Male sexual assault- Reality Check
What is a rape? The very first thing that needs to be discussed before the further discussion is what the subject actually is. As the Wikipedia states that, “Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent”. It nowhere states that who rapes whom. There is nothing which says that whether the female is the culprit of male is the victim and vice versa. Rape doesn’t coincides with genders, anyone can be raped by literally anyone despite of the genders. There can be female, male, transgender, children or adult- literally anyone who can be a culprit as well as a survivor.
Male Sexual Assault and Rape
Sexual assault or what we call a rape is always thought to have a female victim and a male rapist. We rarely talk on men rape cases or when men or boys are the victims. In fact some of them don’t even consider it as rape. They often suffer in silence and do not choose to report the abuses. As Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code stands, rape is something that only a man can do to a woman. There is no room for male victims and even much less for female perpetrators. Although children of both sexes are covered by the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012, current rape laws leave out a large area of male victims, who cannot come forward due to the fear of stigma and a lack of legal recourse. It is a serious problem that needs to be addressed soon. Section 375 of Indian Penal Code says that rape is considered when:
- It is against her will.
- Without her consent.
- With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.
- With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.
- With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.
- With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age.
- Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape.
- Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.
These clauses do not include marital rape, same sex rapes or male sexual abuse cases. What about these cases or what about the survivors of such cases. This section clearly states that it is a man who commits rape against a women and no vice versa. Male rape survivors on their part also do not choose to speak and even when they speak it is already too late. Which is well proven when the Chennai- based male rape survivor shared his memories of being raped throughout his childhood in a Facebook post quickly went viral. Okay its quite understood that females falls more prey to such crimes and also suffers injustice, but it as important as that to even consider male rape also a rape and to provide a legal structure for the same. Almost less than 1 out of 10 male rape cases are reported and none gets justice. It is a common Indian believe that man only wants sex and there’s nothing like rape in them – which is logically defied as one out of 10 men has experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives. It’s not the men who are at fault but in fact their minds have been programmed in a way to do what they do. They are not considered ‘man enough’ if they report such cases or are tagged as gay or sissy which again points out the finger at our education system which provides no sexual education. The educational institutes are at the main fault here as they seriously lack sex education. Children are not taught about such sensitive issues and most of the teachers are seen skipping the lessons which revolve around sex education. We, with our own hands has created a taboo which is now repelling back at us and the bitter truth is that we don’t even choose to eradicate it. This is a serious issue which needs to be understood not only by the government or education institutions but also by us that we stop stereotyping male rapes that we stop labeling them as not man enough and that mostly we focus on not being man enough. Because there’s nothing like man enough or woman enough- why is there even a need to prove what they actually are, just be you and that’s all. Coming back to male rapes, we need to understand that males are also humans and rapes can also damage them physically and mentally both. A study shows that depression and hostility are more profound on male victims immediately post-rape than on female victims. Compared to men who have not been sexually assaulted, men who were sexually assaulted before age 18 have a greater risk of having mental health problems, including symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression; alcoholism and drug abuse, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts; problems in intimate relationships; and underachievement at school and at work. The suicide rate for sexually abused males is 14 to 15 times higher than for other males. Males have a much higher rate of completed suicide than females. These are similar situations that any female victim would have shown. Rape is rape, post effects are common, and so, why is there difference in legal structure- when the constitution of India clearly states that every citizen is equal before law. The Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, is the only section that criminalizes all acts of non-consensual sexual intercourse including male-on-male rape. But how much does it work in a stereotypic society? It’s high time for us to start taking rape as a serious issue without differentiating it against man and a woman. Let’s create a nation that is safer for every gender and age group and that rape can only be a thing of past.