Here's something that I have been pondering over since some time.
You must be aware that newspapers should withhold the name (and any other information that can reveal the identity) of molest or rape victims. In one particular instance, I felt sad that the same standards were not applied even when the story seemed as scandalous, or at least with similar possible outcomes — something that would bring shame to the victim and the family. Why? Because the concerned person was a man...
A senior citizen was operated upon after he shoved a glass tea cup up his ass. The news was published with the name and photo of the withered old man with salt-pepper beard on the hospital bed, visibly in pain. Even if we say the act was pervert, the act of publishing the news with such relish (and visual aids) also perhaps bordered on pervert lines. In my view, his name also should have been concealed because the publicity was sure to bring him and his family the same kind of scandal that a rape / molest victim needs to be sheltered from. Also, the old man was a victim himself, his act had caused no one but him a lot of pain and shame.
Besides, what was achieved by publishing the name? Is information for the sake of it justified? What was achieved by publishing his photo? All his shrivelled face must have served for would be as an excuse to crack lewd jokes.
Now, consider the issue with a hypothetical twist. Imagine a 60-plus woman had shoved a glass up her ass. I am sure, some hypocritical sense of dignity would have prevented her name from being revealed. I use the word hypocritical because the same standards were not applied to the old man, just because he was a man. An interesting instance of gender bias, isn't it? Who knows, if the incident was published even minus the woman's name, moral purists may have lambasted the newspaper with expressions like Scandalous, Against Indian Culture, Against Indian pride and all such crap, refusing to believe that Indian women could ever indulge in bizzare acts of sexual gratification...
This incident, which happened quite some time ago, came back to my mind after another news came up recently. A middle-aged married man, with two kids, was tonsured and his face smeared with vehicle oil for reportedly harassing a married woman with obscene calls and messages over the past three months. And yes, his name was not changed in the report. Anyone who has faced such calls, or been molested on crowded buses may have vehemently wished for such, or worse public humiliation for the accused. But, actually seeing the photograph on page — a scared, shamed man, his face turned grey with humiliation — didn't exactly elicit a reaction of feminist jubilation.
While we safeguard the honour and dignity of women who have been wronged, perhaps we can be a little more sensitive to those whom we think have wronged. At least in the first case. In the second case, I am not really sure. What do you think?