This blog of mine is dedicated to how the IPC deals with Rape. The Indian penal code (IPC) is a code of conduct which prescribes the punishment of a criminal.
The IPC’s existence dates back to 1860 when the Charter Act of 1833 set up the first law commission. The IPC, with Thomas Maculay as its head, was set up to curb the illicit activities against the British Raj. The Britishers felt the tremors of ire and the wrath of Indians in the first war for Independence in 1857. Feared by the flames of Swarajya, the British made this commission to thwart the ambitions of creating a sovereign India. After a lot of struggles, India won Independence and the IPC became a blessing in disguise. However, the IPC came with flaws which intentionally favoured the Britishers. Since independence, a lot has been done in various fields of law. Read this blog, Rape And The IPC (An all-genders-inclusive view) and decide for yourself on how just the rules are.
Now the IPC is about 160 years old embracing the ravages of time. If you would like to know a bit more about the Indian Constitution, you can also visit our blog The Criticisms of The Indian Constitution.
Rape in IPC, as per Section-375 IPC
In particular, Section-375 of IPC deals with offences involving sexual crimes/rape against women. Rape in IPC is defined as –
“A man is alleged to have committed rape with a woman who has sexual intercourse with that woman under six conditions mentioned below –
- Against her will/grant.
- Without her permission.
- With her permission by threatening her or anyone she is related to the fear of injury or death.
- With her permission, when the man knows that he is not her husband and she gave consent believing he is her husband.
- With her permission, when she is intoxicated/unsound mind and is unaware of the results due to her consent.
- Below the age of 16, it constitutes rape irrespective of the consent”.
Are Men Raped?
With the patriarchy in play, it has become a stigma of society that a male can never be a victim of rape. This is because of the belief that rape is a crime committed only by men on women. This stigma gave birth to a spectrum of speculation about the rape of men. It raised questions on the masculinity of the victim and mocked the spirit of manhood. The belief that ‘’men can never be raped’’ has made it difficult for men to even talk of rape, let alone report it. However, there are a significant number of cases to prove the mindset wrong.
As per a survey conducted by the Government of India in 2007 on children who were victims of sexual abuse, 57.3% were boys, while 42.7% constituted girls.
Delhi based Centre for Civil Society found that 18% of Indian adult men reported of being forced to have sex, of which 16% accused a female and 2% alleged a male.
Moreover, prisons are also the place where the rape of men is rampant. However, the victim never discusses these tortures and harassment as no one comes to the rescue of a criminal.
Adding fuel to fire is the Indian law which fails to recognize “rape of men” and label such sexual harassment under sodomy.
Section-377 of IPC deals with unnatural offences and punishes anyone who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with man, woman or animal. It prescribes imprisoning him either for life or a tenure of ten years.
But is this how it should be?
In the 21st century when we talk about equal rights and egalitarianism, why should we be ignorant towards the problems existing in society?
It is high time to realise that “men are raped too”. The male survivors suffer from the same trauma as that of a female survivor. They deal with rape trauma syndrome and post-trauma stress disorder which are the common exemplification of sexual assault.
Let’s try to prevent this crime by eradicating the stigma that “men can never be raped”. Let’s raise our voices to make society equal for all survivors. Moreover, let’s together make a society where no gender is afraid of telling what they have gone through. This is because if we fail, we will fail those who fought for our rights and will also fail the ones we are fighting for.
Are Transgenders Raped?
Imagine yourself being stripped off the six fundamental rights provided to every citizen of India! How would you feel when you don’t possess the basic right to speech? When the law does not protect you from exploitation? When society and the state deny your equality? How would these feel?
Before the NALSA v/s Union of India judgement in 2014, the Supreme Court gave recognition to the existence of people who are neither male nor female- the transgenders. The judgement came as a beacon of hope in the dark for the transgenders. Before this judgement, transgenders had no recognition and therefore didn’t have the rights which the other citizens of India had. Hence, they were living the lives of misery. Moreover, society fails to accept them and hence, are still the hardest hit people of the strata.
The sad state of affairs for transgenders
The trans-people also face disproportionate amount sexual violence. Lewd comments, violence, rape, abuses and harassment are common in their lives. This is due to the state’s irresponsibility in not providing them with security and society’s carelessness in educating the young minds about their rights.
Mocking and humiliating them has never been out of fashion even for the police.
Quoting Khushi, a trans-woman, when she went to file a police complaint, she was rewarded with the comment “how can a trans-woman get raped when she doesn’t have organs to be sexually assaulted?’”.
Citizens feel safe and report the crimes committed on them to the authorities who exist for their safety. But the same authorities have failed to instil the sense of security amongst the trans. Lack of proper laws, sense of insecurity and the ill-treatment from society have led to their downfall. The way rape is dealt with by IPC needs to be mended crucially.
Yes, Women Safety in India is An Unending Struggle? However, there is also a need to bring in amendments in our laws which as of now are only limited to male & female scenarios. Also the people, the Government, the laws need to amend themselves about the rape perspective. It is a crime committed not only only on women but also on males and transgenders.
Rape in IPC seem to be a gender-specific issue while they are definitely not. Hence, it’s high time to be a human and recognize them above their gender. Let’s change for good. Let’s change for humanity.