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SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN - RAPE

Updated: Apr 28

Author: Soumya Swaroop, III year of B.A.,LL.B(Hons) from Manipal University Jaipur.

Co-author: Nandini Chachre, III year of B.A.,LL.B(Hons) from Manipal University Jaipur.


India is the most unsafe country for women. There are various crimes that women face like eve teasing, sexual harassment, body shaming, sexual assault, rape and many more. Rape is the most heinous crime that is committed against women. In layman's language, rape is having sexual intercourse with the opposite gender without their consent. Rape not only hurts women physically, but it also shatters her self-confidence.


What is Rape?

Rape is explicitly defined under Indian Penal Code, 1860 as a situation in which a man does or performs sexual intercourse with women against her will or without her consent or when her consent was given under undue influence or when a consent is given when she is believing that man is her husband but in reality he is not or when she had given her consent under influence of some intoxication or at the time of giving consent she was of unsound mind or her consent was given or not but she is under sixteen (16) years of age.


However, if there is sexual intercourse by a man with his wife (not under the age of fifteen years) then it is not rape.


Any person who commits the offence of rape shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of either description which shall be of a term not less than 10 years, which may extend to life imprisonment and also shall be liable to pay a fine.


Types of Rape

There are various types of rape that are reported across the country. Most of the reported offences of rape are of the following types –


DIMINISHED CAPACITY RAPE

Diminished capacity rape refers to a situation in which the consent of the person cannot be attained due to limited physical and mental ability to agree for sexual intercourse while the other person (accused) forces sexual penetration.


The most recent rape case that was reported in the state of Rajasthan showed the same situation of Diminished Capacity Rape. In this the news report stated that in Shalby Hospital, Jaipur a patient was admitted and had a surgery. Later on she was shifted to ICU while she was lying unconscious due to anaesthesia. The ward boy had repeatedly molested her by tying her hand with the oxygen pipes. After the incident, the victim was continuously crying all night. The husband of the lady had lodged a complaint against the ward boy. The accused lives on Agra Road. When police had arrested the accused, he claimed that “she had not resisted herself when he was molesting her which is equivalent to consent.” As of now, the case is being investigated.


STATURORY RAPE

Statutory rape means a situation in which sexual violence is performed with a minor against his or her consent and all sexual acts against a minor are said to be illegal. The minimum age is prescribed by the state.


If in a state, the minimum age for the consent is set as 17 years. Then, if a boy (17 or 18 years) commits any sexual intercourse with a girl (16 years old), then in that case the boy is held liable for statutory rape.


The incident that took place on 17 January 2018 led to widespread outrage. On the said date eight (8) year old girl had to struggle for her dignity, self-respect and life. In Rasana village near Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, a girl was raped by eight (8) men and then murdered by them. As soon as the accused were arrested and charges were filed against them, the nation had decided to carry out various protests. Some of such protests were also attended by a few members of the Bhartiaya Janata Party (BJP). There were approximately eight (8) accused arrested and tried in court. Out of them, three (3) accused were sentenced to life imprisonment and the remaining were sentenced to imprisonment for a term of five (5) years.


GANG RAPE

Gang rape is the most aggravated form of rape that is reported across the country. In this situation more than one person with common intention performs or force sexual intercourse against women without her consent.


The most famous and heart-wrenching gang rape case is the Nirbhaya Case or Delhi Gang Rape Case. Nirbhaya the victim of rape and her male had boarded a bus at Munirka for Dwarka. The bus had six passengers including the driver of the bus. The couple had started doubting the passengers on board when the passengers started asking them with respect to their relations and the bus driver had also deviated from the normal route. When the couple reacted to the driver regarding the deviation from the route, then the passengers (convicts) started beating the male friend and also knocked him unconscious with the iron rod. nirbhaya was dragged to the rear of the bus. She was brutally raped and beaten by the convicts with the iron rod. The driver continued to drive without stopping anywhere. The couple was thrown out of the moving bus, and the couple was semi-nude.


The couple was treated in Safdurjung hospital. The medical report of Nirbhaya clearly stated she had injuries in her abdomen, genital parts, had bite marks all over her body and flesh of her intestine was also pulled out of her body. The female victim had to undergo various surgeries (around 6) along with various treatments. However, for a better treatment the victim was flown to Singapore, but her health deteriorated on a daily basis, and she breathed last on 29th December.


The Delhi Police had arrested all the six suspects within 24 hours. One of the suspects had committed suicide out of guilt and one was a minor, so was dealt with as per the provisions of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015. The remaining suspects were sentenced to capital punishment. They had filed appeals in the Supreme Court of India, which were rejected. They had also filed a mercy petition to the President. However they were also rejected.


