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Understanding Crimes Against Men

It is often said that we live in a male dominant or a patriarchal society. However, when it comes to law in India, do we really have laws favouring the men at all?
When we talk about Gender Equality, it does not simply means equality for women, it means gender equality for all which includes men also. We often hear cases about violence against women, be it sexual harassment, domestic violence, dowry cases, etc. however, crimes against men are not that often reported or even discussed in India.

We have all kinds of laws for crimes against women i.e. for rape, sexual harassment at workplace, domestic violence, dowry cases, etc. and we often raise our voice against these crimes against women. On the other hand, we fail to realise and acknowledge that even men can be victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc. and if we really preach about equality, then does that equality even exist? This can be explained through an example that Delhi Metro has an entire coach reserved for ladies.

Yet, if a man sits on the seat reserved for ladies in the general coach, then he is made to get up from that seat completely ignoring the fact that the man might genuinely need to sit. We raise our voice whenever injustice is done with the women but why don't we do the same when a man is the victim?

Sections 354A to 354D and 375 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 clearly states that only a woman can be the victim of the offences as stated in the abovementioned sections and a man would be the perpetrator.

The Protection of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 itself states that it is an act favouring women who have been allegedly subjected to the domestic violence. There is absolutely no provision as to what remedy is available to a man if he is subjected to domestic violence.

Often due to these women favouring laws, men have to face false accusations and trials as some women use these laws as a tool to harass the men.

It is high time that we should really start focussing on equality in the words gender equality. We, as a society, need to understand and raise our voices against the crimes against men. Even though we know that there are no cases where men are subjected to sexual abuse or domestic violence, because these cases are not reported. We, the Indians, have to change our perception that men are too strong or men are not emotional. A man is often brushed aside if he shares with anyone that he is being sexually harassed by person of same gender or an opposite gender or he is considered weak if he raises his concerns regarding any such unfortunate incident. Due to these, the crimes against men are often go unreported. This very mind set of our society needs to be changed.

Even though, now our courts are recognising the crimes against men and even there is a Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2019 which is pending to make the crime of rape as gender neutral, after the decriminalisation of Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. The Indian Courts are also punishing women who are misusing the law just to harass men.

However we have long way to go. The stereotypical attitude towards men and masculinity needs to be changed. Men need to open up about their problems that they face and as a society we need to acknowledge and accept the problems faced by men in a society and help and support them. Everyone should be treated equally in the eyes of law and there should be no gender biasness in the name of gender equality.

Written By: Mansi Batra, Partner - Magnum Lex Advocates & Consultants

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