Written By: Shivangi Banerjee & Sagorika Biswas [1]

ABSTRACT

Sexual violence is one amongst the foremost horrific weapons of war, thought-about as an instrument of terror which is usually used against women. However, immense numbers of men are also victims. Though the long-term effects of sexual abuse of women by men have been studied copiously, there has been nominal analysis exploring the consequences of sexual assault by men on alternative men. Until recently, little or no attention has been paid to male victims of rape and sexual assault in adulthood in each attainable field. This consequential article reveals how male rape is an endemic in several of the world’s conflicts.

  1. INTRODUCTION

A significant proportionof victims of rape or other sexual violence incidents are males. Historically, rape was thought to be, and defined as, a crime committed solely against women. This belief is still held in some parts of the world, but rape of males is now commonly criminalized and has been subject to more discussion than in the past.

Rape in general defined as the crime committed by men against women. It has been conceptualized as sexual victimization of women by male preparators that manifest the rape-supportive patriarchal society. However, in reality, it has been found that there is a significant number of rapes and other sexual violence victims are male too but the mindset that rape cannot happen with men distanced these rape survivors from the research spotlight. 

The rape of males is seen as taboo. The rape of males is always seen with the perspective of manliness and masculinity. Consequently, most of the victims feared to report sexual assault.

  1. MYTHS REGARDING MALE VICTIMS OF RAPE
  2. Men are not Vulnerable

In the male dominant society existing in countries like India and Pakistan, there exists a perception of society that men are strongest among human beings. It depicts that the males neither can be raped nor even that they are vulnerable to it. These societies believe that only women can be raped.

  • Men Always Want Sex

Another stereotype regarding male gender in society is that they always want is sex and get aroused easily. This created a notion in society that most of the sexual intercourse between men is voluntarily in nature. The truth is that men can be aroused even in traumatic or painful sexual situations and this does not indicate their consent. This something that is involuntary.

  • Traumatization

Another notion among the society regarding males is that males are subjected to less traumatization. Hence, they are less likely to get affected by any kind of abuse. These stereotypes about masculinity made men silent victims of sexual offences.

  1. LEGAL STATUS OF RAPE OF MALES IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES

In the UK, initially “Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, 1994” made changes in laws regarding rape that removed buggery from the statue and add the term “non-consensual anal as well as vaginal penile penetration”. Later “Sexual Offences Act, 2003 (England and Wales)” redefined it further, to include even non-consensual penetration through the mouth and removed the vague provision of indecent assault. However, the definition of rape still requires penile penetration. Hence, rape laws of the UK are still not gender-neutral as women cannot be penalized for raping men as per the current definition. [2]

In Scotland, the “Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act, 2009” brought serious changes in their rape laws and redefined it. In that definition gender-specific term “women” was replaced by “person” to include male victims in the ambit of definition. The earlier definition of rape in Northern Ireland included the term “non-consensual intercourse by a man” which was later replaced by “non-consensual intercourse by a person”to provide justice to male victims of rape and make the law gender-neutral.

In making the rape laws more gender-neutral, Canadian govt. has gone even further. In 1983 “Bill C-127” was passed by the Canadian legislature that abolished offence of rape and provided three graded categories of sexual assault. Canadian Law also recognizes penetration through object constitutes rape and penile penetration cannot be the sole ground for the offence of rape. [3]

Despite the changes in rape and sexual offences of these countries, there are still some countries like India, Pakistan where rape is continued to be seen as a gendered crime.

  1. MALE RAPE AND INDIAN LAWS

In India rape is considered as the act of penile penetration, or any foreign object into the vagina without the consent of women or girls Sections 375 of IPC mentions about rape as “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”. 

Hence, the whole definition is considering the rape of only women and there’s no clause for the rape of male. At the most, men can be sodomised under sec 377 of IPC that is modeled on Buggery Act, 1533 where unnatural sex is an “Act against god”.  This inequality in the treatment of rape of male from that of a female affects the equalitarianism of our constitution. Since the interpretation of rape in India is only restricted to insertion of penis or object in the vagina, the cases of rape and sexual assault of male has been rising continuously there were very instances where the male was subjected to such crime but because of the paucity of law, nothing happened for instance on 16th of June 2018, a 20-year-old boy had to endure the sexual assault by five men in Ghaziabad and a foreign object was inserted into his rectum but since our law does not account for such offence, the case was registered under section 377 of IPC. Similarly, there are lots of cases in the armed forces where men are subjected to lots of sexual violence.

On the other hand, Article 14 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” and Article 15 states that “the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them”. Article 15(3) states that “nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children”. Thus it is legal on the part of the state to make the women-centric definition of rape which is stated in Section 375 IPC At present, there are only two laws that realize male can also be sexually assaulted-

  • “Protection of Children from Sexual Offences” (POSCO)
  • UGC “Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act” that recognizes men are also subjected to lots of sexual harassment along with women at the workplace.
  • CONCLUSION

We have witnessed over the years that criminal laws in our country India, our revised by lawmakers to fulfill the needs and wants of our society. Over the years, the modification becomes a crucial tool to serve the requirement of the hour. We are able to see that the amendments inside the compass of sexual offences against women after the onset of the Nirbhaya Case[4] have contributed tremendously towards the protection and safety of women. The Gender Neutral Rape laws becomes the need for the hour. Hence, putting in all into perspective, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2019 aims to create such progress, when its calls for a gender-neutral section that punishes any form of sexual assault.

In India, criminal laws are repeatedly revised over the years to satisfy the requirement of the hour. The new laws within the field of sexual offences against women after the Nirbhaya incident continued to have created a huge contribution to women’s rights. It accepted numerous crimes that weren’t previous offences, therefore providing every victim scope for access to the courts. Even once the Apex Court declared Section 377 to be outlawed, numerous pertinent queries remained unrequited. The highest Court while legalizing consensual gay sex however failed to notice the loophole present in Section 375 IPC which acknowledges female as victim and male as the perpetrator. The basic idea behind the bill is to propose necessary changes in Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Criminal procedure Code and the Indian Evidence Act so that the gender-specific words like “any man” and “any woman” likewise, mentioned in 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D, 375 and 376 of IPC to be replaced by gender-neutral words like “any person”. Thus, there is a legal gap in this section when both victim and perpetrator are male or female. Because of non-availability of gender-neutral laws, most of the cases go unreported or the offender gets minimal punishment.


[1] The ICFAI University, Jaipur.

[2]  (PDF) The scope of male rape: A selective review of research, policy and practice, ResearchGate, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317729028_The_scope_of_male_rape_A_selective_review_of_research_policy_and_practice (last visited Apr 14, 2020)

[3] (PDF) The scope of male rape, supra note 1.

[4] Mukesh and anrs. vs NCT Delhi (Nirbhaya Case), (2017) 6 SCC 1

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