UNSAID UNHEARD STORY – MALE RAPE

“Whenever a man commits a crime, God finds a witness…Every secret crime has its reporter.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

INTRODUCTION

According to GLOBALYOUTHJUSTICE.ORG rape has been considered the fourth most committed crime in the world.[1] It is covered under disorderly conduct which explains “forcing someone into sexual activity.[2] Sexual violence can happen to anyone irrespective of their gender, age, or sexual orientation. The Rape happened with other than female is mostly unheard and unreported because we society has made it a gender-based crime. Rape against man has never been talked about in our society. It has become a type of social stigma because we cannot even think that a man can be raped as well. Sexual abuse against men is a grey area in Indian Legislation and neither our Judiciary System is coming out with gender-neutral laws against rape. Indian legislation does not have a single proviso for rape against men. This article will talk about problems related to rape against men.

WHAT IS RAPE?

Rape is a form of sexual violence that involves penetration. It is carried out by force, coercion, or under influence, and without the person’s consent. It also can happen in a relationship and marriage. Rape is defined under section 375 of the Indian Penal Code 1860, as a crime that can only happen with a woman by a man. Section 375 explain rape under the following six circumstances:

  • First– (Without will)
  • Second- (Without Consent)
  • Third- (With consent under fear)
  • Fourth- (Consent with misrepresentation)
  • Fifth- (Consent under the influence of intoxication or unsoundness of mind)
  • Sixth- (With or without consent under sixteen years of age)[3]

Section 375 is a classic section of gender bias law in India. According to the report released by WHO on sexual violence has also recognized that rape or sexual offence in any form also happens with young boys or men.  Unfortunately, rape against men is a neglected area of study and the harsh reality of society unlike rape against women.[4] 

SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF MEN

Lara Stemple from the University of California’s Health and Human Rights law project is one of the few academics to look upon this issue in the detail. Her study on ’Male Rape and Human Rights’ discusses her first observation on male rape during weapon wartime of world war. Countries like Chile, Iran, Greece, Kuwait, Croatia, that time USSAR were some of the countries with the case of sexual violence against men. According to The Guardian” article it was reported that 21% of Sri Lankan men were sexually abused in the detention of London torture centre. 76% of El Salvadore men were surveyed during 1980 and found to be sexually abused in one or another way.[5]

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United State; 1 out of 38 men have experienced attempted or complete rape once in their lifetime. 1 out of 4 experience sexual violence between the age of 11-17 years and 1 in 4 male victims had encounter sexual violence before 10 years.[6] With this report, we can understand that rape as a crime, is not only confined to developing or underdeveloped country but a developed nation like the United State of America is not safe as well. 

SHROUDED REALITY: MALE RAPE

Despite living in the 21st century we still have a negative connotation about sexual violence against males be it heterosexual or homosexual men. We are inherently live in a patriarchal society where from a very young age boys are taught to be the bread-owner or protector of the family, this notion automatically renders women to be at the backseat of society. Rape against men is shrouded by toxic patriarchy directly or indirectly, as the society is made in such a manner where a male is not expected to express their feelings, and in case if they do so, then they are labelled with a tag of ‘feminism’. This toxic mindset shape young boy to prove their masculinity by controlling their emotion which results in not allowing themselves to open about their suffering of sexual exploitation.[7] From the above-discussed facts and figures, it can be seen that male rape is not a new crime in our society it can be traced way back to the 1980s.

MALE RAPE IN INDIA

Male rape in India or around the world is still considered a social stigma to talk about, but according to the 2007 survey report of sexually abused children released by the Indian government, states that 57.3% of the abused child were boys and 42.7% were girls. Although sexually abused child of both sexes is covered under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act of 2012.[8]

Indian Legislation does not recognize the term ‘Female Perpetrator’ but according to the survey released by the Centre for Civil Society, all most 18% of adult men were sodomy or forcefully raped, of this 16% were Female Perpetrator and 2% were male.[9]

MALE RAPE IN MARRIAGE IN INDIA

We all have heard about marital rape against women in India, but how many of us know about marital rape against men? In 2007 Save Family Foundation interviewed approximately 1,650 husbands. The study randomly chose husbands between the age of 15-45 years, using a schedule adopted by WHO on husband’s health, and found that 17.7% of Indian husbands were sexually abused by their wives.[10]

In 1988, Supreme Court advocate Ram Prakash Chugh started the men’s rights movement in India. The movement started with an organization called ‘Society for Preventing Cruelty to Husbands’.

