WOMEN LAWS ARE TO PROTECT WOMEN NOT TO ABUSE MEN
Author: Deva Dharshini K, III year of B.A.,LL.B from Chennai Dr Ambedkar Govt Law College, Pudupakkam.
Co-author: Priyadharshini, III year of B.A.,LL.B from Chennai Dr Ambedkar Govt Law College, Pudupakkam.
In the present society, many of us think that men rape victims and domestic violence against men are just fictional stories. And some of us even not believe men are also subject to sexual abuse. Men are also abused verbally, bodily, emotionally, psychologically, and sexually.
This article explores the under-reported violence against men and analyses the reasons behind the under-reported violence. In recent decades, some innocent men are facing the problems of false accusations cases. This article explains the reasons and consequences behind the false accusations against men and also describes the need for general neutral laws in India.
Keywords: Men too, False Accusations, Section 498A, General neutral laws.
Domestic violence is often discussed in relation to women. Man is always taken into consideration as the offender. However, because of the socioeconomic modifications affecting the family structure in recent times, domestic violence isn't always confined to women mostly. Men are also abused verbally, bodily, emotionally, psychologically, and sexually. Men do not record these abusive behaviours and are silent sufferers of the results. In India, domestic violence is always believed to be inflicted on women. Due to stereotyped gender roles, it's hardly ever believed by society that women can inflict violence on men. Many courts additionally commented on fake allegations of domestic violence with the aid of women. Men are still not equipped to speak of this violence towards them and they're ignorant about any legal help to avoid this.
VICTIM IS MEN TOO
It's been found in a study that fewer earnings, schooling as to middle class, nuclear family setup, and the impact of alcohol have been chance factors for violence towards men. A working spouse with training up to graduation turned into found to be the hazard element for bidirectional physical violence. Caste and socioeconomic reputation have been now not found considerably related to violence in opposition to men.
It was found that in the couples in which the partner is working and educated up to graduation, the physical violence can be devoted by means of each the spouses in opposition to every other. Many girls have severe anger control problems and because of this they emerge as competitive, and verbal or bodily abuse takes ace. Girls facing pressure at work have frustration and anger because of nonfulfillment of expectations and accordingly, can also take pleasure in violent conduct. Monetary constraints due to the husband’s less earning and/or greater earnings by wife may also be one of the elements leading to violence.
Any violence impacts lifestyles physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. It's also a violation of primary human rights. Unreported and unseen violence against men may additionally result in denial in accepting the own family, divorce, despair, or suicide in excessive cases. It has been observed that suicides have been more in married men in comparison to unmarried men in step with WHO (2002), women think more approximately committing suicide, while men die by means of suicide greater often. This is additionally referred to as a gender paradox in society. In line with WHO, exposure to violence can increase the danger of smoking, alcoholism, and drug abuse; mental contamination and suicidality; continual sicknesses together with a coronary heart ailment, diabetes, and cancer; infectious illnesses which include HIV, and social issues inclusive of crime and further violence.
UNDERREPORTED VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
At the time as it's far true that most victims of Rape are women, anyone regardless no matter age, gender, earnings, work and many others. However, the most commonplace rape sufferers in India in reported cases are women from the age of sixteen – forty-five. For this reason, the definition of rape right away modifications to a "crime committed by men upon women”; that is gender centric. Even the Indian Penal Code, 1860, beneath Sec.375 says rape as a crime by a man on a woman. But this is not genuine.
As seen earlier, anybody can fall victim to forced sexual intercourse. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2019 does no longer make a difference among sexual offences between male or lady children. It seems that such crimes can be devoted no matter the victim’s gender. Many sufferers of rape are also guys. Unluckily, their instances are masked and ignored. Male Rape is seen as taboo in society, accordingly turning into a bad connotation among heterosexual men. It directly attacks manliness and masculinity. Consequently, maximum sufferers fear filing a complaint against a sexual attack. Anyhow, rape cases are low and therefore male rape is even low.
In a male-chauvinist society, men experience that it's far shameful to be beaten or tortured by a female and that they do not even report or consider it as violence. The pressure from family also prevents them from taking any legal action, and they're additionally afraid of getting trapped in fake accusation underneath 498A. Whilst men report domestic abuse and violence, human beings do not accept them as true them.
