Misogynists, Patriarchs, Orthodox, Conservatives and many more such comments are passed against men. Every human has a different problem to tackle, but the actuality is, we don’t concentrate on every problem precisely because it feels unworthy. Same goes for a man, who has to suffer harassment in his teenage life and that affects him both mentally and physically. Sexual Harassment against men is prevalent but not recognised even under Indian Criminal Laws. Section 375 of Indian Penal Code only recognises Rape against Women and in totality concludes that Men cannot be raped.
Article 14 of the Indian Constitution gives the fundamental right of “Equality before the Law” and “Equal Protection of the Law” but it seems unjust when there are no laws pertaining to sexual offences against men. The primary reason behind lack of laws for men is that, the most affected gender in consideration of harassment and sexual exploitation are women, but that does not conclude the fact that men can’t be raped! Warren Farrell has said that “Sexual harassment legislation in its current form makes all men unequal to women.” Decades of fight for equality have not found a solution as there is no absolute understanding that men are also harassed. The landmark judgement of “Vishakha and Ors vs. State of Rajasthan”gave introduction to the Vishakha guidelines which eventually helped women who were facing gender bias and inequality at workplace.
But the real question here is why there are no any rape laws for men? Or are we not certainly aware about their existence?
People often feel humiliated to come out in public and speak on their issues of sexual harassment or discrimination at work place. Patriarchy does not affect only women, it is affecting men too. A person has to behave in a certain way according to the “accepted societal norms” which embarrasses them to come out and describe the harassments against them. They have to be brave enough to not concentrate on such things but this eventually affects every person, be it a man or a woman, who tries to come out and share their story. The basic question we are supposed to discuss is whether Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is enough to consider every type of harassment a male goes through or whether there is a need for specific laws which will separately tackle issue.
Homosexual Men are the most affected people due to lack of Rape and Harassment Laws for Men. The laws pertaining to Sexual Offences against Men are only mentioned in Section 377. The landmark judgement of “Navtej Singh Johar vs. Union of India” eventually paved way for equality and justice before the law for the LGBT COMMUNITY, but people often have a misconception that Section 377 is abolished. The fact is “Unnatural offences and non- consensual sexual acts” is something which is still in force which means that any sexual offence against men is to be registered under Section 377 as an unnatural offence.
Rudolph D’souza had started the “Indian Men’s Rights Movement”. This movement helped people understand, how there is prevalence of gender inequality and how women, sometimes, misuse the dowry and rape laws against men. This movement actually paved a way to introduction of men who suffer from frequent domestic violence but cannot accept the fact because of shame and patriarch.
- False harassment and Dowry cases affecting Men.
There are various instances where there has been a misuse of dowry and rape laws, which eventually have affected men who are innocent. 80% of the total dowry cases end up with the final verdict of acquittal of all the accused due to lack of evidence and fake accusations. The “Mahila Nisha Sharma vs. State of Madhya Pradesh” case is a prime example of how a husband has to go through torture and harassment due to fake accusations and also the unavailability of laws for men.
The Nisha Sharma case went on for 9 long years where her accused husband was in custody and was tortured by his jail inmates. The final trial acquitted all the accused from their charges. Section 498A of IPC is a section which is considered as the most misused section against men. Therefore, in totality, we are fighting for equality and justice, but we cannot neglect the fact that, men are being harassed due to the misuse of law. It is something that should be questioned. Exploitation of Men is not considered a huge problem and that is why there are only a few movements that have taken place in relevance to men’s rights. When a man tries to talk about his problems and his harassment he is considered as “Anti- Feminist” or “Too Effeminate”.
When will these societal norms change? Are we even considering the fact that Men have their rights and how time and again their Right to Equality has been violated?
- Is Pseudo Feminism the new Patriarchy?
The first fundamental right, The Right to Equality, is violated, considering that men don’t have significant and relevant laws. Patriarchy and its existence have made women suffer for a really long period. It has also destroyed the life of young girls who wanted to go higher in life. We cannot state that Patriarchy has been eradicated but it has decreased, owing to an increase in the literacy rate and the fact that people have actually understood that women and men can go hand in hand. The Feminist Movement started in 1848 at Seneca Falls Convention and eventually opened the way for many other women who were fighting for equality and wanted to eradicate Patriarchy. The movement actually became successful and helped thousands of women around the world understand the real meaning of equality. But then every coin has two sides and eventually there came a time, where a number of cases arose, where women falsely accused men under the tag of Feminism. Shouldn’t there be laws in India where women are held accountable for falsely accusing Men for rape or eves teasing? A popular example is, The Sarvjeet Singh Case, where a girl accused a man for eves teasing and then failed to appear in the court for several trials. When the judgement was given Sarvjeet Singh was acquitted of all his charges. What happened to the girl? Why wasn’t any suit filed against her? She should have been held accountable for destroying the Man’s career, reputation and life. In India the suicide rate of married men is more than that of women due to constant abuse from their spouse and fake allegations of rape and dowry harassment.
Most of the women in India aren’t actually aware about what Feminism is actually about and that is the reason why most of the women follow ‘Fake Feminism’. Pseudo Feminism has affected men and women both. Feminism was all about fighting for equality but now it has come to an extent that women have started hating men.
- The need of Important and Precise Laws.
Section 377 alone is a section where a man can file a case for Sexual Harassment and even there it is called an “Unnatural Offence” and not rape. Michael Crichton says that “Harassment is about power –the undue exercise of power by a superior over a subordinate”. It clearly mentions that harassment is about power, anyone can go through and it should not be only about a specific gender. The Vishaka Guidelines only specify rules for women who suffer at work place. This article is really important because we are ignorant about the fact that men suffer. It’s a need of the hour wherein equality before law should be considered. Rape Laws, Fake Accusation Laws, Harassment at Workplace, Discrimination and many more such laws should be introduced or amended for defining the actual context of Equality. Every person in this world has to suffer. Some people have the ability to come out and speak whereas some don’t because of unavailability of secured laws for them.
What do you think of the suffering of men? Are Men and Women given equal opportunities? How do we specifically say that men don’t suffer? These are simple yet important questions for all of us. Yes, a Man can be raped! Yes, a Man can be mistreated by his wife! The basic thing we need to realise is that every human suffers, hence, equality is important and if there is Equality everywhere then eventually there is a way for harmony. A slap is a slap! Be it a woman or man, the rules should be equal and just.
Gender Fight is a human fight not a Female Fight – Frieda Pinto!