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Rape: Killing Of Human Soul By Barbarous Action

Rape is a highly gendered violent behavior whereas the majority of the sexually violent perpetrators are men and the majority of their victims are women. Rape, the most common form of violence against women has been a part of human culture and is a profound violation of woman's bodily integrity and can be a form of torture. The subject of rape comprises more than the actual physical act as it involves many factors such as law and customs, social and political events and so on. While the physical reality of rape has been unchanged over time and place however, the perceptions, ideas and laws about rape have changed. [1]

Violent crimes directed towards women such as rape poses serious violations of human rights. The advocates of women's rights have been able to put pressure on governments by placing gender-based violence in human rights framework to fulfill government's obligations under international human rights law to punish and prevent such violence. However, despite a substantial number of contraventions, rape still exists in some form, filling the lives of women with pain and terror from which some might never recover. [2]

The word rape is derived from Latin rapio which means to snatch, hence it literally means a forcible seizure and this element is a characteristic feature of the offence. It may be defined in the narrow terms as ravishment of a woman without her consent by force, fear or fraud or as the carnal knowledge of woman by force and against her will.

Taking the broader view, Susan Brownmiller has described rape as sexual invasion of the body by force, an incursion into the private, personal inner sense without consent, in short an internal assault from one of the several avenues and by one of the several methods. It constitutes a deliberate violation of emotional, physical and rational integrity and is a hostile degrading act of violence.

In words of Nicholans A. Groth, rape is a pseudo sexual act, a pattern of social behaviour that is more concerned with status, hostility, control and dominance than sexual pleasure or sensual satisfaction. [3]

Rape is the act of sexual intercourse which is committed upon the force towards a woman to have sexual intercourse. There are six situations in which rape can be said to have been committed. There was no sexual intercourse against her will, therefore, no sexual intercourse without her consent. No sexual intercourse with her consent which was obtained by putting her in fear of death or of hurt and all the evidence shows that she was not un-willing for the sexual intercourse. In a case [4] rape of blind give of absence of violence or stiff resistance may even suggest helpless surrender due to sheer timidly and would not amount to consent. To constitute rape there must be some penetration of the female genital track by the penis and if there is no penetration by the penis, then the charge of rape is not brought out. The state of mind which is agreeable to the act of sexual intercourse is relevant. The consent must pan the test of section 90 of IPC. [5]

Rape is a crime, not only against the person of a woman; it is a crime against the entire society. It destroys the entire psychology of a woman and pushes her into deep emotional crises. It is a crime against basic human rights. Rape is the ultimate violation of the self. It is a humiliating and traumatic event in a woman's life, which leads to a fear for existence and a state of powerlessness. Rape can be the most terrifying event in a woman's life.

The fear of rape affects all women. It inhibits their actions and limits their freedom, influencing the life as a whole. Right from the childhood, the fear of rape is infused in every woman in the society, which conditions the personality of the woman and her choices regarding her conduct. There is no typical rape victim or conversely, every woman is a typical rape victim - old women, little girls, women in wheelchairs, lesbians, virgins, women of every race and class are raped. [6]

Various types of rapes

Gang Rape: Under Section 376(2) (g) it contemplates gang rape. When it is established that the accused person had acted in concert and entered the house of victim and there after raped one victim, then all of them can be held guilty u/s 376 IPC. It is not necessary that the prosecution should adduce clinching proof of a completed act of Rape by each one of the accused on the victim or each one of the victims where there is more than one. [7] Where the accused were two in number and were guilty of the offence of committing rape they would come without the mischief of definition of Rape. [8]

The accused persons raped a girl of their own village and caste turns by turn. She made no complaint to anybody on the expectation that one of the rapist had agreed to marry her but on his refusal FIR, was lodged after 7 days on Persuasion and pressure of her parents and Session Judge convicted the accused u/s 376. However, on appeal the High Court acquitted the accused on the ground that there was large number of infirmities in prosecution evidence, with the result the story of gang rape was of most suspicious and doubtful character. [9]

