Rape Culture: Assault Faced by Men

Author 1: - Aditya Jain, Author 2: - Mansi Sharma

2nd Year B.B.A. LL.B (Hons.)
Manipal University, Jaipur

ABSTRACT: Rape is a crime, whether the person committing it is a stranger, relative or merely an acquaintance. Various myths which concern the survivors, perpetrators and plausibility of such abuse are often being challenged. Most survivors already know their rapists and tend to protect their perpetrators by not initiating a legal procedure against them. Instead, their foremost priority should be protecting their own self. The myth in India is that people think men cannot be raped. However, truth be told, there are numerous of rape cases in which the victim is a male, which is neglected and also unreported due to the fake notion of masculinity and invulnerability concerning men getting raped. This paper focuses on such issues and promotes gender-neutral laws to bring justice to all, men and women, young and old.

1. INTRODUCTION

In India, rape is termed as a crime perpetrated by a man against a woman. Today the writer is going to highlight that not only females but males are also the victims of rape or sexual violence, but in the Indian society, the mindset of the people is that the offence of rape can only be committed by a man and not against a man. The rape of man is always seen as a taboo and the questions concerning his masculinity are being raised and this is one of the reasons why they abstain from reporting about the abuse or assault which they have suffered. Victims are mainly scared that the society will either question their sexual identity or call them homosexual if they will open about their assault.

 A gendered outlook is more suitable to reach a full concern of sexual abuse as it rests on gender-based beliefs. A gender mainly provides an evaluation of the many forms of sexual abuse, while feminist don’t consider men as survivors and victims of the offence of rape.. But a male on the other side can also spell out male on male abuse by gender power. The patriarchal power of men as masculine and manliness and women as weak has created a mentality in the society that men can only rape and in no way can be harmed, both physically and mentally. Society has always believed that men should not cry, only weak people cry. And due to this common belief, the people make fun of men when they try to open about their feelings and often are being laughed at.

2. RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSUALT

Rape and Sexual assault is a serious crime. The terms “rape” and ‘sexual assault’ are used to make difference between two types of abuse.

Rape is when a person penetrates another’s genitals or mouth with a penis, without the other person’s consent or permission. Assault by penetration is when a person penetrates genitals or with any other body part which doesn’t include the penis, or by using an object, without the person’s consent or permission.

The definition of sexual or any type of assault is an act of physical, mental and emotional abuse in the form of a sexual act, imposed on someone without their permission. It can include forcing or controlling someone to witness or engage in any sexual acts. All cases don’t include sexual assault as violence, it can be caused by any physical injury or leave marks on the body. Sexual assault can cause distress, emotionally harmed and snub which can’t be viewed. All of this can take a long time to recover. That’s why we use the term ‘assault’, and treat reports as seriously as those of abuse, physical acts.[1]

3. MYTHS ABOUT MEN

There are thousands of myths which play an important role in society. Some of the myths are-

1. MEN ARE NOT VULNERABLE

It is always said that India is a patriarchal society which portrays that men are very strong and they don’t cry. They are expected to handle everything with this perception that men are the strongest. But this doesn’t signify that they can’t get raped, face any sexual assault or are not vulnerable. It is always believed that men should not portray themselves as vulnerable and miserable and hence, they step backwards and don’t allow people to know about their feelings or what’s going inside their head. There is no safe space for men to express their feelings because according to society only women can be vulnerable.

2. MEN ARE ALWAYS LOOKED AS PREDATORS

The myth about men that they are often looking for sexual intercourse gives them a negative image in the society. Men are looked as predators who are out for hunting and all they care about is sex and who is going to be their victim.

3. MEN CAN’T BE TRAUMATISED

Another thing that society thinks is that men are less traumatized and they get less affected by any kind of abuse. A major factor behind this is that masculinity makes men silent victims of sexual abuse that they have suffered.

4. LAWS IN OTHER COUNTRIES

Every country is working for its citizens and making new laws to make society more safe and protected. Some countries which have introduced laws for the abuse faced by the male victims are –

  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

In the United States of America, the law has been changed after 1927 which states that “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Earlier the law focused only on women and vaginal penetration. This new law has encouraged many male victims to come forward and the U.S Justice Department is taking this matter very seriously stating that every gender is equal in front of them.

  • UNITED KINGDOM

In the United Kingdom, rape of men was not counted as a criminal offence before but a rapist (of a woman) was imprisoned for a lifetime. Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 Sec.142 was the first towards the development of male-victim rape. Under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 and the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008, men can be perpetrators and victims. But till now women cannot be criminally charged for the male rape.[2]

  • CHINA

In China, Article 236 stated that only women can be raped and include all laws regarding the safety of women but no laws for the safety of men existed before 2015. It all changed in 2011 when a male was raped in Beijing but the accused only got one-year imprisonment and 20,000 Yuan ($3026) penalty.  In revised Article 237, which states that “forcible indecency,” makes it a criminal offence and gender-neutral. Assaults faced by the males are written in this article, however offenders still only get a sentence of five years in prison.

  • SINGAPORE

Male rape is not counted as rape in Singapore. According to Sec. 375(1) of Penal Code rape is stated as the act of a man penetrating a woman’s vagina with his penis without her consent. But any unlawful sexual penetration under Sec. 376(1) of Penal Code makes it same as crime, which carries the same penalty as of rape causing the imprisonment of the accused of a term of up to 20 years plus fine or caning.

