Varunavi Bangia from the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata writes on Restorative Justice in Sexual Offences.

Abstract

With the #MeToo movement shaping up and victims from across the globe coming together on a common platform to call out their abusers, there is an increasing scepticism about the justice process and a growing alienation from it. The movement has not only served as a painful reminder of how pervasive sexual abuse is, but also how the due process fails most of these victims. Drawing from feminist theories of power inequalities and sexualisation of gender, the paper proposes redefining rape in the context of power dynamics rather than consent. It also delves on the inadequacies of the current model of defining crimes as against the State, the distinctive nature of rape, and why it is unjust and unfair to define it as an offense against the State and society.

Establishing the psychological and social implications of sexual abuse, the paper focuses on the need to implement changes in the justice system by implementing restorative practices in cases of rape and making the justice process more victimoriented. It also emphasizes on the need of victims to reclaim not just justice but also the agency to decide the course of action to pursue that justice.