Sexual crimes and videos: On the Prajwal Revanna case in Karnataka 

The sexual assault cases in Karnataka must be investigated with sensitivity 

May 04, 2024 12:20 am | Updated 11:54 am IST

The Karnataka police and the State administration must act with utmost sensitivity, professionalism, and swiftness to ensure the safety and the privacy of the women who have complained of multiple counts of rape and sexual harassment by Prajwal Revanna, the now suspended Janata Dal (Secular) party leader, the sitting Member of Parliament from Hassan, Karnataka, and grandson of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda. While the State government acted promptly by seeking cancellation of Mr. Revanna’s diplomatic passport, the Special Investigation Team (SIT), formed to inquire into the rape and sexual harassment charges, must ensure the videos of these allegedly forced sexual acts that show Mr. Revanna with several women are immediately taken down and the identities of the women protected. In the past few years, allegations of sexual misconduct by those holding high office have made distressing headlines. These are a reminder of the highly unequal power dynamics and political influence that make it difficult to bring the perpetrators to account. The multiple complaints and charges against sitting Member of Parliament from the Bharatiya Janata Party in Kaiserganj, Uttar Pradesh, and former President of the Wrestling Federation of India, Brij Bhushan Saran Singh, serve as an example.

Survivors of sexual abuse rarely come forward to complain. And when they do, it is often when their trauma is unbearable, or when they have familial support, or if they feel confident that justice is likely to be served, while they seek privacy and safety. When a survivor files a complaint, it emboldens others to speak up, especially when it involves serial offenders. The police are finding it difficult in getting many of the women in the videos to register a complaint. Both Mr. Revanna and his father and sitting Member of the Legislative Assembly, H.D. Revanna from Holenarasipur in Karnataka, have been summoned by the SIT — Prajwal Revanna on rape charges, and his father for kidnapping an alleged victim-turned-complainant. Given such grave charges, it would be in the fitness of things for both leaders to resign from public office till the investigation is complete.

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