[10 August] The Catalog: The New Manodhairya Scheme- A Turn for The Worse
A Turn for The Worse.
4 years ago, when the Manodhairya Victim Compensation Scheme was launched, it was rightly acclaimed as one of the most accessible and victim-friendly compensation schemes for victim of sexual violence, and as a step in the right direction for the state of Maharashtra.
Last week, the powers-that-be released a revised version of the scheme and have drained out those very qualities. The new Manodhairya treats victim woman & child as a potential con artist attempting to swindle the government with manufactured stories of sexual violence. It considers every rape victim a suspect until proven otherwise. Parts of the new resolution which address ‘false cases’ sound like straight up victim-blaming while parts which talk about ‘recovery of the sanctioned compensation’ are worded like a concealed threat.
By creating a wicker man out of ‘false cases’, the government can claim that new amendments seek to weed out the ‘wrong-doing’ in the name of the scheme. But the real wrong-doing is putting a victim through a series of unreasonable tests and conditions to prove their citizenship and victimhood just so they can access compensation.
Manodhairya was designed as an initial intervention/gesture by which the system reaches out to a victim. It was supposed to be within arm’s length and re-assuring. But the new amendments only serve to send it further down an anxious road which may or may not be leading to justice.
The revised Government Resolution (GR) on the Maharashtra Government’s “Manodhairya” Victim compensation scheme came into effect from 1st of August 2017. The amendments in the new GR seem to be based primarily on suspicion of victims and the potential premise of mischief and misuse by victims and families. The new avatar does little to instill confidence. Rather with increased bureaucracy and decreased sensitivity, the new Manodhairya scheme seems all set up to fail victims and families who need it the most.
One aspect that the new Manodhairya GR ignores are existing on ground challenges for working with the scheme. These range from challenges in opening of bank accounts for victims, lack of clarity on compensation status of cases, inordinate delays at various points in the systems among many others. These were aspects that were discussed at the 4th Edition of Prerana & UNICEF’s POCSO On The Ground series which focused on the ‘Manodhairya Victim Compensation Scheme’. The meeting was held before the new resolution was passed. But it would be safe to say, that the challenges expressed by the participants remain as relevant and far more urgent.
“Before hanging up on me, he asks: “Why are you advertising my daughter’s case? The press have turned this into a business enterprise.”
A 10-year-old girl from Chandigarh became pregnant after allegedly being repeatedly assaulted by a relative. Her pregnancy was discovered 28 weeks in and a petition to grant her an MTP was filed by the Supreme Court itself but rejected by an expert panel who deemed the procedure ‘too risky’ for the child. The child only has a faint idea of what is happening to her. Her parents are struggling to cope with the situation. And all this while, the media has gathered outside their home invading the privacy of family, appropriating their grief, indulging in sensationalizing and victim blaming and causing immense trauma to the family at a time when they are already reeling from enough of it.
“The tragedy of this pregnant child is not just that she’s being made to risk her life to produce a child of her own. It is that an entire universe of adults – from the doctors to the courts – failed to notice that she is just a little girl, and so they based their decisions on considerations beyond the only one they should have heeded – protecting her.”
A powerful and reflective piece by the good people at Aangan.
POSCO cannot be invoked to prosecute a man for raping a mentally-challenged adult victim having an under-developed brain like a child, the Supreme Court today ruled. The apex court said that according to Section 2 (d) of the POCSO Act, the term “age” cannot include “mental” age as the intent of the Parliament was to focus on children, that is, persons who are physically under the age of 18 years.
Some articulate thoughts on why the Supreme Court has done right in refusing to extend POCSO to adults with mental retardation.
Court Log is a quarterly chronological listing that tracks notable court cases and judgements pertaining to POCSO and other related laws addressing sexual assault and harassment.
The first half of the 2015 Bollywood sequel ‘Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh’ is a straightforward dramatic adaptation of a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training Module as delivered by a terrific Vidya Balan. We’ve culled out and edited together a few scenes that you can use to kick-start a conversation around the issue of sexual offences against children. You can use these videos either as stand-alones or as part of a child sexual abuse prevention module that you are facilitating. The scenes are illustrative of key aspects of the issue. With the right questions asked, they can be potential starting points for an illuminating session around the issue.
Also for more videos, check out the Aarambh India Videos Page.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has directed schools affiliated to CBSE to screen the short animation film- Komal. The board has also directed that the schools should ensure that the parents are made aware about the E-Box on POCSO and the issue of Child Abuse at parent-teacher meetings. Also, the information on E-Box should be placed on notice board/school magazine/walls of the school. The school counselors should be made aware about the E-Box and the students should also be briefed about the E-Box during assemblies.
In a first-of-its-kind attempt, POCSO, or the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, has been personified and is being discussed as a character in short stories and poems with students, junior and senior both.
Our friends at the RAHI Foundation are currently in the middle of a striking campaign. They have interviewed 2005 people on various aspects on incest/CSA and putting out some stark infographics around the results. Do check out on their twitter page or use the hashtag #AAINA to join in.
Also we would like to congratulate our friends at the newly launched “HEAL: NGO Against Child Sexual Abuse”. We wish them the best of luck with all their new venture.