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Oxford Public Secrets of Law: Rape Trials in India
By - Pratiksha Baxi
Sexual violence in general, and rape in particular, is under-reported in India. The social stigma associated with rape is the biggest hurdle that a rape survivor faces right from the time of reporting the matter to the police to the stage of trial. This book, one of the first ethnographic studies of rape trials in India, focuses on the everyday socio-legal processes that underlie the making of rape trials. It describes how state law is transformed in its localization, often to the point of bearing little resemblance to written law.
The work centres around four extended case studies in a trial court in Ahmedabad. These case studies show how the effects of power and knowledge congeal to disqualify women's (and children's) testimonies at different sites of state law such as the police station, forensic science laboratory, or the hospital and the court.
This book describes multiple ways in which public secrecy is subjected to specific revelations in rape trials that do not bring justice to a rape survivor but address and reinforce deeply entrenched phallocentric notions of justice.
Bringing sociological insights to the contested and anguishing issue of rape trials, this book is an essential read for all those committed to a just and safe society for women in India.
List of Cases
1: Doctrinal Pictures of Rape Trials: How to Do Things with Feminism
2: Medicalization of Consent and Falsity
3: The Child Witness on Trial
4: Justice is a Secret: Compromise in Rape Trials
5: Love Affairs and Rape Trials in India
6: On Interpreting Rape as/and Atrocity
Appendices: Appendix 1, Appendix 2, Appendix 3
Pratiksha Baxi, Associate Professor, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Pratiksha Baxi is Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Learn More
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