LADY JUDGES FOR RAPE VICTIMS: A FAIR DEAL?
Indian Government is all set to make it mandatory that only women judges will hear rape cases. However, the legal fraternity is divided on whether it will help the victims.
There is another move for the empowerment of women in Judicial System. This time it is the law doing its bit for the rape victims, in the form of the recent move to make it mandatory for rape cases to be tried only by women judges. The idea supposedly being to do away with the “tough questioning” that defence lawyers resort to in courts, normally presided over by male judges. But will this actually help women or is it just another cosmetic change? If we assuming that our systems, India and Indonesia, are biased and that rape victims do not get justice, then it will very help the victims to get the truly justice of them.
The law’s motive is clear – it wants to safeguards women from feelings of awkwardness and shame. A rape victim is already emotionally scarred, but with women judge around, they will feel more comfortable. The comfort level between two women is certainly more and a woman judge will definitely be able to empathise with the victim.
Some disagree opinions stated that it is not about who is sitting on trial, but what we should hope for is justice. However, it might give the victim a sense of ease, but a male judge can achieve that too. Whatever it’s a woman or a man the law remains the same.
We all have known that male judges who lead the rape cases, especially in Indonesia, often embarrass the victims with ridiculous questions. Therefore, lady judges might be a little sympathetic towards the victim, even which is not what the law demands.
In brief, I think this is more of a psychological strategy that will help women. And although men may be kinder, victims will feel more secure in the presence of women judges. Though a judge may deliver perceptional justice, a woman’s verdict will be more acceptable.
If this system will has been set up, the final question is why single out only rape victims – what about victims of dowry harassment and sexual assault? They should be judged only by women, shouldn’t they?
– Pan Mohamad Faiz –