The prosecution case that seven person named in the FIR trespassed on the house armed with deadly weapons and took away informant's younger sister who later was raped, but the informant said in-chief that he could recognized only two and that two by their voice. Identification by voice is a very weak piece of evidence. It was held offence of gang rape was not proved. [10]

The accused persons forcibly pushed the prosecutrix inside the car, took her to the tubewell of one accused, kept her there for whole day and whole night and raped her twice one by one in turn. The delay in filing the FIR was property explained, testimony of prosecutrix was creditable and it could not be disbelieved on the ground that she did not complain to lady teachers or her classmates [11] accused are convicted.

The girl between 15 & 17 years of age was abducted and raped by four accused persons but the victim girl very clearly testified in the court that she was raped by only one accused persons but the victim girl very clearly testified in the court that she was raped by only one accused and on the basis of her witness as corroborated by medical evidence the trial court convicted them but High Court while upholding the conviction reduced the sentence to the period already undergone. On appeal the Supreme Court setting aside the order of the High Court held the accused concerned guilty u/s 376 and awarded him imprisonment for 5 years and u/s 366 and 342 all accused persons were ordered to suffer imprisonment for a period of 5 years and one year respectively. [12]

Two accused person committed rape on 13 years girl whose testimony corroborated by medical evidence was found reliable and cogent. The accused were caught and arrested on spot by witness who had reached there on hearing the cries of the prosecutrix. Accused were found guilty and sentenced of ten years R.1 awarded to then was found proper. [13]

In another gang rape case a lady was alleged to have been gang raped but no traces of rape could be discovered by the medical examination conducted after 3 days. It was held that other evidence was sufficient to prove the guilt and accused was convicted. [14]

The accused had caught hold of the victim and committed rape on her one after another in a lonely place but matter was reported by prosecutrix after a gap of 14 days due to threat and fear of the accused persons. The injuries caused on the person of the prosecutrix and tear of hymen were lending support to prosecution story regarding forcible assault and rape on the prosecutrix It was held that conviction of accused was proper. [15]

Even if a woman is immoral character each person's committing sexual intercourse would be guilty of offence of rape.

Eight accused person raped a girl twice turn by turn and had pushed the girl out of the running train but no serious injury was found on her person. The evidence showed that there was possibility of prosecutrix going with accused willingly and involving the accused falsely with ulterior motive and there were other infirmities also. [16]

The accused were alleged to have gang raped the victim girl of minor age and evidence showed that when one man was committing rape the others used to catch hold of her hands and they had kept the girl confined in a house from where she was recovered and accused were arrested. The plea of two accused that they had not committed the rape was not accepted as in gang rape cases all are held guilty even if some of them did not commit the rape at all. [17]

Where the evidence of prosecutrix was corroborated by the medical evidence and injuries on private part of the victim were found severe. The accused had taken under advantage of situation when the prosecutrix was alone in the house. Hence they deserved no leniency is sentence. [18] It was held in a case [19] that if one of the accused in furtherance of the common intention to all has committed rape the offence of gang rape is complete.

In another gang rape case the prosecutrix testified that accused took her to field and raped her turn by turn and her evidence was corroborated by medical [20] evidence. It is held that conviction of accused and fine was proper.

In Lai Babu Shah [21] case the girl was allured by the accused and was, thereafter, gang raped inside the mill premises where she subsequently died. The evidence of father of deceased was corroborated by the medical and other evidences and conviction of accused was held proper. When the medical opinion does not conclusively establish the sexual intercourse, the testimony of the victim has to be examined with great circumspection and care. In Gang Rape if the corroborative evidence of victim is trustworthy the court need not look for other evidences to conclude that rape has been committed or not on her as held in Bittu case and Biram Lai case. [22]

Custodial Rape:

