Tuesday, November 30, 2021

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Male Rape: Story of the untold; Is it still a Hush-Hush Topic?


Article by Sroweta Kar, The North-Eastern Chronicle

Visuals by: Abhiskar Banik

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When we hear the word rape, we often denote it solely against females. But the rape of men is as common as of a female. Rape against men is criminalized and is a subject of discussion now. Many studies have been done regarding the effects of sexual assault of a man over a man or of a woman over a man.


The rape of males is seen as a taboo in society which has a negative connotation among homosexual or heterosexual men. It was often referred to as a sign of manliness and masculinity. Most of the victims feared reporting the assault they experienced.

A man raping another man is more common in military postings or war zone areas. It has been a weapon of wartime or political aggression in countries like Chile, Greece, Croatia, Iran, Kuwait, Russia, and others. Men fear being seen differently, questions about their sexual identity restrain them to hide and deny their victimization which results in thousands of unrecorded rape cases all over the world. 

The high standards set for men in society become a prominent reason to be quiet and to let it go. The various myths regarding males in society are:


Men cannot be insusceptible  

In a male-dominant country such as India and Pakistan, men are showcased as the strongest of all full of masculinity and manliness. We often use phrases “mard ko dard nahi hota” or “mard rote nahi” in most vulnerable situations. This strong portrait of men depicts that they cannot be raped or assaulted. Only women are subjected to it.  

Also read: What happens behind the bars? Rape and sexual harassment in prisons of India

Men always want sex

This overhyped notion about men always wanting to have sex and being easily aroused creates a wrong input about them. It created a notion in society that every sexual intercourse is consented to and is an act of enjoyment.


Another false notion about men is that they are less subjected to victimization. Hence, they are less likely to get affected by any type of abuse. These stereotypes about manliness made men silent victims of sexual abuse. But now times are changing and people are recognizing that men can be raped too and criminalized.

Laws Regarding Rape of Male in Different countries: 

In the UK, initially “Criminal Justice and Public Order Act,1994” made changes in laws regarding rape and add the term “non-consensual anal as well as vaginal penile penetration”. With this act, it was for the first time recognized rape of males in the UK legal system.

Later “Sexual Offences Act,2003 (England and Wales)” redefined it further, to include even non-consensual penetration through the mouth and removed the vague provision of indecent assault. However, the rape laws of the UK are still not gender-neutral as women cannot be penalized for raping men. 

In Scotland, the “Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act, 2009” brought serious changes in their rape laws and redefined it as:

“The intentional or reckless penetration of the penis (to any extent) into the vagina, anus or mouth of another person, without that person consenting and without any reasonable belief that consent was obtained”.

In Northern Ireland also rape laws have been changed to recognize the rape of men. The term “non-consensual intercourse by a man” was later replaced by “non-consensual intercourse by a person” under “Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order, 2003” to provide justice to male victims of rape and make the law gender-neutral. Further “Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order, 2008” extended this definition to include oral rape. 

But still, countries like India and Pakistan are lagged behind in the change in the laws as they believed it is a gendered crime.


Also read: ”Go Out Only When Necessary,” Delhi Court To Unnao Rape Survivor

In India rape is considered as the act of penile penetration, or any foreign object into the vagina without the consent of a woman or girl. Sec 375 [9] of IPC mentions rape as “sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped or is of unsound mental health and in any case, if she is under 18 years of age”.

If we analyze the definition then we find that it makes two clear, albeit subtle inferences:

India doesn’t have any province against male rape or significant law for it. under POSCO (“Protection of Children from Sexual Offences”), there is a provision for sexual assault against a male child but nothing about male adults.


In the survey of India Dariwala which surveyed 1500 males out of which 71% of men surveyed said they were abused, 84.9% said they had not told anyone about the abuse and The primary reasons for this were shame (55.6%), followed by confusion (50.9%), fear (43.5%) and guilt (28.7%). 

Because of this gendered law, sexual assault, harassment, rape is continuously rising against men.

Also read: Story behind the making of “Barbie”

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