By Anshul Mittal:
My friend was gang raped by a group of girls and no he didn’t enjoy it.
Yes, you read it right. However unbelievable it may sound, but men are also raped, they are also sexually assaulted, and it is not something that they enjoy. We all are familiar with the famous movie ‘Aitraaz’. Although it was only reel life, but it was based on a very important issue of our real lives which is going unnoticed in our society. According to an article that quotes a Human Rights Watch Report, one in every two boys is sexually abused in India. So why is it that whenever we hear the word sexual harassment we only think of a girl, a woman or an old lady as a victim?
The sexual harassment of women at workplace Act, 2013 is not gender neutral. How is the mental agony a man faces of not getting promoted in his job because he is not sleeping with his boss any different from that faced by a woman? The feminists argue that today our priority should be to protect women, assumed to be the weaker section of the society, and the male chauvinists boast that men are strong enough to take care of themselves. Being a woman myself, I believe that the only difference between a man and a woman is in their body structure and both of them deserve equality in all spheres of life.
While doing my research on this topic, I asked some of my friends what they thought about sexual assault of men. The majority of them were surprised to know that something like this even exists and those who did said that they were sure men enjoy such things. It is because of this attitude that such cases go unreported. Men fear that their masculinity will be questioned if they come out and tell what happened to them. Why do men need an approval from the society to prove their masculinity?
The decision to make rape laws gender neutral was taken by the Centre by passing the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 bill but this amendment was reversed the very same year. According to Pinky Behra, a practising lawyer in the Supreme Court, ‘as section 375 of the Indian Penal Court stands, rape is something that only a man can do to a woman and if such an act is committed against a man he can only complaint with the police but cannot prosecute the accused in the court of law’.
The story of Vinodhan is one among the many unnoticed, unheard, uncared stories framing every day in India. Sexual assault is not simply a “crime of passion” where the perpetrator loses control. Rather it is about “power and control”. By turning a blind eye against sexual assault of men, are we ourselves making this a male dominant society? Do we ourselves believe that men are stronger than women? Do we want to live in that India which becomes safe for our daughters, but we are still scared to send our sons out of the house alone? It is time we make India safe for all its citizens and not only for the fairer sex and the first step in doing this is to overcome the mental block that men always want sex and they are never the “victims” of this act.