5. PROVISIONS IN INDIA

According to the Section 375 (9) of the Indian Penal Code, “sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped or is of unsound mental health and in any case, if she is under 18 years of age[3]”, we can state that the person committing the offence is interpreted to be a male and the victim is only interpreted to be a female. The male child is protected under the POCSO (“Protection of Children from Sexual Offences”) but there is no law to protect the sexual assault against an adult male.

If we see the reality it reflects that survey of Insia Dariwala which says that 1500 males out of which 71% of men said they were abused, 84.9% said they have never told anyone about the assault and the main reasons for this were their guilt (28.7%) shame (55.6%), followed by confusion (50.9%) and fear (43.5%).[4]

 But rape in India is only confined to the lodging of penis or object in the vaginal area. The cases of rape and sexual abuse of male have been seen continuously. There were many cases where the men were victims of such crime but because of the deficiency of law, nothing could happen. For instance, on 16th of June 2018, a 20-year-old boy had to face the sexual abuse of five men in Ghaziabad and a foreign object was lodged into his genitals but since our law is not sufficient for such offence, the case was registered under section 377 of IPC. [5]

The major fault in our laws is that there is no safety of the male from sexual abuse as well in the constitution itself. Article 14 [6]states that “the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”. Following that as per Article 15[7], “the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them”. Besides, clause 3 of Article 15 which states that “nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children”. This makes it legal for the states to make the women-directed definition of rape which is cleared in Section 375 IPC.

6. SHOULD RAPE LAWS BE GENDER NEUTRAL?

The 172nd law commission meeting held in India, in the year 2000, March, suggested that the laws relating to rape in India should be made more gender-neutral to protect both male and female survivors and not just female survivors. The main principle was to take offence of rape more desexualized and the stain attached will disappear. But the government ignored these suggestions. Later in the year 2017, a PIL was filed in the Delhi High Court by Adv. Sanjiv Kumar, against the constitutionality of the laws relating to rape or Sexual Abuse in the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In his petition, he pleaded that:

“Gender neutrality is a simple term which can recognise the reality of men which sometimes falls as victims to the same or at least very similar abuse faced or suffered by women. Male Abuse is too prevalent to be termed as an anomaly or freak events. Not having gender-neutral rape laws, we are rejecting more men justice than it is commonly thought.”[8]

For the same, in the July of 2019, K.T.S Tulsi, a senior lawyer and Parliamentarian in the Rajya Sabha also brought in a gender-neutral bill (“Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2019”) before the Parliament to make the laws relating to rape gender-neutral in India. As per his statement:

“Law needs to be balanced. The balance has been disturbed. All sexual offences should be gender-neutral. Men, women, and other genders are also victims of these offences. Men, women and others need to be protected.” 

The need for introducing all these sections is only to grow the scope of the acts which are sexually offensive and bring them under the laws of our Country.

7. CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS

Over the years Indian law has been revised for the betterment of the country and its citizens. There is a continuous evolvement and amendment of laws, and the formation of new bodies to ensure the safety of women, to which Nirbhaya case has contributed significantly. Now, it perceives various acts which were not considered offensive earlier and help in early justice for the victims. However, since the law beholds everyone as equal, it is necessary to take care of the men’s feelings and safety as well. For instance, in 2013 under the recommendation of Justice Verma Committee, the term “Sexual Assault” was replaced to the term “rape” to include all the genders. These changes were criticized by feminists and women’s groups as according to the gender-neutral laws are an attack on feminism and they believe rape is an explicitly patriarchal crime.

The state can make rape laws that are more gender-neutral as we have to realise sexual assault is neither about sex nor about gender. However, the need for Gender neutral rape laws becomes the need for the hour. Hence, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2019 called for a gender-neutral section that punishes any form of sexual assault.  Inclusion of such sections and laws are anticipated to bring forward boldness, and the strength to report sexual offences faced by men of the country.

 

References:

[1] Metropolitan Police,UK(Nov.4, 2020) ,

 https://www.met.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rsa/rape-and-sexual-assault/what-is-rape-and-sexual-assault/ .

[2]  The scope of male rape: A selective review of research, policy and practice, (Nov.4, 2020),

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317729028_The_scope_of_male_rape_A_selective_review_of_research_policy_and_practice.

[3] Indian Penal Code 1860, Sec 375. (Nov.4, 2020).

[4] Rituparna Chatterjee, “The mindset is that boys are not raped”: India ends silence on male sex abuse, The Guardian (Nov.4, 2020).

[5] Dhananjay Mahapatra ,Ist, Rape, sodomy equal before law? | India News- Times of India, The Times of India, (Nov.4, 2020),

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Rape-sodomy-equal-before-law/articleshow/915960.cms.

[6] Constitution of India 1950, Article 14. (Nov.4, 2020).

[7] Constitution of India 1950, Article 15. (Nov.4, 2020).

[8]  NLUJ, The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and Gender-Neutral Sexual Offences in India, The Criminal law Blog (2020)(Nov.4, 2020) ,

 https://criminallawstudiesnluj.wordpress.com/2020/03/27/the-criminal-law-amendment-bill-2019-and-gender-neutral-sexual-offences-in-india/.

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