The convicts and their family had tried all the provisions in law to avoid the death penalty. Various death warrants were issued (around 4). The fourth death warrant stated that the execution was to take place on 20th March 2020 at 5:30, and this was the last death warrant issued against the convicts.


Is Women Safe at Workplace?

Women are not safe anywhere across the world, be it her house, locality or even her work place. Women cannot even step out of their house without being scared that it could be her next in news stating that a girl is raped by some men on her return from work or at her workplace.


In Vishaka and Others vs. State of Rajasthan, Bhanwari Devi was working on a project initiated by the state government of Rajasthan. The project was based on child marriage in the state. While she was working on the project she was informed about a family who was getting their daughter married who was just one year old. Bhanwari Devi had tried her best in order to persuade the family and stop the marriage. However, all her efforts were vain. On the day of the the wedding the police arrived and stopped the marriage. But, the marriage was duly performed the very next day. The family members of the girl were under the impression that Bhanwari Devi had sent the police. In a rage of anger, five men of the family had gang raped Bhanwari Devi. After the incident, Bhanwari Devi had gathered all her courage and headed towards the police station in order to lodge a complaint. However, police had tried their best not to record her case, which ultimately led to delay in the investigation.


Since there was lack of evidences, the trial court had given their judgement in the favour of the accused and not in favour of the victim.


False Accusation

False accusation of rape refers to a scenario where a rape case has been reported, but rape has not taken place.


The Indian law always keeps women (rape victims) on top of their priority list irrespective whether the offence is committed against her or not. Women take such a step maybe to take revenge or mental instability as they tend to hallucinate about a rape attempt against them. They do not understand what people go through when they are falsely accused of rape.


In the most recent news article in Times Now, it was seen that an accused was convicted for false rape charges. Vishnu Tiwari (accused) was 23 years old when he was convicted for false rape charges and sentenced to life imprisonment. After, several years there were new findings in the case. Firstly, the complaint was filed by the complainant with a motive related to some land dispute. Secondly, there were no injuries on the private parts of the rape victim. Tiwari had served 20 years in jail when the Allahabad High Court declared him innocent and released him from jail. When Tiwari left the premises of jail, he had just 600 Rupees from the jail administration and had lost everything that he had, including his family. His father had stopped visiting him in jail as he passed away in 2005. As of today, Vishnu has only a younger brother back in his village in the Lalitpur district of Uttar Pradesh.


Effects of Rape

The rape victims not only face physical pain, but they also have psychological sufferings. They are criticised and blamed by the society. The society does label or reject or blame the rape victims for the pain they have gone through. But why? They do so in order to see themselves different from the rape victims. They say “I am not like her; this would never happen to me, she faced this because of her dressing sense, or she must have provoked him.” In other words, the society criticises the victim and her family members.


The offence of rape has many after effects that the victim goes through even though she received justice. Some rape victims slip into depression or have suicidal tendency or unwanted pregnancy or have pregnancy issues in the future or acquire Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) like HIV/AIDS or mortality from injuries or mental trauma. At times they experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) like avoiding things related to rape, re-experiencing rape, increased anxiety or numbness.


PREVENTION OF RAPE

Sexual violence affects all parts of the society. There are various ways in response to sexual violence like medical facility, individual approach, community-based efforts and certain strict legal actions to prevent any other form of sexual violence against women.


In the Vishaka Case it was clearly seen that women are unsafe at their respective workplace. The judgement was not in favour of the accused, which ultimately led to public agitation. Upon seeing the agitation, there were certain guidelines laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India that were to be followed at the workplace in order to make women comfortable and to avoid sexual harassment or sexual violence at the workplace. The few points of the guidelines are as follows –

  • There are certain acts that are to be included in sexual harassment like showing of pornography, demanding or requesting some sexual favours, sexual remarks, physical contacts and physical or verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.

  • The court prescribes that it is the duty of the employer or any person who is responsible at the workplace to prevent the acts accounting for sexual harassment and also have procedure for the settlement, resolution or prosecution of any issues reported.

  • The complaint should be dealt with and resolved within the time period provided by the Court in the Vishaka Guidelines.


Conclusion

Rape is not an untouchable disease or any disease. It can happen with anyone across the world. Society needs to understand that their reaction can lead to more trouble and pain to the rape victims and their family. The people who blame rape victims in order to separate themselves from the victims should realise it is not her fault or her dressing sense fault; rather, there is fault in the thinking of men (rapists). It is tough to answer “how it feels when one has a sexual intercourse against their will?".