Tag Archives: rape

It Took More Than Two Years For Uber To Fire The Top Executive Who Secured Rape Victim’s Medical Records

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It’s all over the news – Uber has fired Eric Alexander for illegally securing medical records of a woman who had alleged rape by an Uber driver n December 2014. She was raped by, Shiv Kumar Yadav, an Uber driver in Delhi when she was on her way home after a party at night. Yadav, it was later found out, was a serial offender (women in his village knew this well and kept away from him – clearly Uber had not done its homework). After the incident, Alexander, then head of Uber’s Asia Pacific business, along with some other senior executives, had refused to believe the woman’s story and had obtained her medical records to prove that she was part of a conspiracy against Uber.

The story is all too familiar – woman cries rape, man says conspiracy. End of matter. It’s what we see everywhere – either there’s complete apathy to issues of women’s safety, or there’s extreme doubt (somewhere in between there are token actions amid cries of anger and candle light vigils).

Turns out that Alexander had shared the medical records with CEO, Travis Kalanick as well as with Emil Michael, another senior leader. They had come to the unanimous conclusion that Ola, Uber’s nemesis in India, had conspired to bring them down. End of story.

Not quite. It’s come back to bite them, and man am I glad. A law firm in now looking into the matter – as part of a larger, and unrelated to this incident – investigation. In fact, there are lots of other skeletons tumbling out – there’ve been multiple (more than multiple actually) incidents of misbehaviour within Uber and investigations are on. According to online magazine Racode, there have been 215 total incident reports, including sexual harassment, bullying, bias and retaliation.

215 incident reports? And now they wake up? Being made to wake up is more like it – the lawyers are now on them, so there’s little choice in the matter.

Coming back to the Delhi rape, the investigation report says that “Alexander carried around the document for about a year before other executives — presumably the legal department — obtained the report and destroyed his copy, according to the sources.” Wow.

From Donald Trump and Uber to Mahesh Murthy and Mulayam Singh – the thread seems to be similar (I know, quite a motley collection this group would make – and I can think of so many more) – malign the woman, because she is obviously the villain here.

Uber must pay for this big time – and why only the executives who were part of it? Sure, they’ve fired the employees (more than two years later)– but does that absolve the top management of their misconduct? What about Travis Kalanick and Emil Michael? Why must they duck the charges? If they are found to be complicit in this, they too must pay for it. This is a serious offense – to get medical records of a woman who has been raped and then destroy them. This must be a lesson for those who believe that rape is a figment of a woman’s imagination.

 

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I have no words. Sickened to the gut.

The past few months have been shameful for any Indian with a conscience. Or wait, I correct myself – I cannot put a time frame on this. The past few months have brought to light what has been happening  in the Indian society for, well, for more years than anyone can put a number on.

I am talking about rape. Rape in it’s worst form. I never thought I’d put an adjective before the word, because ANY form of rape is violent and needs a swift and un-bailable  march to prison,preferably to the gallows. However, when one hears of little toddlers being raped and being subjected to unspeakable torture, one starts to believe that one rape is worse than the other. Extremely unfortunate, but true.

Four months ago, a woman was gang-raped and brutalized in a Delhi bus. After she was tortured (an iron rod was inserted into her which reached her intestines), she and her male friend were thrown out of the bus.

The nation erupted in arms – from candlelight vigils to angry protests – the country came together to say that it had had enough, that it would not take police apathy and political reticence to crimes against women anymore. The media feverishly covered the protests (where girls were roughed up by policemen) and brought in experts to talk about the “problem” at prime time.

That was then. Nothing happened. I say nothing because if some micro change took place it was not noticed and frankly it was too small a step to make any difference. The system needs to be shaken up and revamped. A revolution is needed. Nothing short of that will do.

There have been more heinous rapes. If you are in India right now and watching ANY national news channel, you’ll be sickened to the gut. Little girls (ranging from two to thirteen) are battling for their lives in hospitals after being repeatedly gang-raped and brutalized.

The people have taken to the streets, again. They can do little else to show their anger. Again, women have been roughed up (slapped) by policemen. It’s deja vu.

As a mother of girls I cannot tell you what that TV image of dolls kept on the stretcher of the girl who is being wheeled into Emergency at AIIMS does to me. My hair stands on end and I cannot imagine how someone can do this to a child. What’s even harder to imagine is the reaction of the police. They refused to register the complaint and then told the parents to shut-up about the incident. Goddammit, what the F are they made of? Here’s a five-year old girl, found in semi-conscious state after three days with stuff inserted up for vagina and all the cops could do was offer the poor (as in literally, poor) parents money to stay silent.Do we even have words to describe such behaviour?

The distasteful truth is that such an attitude has pervaded the entire (well, almost) police force. Rape, even of little girls, is so common that the police do not even register the complaint. We all know that. They may do it for the rich, but almost never for the poor.

Scores of children go missing every day in this country. Nothing happens. They get sold, abused, killed and no one bats an eyelid. Sure there are “measures” taken, but that’s a pile of BS – ask any domestic help about this and they’ll tell you that the cops do nothing. In fact, they make it worse but rounding up innocent people to show action. It’s a pathetic state of affairs.

The system is not going to change. Pardon my pessimism, but I can’t say it’s unfounded. Some say that the people must bring about the change, as they have in other societies. I guess, that’s the only way forward, but to me it seems a tad bit unfair that we must now take to the streets, neglect home, work and children to make our voices get heard and win safety for our children. It makes me wonder if we live in a civil society? Do we? Is this how modern, civilized nations treat their women? Is is asking for too much that the police punish, swiftly, those who brutally annihilate lives?

There are too many questions and not near enough answers.

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