AMELIORATION OF RAPE LAWS: NEED OF THE HOUR
The Author of this blog is Ms. Navsirat Kaur, a student of 3rd year, BA LLB(spz. Energy Laws) at University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun, Uttarakhand
live in a country where being raped is seen as a question mark on the victim’s
masculinity, but not as a crime”.
are the words of a male rape survivor, who was raped by his hostel warden when
he was just in 8th class. When he complained to the principal, he
was slapped and suspended for a week which made him consider it was his mistake
for being raped. He adds, “It was difficult, but now I know I am not alone”.
A brief factsheet
India, a girl is raped in every 20 minutes still such a grave crime that not
only harms the victim physically but also traumatizes mentally possibly for her
entire life, came into the hit list of the most heinous crimes that needs to
have deterrent severe penalty inclusive of capital punishment only after the
heart-wrenching case of Nirbhaya Gang Rape. This infamous case wide
opened the eyes of Indian legislation and judiciary which resulted in many
amendments in the Indian rape laws against women. Still while amending the
laws, a very alarming requirement of the current time was ignored i.e. “Not
only women, but men and other genders can also be raped.”
to Section 375 of The Indian Penal Code, 1860, rape is a crime that is only committed
by a man to a woman. The exclusive declaration of men as perpetrators and women
as sole victims leaves no room for serving the justice to the rape survivors
belonging to other genders apart from the female category while their rapists
roam freely. The act of forceful sexual intercourse by a girl on a girl or
by a girl on a man without the consent is ignored in toto. Not only
men but transgender and non-binary people, who have an equal stake in our
society, also live a life with no voice against sexual crimes.
behind gendered laws
Indian society, women are considered as weak and lower gender which needs to be
protected by the males of the family. Women are objectified as their husband’s
property and the value of the property increases if she is ‘pure’ and
‘untouched’. The purity and chastity of a woman is celebrated in India. Males,
on the other hand, are considered as the strongest of all the genders. A boy
from his childhood is conditioned to act superiorly to the girls. The
patriarchal nature of the society not only affects the women but also forces
men to remain silent against injustice to prove their masculinity.
are highly influenced by the society; therefore the laws against sexual crimes
were made in favor of female. On the other hand, men being self-protective were
left out to be a prey to such crimes.
Demand for gender-neutral laws
demand for gender-neutral rape laws was firstly dealt within Sudesh Jhaku v K.C. Jhaku
(1996) in which the Delhi High Court held that, “Considering rape as
a sexual assault rather than as a special crime against women might do much to
place rape law in a healthier perspective and men should have the same
protection as female victims, and women who sexually assault men should be as liable
for conviction as conventional rapists.”
In the case of Priya Patel v State of M.P.
, this is significant for being the only case that questioned whether a
woman can be prosecuted for committing gang rape. The High Court held that, “though
a woman can not commit rape, but if she facilitated the act, she could be
prosecuted for gang rape.”
Later on, in Sakshi v Union of India
the Apex court directed the matter to the 172nd Law Commission.
The Commission’s report was legislated into Criminal Law Amendment Bill,
2012, but before it could turn into Act, the incident of Nirbhaya
Gangrape Case took place that shocked the whole nation. A lot of
recommendations were proposed after that which included expanding the ambit of
rape and making the laws gender-neutral.
The recommendation of gender-neutral rape law was
highly criticized by the women groups. They argued that women of the nation are
comparatively more vulnerable and such amendments will increase the power of
the already powerful male community.
This led to the continuation of gender-specific laws.
that require legal provisions
the Indian legal system, there are more than 40 laws in favor of women for
their protection against sexual crimes but on the other side though the Indian
Constitution guarantees equality of status and of opportunity to all the
citizens, still there is a lack of
laws for the protection of men.
are some of the situations where the protective laws for men are lacking-
Ø Section 375 of IPC restricts the ambit of the law to one gender as the perpetrator and other as the victim. It states that only a man can force a woman to have sexual intercourse without her consent. A woman can also force a man into sexual intercourse without his consent.
Ø Section 376-B criminalizes the act of sexual intercourse by husband upon his wife during separation which amounts to rape. What if the wife inflicts the sexual intercourse upon her husband during separation without his consent? There is no law to protect men from such crime.
Ø If a boy has sexual intercourse with a girl with the false promise of marriage, it will amount to rape. If a girl makes sexual relations with a boy under the false pretext of marriage, there is no law for his protection. Simply because such a situation is very hard for Indian society as well as legal system to believe.
Ø When a girl is raped, her identity is hidden to save her reputation and for further protection but when a male is accused of such crime, his identity is disclosed along with his pictures. His and his family’s reputation and protection is put on stake, even before he is proved guilty
the false rape cases against men are filed by women, but there are no laws to
deal with such situation resulting in wastage of court’s precious time and
harming innocent person’s reputation.
There are gender-neutral laws for the protection of
children from sexual abuse in India. In the study conducted by the Ministry of
Women and Child Welfare, supported by United Nations Children's Fund in 2007,
53.22% children faced one or more forms of sexual abuse among those the number
of boys was 52.94%.
Since rape against men is still not considered as a
crime, there is no reliable data related to reported rape cases. A social
survey was conducted to determine the number of men facing sexual crimes, and
the study showed out of every 5 males one is raped or molested at least once in
their lifetime. In many cases, the
perpetrators were women. Many among them were confused whether they were
victims of molestation or rape.
Another study shows the reasons why the male rape
victims choose to remain silent about the abuse. Following is a pie chart
explaining several reasons for secrecy, that are shame (55.6%), confusion
(50.9%), fear (43.5%) and guilt (28.7%).
only the Indian legal system is at fault but the society equally shares the
blame for the ignorance towards the sufferings of the males just because women
are in such a place that needs more protection. “Not all the men are rapists,
sometimes they can also be the victim; of the sexual offense or the false
are some suggestions for the society-
need to change their outlook and encourage the males of the family to open up
about the fears and sexual offenses happening to them. Keeping quiet does not
help in any way, it only promotes the crime.
legal system should identify the requirement of the society and make
appropriate preventive laws in favor of men. The people of the society should
also accept those laws as men also deserve empathy.
in schools and colleges should be held to educate the males about sexual
offenses and spread awareness.
the end of the day, what matters the most is safety and security not just for a
specific gender but for whole of the nation.
 Sexual Abuse Of Males:
Shrouded In The Shadows, https://www.gonewsindia.com/latest-news/health/sexual-abuse-of-males-shrouded-in-the-shadows-553
 Mukesh & Anr vs State For NCT Of Delhi & Ors on 5 May, 2017
 Sudesh Jhaku v KC Jhaku, 1998
Cri LJ 2428.
 Priya Patel v State of
M.P. AIR 2006 SC 2639.
 Sakshi v. India and ors,
2000; ILDC 868 (IN2004).
 INDIA CONSTI. Art 14