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Jan 21, 2023

Indian constitution always talks about the gender equality 'Before the Law'. But whenever we discuss the legal provisions for women and men we see a huge gender disparity on various issues. One of them is the ever-increasing rape cases in the country. The victims of which are not only women but men too. In our country, there are many legal provisions for a woman rape victim, while even today our law is incompetent in providing justice to a sexually assaulted male.

Let you know this offense is defined under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and has undergone several amendments since its inception. But till now, the definition conforms to a traditional belief that only men can commit this crime and only women can be victims. Even our Parliament has completely ignored this issue which is really sad.

According to common Indian mentality only a woman can be a victim of physical abuse while a man will definitely be a sexual harraser. Or an offense like rape can only be committed by a man in relation to a woman. Whereas today a large number of such cases have also been seen where a man has been sexually assaulted by his female boss or male co-workers in the workplace. It is a disgusting truth of our modern society that today not only women but homosexuals, transgender community even men are compelled to bear crime like rape with them. Actually, rape does not happen by looking at someone's age, gender, sexual attitude or location, it is only due to the dirty mentality of the criminal and the momentary libido or the feeling of revenge. According to Pavan Choudary, author of ‘How A Good Person Can Really Win’ and an expert on workplace ethics “It doesn’t happen as often as sexual harassment of women by men but sexual harassment of males in work places is also very common.”

Like rape victim woman, sexually harassed man also face severe mental and social sufferings

Whenever the term 'sexual harassment' is used in India, it is understood to mean only 'sexual harassment of women'. People still believes that sexual crimes against men as a myth. Till date the meaning of sexual harassment explicitly defines that only men can commit this offense whereas a women can only be a victim of it. Even in the 21st century, a man hesitates to report or socialize the sexual assault that happened to him. For which many reasons can be considered such as - Indian social mentality and taboos that how can a man be a victim of physical assault. Secondly, men are able to defend themselves due to being physically strong as compared to women. Third reason, if a man has been sexually assaulted by another man, then he is considered to be homosexual and his potency is questioned or it is considered to be female-borne traits. Our society still does not accept that male 'victims' to share stories of sexual harassment because it goes against the cultural idea of his masculinity. There is also a fact that even if a man tries to socialize the physical abuse that has happened to him, then he becomes a laughing stock among his colleagues. Which is another deterrent in exposing such incidents. The sexual harassment of men is still remains a anonymous subject in our country. But just because society refuses to acknowledge it, doesn't mean that it does not happen. The social truth is India's sexual harassment laws hardly provide any protection for men. The existing laws, promulgated on the principles of equality and justice not given a little protection to male gender from sexual harassment at any place by female or even by the male colleagues.

The 2010 Economic Times-Synovate survey, 19% of the 527 men surveyed in several metros of the country claimed they had faced sexual harassment. According to the survey, 51% of the 527 men surveyed in several metros of the country claimed that they had faced sexual harassment at work. A similar conducted by the Company for Viacom 18 in 2013 found that 43 per cent of male corporate professionals were subjected to sexual advances by colleagues, like women men also face sexually explicit messages over Tweets, WhatsApp and Email
All surveys, press, magazines, studies or discussions are based only on sexual harassment with women. Even in the context of rape, many NGOs also come forward to help women, on the contrary, why there is no such platform for male rape victims. Why is it so difficult for both the society and the law to end this discrimination. Our society and laws should understand that unwanted sexual advances is unbearable for both gender. Even sometimes, the perpetrators and victims are of the same gender also. We should focus in every aspects of this sexual harassment instead of favoring a particular sex.

What are the legal provisions for Male Rape Victims in India

The Social Truth of our culture is that here a male rape victim is not considered as a victim at all. While the Indian constitution and laws review changes, yet there is not any particular law for a male victim of rape in India. Only a woman can be legally considered as a victim of sexual violence and at the same time, only a man can be legally considered to be the perpetrator. It is a matter of concern that India still has not any kind of law for male sexual violence victims and not even acknowledged by our parliament as well as by SC.

The sections 354, 509, and 376 of the Indian Penal Code which deal with sexual assault, namely, outraging the modesty of a woman, eve teasing and committing rape of a woman, all assume that men cannot be subjected to these crimes. Whereas Section 354 A of the Indian Penal Code , a man can serve up to 3 years of imprisonment for sexually harassing a woman, but there is no such law made for women. It’s an unfortunate thing that only section of the IPC that deals with sexual assault on a man is 377 — the infamous section that makes sodomy an offence and is misused to perpetuate sexism and alienate the LGBT community. Nor does it differentiate between consensual and non-consensual sexual acts between two male adults

When we talk about POCSO Act it criminalises sexual assaults against male child only, there is no such provision for adult male. Sexual assault against a male child is dealt completely different from a sexual assault against an adult male. If India can have the provision for rape of a male child, it definitely should approach the provision for rape of adult men. Reality is that current Indian rape laws leave out a large swathe of male victims, who cannot come forward for fear of stigma and a lack of legal recourse. Though Article 14 of the Indian Constitution which deals with the “right to equality”. But for the sake of equality it only deals with issues of women only and does not take into account the men related issues. Whether it is equality before law or equal treatment before law. According to ‘th-READ’ report - Even the Vishaka guidelines that are put in place to prevent and redress sexual harassment in work places only concern women. While, male suicides at workplaces are 4 times more than the female suicides at workplaces. Gender neutral laws have found accepted in approximately 77 countries around the world including, the U.K., Denmark, Australia, the U.S. and many more. But, disturbingly, the Indian Parliament has repeatedly rebuffed to make laws against sexual harassment gender neutral.

It cannot be denied that women in India face a hundred times more sexual crimes than men. But on this ground it is not appropriate to ignore sexual assault with other genders.

What CDCP (US) Study Says About Male Rape Victims

According to a report published in Latest digital media - A study conducted by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States (US) found that 1 in 17 men were reported being forced to penetrate at some point in their lives and among these rape victims, around 86.5 percent reported that the perpetrators were male[i]. Nearly 1 in every 38 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape during his lifetime; but this patriarchal society does not believe that a man can be raped too and most often they deny to agree to such incidents. In a recent case happened in Mumbai, India a RPF constable was charged under sodomy for the rape of a taxi driver as he refused to drop him.

Rape laws for males in other countries

Around seventy-seven countries of the world have established and accepted the gender neutral laws. United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Denmark are out of those seventy-seven countries which have gender neutral laws in their territory. Indian Constitution is a borrowed constitution and Indian laws are much like that of laws in United States and United Kingdom. So, it, here, is relevant to look at laws relating to rape in United States and United Kingdom.

· United States – In US, the definition of rape does not include the word woman or girl. The word “person” is used there making the definition of rape gender neutral, criminalising all types of penetration without consent illegal, which is different as the definition of rape under Section 375 of Indian Penal Code 1872.

· United Kingdom – UK did not use to have gender neutral laws earlier but after the R v. Ismail[ix] it was held that court should make no distinction in penalty between vaginal, anal or oral rape and hence, every type of penetration in anus, mouth, vagina has been made punishable. Section 142 of Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 became the first to lead this development and recognize male-victim rape and as per the section “It is an offence for a man to rape a woman or another man.”.

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