Role of Indian judiciary in protecting sexual violence victims

  • The Supreme Court, in a first, elaborated on the need for an intersectional approach, to take into account the multiple marginalities that the victim faced.
  • It relied on well-known intersectional theorists such as Kimberlé Crenshaw who first coined the term ‘intersectionality’ and on the statement of the Combahee River Collective which addressed the intersectional discrimination faced by black women in the U.S.
  • Using these sources, the court recognised that when the identity of a woman intersects with her caste, class, religion, disability and sexual orientation, she may face violence and discrimination due to two or more grounds.
  • It said we need to understand how multiple sources of oppression operated cumulatively to produce a specific experience of subordination for the blind Dalit woman.
  • Placing special emphasis on making the criminal justice system more responsive to women with disabilities facing sexual assault, the court also laid down directions to train judges, the police and prosecutors to be sensitised in such cases.