The rape of Pinki Pramanik


Pinki Pramanik is an athlete who won a few medals for India and quickly got forgotten, if anyone noticed much to begin with. Then she grabbed the nation’s attention when a woman claimed that Pinki raped her and that she had a penis. Pinki had initially refused tests but seems to be resigned to the circus now.

This episode says more about India and its legal processes than Pinki.

The rape of Pinki Pramanik 1
Pinki Pramanik is accused of being a man and treated like she is already convicted. Pinki Pramanik holds. Pinki Pramanik (born 10 April 1986 in Purulia) is an Indian track athlete who specialises in the 400 metres and 800 metres. Pramanik had success with the national 4×400 metres relay team, winning silver at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, gold at the 2006 Asian Games, and gold at the 2005 Asian Indoor Games. She won three gold medals at the 2006 South Asian Games, winning the 400 and 800 m events, as well as the relay.

Let me begin with saying that Pinki Pramanik could be guilty too. It isn’t like she won’t claim innocence if she is guilty.

Other versions of the accusations involve the woman who claims to be raped being in a live in relationship with “him”, who had promised to marry her and then refused.

In the meanwhile there is an embarassing incompetence around finding Pinki’s gender. Our entire medical establishment seems to have become incapable of looking at a penis and recognizing it, or recognizing the absence of a penis. Instead, Pinki is going through tests to determine her gender. It is entirely possible that they may uncover something about Pinki that she herself doesn’t know, but they are unlikely to transform into a penis, or make an existing one disappear. I have no clue what is being achieved by the tests.

Worse, bang in the middle of media spotlight, is our inability to do specific tests, and the inability of police to take her to wherever the tests can be done and so on and so forth. Some pervert managed to film her naked while in police custody. Is this abuse or is this not abuse? The video of her naked for her sex determination test went viral a few days back. She was manhandled by cops. Now after 14 days of custody her claim remains the same – she is being framed. To date there isn’t the slightest noise about arresting whoever filmed her naked. What does this mean?

Taking the road of logic, because no one else seems inclined.

  • There are two main issues in the accusations, neither of them chromosomal.
  • The rape allegation – rape is possible whether Pinki is a man or woman. It has nothing to do with hormones and chromosomes. The tests she is undergoing cannot influence that anyway.
  • Unless the woman has a different definition of a penis, the only test needed to confirm its presence or not is a look. Astonishingly, even after the video of her buck naked going viral, no one seems to know this.

There are others saying knowing her sex is important because she got her medals competing as a woman. But no sports body has filed a case against her and the woman who did file the case has made very specific allegations that shouldn’t need this circus to verify. There is no mention of her winning medals fraudulently or something, for example.

No matter what the tests show, if to the best of Pinki’s knowledge, she is female, I don’t see what purpose they serve. Even is she is proved guilty eventually, till then, she is innocent, particularly since no other substantiation seems to have happened in 14 days of custody either. Other than the video, which I didn’t see, but I am sure I’d have heard if there was a penis.

Somewhere down the line, we have lost all sense of proportion, appropriateness or even useful investigations. Manhandling Pinki is inexcusable. She is a national champion and has brought glory to our country and she is innocent until proved guilty. That a pervert made a video of her naked while she was in police custody is a telling sign of how she is being treated.

It is totally astonishing that our lust for scandal doesn’t care for who it tramples for that momentary thrill.

This episode lays bare incompetence on almost every front it touches.

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