Let me first begin by addressing any rape or sexually assaulted victim regardless of their gender. You are NOT alone, and the rape was NOT your fault. The community is with you emotionally and mentally.
The textbook definition of rape defers from country to country. Most western countries recognize it to be gender neutral. However, according to “Section 375 of The Indian Penal Code rape can only be committed by a male.” I believe this poses a huge problem for more than 690 million males in India. Especially for those who are above 18 years of age. Victims can seek legal justice under the controversial anti-sodomy law in Section 377 of The Indian Penal Code which is an utter joke as it challenges our democratic and liberty rights. This blog will discuss the male rape culture in India, myths, and effects and whether the law should be gender neutral.
Male Rape In India:
Male rapes are reported commonly in India. However, experts believe that these reported cases are just the tip of the iceberg. According to Dr. Maeve Eogan, rape of males is still considered to be a taboo and most men do not even report this heinous act of crime.
Some argue that this prevalence is a proof that male rape is not an anomaly, and laws must exist to protect the victims. However, some women rights group oppose the notion of making rape laws gender neutral. They believe that these laws will bring more harm to women than men. Vrinda Grover, an advocate at Delhi Court, argues that the laws should not be gender neutral because there are no instances of women raping men, and it will make cases complicated for the judges in court.
We will go more in depth later in the blog, and I’ll give my opinion whether the laws should be gender neutral or not.
1. A MAN IS NOT VULNERABLE:
- Males, even younger ones cannot become rape victims; can be attributed towards Male gender socialization. They are not even considered to be vulnerable.
- Even crying is considered unmanly in the Indian society. Male gender socialization depicts males as being able to take care and protect themselves. However, this may not always be the case.
- The perpetrators can abuse a child with money, or other forms of bribe such as candy, chocolate, etc., Emotional blackmailing can also be used by the rapist as they use male gender socialization to their advantage. Adults may not be able to fight back, or they might be afraid to do so.
2. MALES ARE LESS TRAUMATISED
- Males are less traumatized and suffer less than females. However, more studies are being published which show that both males and females suffer the same in the long term.
- Dr. Eogan noted that male victims felt more intense anger than females post-rape. Dr. Eogan’s remarks are backed up by several studies. For instance, Frazier (1993) studied 74 male and 1,380 female rape victims and concluded that males suffer more profoundly with depression and hostility post-rape than females.
Therefore, the notion that males are less traumatized than females is baseless. Male gender socialization plays a vital role behind this notion. The victim himself is ashamed and tries to cope up with being in denial. The victim himself is ashamed and tries to cope up by being in denial.
1. PHYSICAL EFFECTS
- The physical effects include minor injuries like tension headaches, nausea, ulcers to more serious injuries such as colitis, black eye, abrasions to the throat, and broken bones.
- Hodge and Canter (1998) report that homosexual males are more likely to sustain more serious injuries than heterosexual males.
- Some studies prove the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. However, it is infrequent and concerns tiny portion of male victims.
2. PSYCOLOGICAL EFFECTS
- Male victims fear to report sexual assault against them. They feel that the society does not believe in rape happening against men.
- A study “Gender Differences in Attributions of Blame for Male Rape Victims” concluded that significant portion of males tends to blame the victim rather than the perpetrator.
- Male victims who suffered from sexual assault have higher chances of suffering from mental disorders. Disorders included post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety disorders and panic attacks.
- Many victims suffer from alcoholism, drug abuse, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempt and some experience impotence and homophobia.
Should Rape Laws Be Gender Neutral?
I could not agree more with Antra Bhargava views on rape laws. I also feel deep sympathies for the 16-year-old boy who was sexually assaulted by his friend’s mother and a male rape survivor who was sexually assaulted for almost ten years since he was seven by his uncle and much more who don’t even report this crime.
1. Lack of Distinction: At present, the rape laws in India lack the distinction between rape and private acts of intimacy. As discussed earlier male rape victims can only seek legal justice under the Anti-Sodomy Law. Unfortunately, this law brings consensual homosexual activity under its purview. Therefore, having no distinction between the most heinous crime and private acts of intimacy possess the urgent need to make the laws gender neutral.
2. Marital Rape: We are intentionally trying to segregate male rape from female rape. However, every year many females are married with or without their consent. According to the study NFHS, vast majority of sexual violence against women was within the marriage.
3. The Nature of Rape: Some women rights group argued that physicality is in the nature of rape. However, a statement by L. Ramakrishnan conveyed that in many cases of male rape majority of perpetrators were not gay or bisexual, but straight men. According to him, male rape was another way of expressing power and aggression.
Given these reasons and the fact that one rape is given priority over the other one is an absolute failure. Therefore, I believe that the rape laws must be made gender neutral and we as a nation must unite and stand against both male and female rape.
Please remember that the rape was not your fault, and you are not alone. We have seen the myths and the harmful effects rape has on its victims. Therefore, if you experience sexual assault of any kind do contact the authorities as soon as possible.