It is an aggravated form of Rape calling for a sentence than ordinary rape. Custodial rape may be committed when he commits rape within the jurisdiction of the police station where he has been appointed or in the premises of any police station house or when the victim is in his custody or in the custody of a police subordinate to him u/s 21 IPC.[23] The word Public Servant in defined Custodial rape may be committed when the offender is a public servant, it may also be committed by any person on the management or on the staff of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for women or children. It is also committed by one on the management or on the staff of the hospital who does commit the rape taking advantage of his official position as such on a woman in the hospital. [24]

In Ram Kumar, Nain Singh v/s State of Himachal Pradesh [25] the prosecutrix was forcibly taken to police station where she was raped by the Constable with the assistance being provided by his colleague. The evidence of prosecutrix was reliable and local people had seen prosecutrix being led to police station by accused constable. It was held that conviction of accused and punishment awarded to him was proper. As regards co-accused it was held that his turning deaf ears to the cries of the victim were his conduct and he must be assumed to have had his end in mind when he had dragged the prosecutrix forcibly to the police station.

In another case prosecutrix was a poor laboures working in a factory and was raped by the accused where was convicted by the lower courts. Against this conviction he appealed in Supreme Court which on the evidence on records found that there was no delay in filing the FIR. The rule of produce that evidence of victim must be corroborated had no application as court found that prosecutrix could not be tested with same amount of suspicion as that of the accomplice. Apart from this the presence of semen a petticoat and vagina gave full support to the story narrated by the prosecutrix. Hence it was held that appeal having no merit deserved the dismissal and conviction needed no interference. [26]

Rape on Pregnant Woman:

This aggravated fore of Rape has been embodied in Section 376(2)(e) IPC, [27] thus committing rape on woman with the knowledge that she was pregnant and also needed that the accused knew her to be pregnant. Woman when is in advanced stage of pregnancy the fact that there was no resistance from her would not make a consenting party. [28] Since knowledge of pregnancy is material to bring home clause (e) of section 376(2), it is necessary to state that the signs of pregnancy may be classified as presumptive, probable and positive signs. [29]

Presumptive signs are:

  1. Cessation of menses
  2. Mammary charges.
  3. Changes in the Vagina.
  4. Pigmentation of skin.
  5. Morning sickness.
  6. Quickening
  7. Sympathetic disturbances.
  8. Frequency of micturition.

Probable signs of Pregnancy are the following:

  1. Enlargement of the abdomen.
  2. Softening the uterus
  3. Changes in the Cervix
  4. Intermittent uterine contraction
  5. Ballottement
  6. Palpation of foetus
  7. Uterine Souffle

The positive signs which only an expert can discover are the following:

  1. Foetal heart sound.
  2. Foetal movements.
  3. (a) X-ray examination,
    (b) Sonography.
The aforesaid signs apart, there are some signs from which the knowledge in the accused of the pregnancy of the concerned woman may be attributed namely mammary changes which mean that the breasts become full and tender and by 3-4 weeks being actually to increase in size. The superficial views are seen more distinct and enlarged. The nipples are harder, firmer, easily erectile and more prominent. [30]

Rape and Murder:

It was observed that after committed the offence of Rape the victim to sometimes brutally murdered by the accused in order to save from the punishment. In Amit @ Ammu [31] case the accused after committed the Rape on 11 years old girl and murdered her. At the time of last seen evidence it was proved accused should explain how and in what circumstances the victim suffered the death or should own the liability for the homicide. Accused held guilty on fasts of last, seen evidence.

In Debakar Naik [32] case, husband of the deceased who was an eye witness at the time of occurrence did not disclose the names of accused to person who immediately met him. Benefit of doubt not given to accused because husband was under shock position it is normal to human behaviour to came in horrifying situation to saw this type of occurrence.

In the case of Rajan @ Nasam, it was observed that accused alleged to have committed rape and murder of victim [33] a minor girl. Prosecution established fact that deceased was last seen in company of accused. Dead body of accused was recovered from paddy field on next day. No explanation by accused as to how and in what manner deceased parted company with him. Recovery of dead body, school bag and umbrella belonging to deceased on basis of information furnished by accused.

