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Striving for Equality: The Case for Gender Neutrality in Rape Laws

Gender neutrality is a notion that seeks to do away with distinctions between the sexes in the drafting and application of laws. This idea assumes to guarantee equal legal protection without any gender-based discrimination. This idea assumes to guarantee equal legal protection without any gender-based discrimination. According to section 376 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860[i], only males may be found guilty of committing rape with a female victim as the sole possible victim. The issue of sexual assault has been an issue of concern in society for a very long period of time. Almost all nations have recognized it and recorded it in history, India being one of them.

The word rape originated from the Latin term "repere" which means to seize or to take by force. So what is rape? Rape is a form of sexual assault involving sexual intercourse or any other form of sexual penetration against the will of the person. According to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code[ii], "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 the age of 18" is defined as rape. Looking at the definition of it one can clearly see that it focuses on women and sees them as the victim and not the men or the transgender community.

To increase the scope of the statute certain recommendations were made by The Law Commission of India, which has suggested amendments to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code to broaden the offense's definition and make it gender-neutral in its 172nd Report on Review of Rape Laws[iii].

Sections 376, 376A through 376D offer additional recommendations for modifications. The Commission has also proposed the elimination of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the addition of a new Section 376E dealing with unlawful sexual intercourse, and an increase in the severity of the punishment under Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code. To close the gaps in procedural rules, the Commission has suggested several 1973. The Commission has suggested changing the term "rape" to "sexual assault."

One of the 172nd Law Commission's suggestions from 2000 was for rape legislation to be gender-neutral. After the Nirbhaya gangrape, a commission headed by Justice Verma made several recommendations for changes to rape/sexual assault legislation to make them gender neutral. Based on the committee's report, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 was passed, although these proposals were not included

Need For Gender Neutrality:

Gender neutrality is something that is desperately needed in society. It should not just exist in the minds of people or books but in real life. Everyone deserves and should be treated equally no matter where they are regardless of their gender. Whenever we think about sexual abuse it has become the mindset of people that women or girls are the victim and men are assumed to be the preparators which is not the case all the time.

This is against justice and equality. The main goal of gender neutrality is to make sure that all genders have equal access to opportunities and have a fair share when it comes to rights and restrictions in all areas of life.

There are two major perspectives on gender neutrality in rape laws: [iv].
  • Victim
  • Perpetrator

Neutrality In Case Of Victim:

Whenever we look at any case that deals with sexual abuse the thought which comes to our mind is abuse towards girls or women. They are only considered to be the sufferers of the abuse. However, one can not forget the opportunity for fellows or transgender groups to be abused. Male rape[v] sufferers are typically waved off beneath numerous dangerous dialogues - "But you are a guy! You ought to have loved all of the domination and the sex!" Raised into the lifestyle of poisonous masculinity, maximum guys do not even carry up the reality that they've been raped due to the fact they would not be taken severely or they could be emasculated.

Neutrality In Case Of Preparator [Vi]-

Men completely are dealt with as perpetrators of Sexual abuse. It presumes that guys are stronger, consequently, they could dedicate rape and girls can not dedicate rape due to the fact it's miles bodily and biologically not possible for a female to dedicate rape. According to a Victim survey of British and American adult males have proven that three to eight percent of adult males pronounced at least one sexual abuse in their lifetimes with at least five to ten percent of all sufferers being male.

Contemporary Rape Laws In India:

Laws In India:

Historically rape as an offense has always been seen as a crime primarily committed on women, especially in India. The definition of rape in Indian law, found in section 375, only refers to men as the perpetrators. Sexual offenses as well such as voyeurism, sexual harassment, and stalking only affect men as perpetrators. The aggregate term "gender neutrality" has been made fun of for being a phrase that hides more than it reveals. Even while all types of gender have the ability to commit the same types of crimes, it means equality under some gender-specific laws.

Pocso Act:

The 2012 Protections of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (the POCSO Act) [vii] is a piece of legislation designed to ensure that children are protected from crimes like sexual assault, pornography, and harassment. Offenses against children under the age of 18 are covered under this law. The main objective of this act was to guarantee that the victims would be treated with respect both during and after the legal process.

