One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to rape cases is that only women are victims. The fact that we hardly acknowledge is that men too are victims of sexual abuse. But things appear to be changing for the good as we are opening up about male rape.
A Public Interest Litigation asking for justice for male rape victims has been filed in the Supreme Court. The PIL demands punishment for women who have been involved in crimes of sexual harassment.
The PIL also addresses a recent Supreme Court decision regarding the amendment of the adultery law and making it gender neutral.
Currently, women involved in offences like rape, sexual harassment or stalking, usually get away easily, despite a complaint being filed against them, since the 158-year-old Indian Penal Code likes to believe that such crimes are committed only by men.
Rishi Malhotra, the Supreme Court lawyer who is one of the petitioners says, "Crime has no gender and neither should laws. Women commit crime for the same reasons that men do. The law does not and should not distinguish between criminals and every person who has committed an offence is liable to punishment under the Code."
"In a recent study it was found that out of 222 Indian men surveyed, 16.1% had been coerced into having sex. Despite rape of men not researched as widely as rape of female, there are several statistics to suggest that men are raped and the prevalence of men rape is wider than is generally presumed," he adds.
The petition demands that the words “any man” used in the offences 354D (stalking),375 (rape), 354C (voyeurism) and 354A (sexual harassment) should be declared ultra vires, or in violation, of the Constitution.
Malhotra says that the discrimination against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth is prohibited under Article 15 id the Indian Constitution.
"Crimes such as rape and murder do not see age, caste or even gender or sexual orientation.Rape is seen across the extremes of age, sex and geographical boundaries. Thus, it is only the development and application of a gender neutral law that will be effective in improving the reporting and registering of such crimes," the PIL says.
It feels good to see that the country is trying to embrace gender equality in the true sense of the term.
Information and cover image sourced from indiatoday