Rape is a form of sexual violence that brings to mind images of traumatized female victims struggling for justice. The Nirbhaya gang rape was one of those cases that spread a revolutionary wind throughout the country and made people fight for the victim. Almost each and every person prayed for her and wanted swift justice.
But the question here is…
Why do we never read any headline about a man being raped?
Will we have the same reaction if a man claims that he has been raped by a woman or a man?
We live in country where little boys are asked not to cry like a girl, they are bred to never yell in pain, and are compelled to perceive themselves as a kind of Hercules. This ‘male dominated’ society just can’t see men as victims.
The sad part is that we don’t have any such statistics for India. Does that mean this does not happen here?
We are just turning a blind eye to the fact that males can be raped too!
It become difficult for many male survivors to term their experience ‘rape’ because society teaches us that men can not be victims of sexual assault. Man who failed to protect themselves from such sexual assaults are often called ‘unmanly’.
It hurts more when people say, “He might have enjoyed it!”
So where should male victims should turn to for justice?
They have no where to go! Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code does not cover males as rape victims. The law does not see any difference between consensual and non-consensual sex between male adults. If the victim is attacked by a male, then it’s not considered as rape; if a female is the perpetrator, the victim is left with no option to seek justice.
Who said it does not happen in India?
Earlier this year, in April, a 16-year-old boy from Mumbai approached the cops claiming that his best friend’s mother had sexually assaulted him for three months. The woman reportedly claimed that she was pregnant and threatened to frame the boy in a rape case if he ever told anybody what had happened. The story is a cruel reminder of the fact that around 57% children across the country are being abused by adults they trust and more than half of these children are male.
The only disappointment here is that they fail to report the assault and people think it never happens!
Males get ‘aroused’ during the abuse, hence, they are not covered under sexual assault laws!
Just because your body and hormones are reacting that way does not mean ‘you asked for it’. Women are also capable of experiencing arousal during rape but that is not in your hand. Come on, ejaculation and erection are natural physiological and physical responses to stimuli.
You need to be gender blind when it comes to providing justice.
The struggle against rape is gender blind. If you call yourself a feminist, then please understand the fact that feminism seeks equality for women. That doesn’t mean we neglect male-oriented issues. Many feminist groups in India criticized the Government of India when it made rape laws gender neutral for a short period. They forced them to make them female oriented. Your fight is for equality, not to silence the other gender.
The fight against rape is not a fight against men.
All the images used here are take from Project Unbreakable, which is a photography project aimed at giving a voice to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. They hold posters with quotes from their attackers.
There is a pre-eminent organization called Male Survivor that provides hope, healing and support to male survivors who faced sexual abuse. Male sexual abuse is like a epidemic that exists in this world and people are silent about it. We need to break this silence!