Traditionally, rape was regarded as sexual intercourse by a man with a woman against her will or without consent. But now rape can be committed against men, women, children, animals, etc. It is an unlawful sexual intercourse or any different sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of any other person, with or without force, with the aid of a intercourse organ, different physique part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim. It is a societal issue, which can lead to long lasting effects on the victim. Rape is defined under Section 376 of IPC. If the person is incapable of giving valid consent then his/her consent doesn’t matter, such as if the person is unconscious, drunk or below legal age. Rape is an offence which is committed every minute in our country. But the rate of reporting of rape cases is less. According to the rape cases reported, in most of the cases the offence is committed by the people the victim knows rather than the strangers. Sexual intercourse with a person below the age of consent according to law, is called statutory rape. Most of the kids are abused or raped as youngsters are easy to be fooled. There is an another term called marital rape which is considered as sexual intercourse with a wife without her consent.
Motive of Rape
Rape is not only about sexual desire but more than that. Rapists take out their frustration, anger, power, revenge, sadness, etc. They try to dominate and control the victim because of their emotion. Many a times rape is done for financial gain such as pornography. Historically, women were considered as the property, responsibility and prestige of the family. So, the enemy of the family focuses on the women so as to take revenge. Some rapists has a desire to punish or cause pain which leads them to rape people. Not only this, rapist even rape people because of rejection of proposals. Many a times gang rape is done to show brotherhood. So, the motive of every rapist is different.
Scope of Rape
Rape is not limited to any gender, race, age, etc. It can happen anywhere, with anyone at any time under any circumstances. Even there are some serial killers who target community, age group, gender to commit rape.
Rape of Prostitutes
It is the practice of offering sexual desires to a person in exchange of money, valuables or other things. In the route of material gain some people perform sexual acts. Prostitutes might also be of both sex (gender) but records shows the majority is women. Some of them have their personal apartment and maintain regular customers. Some work for agencies who provide work. Majority of them continue to be on the street and discover customers. The percentage of women involved in prostitution is more than men. Hence, the violence towards ladies is more than men. Customers who purchase services from them think he/she can do anything with them they want. This questioning leads to violence or rape of prostitutes. Some clients try to force them to give anal or oral sex or to have intercourse in front of many people on gunpoint.
A young women involved in prostitution was gang raped at gun point in Philadelphia Pa in 2007. Municipal court judge Theresa Carr Deni dismissed the rape charges claiming it is not a case of rape but “theft of service” because the young women had initially agreed to have sex in exchange for money with the 1st two men. Understanding the emotional impact on those involved in prostitution line is that they live in state of fear of experiencing violence.
Effect on Victim
Rape or forced sex can put the victim in many problem, such as psychological problem, physical problem, diseases (including infections), secondary rape, mistreatment, honor killing, forced marriages, unwanted pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, etc. Even it may increase the risk of suicide. Mostly, trauma of rape is there with victims for several years or for life time. Instead of supporting or fighting for them, families criticize the victim or kill them or force them to marry the rapist. Rape can cause HIV or STD to the victim. Even when the victim is in trauma, society mistreats the victim. The gravity of rape can not be measured by the class of victim or perpetrator. The effect are experienced by victim or survivor are different. The World Health Organisation has identified stress as a major health issue.
In India, Section 376 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 punishes rapists with imprisonment not less than 7 years which may be for life time or can be extended to 10 years with or without fine.
It’s up to the court to decide if the alleged offence was:-
- Without her consent ,or
- She agreed but only because she out of danger,
- She agreed because the accused is her husband,
- She agreed because she was drugged or was drunk or
- If she did not reach the legal age, her consent, if any, doesn’t matter.
- If she was unconscious.
The punishment for committing aggravated rape is rigorous imprisonment between 10 years or life imprisonment with fine.
The punishment for committing marital rape, i.e., by the husband is imprisonment between two and seven years along with fine.
If at the time of rape, victim dies because of injuries, the accused can be given death sentence or imprisonment of 20 years to life.
In the case of gang rape each accused is punished for rigorous imprisonment of between 20 years and life imprisonment.
Sec. 376 E of the Indian Penal Code punishes the person with sentence if he is convicted for rape or rape causing death or gang rape for the second time.
One of the most heinous rape cases was the Nirbhya rape case that was a Delhi gang rape case of 2012. A girl was brutally raped by six men in a bus in New Delhi. She was brutally raped, an iron rod was inserted and she died due to the injuries. Ram Singh, one of the accused committed suicide in jail and four of them were sentenced to death. One rapist was a juvenile according to law, so he was imprisoned for two years and then was released.
Tukaram v. the State of Maharashtra
The Supreme Court of India held that rape under Sec. 375 of the Indian Penal Code could not be proven under this case. It was said that there is no direct evidence to prove any bodily harm or consent under threat as she was taken by the accused peacefully in front of her family. Even the victim changed her statement many times which made her statement unreliable.
Vishakha and Ors v. State of Rajasthan
This was the case of PIL, to protect women from workplace sexual harassment. The Court laid many guidelines for employers to follow at the workplace and also held that under Articles 14(2), 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution, right to a safe working environment is a part of fundamental rights.
Chairman, Railway Board v. Chandrika Das
An advocate of the Calcutta High Court filed a petition against the various railway authorities claiming compensation for the victim (citizen of Bangladesh) who was gang raped by employees at Howrah station. The Supreme Court held that foreign citizens are also entitled to protection under Article 21.
State of Maharashtra & P.C. Singh v. Dr. Praful B Desai & Anr
In rape trials recording of evidence such as oral, documentary as well as electronic records including video conferencing can be used. Witness’s statement can be taken through video conferencing. Victim would feel more comfortable and will give answers without fear by using such methods.
This article is concluded with the recommendation that sexual violence is an obstacle in peace. The goal is to make people understand the emotional as well as physical state of fear experienced by the victim. It has a tremendous impact throughout their life. Everyone deserves the unconditional right to safety from rape and from threat of rape. All survivors of rape and assault should have equal access to the criminal justice system. Many victims get trafficked for sex don’t communicate with their family because inspite of supporting them the family criticizes them and and rarely support them. All rape is violent and unacceptable. NO MEANS NO shall be applied to everyone. Gang rape that victim suffer are especially violent and rarely reported. Many a times after reporting that are attacked by society which leads to sex trafficking. Even after one gets raped they are again raped by others or even many a time the victim is married to the rapist for the sake of her ‘honour’.
- Mukesh v. State (NCT of Delhi) (2017) 6 SCC 1.
- 1979 AIR 185, 1979 SCR (1) 810.
- (1997) 6 SCC 241.
- AIR 2000 SC 998.
- Criminal Appeal 476/477 of 2003 (SC).
BY SAKSHI | LLOYD LAW COLLEGE