Results of scientific examination of hair collected from scene of occurrence and from accused can be relied on along with-other circumstances connecting accused with crime. Circumstantial evidence was wholly and indisputably consistent with guilt if accused. Acquittal of accused was held not proper.

Last seen evidence as mention in Subhash Chand case and their value of circumstantial evidence must definitely permit an inference being drawn that the victim and the accused were seen together at a point of time in close proximity with the time and date of the commission of crime.

In case of Amit it was observed that accused took deceased victim a school going girl aged 11-12 years to scheduled place and committed rape on her and strangulated her to death. Testimony of witnesses who saw accused along with deceased prior to incident was found trust worthy and reliable. Time of death of deceased was established on examination of evidence. There was close proximity of place and time between the event of having been last seen with the victim and factum of death. In such circumstances it was held that burden was on accused part to explain how and in what circumstances victim suffered the death. But no explanation offered in statement made by accused under S.313 Cr. P.C. conviction was accordingly upheld.

Causes and Consequences of Rape:

Rape has an enduring effect on the lives of the victims. However in most cases it is not just the victim that experiences the calamitous consequences of sexual violence. In a patriarchal society like in India where the women have very low status the people closely connected to the victim, especially the family members are also affected as a result of the negative social reactions. [34]

Gang rape is a common type of sexual violence in India and the victims raped by multiple assailants (gang rape) is inflicted with more serious distress than the victims raped by a single assailant. The victims of gang rape mostly avoid disclosing the issue to authorities fearing retaliation from the criminals and societal stigmatization. In India gang rapes mostly occurs when the women is visible in a sphere which is dominated by the men especially certain places men considers as their territory (such as a bar). The women if gets raped in this situation, even if a women has the right to enter the territory will be blamed by the society for being responsible for the crime in some way, partly or fully. [35]

The women is blamed for provoking sexual violence because the male sexuality is considered to be masculinity which means power or aggression and the opportunity for sex would be never refused by men when presented. [36]The victim blaming or stigmatizing the victim by the society mostly motivates the victim towards suicide.

Rape is mostly accompanied by extreme violence or torture and the perpetrators are not in all cases frustrated by the sexual inactivity or lust, but rape can also be caused by displaced aggression. Displaced aggression is when someone is enraged by a person or situation the individual then discharges that anger towards another unconnected person or situation. In most cases people have a tendency not to direct aggression towards the source of frustration, in this situation the aggression might be then redirected towards another available person suitable to be victimized. However, this is mainly due to the reason that when compared to the original source where the anger is produced the chances of retaliation will be less likely from the victim of displaced aggression. Displacement can occur in long chains and is visible in societies commonly among minorities. [37]

On one hand, in India with the increased opportunity for women in education and employment, the modern women are entering a well-fortified position to which the traditional male reacts with violence. [38] On the other hand, the growing concentration of wealth due to the changing scenario of the country's socio-economic system and the government's obsession to growth creates disparity between the rich and the rest. The people from the lower sections of society, mainly slum dwellers left with poverty unemployment or underpaid rapes women on account of revenge or envy. [39]

Furthermore, victims of sexual violence experience a wide range of physical and psychological problems. The rape victims might suffer from serious reproductive health problems and chronicle illness, the victim can also have a high risk of being infected by HIV/AIDS or STIs especially when sexually assaulted by strangers. Psychologically, the victim may experience fear, anxiety, low esteem which can also result in social adjustment problems. The most common long term issues are depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The victim can be affected with a poor health condition and even pregnancy. [40]