Additionally, while those guys try to bitch approximately these issues, within marriage and family, no person takes them seriously. Many guys are ashamed of talking about and sharing that they're beaten by their better halves. The possible reasons for underreporting include belief and wish that things might get better, fear of losing social respect and position, safety, love towards their children and family, and fear of being blamed. Complaining via men also can be perceived as “feminine behaviour” inside the male-dominated Indian society.
GLOBAL DIFFERENCE IN GENERAL NEUTRAL LAWS
Globally 77 countries accepted the gender-neutral laws,
USA ‘rape’ was defined as “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim”.
And Statutory Rape in Canada is defined as any sexual contact with a person under the age of consent. This usually refers to an adult touching child for sexual purposes.
Article 222-23 of the French penal code defines rape as: “Any act of sexual penetration, of whatever nature, committed on the person of another by violence, Constraint, threat or surprise is a rape.” In the absence of aggravating circumstances (such as rape committed on a vulnerable person, by an influential person, by several persons, etc.), the punishment incurred is 15 years’ imprisonment.
In Australia, rape is defined in gender-neutral terms as the penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth without consent.
On seeing the above definitions there is no word representing she or woman alone. In above definition clearly shows that the victim and perpetrator may be a person i.e., either a man or woman. Hence the word ’person’ in the above three definitions show the general neutral law. Male rape is also recognised as rape by sexual assault in the Philippines, which is penalised by imprisonment of between six to twelve years.
In India, Sexual abuse against male below the age of 18 years deal with under the POCSO Act and sexual abuse of males above the age of 18 years deal with under section 377 of IPC. If it's called sodomy, sadly there is no minimum punishment for this. Now the problem with section 377 of IPC is threefold.
Firstly, this provision does not make use of the term rape. Therefore, coercive sexual intercourse by a man on a man, by a woman on a man is not classified as rape in India. Even though technically it is rape.
Secondly, by classifying these acts as if we are denying the male victims. And the benefit of section 376 IPC which deals with aggravated form of rape where the perpetrator is a person in position of power or dominance over the victim.
Thirdly we are denying the male victims, the benefit of section 114A of the Indian Evidence Act,1872 which makes a presumption against the consent of the victim, now due to all these reasons the rape laws of India are applied in violation of article 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian constitution. Therefore, they should be made general neutral but general neutral mean neutrality in terms of the perpetrator and as well as in the terms of the victim.
Now gender neutrality in terms of the perpetrator would mean that anyone can commit rape one man, woman or transgender. Therefore, India must make and follow the general neutral rape laws like other countries such as the USA, Canada, Philippines, Australia, etc.
HUGE RISE IN FALSE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST MEN
In decoding the NCRB data 2019 shows that, every six minutes a man is accused of a false Dowry case in India. Every 30 minutes a man is accused of a false rape case in India. This data clearly shows that some women misuse their law as a weapon to kill the life of men instead of protecting themselves. In India every year 85,000 men were died by suicide due to false Dowry accusations and 10,000 males died by suicide due to false rape accusations and 3,500 men died by suicide due to false molestation cases.
India report shows that maximum male suicide, one man died as per 8 minutes compared to one woman died as per 28 minutes, remember that it’s not just a number it’s someone’s father brother and sons and the most worrying matter is 60% of child sexual abuse cases reported are male child and done by women above the age of 40.
Section 498A came into IPC by the way of amendment in the year 1983 to curb the cruelty to a married woman which led to dowry deaths. Under section 498A stated that the husband or relative of the husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty was punished with 3 years of imprisonment. But in reverse, there is no such law to protect the husband from the cruelty of the wife. Under the provision of 498A, the offence was subjected to cognizable and non-bailable. That is based on the woman’s complaint under 498A either it is true or false the husband and in-laws could be arrested immediately.
Section 498A of IPC and dowry laws acts as a safeguard for women, i.e., women can use that only for their protection but some women used against the men by misusing the above said provision. Most of the men due to false dowry accusations spent half of their life to prove their innocence because criminal cases in India have no fixed time of resolution. And trial under 498A can take years and sometimes decades to finish.
