Saturday, November 15, 2008

in defense of anand jon?

I am stunned to see that several people in the Indian fashion industry have seemed to defend designer Anand Jon following his conviction on 1 count of rape and 15 counts of sexual assault by a US court. The difficulty of obtaining a conviction in rape cases--especially "acquaintance rape" such as these attacks--is notorious. There are huge gray areas where consent is concerned that trip up jurors, and a significant subconscious prejudice remains against women who file rape charges. For that reason, convictions generally require a massive preponderance of evidence and/or the testimony of more than one victim.

In some regards, this case was easier to prosecute because it included charges of statutory rape--i.e. having sex, whether consensual or not, with a girl or boy who has not yet reached age 18. Some quail at calling this child molestation--for what magic transformation occurs between 17 and 18--but the line must be drawn somewhere and in Jon's case one of the victims was just 14.

However, what is more striking than that is the dubious argument that this is some kind of conspiracy against Jon by models disgruntled because he did not use them in his shows after he slept with them. Filing a rape or sexual assault case in the US, as in India, is no picnic. The victims are subjected to unpleasant scrutiny of all kinds, the rumor mill begins circulating (as is clear by this conspiracy theory) and they are forced to divulge details about a traumatizing and humiliating experience. That seven different girls came forward to accuse Jon and testify against him is--if not completely damning for those of us who weren't in the courtroom to hear the evidence--certainly grounds for a strong assumption that justice has been served.

Several myths lie at the heart of the Indian disbelief in Jon's conviction--that a handsome man cannot be a rapist because he is capable of finding consenting sex partners; that nice, clean, wealthy men are not rapists; and that rape without violence is not rape.

1 comment:

Rahul said...

The identity of rape victims is kept a secret in the U.S. courts and no one will know if they got raped. However anyone can accuse an innocent man of rape when money is involved. By wining the criminal case the so called rape victims can now sue Anand Jon in a civil court for money. Also why were the rape charges filed a week before Anand was to get ten million dollars to fund his new line of Jean.