End Notes:
  1. Smith, Merril D. (2004) Encyclopedia of Rape, Greenwood Press, US, 219.
  2. UNIFEM (2003), Not a Minute More-Ending Violence Against Women, United Nations Development Fund for Women.
  3. Nicholans A. Groth, (1991), Academic and Workplace Sexual Harassment. Suny Press. ISBN 0-7914-0829-9
  4. Rabinarayan Das v. State, 1992(l)Crimes 462 (Orissa).
  5. Section 90 of Indian Penal Code.
  6. Boparai, G.S., Nandram, S., Pula, S., Sampath, V., Sharma, R., and Singh, J. (2012), Rising incidence of rape and sex-related crimes against women in India, Foundation for Critical Choices for India.
  7. Promod Mahto v. State of Bihar, AIR 1989 SC 1475 (1476) 1989 Cr. L.J. 1479 (1481).
  8. Uttam v. State of Maharashtra, 1991 Cr. L.J. 1644 (Mah): 1990 Mah. L.J. 1011.
  9. Shatrughan & others v. State of M.P., 1993 Cr. L.J. 120 (MP).
  10. Kutu Mia v. State of Assam 1991 Cr. L.J. 1977 (Gau)
  11. State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh, 1996 Cr. L.J. 1728 (SC)
  12. State of Rajasthan v. Ram Narain; 1996 Cr. L.J. 1882 (SC)
  13. Kailash Khangar v. State 1996 Cr. LJ. 3189 (MP).
  14. State v. Suresh'Nivrute; 1997 Cr. L.J. 203 (Bom.)
  15. Sanju Gope & others v. State 1998 Cr. L.J. 1684 (Orissa).
  16. Toufik Ahmed Fauzdar Khan v. State, 1999 Cr. LJ. 1714 (Guj.)
  17. Devendra Das and others v. The State, 1999 Cr. L.J. 4805 (Pat).
  18. Ashok Kumar Salame and another v. State, 2001 Cr. LJ. 1555 (Bom).
  19. Sanjay Nath v. State of Haryana 2007(2). Law Herald (P&H) 1662.
  20. Jalli v. State 2001 Cr. LJ. 4606 (MP).
  21. Lai Babu Shah and others v. State of Bihar, 2000 Cr. L J. 2611 (Pat)
  22. Kuldeep Kumar @ Bittu v. State of Punjab 2007(3) Law Herald (P&H) 2405
  23. Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  24. Ahuja, Ram (2014), Violence Against Women, Rawat Publishers, New Delhi.
  25. Ram Kumar, Nain Singh v. State of HP 1995 Cr. L.J. 3621 (SC)
  26. Kamel Singh v. State of M.P. 1995, Cr.L.J.
  27. Indian Penal Code, 1860.4173 (SC).
  28. Lalu Kamumal v. State, AIR 1953 Ajmer 12: 53 Cr.L.J. 1196
  29. Modi on Medical Jurisprudence, 21st edn.
  30. Nomita Aggarwal, Women and Law in India, Women's Studies and Development Centre, University of Delhi. New Century Publications, Delhi (2008).
  31. Amit @ Ammu v. State of Maharashtra, 2003(2) Apex CJ 0555 = 2004(1) Criminal Court Case 0786 = 2003 Judgments Online 1023=2004(1) RCR (Criminal) 563 (SC) = 2003(3) PLR 400.
  32. State of Orissa v. Dibakar-Nain, AIR 2002 SC 2148
  33. State of Kerala v. Rajan @ Nasam, 2004 Cri. LJ. 715 (Kerala).
  34. Karmen, Andrew (2010) Crime Victims: An Introduction to Victimology, Seventh edition, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, .
  35. Peters, Julie; Wolper, Andrea (1995) Women's Rights Human Rights-International Feminist Perspectives, Routledge, Inc.,
  36. Andersen, Margaret; Taylor, Howard (2008) Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society, 4th edition. Thompson Learning Inc.
  37. Coon, Dennis (2006) Psychology: A Modular Approach To Mind And Behavior, 10th Edition. Thompson Wardsworth-US.
  38. The Hindu, Dec 19, 2012
  39. Blau, Judith; Moncada, Alberto (2005) Human Rights: Beyond the Liberal Vision, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  40. Mcanulty, Richard D; Burnette, Mary Michele (2006) Sex and Sexuality: Sexual deviation and sexual offenses. Exhibitionism, Volume three, Greenwood Publishing Group.

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