mixed with vodka. Hulin was sentenced to 100 hours of community service, a £60 victim surcharge and the requirement to attend six community reintegration sessions for the oral rape and sexual assault. George Lawson-Rogers QC, presiding over the case, ordered another charge of rape by penetration to be discharged but to remain on file. “I certainly wouldn’t want to do anything which would prejudice his future career,” said Lawson-Rogers during sentencing, adding that he was reluctant to “dismiss the contention that what happened was not by mutual consent”.

Some might suggest that more female judges would make a difference to victim-blaming in court, and clearly something needs to change. A report in 2012 from the House of Lords constitution committee found that both female and minority ethnic judges are significantly underrepresented, and that this has resulted in a lack of public confidence in the courts. But I am not so sure that appointing more female judges in and of itself would solve the particular issue of victim-blaming. Female judges, as well as female jurors, can be hard on rape complainants, possibly because they themselves have internalised the same dangerous mythology as their male counterparts. In November 2013, for instance, at a legal debate at the London School of Economics, Barbara Hewson, a human rights and civil liberties barrister, argued that rape victims can be partly to blame, saying that people who are raped can have a “moral responsibility” for the crime. She apparently forgot that the law says rape is only ever the fault of the rapist.

The Crown Prosecution Service guidance (2012) on rape includes a section on the common rape myths, including the myth that rape occurs only between strangers in dark alleys; that victims provoke rape by the way they dress or act, or drug and alcohol use; and that rape is a consequence of men being unable to stop themselves. Until these myths are challenged far and wide so that the general public stop absorbing them, nothing will change. At the same time, let’s campaign for a change in the way that judges are appointed and investigated. The appalling comments made in courtrooms in the 1980s are not, tragically, a thing of the past.

 

India: Gang-Rape Victim Dies After Setting Herself on Fire

Demonstrators hold placards during a candlelight vigil to mark the first death anniversary of a Delhi gang rape victim in New Delhi on December 29, 2013.

Demonstrators hold placards during a candlelight vigil to mark the first death anniversary of a Delhi gang rape victim in New Delhi on December 29, 2013.

DEAN NELSON

A 16-year-old Indian girl has died eight days after setting herself on fire following two gang rapes and a campaign of intimidation to force her to drop charges against her attackers.

The teenager’s death, on New Year’s Eve, led to angry demonstrations in Calcutta.

Brinda Karat, one of India‘s leading women’s rights campaigners, accused the local government and police of shielding the alleged perpetrators, who were linked to West Bengal‘s ruling party, the Trinamool Congress.

She said the case showed little had been done to protect sexual assault victims since the gang rape and murder of a Delhi student provoked outrage throughout India one year ago.

The anger of the victim’s family and women’s rights campaigners was compounded when local police tried to cremate her body without the family’s permission.

The girl was first attacked in October in Madhyamgram, near Calcutta, by six men. They raped her again the following day as she returned from reporting the assault at a police station with her father.

The men were arrested but the girl and her family continued to receive threats from their associates. The girl set herself on fire after two associates of the accused arrived at her home and threatened her.