Change in Indian Rape laws has become the need of the hour! When it comes to laws for women, the same exists in theory and it’s implementation. But when it comes to men, it isn’t even theoretical strong.
A group of citizens have come forward and written a letter to the Union Minister of India urging the current government to amend rape laws. The letter that is addressed to the Union Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad, explains how it is essential for us to bring a change not only in rape and sexual assault laws for women, but also for that of men.
As reported by News 24 online, the citizens who have come forward with this appeal to the law minister are Ravina Raj Kohli, Dr. Prof. Vikram Singh (former DGP UP Police), and Advocate Ashok GV. The letter states,
We are a collective of conscientious citizens of India who have organized ourselves under the name of “NoRapeIndia”. As a group of volunteers committed to the cause of preventing sexual violence and committed to the cause of the rights of victims thereof, we are writing this letter to you to address a glaring gap in the law namely, that no remedy is provided to adult male victims of rape in India.
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Men do not go through any lesser pain than women when it comes to rape and sexual assault. And hence, every gender has to be treated with equal remedy. The letter largely emphasises on bringing the male adult under the ambit of rape laws as he is equally vulnerable to such a heinous assault. The citizens further talk about the sections allotted against rape and sexual violence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The letter states,
We are calling upon you to initiate steps in the Parliament of India to amend Section 375, Sections 354A, B, C and D of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 to make rape and sexual harm in general, gender-neutral offences and ensure that those perpetrating such sexual violence against men are treated with no less rigour and conviction than those who perpetrate such harm on women.
The recent brutal incident of father-son assault by Tamil Nadu in Sathankulam, have encouraged these citizens to express how the current law is weak towards men and how the same should be tightened for the betterment of equality. The letter added,
As can be seen from the ghastly incident involving police brutalities against the two in Sathankulam, Tamil Nadu, the rape of adults identified by their anatomy as ‘men’ are undermined due to the nature of such assault not being classified as rape. Sadly, it took the death of those two men for the law to address what happened to them with the seriousness necessary, by invoking charges of murder.
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The letter also elaborates on the brutality and horror of the crime committed, yet the time taken to arrest the concerned accused policemen. They also rightly point out, how the law could have failed the father-son duo, in case they were alive today and did not have any remedy under the current sections of rape. They said,
If not for the tragedy of their deaths, the law’s best response to the brutality that they endured and the unacceptable injustice they suffered would have been to slap the accused policemen with less serious charges of inflicting grievous hurt or the more vague and controversial charge of carnal intercourse against the order of nature under section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, neither of which fully and effectively address the need for accountability of the criminals who were responsible for the chilling horror of the crime committed upon them.
The trio also spoke about some crucial points relevant to the interest of men. They pointed out how women, minor girls and boys have laws to protect them against rape, but adult men have no such law. They said,
You would appreciate that what was done to these two men is no less cruel than the tragedy of the Nirbhaya rape incident. Therefore, and specifically in view of having recognized male children as victims of sexual abuse under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, there simply remains no justification to deny adult men the benefit of similar legal protection.
The citizens have also demanded amendments to include protection for men, just like we have provisions to protect women. The letter states,
The amendments to section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 following the Nirbhaya case, which expanded the definition of rape to criminalise not just non-consensual peno-vaginal intercourse, but any kind of violence involving the penetration of bodily orifices of the victim, was a step in the right direction but a journey half complete. But as is already stated, even the amended version of Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 seeks to penalize, not the act of sexual assault or rape, but rather only the male perpetrator inflicting it on the female victim.
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The prominent citizens talked about how the law focuses less on the crime and more on gender.
By focusing less on the act of the rape and more on the gender of the perpetrator and the victim, the law validates the patriarchal stereotype of men being custodians and agents of power, immune to harm, which in itself, remains a precipitating factor in the culture of rape prevalent in this country and globally. As a result, the law presumes erroneously that men are invincible to sexual harm and conversely (albeit perhaps unintentionally) that women are the weaker sex.
The letter ended on a note demanding the urgent need to bring necessary changes in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Concluding how adult male and transgender victims of rape and sexual assault must get justice, the trio said,
There is, therefore, an urgent need to correct this anomaly in section 375 of the Indian Penal code, 1860 to not only address the needs of the adult male and transgender victims of rape but to demonstrate that the parliament of this country is alive and sensitive to the clinical understanding of sexual violence. It is our collective prayer as Citizens for NoRapeIndia that these amendments will be urgently considered.
- As discussed above in the contents of the letter, it vividly exposes the impractical and unequal options provided by rape laws in India for adult men
- A woman can register her complain instantly anytime — in many cases even after several years
- However, when it comes to men, they do not even have a relevant law to lodge a complain
- Many a times, the men, who are the real victims, are left blaming themselves for being weak and not able to protect their dignity
- While bringing any changes in the said laws, the government must also not be biased towards the gender of the assaulter – the same can be a man or a woman — law must act accordingly against every accused
- If we want to talk equality, we must implement the same in the true sense while enacting our laws
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