Rape is one of the rarest crimes where victim’s own body is used as a weapon against them. In recent times, Rape is not only finding its way into newspaper headlines and debates agenda, but also being normalized up to an extent where Rapists are being justified.
Activists are raging about “Rape Culture” being prevalent since centuries and can die only when the ancient norms of patriarchy are put to rest.
Every time Indian Public witnesses a rape, rounds of debates and discussions begin. Media however plays a crucial role in bringing them to us or beginning such debates in the first place.
The understanding of rape and its cause is being limited continuously due to its misrepresentation, which begins with people’s attempt at reasoning Rape.
As a matter of fact, IPC has sections to Reason a murder but not Rape. There’s no exception to that offense. Its heinousness should be self-explanatory here.
India Vs. Unconventional Rapes
In India, Rape is described with one bottom line- “WHEN A MAN HAS SEX WITH A WOMAN AGAINST HER WILL OR A MINOR”.
Even IPC provides an exception of Marriage to RAPE. Everything wrong with such an understanding is what helped normalizing it in the first place.
- What about attempt to rape? Well, people categorize it as harassment but a person with a rapist’s mindset having the audacity to even attempt it is as dangerous as a rapist.
- What if the Rapist isn’t a man?
- What if the Victim isn’t a woman? Keeping male rape victims aside, Transgenders are evidently being harassed and raped since decades.
Now, with the recognition of third gender and decriminalization of homosexuality, how wise is it to keep a Law against Rape “Gender Specific”?
Now, the Indian Judiciary doesn’t recognize “Male Rape” and “Marital Rape” for one specific reason (Apart from other debatable consequences), their scope of Misuse.
Now, going by empirical evidence, women and children are mostly the victim of rapes. But that doesn’t mean male rapes are non-existent. It just means that they don’t get reported because we don’t have a law protecting them.
Even if 1 person is sexually harassed or raped, the constitution must have provision guaranteeing their Fundamental Rights.
Coming to Marital Rapes, the scope of misuse is determined by other similar laws being misused, i.e., Laws protecting women against dowry and any such harassment/cruelty. It was supposed to be a shield to the weak, rather became weapon for the devil.
Especially section 498A of IPC which makes Dowry or Cruelty claims cognizable and non-bailable offences, where burden of proof is on the accused.
But this is what the law was supposed to be right? Protecting Women against cruelty. This is where the government and Judiciary play a crucial role to come up with provisions protecting against such misuses.
One of such provision is including the approval of ACP/DCPbefore registering a FIR or even before investigating or arresting, let it be the accused or collateral accused (family members of the accused), introduced in Chandra Bhan versus State, by Hon’ble Delhi HC.
Hence, if such the Judiciary could come up with a way to deal with the misuse of this law, introduction of Marital Rape shouldn’t be an issue, because after all Rape is Rape! Husbands shouldn’t get a Pass at it.
Marital Rape has a lot yet to be covered.
Will be taking that up in next part.
References and Citations
I’d rather be called an impulsive writer. Although emotion is not something that drives my pen, the utter necessity of Justice does!