There is nothing wrong in thinking obvious differently.
“Martial rape. Gangrape. Forced sex.” These are some of the daily headlines of our newspapers and news channel broadcast. Our society is turning into the rape capital, making it unsafe for women and girls of all ages. Even men are facing sexual assault, but that requires separate attention.
Today we will be talking about what rape is and how grave a situation it creates. Let’s address the gravity of the problem first, before we open Pandora’s box by going into unresolved complexities. Most of us ostensibly think that only the incident of rape is wrong, the definition of rape as a crime is still accurate. But I bet after reading this piece, you’ll realise the importance of defining it too.
What makes rape more grave than other crimes? Any idea? Other than it abridges one’s dignity? The most worrisome element is the violation of one’s bodily freedom. In this world, the body is the most fundamental and foremost entity that an individual connects to. Outright rejection of one’s consent regarding their bodily control is outrageous. A body is as sacrosanct to an individual as a temple is to religion. Gladly, our law protectors have realised this and diluted the clause of penetration while analysing the cases.
Then the issue of feeble consent and misogynist attitude towards women is a retrograde factor. In the Mahmood Farooqui judgement, the court took a retrogressive approach to deal with the situation which finally led to the acquittal of accused. We have the culture where women are subjugated even when she stands for herself. Taking no as yes has become the norm for our male-dominated society.
In another judgment regarding a rape case in Haryana, the court blamed the victim for voyeurism and sexual adventurism. The point to be raised here is that even when the person is open to sexual relations and casual about who she sleeps with, does it equate to unauthorized access to her body? The clear-cut demarcation between the two needs to be put in the legal frame.
The victim is always shamed and blamed. She is made to feel guilty for all the wrongs. For worse, she is made to feel ostracized away from the very people she lives with. The gruesome horror further advances when she is seen as the discarded one. It is widely believed that after such incidents, a girl’s body gets corrupt. She doesn’t deserve any happiness either in her personal life as well as in societal one. It’s total crap.
Such events have also created the environment of mistrust too. Few criminals have tainted a huge dark blot on the whole of the male section. Even the genuine help is seen with the eyes of suspicion. The hostility towards other gender has increased. The main reason for such sorry state lies in the fact that rape is one of those crimes whose motives lies in the inner desire of human nature. As sex is natural to any species, the desire for it is also natural. Such motive is absent in the events of murder or such things. In my opinion, there is no such innate drive to kill someone to satisfy ones’ desire.
The contrast is such that any male can be seen as a potential rapist because the crime of rape comes without underlying motive. It is a spur of the moment thing. Murder and loot still demand purpose. Even the hacking crimes have some or the other agenda. But here, as far as the sexual feelings exist, the sense of fear of rape arising from it will exist too, making it ever threatening. Sometimes I too wonder how other female companions of mine see my behaviour. Do they see a friendly gesture or a potential rapist?
Now it’s time to get to the trickiest part, i.e. the definition of rape. As per various legal statutes, rape amounts to forced sex ( penetration) without the consent of the other individual. The element of sexual innuendo and lack of consensus are two important elements that need to be understood in order to analyse the crime. The first one is still fairly easy to understand as the rape is a way to exercise physical domination by one party to satisfy their sexual lust.
But the second part which is the forced sex is the real puzzle. My point is not the lack of consent. My concern is the consensual sex. Let’s understand by an example. If two people have consensual sex (whatever be the underlying pretext or context), then the sex is mutual. Then how can the same consent become a crime if the dynamics of relations between both change?
Take a real-life situation where two people have sex on the pretext of the promise of marriage by any party. Then if the pretext gets lost, how can the subject (sex) and conditionality (consensual act) get diminished? Rape is the violation of body, not the violation of trust or feelings. Otherwise, any consensual act is a potential rape case whose only litmus test depends on the basis of goodwill of both party’s relations. Violating trust and faith of someone is also wrong, but that cannot be treated as equivalent to the actual crime of rape. A civil case differs from a criminal case. People need to understand it and stop using its misuse.
I am not even 1% in support of such false pretences for satisfying the bodily desire, but I am of the opinion that either such consensual acts should not be considered under rape or the definition of rape should be amended to include violation of other kinds. In this regard, a new offence of civil and criminal nature can be created in the statute to better deal with such sexual menace. In the light of this, does this mean that everyone is a rapist? If such is the case, then it’s a very terrible picture we are portraying in the name of curbing the sexual menace.
The only way forward is to understand the meaning of consent and its applicability in a situation. The people should not fall prey to other’s false promises. Along with it, the definition of rape should be amended to include the above concerns. And as a society, we should be sure that we aren’t gullible enough, that others can take advantage of us.
The solution lies in changing the outlook towards this social evil. Mere law and its implementation aren’t enough. The complete in-depth analysis of all causes, making rape as a crime should be taken a second relook at. Also, we need to be assertive about our choices and rise to the intellectual maturity of our mind to better deal with the seriousness of this issue.