Saturday, July 15, 2006

Of rape and the fairer sex

Apparently on July 13th, the Supreme Court, our apex judicial body, upheld that a woman could not be prosecuted on charges of rape. The appellant, Priya Patel was charged with rape along with her husband Bhanupratap Patel under section 376(2)(g) of the Indian Penal Code.

Now, section 376(2) - which is a subsection under section 376(punishment for rape), lists certain instances where the crime committed is considered to be far graver. In this case, (g) is gang-rape. Now the definition of rape as described by Section 375 is as follows -

A man is said to commit "rape" who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the six following descriptions:-

First- Against her will.

Secondly,- Without her consent.

Thirdly- 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.

Fourthly- 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.

Fifthly - 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.

Sixthly - With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age.

Explanation- Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape.

Exception- Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.]



What is most interesting here, is the fact that this section starts with the line .. "a man is... ". Not "whoever..", but directly implies that only men with a lack of control over their erect peckers are capable of committing rape. So, yes, going by this definition, what the Supreme Court stated was correct.

Now, the fact is that most rape cases that occur or atleast those that are recorded have female victims. Ofcourse, it is very easy to imagine a stronger, male predator, attacking and taking advantage of physically weaker women, who are unable to defend themselves. But is it really impossible, for females to rape men ?

What about sex with minors ? In this case, consent is inconsequential, I presume. Shouldn't that constitute as rape? I wasn't sure if an unconscious male could be stimulated enough to cause him to be an unknowing and thus unconsenting participant in sexual intercourse. But if it is possible then that should also be considered rape.

What I want to know, is how can the law, simply assume that these incidents will never happen, and make a statement like - "A woman cannot be said to have an intention to commit rape ... ". when, however rare, these are the ones that should really be identified and prevented, especially the abuse of minors. That too in India, a society where the abused pile up their skeletons, lock them up and throw away the key for most, if not all of their lives.

2 Comments:

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