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Gender Neutral Rape Laws

Rape is potentially considered to be one of the heinous crimes across the globe. According to section 375 of The Indian Penal Code, 'a man is said to commit rape', some might find this phrase to be absolutely correct and for some, it might be a matter of conflict, as the phrase just focuses on a particular gender. so, why is it a conflict and why is there a need to address it? these questions can be simply addressed by understanding that Rape can happen to anyone and can be done by anyone, regardless of their age, gender, caste, or religion. There are a large number of Rape cases but very few of them get actually reported and the cases with victims other than females go unreported, due to with there is lack of awareness about this crime happening to other genders.

Why Gender-Neutral Laws?

The major reason for which the Rape Laws in India should be gender-neutral is awareness. There is little or no awareness about male rape, let alone other genders. We live in a society where men are seen as a strong masculine power and therefore it becomes challenging for them to report any kind of sexual assault or rape. In 2018, The Supreme Court decriminalized consensual sex among homosexuals, with such a great step, it is even more essential for rape laws to be revised according to all genders. Another reason for which the laws should be gender neutralized is to increase the seriousness among authorities to report the cases, even if people gather the courage to report such a happening, it's unceremoniously brushed off.

Rape Laws in India

Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defines rape as:
A man is said to commit rape who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman. From the given definition, it is clear that only victims of rape could be women. Above all the consequences of a woman forcing a man, against his will, hence are not given. Section 377, on the other hand, is a little different from all the laws favoring women, it criminalizes offenses against the order of nature and covers the offenses such as carnal intercourse against any man, woman, or animal.

But still, there is no provision for the victims of rape except the POCSO Act which criminalizes sexual assault against a male child, and again no provision for an adult male. The conservative approach of the Indian Judiciary dealing with sexual assault against children and women completely defeats the concept of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, which guarantees a sense of equality.

Analysis

Itís so brutally ironical that Ram Singh, perhaps the most hated man in India today for allegedly masterminding the Delhi gangrape, became a victim of rape himself.[i] The complaints of male victims are unheard and will go unheard because there is no further provision to cater the complaints forward. Another issue with rape laws is the misuse by women to falsely accuse men. It leads to the mental trauma of the accused since the mark of rape accused stays with him throughout his life, even after the acquittal society still sees him as a culprit.[ii] All The laws to protect women from all kinds of heinous crimes and the laws to protect other genders are yet to be framed.

Conclusion
The Punishment of heinous crime like rape should be heinous, the should not be framed by staying into any kind of barriers or limitations, or assumptions. Crimes take place in every part of the world, it's the duty of The Judicial System to ensure justice free from bias and against all odds. As dynamic as the Indian Judicial System is, provisions and laws for such crimes would be adopted soon. Countries like USA, Bhutan, and United Kingdom are already practicing such laws making them safer for all genders to reside peacefully.

References:
  1. G Pramod Kumar, Ram Singh's death: Rape and ugly sexual violence in Indian jails, Firstpost, (Sep. 18, 2020) https://www.firstpost.com/india/ram-singhs-death-rape-and-ugly-sexual-violence-in-indian-jails-657071.html
  2. Nikhil Mishra, Gender Neutral Rape Laws in India: A Necessity , Latest Laws.com, (oct. 12, 2020) https://www.latestlaws.com/articles/gender-neutral-rape-laws-in-india-a-necessity/#_ednref12

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