It is bad enough when a female is raped in India. I cannot imagine how much worse it must be for a case of a male rape.
On Aug 24, 2016 Deccan Chronicle published an article reporting the gangrape of a male BHU student, two weeks since the incident. The first line of the report reads that ‘a student’, without stating whether it is a male or a female, from Banaras Hindu University has been assaulted at the campus. The report does recount the other important details, but what stands out is the glaring denial of justice and a systematic effort to hush up the matter.
Know this, my dear readers, when a male gang rape goes underreported or unreported and is subsequently hushed up, that’s prejudice on the lines of misogyny too.
More research and Google comes up with nothing. In fact, other news reports have some conflicting facts. As much insignificant they might be in comparison to the heinousness of the actual act, their discrepancies is a disturbing evidence of greater media negligence. The reports surely do cross-check their facts before publication, but what if this happened to a woman? Would there not be a wider media interest?
Rape is rape, regardless of gender. Rape Laws in most countries, including ours, make no provision for being gender neutral. Like it never struck any legislator’s imagination that a man (or transgender) can be coerced into sex too.
Men are not sex- maniacs. They have a right to consent too. Did you know, the National Crime Victimization Survey published 2013 in the USA revealed that 38% men from 40,000 households have been raped?
Thus, millions of adult men (who are neither in war zones or prisons) forced into sexual acts by predators (by both men and women) without consent have zero legal sanctions redressing their complaints if they seek justice.
The police in Varanasi, of course, had refused to file a FIR. The victim and his family are being pressurized to take back the case, in exchange for a flimsy promise to handle the matters ‘internally’ within the University jurisdiction. The victim has complained about how he is being warned against public ridicule and defamation if he pursues the cause.
The University and the government are more concerned about their reputation than his life. A lot gets covered up in India to preserve some sanctity of respect, izzat. You tell me which is worse: A tainted family name? Or a spoilt, harrowed, life lived in blatant denial of justice?
Any amount of researching will yield numerous international results. Slowly the world is beginning to recognize the contours of sexual violence, enforcing measures to recognize male rape and work towards their rehabilitation. All statistics, all reports, all advocacy is foreign.
So at a time when the world is waking up to gender bias and gender equality, how much time till India makes a move?
Section 375, which recognizes rape as a crime only when it is explicitly against women, won’t help our BHU victim. Indian activists consider that amending it enforce gender-neutrality with act as a deterrent against the female. The article that will help is 377, the one against ‘unnatural sexual acts’, which would help to prosecute in the BHU case.
Just so you know, section 377 actually considers gay consensual sex as illegal too.
It’s like a minefield; if the Indian lawmakers got it right at one place, they have set up bombs at various others. As a receptive intelligent social media-savvy public, we are not doing enough by keeping quiet about this. It is because of the lack of dialogue that we are giving a chance to the system to take advantage of our silence again and again. If we are already doing so much to establish gender equality, we shouldn’t ignore cases such as this.
It is not about who is getting raped here, it is about punishing the ones who are doing it. Raped men suffer as much trauma as women do, so a man getting raped deserves as much justice as any woman does. No more, no less.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.