In the age where the Internet rules our lives and Social Media spreads faster than plaque, we believe whatever we read because prima facie some pieces of headlines really do baffle us. Their mere language and the meaning of the headline want us to disassociate ourselves with such an association or society.
However, being the children who grew up in the era of the Internet and social media, we all must realize that all that media reports to grab attention isn’t always true.
Yellow Journalism isn’t a new concept. It isn’t a phrase that has been coined overnight. A quick search on Google would tell you that yellow journalism is when there no legitimate well-researched news and instead a publishing house uses eye-catching headlines to sell their story or make it more sensationalized.
Such a case of Yellow Journalism took over social media yesterday. The headline of one of the leading news reporting sites said – Delhi HC said that “Forceful sex on menopausal women was not rape.” Sure, I shared this piece of news but not because I believed it to be true but because I wanted someone to give me a lead on it and clarify it.
This isn’t the first time when a headline has been posted just to grab attention and get the maximum number of clicks.
Three years into law school and having seen these Hon’ble Judges work, I was more than convinced that this was a case of misleading reporting. So I shall clear that bit of news up for you. The judgment reads, “As regards the offense punishable under Section 376 IPC the deceased was aged around 65-70 years, thus beyond the age of menopause.
We find force in the contention of the learned counsel for the appellant that even if the sexual intercourse was forceful it was not forcible and contrary to the wishes and consent of the deceased.” Read it again if you may, no where does it say that a menopausal woman cannot be raped.
There is a difference between “forceful” and “forcible”. To define “forceful sex”, in our slang, it would literally come out to mean “Crazy-animal-sex” or you know the times you tell your friends that she likes it rough, this is what you mean. However, “Forcible” on the hand means forced and without consent.
There is a basic difference in the language for you to understand at this point.
The judgment said that the accused was acquitted because the possibility of rape was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt and even though it seemed forceful, it didn’t seem to be forcible. This is probably where we all need to know the English language better and thank the grammar nazis in our lives because most of us are naive enough to believe what we read without any need for a further inquiry.
We all have a social responsibility of looking into the matters thoroughly ourselves and not all prey to yellow journalism because let us all accept that we have such little faith in our system and mentality of our society that we are ready to assume the worst of it.
For anyone who is interested in reading the judgment, it is available here (http://lobis.nic.in/dhc/MUG/judgement/29-10-2014/MUG30102014CRLA15342011.pdf). You may read Para 9 for your own clarity and see what the Honorable Judges meant and what the news was made out to be. The same is shown in the image below.