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Male Rape: Skeleton In The Cupboard

Do you know a quiet sufferer who is scared to express their pain for fear of being misinterpreted by society? It seems like you have made your guesses, but unfortunately, "women" is not the correct answer.

Article 14 of the Indian Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to equality before the law, while Article 15 prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, caste, or gender. However, when it comes to offenses like sexual harassment and rape, men and transgender populations are denied of their rights. What is the reason for this?

Here, I will address the history of the introduction of women-centric laws vs. the current scenario; society's stance on sexual violence and male rape; problems caused by women-centric laws, my opinions on gender-neutral legislation; its doubts and solutions; and whether it falls under human rights.

Have you ever considered, that if women are termed as goddess Durga and goddess Laxmi, why are they also the oppressed segment of society? Historically, throughout the early Vedic period, women were given equal rights and positions, but this began to deteriorate after the introduction of social ills against women such as the Sati system, veil system, dowry system, rape, and so on. To effect change, the government made numerous efforts after independence to avoid injustice and safeguard women.

Assumptions v/s Reality

It is often assumed that women are mute or frail in the face of a male-dominated society and are invariably victims, with males acting as their perpetrators. True, women have faced terrible situations in the past and continue to do so, but the government and various legislations passed by parliament, in their favor, have stepped up to protect them from all forms of prejudice. Women-centric laws are designed to assist women and serve as a shield to defend themselves while retaining equality with males.

Ironically, women are now using the same policy to humiliate men, because of the ingrained idea that sexual violence is limited to females. It is extremely biased that just a small amount of attention is paid to the crimes committed against males or the imbalance they experience in society. People believe that men cannot be sexually abused, which is a sham.

Dealing With Sexual Assault

Sexual violence occurs when someone coerces or manipulates another person into engaging in sexual activity. It can happen to any soul, regardless of their age or gender identity. Numerous laws are enacted to safeguard women, yet hardly one speaks out against injustices endured by men.

Section 354 of the IPC defines the offense of outraging modesty; Sections 354A and 354B define sexual harassment and disrobing wherein the victim is always a woman and man, as an expected perpetrator. Rape, in Section 375 of IPC itself starts with 'A man is said to have committed rape´┐Ż,' just because our society is viewed as a patriarchal society. Since rape is a cognizable offense, blamed males are not even questioned and are directly arrested for further investigation.

Male Rape: Not An Issue For Societal Judgement

According to Justice Krishna Lyer," "A murderer kills the body but a rapist kills the soul."" Men are also violated and tortured, and it is past time for citizens to recognize and accept this fact; support male victims, and equally punish the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

Not every man is a rapist. The issue of male or transgender sexual victimization has mostly gone unnoticed by the state. Homosexuality is still illegal in India, so what can homosexuals do if they are violated?

Male victims are frequently described as quiet victims. According to numerous research, incidents of male violation go undetected. Furthermore, male victims have far fewer registered records than female victims They are criticized and questioned about their manhood due to the stereotype that genuine men are tough and can protect themselves. Even the word rape and sexual assault are only used for females.

With the increased awareness of female rape cases, society, and family provide emotional support and acceptance to some extent, whereas male victims are mocked. Imagine a male member of your family opens up about being a rape victim; what will your initial reaction be?

Health Consequences

Physical injuries heal, but emotional damage persists until the end. They are stigmatized, which affects their ego and causes psychological dysfunction. They struggle with anxiety, sadness, PTSD, flashbacks, and an eating issue. They feel 'less of a guy' and find it difficult to relax or sleep. They retreat from connections and friendships due to feelings of shame. According to data, most guys commit suicide because of their shattered reputation and self-guilt.

Furthermore, the victims seldom consider visiting a hospital and may be exposed to the risk of sexually transmitted infection.

Drawbacks Of Women-Centric Laws

True, women become pregnant, endure physical and emotional changes, and are forced to have abortions, which can even result in the victim's death, but one thing that makes male violation more sensitive is acknowledgment from family and society. Male violence is regarded as a taboo in society, therefore victims are hesitant to report their ordeal to authorities. Males are not even allowed to express or justify themselves before being arrested and thrown in prison.

Legislations that are women-centric in nature should be flexible and be examined properly instead of believing it blindly. These laws are not made to destroy innocent males by blackmailing or harassing them.

"A world full of empowered women isn't one where men are marginalized. It's a world where everyone thrives"- Purnima Mane

Concerns And Solutions
Rape is commonly described as any penetration of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by another person's sex organ without the victim's consent. Now the question comes, how to identify it in males? In females, clothing, blood, saliva, and leftover semen act as evidence but in the case of males, there is no such concrete proof except for physical injuries.

In addition to physical injuries such as scratches or bruises, phycological trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other symptoms associated with sexual assault can provide proof. Although each case is unique and some people may not exhibit these signs of crime after being raped, it can help the victim's case.

Another issue that may occur if gender-neutral legislation is passed; what if both men and women claim to have been raped? Whether the conduct was carried out with or without consent? How to uncover the truth?

Both men and women can take the NARCO Analysis Test, also known as the Truth Serum Test, in this situation. It is a type of psychotherapy that can effectively aid scientific inquiry. The reasoning power is suppressed under the influence of this medicine without altering memory or speech, and they can be made to say the truth.

Another type of lie detection test is the polygraph, in which several sensors of the polygraph machine are fixed to the person's body. It monitors and records blood pressure, pulse rate, breathing, and muscular movements to investigate and gather evidence.

Does It Come Under Human Rights?

The character of human rights is subtly elaborated on, in the Indian constitution. The Magna Carta of India, found in Part III of the Indian Constitution, emphasizes people's basic and inherent natural rights such as equality before the law, prohibition of discrimination, right to social security, and so on. As a result, gender equality should be well-considered before enacting any legislation.

Gender is an essential part of human life. According to the dictionary, gender-neutral laws mean, not specified to any specific gender. In the case of rape and assault, many rapists are age and gender-blind. 'Man' is just a biased perception that is embedded in society's beliefs.

This is a global issue in dire need of resolution. The introduction of gender-neutral policy is a complex thought that is yet to be unraveled. According to me; males, females, or any one of the transgender community, who suffer the pain and trauma of being a victim should be given justice by accurately punishing the heinous perpetrator whether it's a man or woman. A thorough study should be carried out while keeping gender neutrality and non-biased concepts in mind.

With the changing times, laws should also be modified to the modern requirements of the people. For the all-over benefit of the Indians, I wish Indian courts to implement gender-neutral laws.

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Written By: Pushpita Mitra

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