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The Big Picture – Rape documentary: Attitudes and challenges


The documentary on December 2012 rape incident made by a British documentary maker has kicked up a huge storm in the country. The film which has had interview with one of the convicted persons in the case has been at the centre of the controversy. The convicted who has been awarded death sentence has justified his act and has put the blame on the Victim. A Delhi court has restrained the broadcast of this documentary in India. Many questions have cropped following this controversy. One is the attitude of the people who commit such heinous crimes and also attitude towards the victims and perpetrators in the society. Questions about whether such documents should be made or permitted to be made are also being discussed. The larger question is whether such documentaries help in educating the society against such heinous crimes.

Experts say that since the case is pending in the court, the views of the convicts should not be broadcasted. Usually, either the jail authorities or the courts provide the permission to the people who wish to meet the convicts in the jail. This case is peculiar because here a reference letter was brought from the Union Home Ministry seeking the permission to meet the convict. But the filmmaker has been defending herself saying that such documentaries should be allowed since they educate the people against such heinous crimes.

This is not the first time that anybody or any convict has spoken in such a manner. Many conservative groups, some politicians and even some religious heads have, in the past, blamed the victims in such incidents. But this case has received much attention from the public. The court has not totally banned the film but has restrained it.

Our criminal justice system needs basic reforms. Fast track courts should be set up to deal with such kind of cases. Police reforms are needed to prevent such crimes. The defence lawyer, who has been defending the convicts, has also spoken in a negative and very harsh manner. He has completely put the blame on the victim. Hence, it can be said that Rape is not just a law and order problem, it is also a social problem.