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Unveiling the Dark Reality: Exploring Digital Rape and Its Impacts

We Indians once did and nevertheless still believe in the concept of "Matri Devo Bhava," which implies idolizing women or mothers, but the concept appears to be fading as rape cases are on the increase throughout the country. Rape, in the Indian context, entails a socio-cultural perspective as well. The perpetrator of this crime could be a bystander, acquaintance, companion, member of the family, or intimate partner.

Rape, sexual assault, and verbal harassment of females of all age ranges and socioeconomic backgrounds have become all too common in India. Countless women are distressed, and their well-being is jeopardized as a result of such crimes. Sexual predators have discovered novel methods to commit old crimes with the increase in internet access and digital technology.

Given the advent of technology and globalization, one might associate digital rape with sexual harassment through online platforms. Digital rape is one such crime, which is frequently confused with cybercrime[i]. But digital rape is not similar to any offence committed through the medium of the internet.

"A murderer annihilates the torso, but a rapist annihilates the spirit."

Rape is inferred from a Latino phrase meaning "to seize." It is defined as involving sexual intercourse initiated by one or more individuals against the other person without that person's consent. Rape is not rape when there is no sexual contact. For many ages, such assertions have been employed to safeguard predators charged with sexual assault involving forceful infiltration of the vagina with any entity or other body parts such as fingers and toes.

According to the data of the National Crime Report Bureau (NCRB), one rape occurs every 16 minutes on average. Rape not only physically harms the victim, but it also dishonours and tarnishes one's soul, having a disastrous effect on the victim. According to data reports, 70% of the time, the person who has committed sexual assault is known to the victim. Usually, the persons who commit these crimes are close to the victim. Most of the time the offender is the acquaintance or known of the victim. Because of the social stigma attached, most cases of sexual assault go unreported.

Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defines rape as "intentional, unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent". This definition seems to be too restrictive and has been criticized on several occasions for failing to include other types of offences. This heinous crime has been classified into several types, including acquaintance rape, gang rape, child rape, marital rape, and digital rape. For a long period, the Indian legal system has had trouble keeping up with the ever-changing types of sexual abuse, one of which is "digital rape."

Contrary to commonly held misconceptions, cybercrime or sexual offenses perpetrated in virtual space have nothing to do with digital rape[ii]. The term "digital" alludes to the toes or fingers used to perform the crime. It pertains to the act of attempting to force a vaginal penetration with the fingers or toes without the victim's consent. Prior to 2013, digital rape was classified as molestation rather than rape, but the judicial framework has enlarged its description to incorporate it as a type of rape.

A Synopsis of Digital Rape
Before 2013, the country did not have legislation that dealt with cases of digital rape. It was so because there was no term such as "digital rape"[iii]. In attempting to deal with rape crimes, Section 375 of the IPC had several loopholes. The existing legislation did not extend to such assaults. It was difficult for the government to classify these instances under rape laws.

A 2-year-old girl was admitted to a hospital spurting in Bombay, in which doctors unearthed that her vagina was disrupted. Nonetheless, no proof of sexual assault or rape was found. Her father, on the other hand, was later discovered to be penetrating the girl with his fingers.

Many such cases presented loopholes in the Indian legal system. Section 375 of the IPC contained numerous flaws concerning rape crimes, the description of rape, sexual offenses, and the regulations regulating them. Till 2013 "digital rape" was recognized as molestation rather than rape, and thereby failed to meet the threshold. Such assaults weren't governed by the law at the time. There was a need for new legislation which provided justice to victims of such offenses.

Following the harrowing Nirbhaya gang rape case in 2012, new legislation was passed in parliament, and a separate section was established to safeguard women as well as minor girls from these heinous acts. Rape victims are divided into two categories by lawmakers. While major digital rapists would face prosecution under Section 375, minor digital rapists could face prosecution under both Section 375 and the POSCO Act.

According to the POCSO Act, the offender will be punished with a jail term of five years, and if it comes under Section 376 of the IPC, the jail term can be extended from 10 years to life imprisonment. While it is true that the term "digital rape" is gender-neutral and applies to all sorts of perpetrators and victims, Indian legislation classifies females as victims and men as offenders.

Instances of digital rape cases in recent years
Noida "Digital Rape" Case
The incident was from Surajpur in Noida, in which a person named Akbar Ali[iv] was accused of digital raping a three-year-old girl. In this specific instance, the 75-year-old man was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of 'digital rape' of a 3-year-old girl. The accused was charged with sexual offenses under section 375 of IPC and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

80-year-old man arrested for "digital rape" of 17-year-old
In another case, an 81-year-old man was arrested in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly engaging in digital rape with a 17-year-old girl[v]. He had known the victim's family for about 20 years. The report that an 80-year-old artist committed 'digital rape' on a 17-year-old girl for the past 7 years, stirred controversy on the internet recently.

Such heinous acts emphasize the significance of promoting awareness about "digital rape" and its consequences. In the present scenario, the media has been ablaze with cases of digital rape. Courts are making their best efforts to provide justice to victims of "digital rape". They have widened their horizon to hold the offenders accountable for crimes committed by them.

Rape is undeniably no longer limited to coitus. In cases of digital rape, it's typically close relatives who are the perpetrators. When the term is mentioned, most people assume it refers to something that occurs in online spaces such as the meta-verse. These kinds of misunderstandings not only scream absurdity but also reveal how serious we are as a society concerning curbing animalistic instincts. The Indian legal system has swept up and modified its knowledge of sexual crimes, including offences such as digital rape.

The term "digital rape" was coined to guard children and women against being exploited. The inclusion of digital rape in the rape definition is a crucial component of safeguarding sexual assault victims. It guarantees that perpetrators are liable for what they did while also providing victims with the appropriate level of justice.


  1. What is digital rape?, India Today
  2. What is Digital Rape? Is it the same as being assaulted in the virtual world?
  3. How is "Digital Rape" defined by Indian law? Here's what you need to know
  4. 75-Year-Old Gets Life Imprisonment for 'Digital Rape': What Does It Mean?, The Quint
  5. What is digital rape and why has this 80-year-old Noida man booked for it
What is digital rape and why has this 80 year old Noida man booked for it - Oneindia News

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Deepali Tilwani
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