Because of the abuse of the provisions of 498A, today most of the cases are registered only after the preliminary investigation. Despite that number of cases filed has increased with the years but convictions went down rapidly. There is statically evidence to prove, that the law has been misused. The National Crime Records Bureau’s data shows that 5,40,980 cases were tried since 1998, but 4,37,845 resulted in acquitted and 14,26,933 persons who were tried since 1998, but 11,50,293 people were found not guilty. Therefore, the greater difference between the number of cases filed and the acquitted rate shows that most of the cases filed falsely upon innocents.
RELATED CASE LAWS
Misuse of 498A has been commented upon in many cases in the last two decades. In 2003, Hon’ble justice J. D. Kapoor said that, the misuse of provisions of sec. 498A was hitting at the foundation of marriage and asked what else is it if not a social catastrophe?
In 2002, in the case of Saritha vs Ramachandra, the Hon’ble justice suggested that the law should make the offence a non-cognizable one and a bailable one so that the ill-educated women did not misuse the provision, and innocence was not harassed for the contacting marriage with egoistic women.
In the case of Preeti Gupta vs the state of Jharkhand, Hon’ble justice asked for a relook of the entire provision 498A. Under this provision, a large number of complaints filed with an oblique motive for not only flatting the court but causing affecting the peace, harmony and happiness of the society.
Hon’ble justice Gyan Sudha Mishra observed that there is a tendency to implicate all family members in such matrimonial disputes.
In the case of Sushil Kumar Sharma vs Union of India, the supreme court of India observed that merely because of provision was constitutional. It did not give a licence to unscrupulous persons to wreck personal vendetta or unleash harassment. Equating an abuse law to legal terrorism. And the bench opined that the provision was intended to use as a shield and not an Assassin’s weapon.
In 2003 justice V. S. Malimath in his report and reforms of the criminal justice system has recommended that the 498A provision should be made bailable and compoundable. Despite several recommendations by the apex court in India, 498A remains unchanged to date.
THE REASON AND CONSEQUENCES BEHIND THE FALSE ACCUSATIONS
The provision of 498A became a hanging rope for many married men life because of the misuse of provision by some women.
There is a question that arises, why women filed false cases against men? After coming across many cases, the reason has been found in three folds.
Firstly, if a man has refused to give divorce, then woman filed a false case under 498A. Secondly, if a wife having an affair somewhere else and her husband got to know then also wife can put these false cases for the only reason called harassment. So, that husband may not be able to prosecute her for adultery. Thirdly, in some cases, a greedy wife files a false case on her husband under 498A for money. Most of the cases filed under 498A end up in compromise after paying a settlement. In many dowry cases, the wife has not left even a single person in a family, she put the cases against the whole family of her husband, even though it was a false accusation. In consequence of these false cases leads the men to lose their job, fame, respect, peace, and sometimes their child also. And finally, he came to decide to end up his life.
According to the national sexual violence Research Centre, false rape and sexual assault cases filed are low and rare. Though rare it can occasionally happen against innocent men. The most common reasons behind the false rape allegations are vengeance. If a man doesn’t honour his promise of marriage, then a woman filed a case to express anger or to take revenge and to extort money. Mental instability of some women can also cause false rape allegations against men and in some cases, a woman can file the false rape allegations to generate sympathy and to draw attention. As consequences, these false rape allegations against innocent men caused a tragic situation to their life and they lose their dignity in society. Though they were acquitted they were called rape case survivor, once a false rape allegation can be file against men, then his life will go awry.
TRAGIC TALES OF AFFECTED MEN
Here the author wants to convey some tragic tales of affected men. Avadesh Yadav, a young man who lived in Uttar Pradesh got married on December 7, 2012. After 2 years of his marriage, he ended his life on 25th December 2012 because of a false dowry and molestation case filed on him by his wife. In his suicide note, he mentioned that soon after their marriage Avadesh wife was compelled him to leave his parents and shifted to the new house. She also started to harassed his parents to transfer property in her name but her demands were not fulfilled.
So, she started to threatened his husband’s family by saying to file a false dowry case, molestation and domestic violence case against them. Finally, she filed a false dowry and molestation case against his whole family in September 2013. Avadesh Yadav specifically mentioned in his suicide note that, his wife threatened to file a false rape case on her father-in-law and his brother.