POCSO Act makes sexual assaults against male children illegal, but not against adult males. Male child sexual abuse is dealt with entirely differently than male adult sexual assault. There is no explanation for this prejudice. India should allow for the rape of adult males if it can allow for the rape of a male toddler. However, the guys are at risk due to the conservative belief that only men utilize their position of authority to oppress women. The feeling of equality promised by Article 14[vii] of the Indian Constitution also appears to be absent in light of all these legal provisions for sexual assault and crimes against women and children. All legislation ought to be gender-neutral.

Section 375:

Rape is defined 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 the age of 18," according to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code[viii]. The exception to this rule is marital rape, which does not include any sexual activity between a man and his adult wife.

According to India's definition of rape, no one who does not identify as a woman has the ability to file a lawsuit on behalf of a rape victim. It is shocking that the aforementioned rule completely disregards any possible rape victim who does not identify as a woman in a time when the discussion has transcended gender binary thinking and gender fluidity is a social norm. It reflects the long-held patriarchal belief that "women" are the weaker sex and are therefore vulnerable to abuse and manipulation at the hands of "men" in that regard[ix]

Critical Analysis:
Gender is a critical part of human existence[x]. Our gender will have an effect on our existence duties, rights, and responsibilities, in addition to our decisions. These alternatives and movements are then constrained via way of means of the legal guidelines that govern us, and legal guidelines play an extensive position in pursuing our gender identity.

Today, we stay in a society wherein gender equality and civil rights are promoted via way of means of diverse cultures. To realize gender-associated rights and legislation, however, one has to first dismantle the gender idea. It is a socially and culturally built period that separates distinctive traits among women and men, in addition to boys and girls, in keeping with the United Nations. This has something to do with a person's female and masculine traits.

While figuring out the gender, one has to be aware of the variations in gender and intercourse definitions. Gender has a social dimension, however, intercourse is an organic trait of a person generated via way of means of the affiliation of its chromosomes and hormones, as formerly stated. Margaret Mead defined the pioneering idea of isolating intercourse and gender all through historic intervals in her e-book Gender and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies. Gender equality is plenty greater than simply women and men.

Gender-impartial rules are described as legal guidelines and tasks that haven't any unequal effect on a couple of businesses, whether or not bad or positive. However, if variations withinside the social and cultural settings of the businesses aren't considered while designing policy, gender equality is probably decreased to gender discrimination.

This ought to cause a gadget this is vain and fruitless. In reality, the significance of gender equality is related to civil rights. The United Nations helps a comparable theory, pointing out that equality between women and men is needed to uphold human rights.

The whole definition of rape in the Indian Penal Code revolves around victimizing women and ignoring the other genders. There has been no specific legislation made in India to provide relief to men or other genders in cases of sexual assault. Gender neutral rape laws are something that is desperately needed in society. All types of gender have the ability to commit the same types of crime.

There is a POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Crimes) for sexual assaults against boys, but there is no similar provision for adult men. Such cases go unreported for a number of reasons contrary to social stigma. It becomes physically impossible for a man to be raped by a woman, as the "man" is believed to be stronger than the woman.

Since the definition of rape in India is limited to the insertion of a penis or an object into the vagina, the number of rapes and sexual assaults against men has steadily increased. There have been several instances of men being subjected to such crimes, but nothing has been done due to lack of legal protection.

  1. Author- Anushka Yadav
    International Journal of Law Management and Humanities
  2. - Business Standard Section 375
  3. TITLE- GENDER Neutralisation Of Rape Laws In India.
    Writer- P.Poojitha
    Title- Gender Neutrality In The Definition Of Sexual Offences Under Ipc By: Anoushka Coutto
    Author- Shruti Gupta - Published On- October 17,2020 - A critical analysis on gender biased rape laws in India
    Site Name- Business Standard
    Title - The Case For Gender Neutrality In Rape Laws, Author- Rishabh Chopra
    Writer- Vidushi Joshi, Title- Critical Analysis On The Need For Gender Neutral Laws In India

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