Disclaimer : The views expressed in the blog is on the ground of Indian Penal Code of Justice and doesn’t hurt the political, religion and moral code of the country writer currently resides in
Few days back, a post about equal right activist Harrish Iyer on ‘Humans of Bombay‘ went viral in Facebook, where he had shared his traumatic years of facing child sex abuse and how he had overcome it upliftingly. Amidst the deserving appreciation he did receive for bravely speaking about it (albeit he did it on sensitive talk show Satyamev Jayate 4 years back), many of us have finally been bitten by a reality that we were never willing to accept it until today:
Men are forgotten gender
There are laws that protect women and girls from sexual violence as Section 376 (2) (Repeatedly raping a woman), Section 506 (criminal intimidation), Section 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (disrobing), 354C (voyeurism) and 354D (stalking) of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) refer male specifically as perpetrators. In fact in the year 2013, Justice Verma had taken a step to make the rape –gender neutral crime– but the committee proposed that only males should be recognized as perpetrators only, while victims should be person (male/female/transgender).
Many, who were sternly against the amendment of rape law, argued that women face far more social stigma and ostracization than men and largely ridiculing the fact that men can be vulnerable. While I don’t disagree with the fact that women and girls have been at the receiving end of sexual violence but that doesn’t imply men and boy’s plea be shrugged off.
Male rape survivors face the same intense psychological and social trauma as female survivor does, but due to lack of legal provisions, organizations and emotional support, former are forced to remain in silent and live with the horror.
First and foremost trouble is the mindset that ‘Men can’t get raped.
Allow me to tell you that ‘Patriarchy’ (which many feminist theory boils down to) has not only affected women but also men, this controversial social system have had set up paradigm that forces women to be fragile, submissive while men are supposed to be a ‘protector’, ‘sexually fearless’ and be accepting of sexual flavors. When a man or a boy is raped, their plea are downright rejected, often ridiculed, masculinity is questioned and even orientation is judged when male rape survivors (who bravely shared testimonies digitally holding placards) were found to be straight.
Even when a child sex abuse survivor, with immense courage, speak up; they are contradicted by statements like ‘it’s an experience’, ‘you must have had fun’, ‘males always find excuse for this opportunity so how can you claim it as rape?’.
We need to get our facts clear that a male’s consent is as equally important and as females. If a women’s no is NO, so does a men’s No, regardless of the orientation. If a man is forced to have sex against his will using violence by a man (either straight or homosexual), it’s a rape and shouldn’t be mocked with the preposterous allegation of ‘provoking or inviting it to HAPPEN’.
After reading this article on net, I discovered that even females are capable enough to perpetrate rape on men and there are many such unseen survivors, walking aside us who have experienced it but never could muster the courage to speak out fearing backlash that could turn the table against them for being the assaulter.
I will be questioned that why aren’t there any statistics to prove this claim, my answer would be, when the survivors aren’t encouraged to speak about their plight, how will the numbers come out, forget statistics? The only law that has provision to charge male perpetrators is the archaic Section 377 of IPC (which is the anti-sodomy law), unfortunately it’s also a law that criminalizes LGBTQ and consensual sex between two adults, doesn’t bring female perpetrators to justice. This loophole in judiciary system has led to a lot of such incidents go unnoticed.
This blog doesn’t undermine women who are subjected to sexual violence or any sort of discrimination they face, I just want to convey that we, as a civil and evolving human society, should be conducive to male survivors also, who need a platform to vent out, a law that protect them and a caring shoulder where they can unburden their hurt emotions and get an appropriate therapy to overcome the PTSD they suffer from to start a new life afresh. After all, even men have feelings, don’t they?
I do not consider myself as a feminist
Now before anyone tries to cyber abuse or strangulate me or even gift wrap me an oxford dictionary, I would like to say that I am well-versed with the dictionary definition of the term which states advocacy of women’s right on the grounds of political, economic, social and legal equality to men. I have seen feminist’s attempt to make a point that feminism also include men in this movement, but I fail to see that. Does that mean I am anti-women? NO, Why would I be?
I do want women to excel, have equal opportunities to shine in their respective fields, be treated with respect sans any prejudice and most importantly given justice when they are at the receiving end however not the cost of an opposite gender.
In fact, I recognize myself as an ‘Egalitarian‘ (exact word for gender equality), yet somewhere deep inside me, I don’t have an urge to label myself to stand for a cause or help people in need because just like our life and experiences, even these terms are inevitable.
I would rather choose to be an unbiased person, who is willing to look at both sides of the coins. Similarly, our society need to be empathetic enough to understand the pain of every individual (regardless of gender) and be mature enough to understand and well sound enough to filter the true from the false. It’s time we stand for the victim and bring perpetrators to justice with an aim to reform them.