LAWS IN INDIA ON MALE ABUSE

Male sexual abuse or rape is nowhere mentioned in the Indian Criminal Law. The only avenue to seek justice for a male survivor is to walk through the controversial section 377. Section 377 talks about unnatural offences which exclude sodomy as actual rape, and this made no difference between consensual and non-consensual sexual act between two male adults. The vague definition of section 377 does not provide any relief or justice to the survivors, instead, it hinders the individual’s Human Rights and Right to seek justice.

GENDER-NEUTRAL LAW

Gender-neutral law in India is the need of the hour. To protect men from such a heinous crime that is not even recognized by the legislation and has gone unnoticed for decades. Section 375 and 377 become a grey area in Criminal law because it does not count the male gender completely as rape victims. Our legislation must come up with effective laws which put both genders on equal footing of punishment.

FALSE RAPE CASE

For the past few years, false rape cases have become a trend in India and innocents are wasting their precious time of life behind the bar. One of the most heart-wrenching cases is about Vishnu Tiwari, who spent 20 years of his life in prison over a false rape case. In January 2021 he was pronounced innocent by Allahabad High Court.[11]

Another similar incident was about the Jasleen Kaur case, where she filed a false molestation case against Sarvajeet Singh. Without any investigation and facts, he was made a molester by media trials, he lost his job and goodwill in the eye of society. Such incidents are a sheer case of misuse of women’s rights. Until and unless we will come up with some effective and strict laws these similar cases will keep on happening.

CONCLUSION

Male rape is a reality, it’s not about him or her, it’s about us. Most of the male rape cases in India go unreported because men do not speak up about sexual violence against them in our patriarchal dominant society. It is high time to stop this discrimination, justice is our fundamental right, and it should be served to all. Rape of both men and women should be made a criminal offence under Indian Criminal Law. Rapists should be punished irrespective of their gender and age because ‘rape is a rape’.

Let the punishment be equal with the offence.

  • Marcus Tullius Cicero

Author(s) Name: Purnima (Student, Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida)

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References:

[1] Top 25 Crimes, Offences, and Violations, Global Youth Justice, https://www.globalyouthjustice.org/resources/top-25-crimes/ (last visited June 21, 2021).

[2] Kathleen Smith, Conduct Disorder: Definition, Symptoms, and Treatment Options, Psycom (June 23, 2021, 5:30 PM), https://www.psycom.net/conduct-disorder/.

[3] Indian Penal Code, 1860, § 375, subs. by Act 13 of 2013, s. 9, for sections 375, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C and 376D (w.e.f. 03-02-2013).

[4] Understanding and addressing violence against women, World Health Organization, https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/77434/WHO_RHR_12.37_eng.pdf?sequence=1 (last accessed June 21, 2021).

[5] The rape of men: the darkest secret of war, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/jul/17/the-rape-of-men (last visited June 28, 2021).

[6] Sexual Violence is preventable, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/sexual-violence/index.html (last visited June 29, 2021).

[7] Apeksha Duhan, Male sexual abuse in India, MyIndia (June 30, 2021, 9:00 PM), https://www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/imo/male-sexual-abuse-and-india.

[8] India’s law should recognize that men can be raped too, Centre for CIVIL SOCIETY, https://ccs.in/indias-law-should-recognise-men-can-be-raped-too (last visited June 27, 2021).

[9] Ibid.

[10] Men’s rights in India, Legal Desire.com, https://legaldesire.com/mens-rights-in-india/ (last visited June 29, 2021).

[11] Alok Pandey, “My Body is Broken…”: UP Man acquitted of rape after 20 years in prison, NDTV India (June 24, 2021, 6:30 PM), https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/my-body-is-broken-up-man-acquitted-of-rape-after-20-years-in-prison-2382971.

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