From his suicide note, the tragedy of an affected male is evident that Avadesh Yadav was going down on stress to solve these threatened and false dowry case on his family and he much worried about his family because no wrong done by his family despite that they are labelled as criminal in society and police also did not found any proof against Avadesh Yadav. In his note, he sadly mentioned that “I don’t want to see my family in pain” and also pleased to help his family to get out of that situation and he finally ended his life on February 25, 2015, by hanging himself. After this evil deed is done his wife and her brother held been accused of abetment to suicide. Probably if a woman in his place, then the death will be called dowry death. Many men like Avadesh committed suicide because of false accusations. In help age India reports 2013-2014 shows that, the Daughter-in-law is the primary perpetrator of elder abuse in India. It is very tormented, that women misuse their empowerment laws.
Human rights and gender equality should include both men and women. This study shows that men are also the victims of violence at the hand of women. They too need help in crisis and family violence, especially by their partner or spouse. Hence more amendments required for addressing violence against men.
Vishnu Tiwari, the man who spent 20 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. In September 2000 a case was registered against him under SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act and for rape. A village woman had accused Tiwari of raping her as she was going to work in the field. In 2003, he was sentenced to life imprisonment by Lalitpur trial Court.
Tiwari further filed an appeal in the Allahabad High Court. After 20 years past, In January 2021 Vishnu Tiwari was declared innocent based on medical examination. From here the tragic story of Vishnu Tiwari starts. When he was in jail his parents and 2 brothers died and his family was ostracised. Tiwari could not even attend the last rites of his family members. Tiwari left prison with only rupees 600, given to him by the jail administration.
That is all he has along with hope to rebuild his life. Vishnu Tiwari was 23 years old when he was sentenced to life imprisonment and now, he was 43 years old, Vishnu Tiwari was spent his 20 years of life in jail because of the false rape case. He almost lost half of his life in prison as an innocent. The above case clearly shows that how men can be easily blamed compared to women even if they do not commit any wrongdoing.
Our criminal justice system based on the policy of “let a hundred guilty be acquitted but no innocent should be convicted” because incarcerating innocent people is unjust. This unjust happened in the Vishnu Tiwari case too. There is a question that arises, is any conclusion to stop the false cases on men? Yes, there is, basically in India “man is guilty until proven innocent” and “woman is innocent until proven guilty”. This mindset in this community needs to change. In front of the law, man or woman anyone can be guilty or innocent. Violence against men can be recognized only by bringing effective changes in the laws, by creating awareness and by breaking stereotypes and preconceived notions.
NEED FOR GENDER-NEUTRAL LAWS
In cases in which men are falsely accused of violence or dowry, a law that can address these fake allegations is the want of the hour. Human rights and gender equality have to encompass both women and men. Domestic violence needs to be taken into consideration as spousal violence and ought to no longer be differentiated because of gender. The domestic violence act in India is for women. Studies show that men also are the victims of violence at the hand of women. As a result, vital amendments addressing violence towards men are suggested.
At the same time as speaking about law, then section 375 of IPC deals with rape and legal provisions towards it but mentions nothing about men. Though, it impersonates that if a rape has been done then women is the victim and men is the wrongdoer. Additionally, section 354 A, 354 B, 354 C, 354 D, dealing sexual harassment, stalking, undressing, voyeurism, and so forth accepts women as a sufferer and men as the offender. There is a section 377 of IPC which deals with crime against men however that too is stultified because its simplest consists of penile sexual sex and consequently non-penile abuse sufferers are not presented before the law.
There is a first-rate societal denial of the fact that men get sexually assaulted. The need to disclaim the lifestyles of male sexual assault is in part rooted within the improper perception that men are resistant to being victimized, that they must be able to fight off an attacker if they are truly a "man". An intently related notion is that men can’t be forced into intercourse– either they want it or they don’t. These wrong beliefs allow plenty of men to feel secure and invulnerable, and to consider sexual attack as something that simplest takes place to women. Regrettably, those beliefs can also increase the pain that is felt by way of a male survivor of a sexual attack. So, the legal guidelines should be gender-neutral and men abuses should additionally be addressed and should spread awareness amongst young men and adults and they can get rid of their worrying experience and stay a wholesome and meaningful life.