SEXUAL OFFENCES IN INDIA

SEXUAL OFFENCES IN INDIA AND PSYCHOLOGY

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INTRODUCTION-

Man being the first product of evolution has perfectly managed to control many of the forces of nature but so long as he is not able to control the forces within himself, a civilized society remains a distant dream. The animal impulses of the human beings compulses include physically reacting to external stimulations without intellectual deduction of the acts. We might have come miles ahead in materialism and technological development but what we still long for is contemplation in a broader sense.

These advancements are at the cost of damage to the human integrity, quality and above that dignity of one or the other. Such values actually reveal what kind of society it is.

The interpersonal relation of two persons either between two different sexes or within, will amount to sexual offence when either of the person’s will is suppressed by the other in order to derive any kind of sexual pleasure from that person invading their privacy or personal space. In fact, any act of human being which inflicts pain upon other human being or suppresses their will either physically or mentally, is an offence. Violence against women is universal, cutting across regions, religions, ethnicities, economic positions and educational standards.

It is such a caustic remark to the “Bharatiya” Values and demeaning to the honour of Indian philosophy and ideology that there was a belief – “YATRA NARYASTU PUJANTE RAMATE TATRA DEVTA” but now it is the women who are the victims of most of the sexual offences in our country and worldwide. Once they used to be defied but now every newspaper, new channel is flooded with the deplorable incidents of sexual harassment of women. The children are not an exception. Child abuse is not what Indians are unaware of.

sexual offences
Source: en.wikipedia.org

More comprehensively, Sexual offences are acts or expressions of violence and perversion unleashed on the weakest available female in the safest possible circumstances by the stronger male as a result of feelings of anger, frustration, depression, insecurity, deprivation and hostility and arising out of ignorance of his true nature of SAT, CHITT and ANANDA[1]. Sexual violence is one of the most important of abuse of women, the other two being physical and psychological.

FORMS AND MAGNITUDE

Sexual offences cannot be restricted to the sense of CHAPTER XVI[2] of Indian Penal Code, 1860 describing punishments of SEXUAL OFFENCES which provides only a restrictive outlook towards such offences. In fact, it comprises of sexual violence and sexual harassment[3]. Sexual violence implies some kind of direct sexual assault like rape, forcible molestation, excessive sexual demand from unwilling partner either at the workplace or at home, immoral trafficking, dowry deaths and bride burning.

On the other hand sexual harassment is objectively less direct although severe and implies more indirect approaches in demeanour involving oral, physical and psychological gestures like obscenity and indecent representation of women, Eve- teasing, winking, embarrassing jokes and vulgar humour, unwanted invitations and sexual favours, unwilling amorous glances, and touching like bottom pinching, patting, stroking, brushing past,  fondling only when it amounts to sexual assault.

In the country like ours, where a foetus is aborted because it is a girl, amounts to Sexual Offence because her life is put to an end only because it is SHE.

Sexual offences
Source: ballsoffury2811.wordpress.com

VICTIMS OF SEXUAL OFFENCES

If we take all the cases related to sexual offences into consideration, we will arrive at a conclusion based on the research done by Raymond in 2003[4], in India sexual harassment is endemic, hidden but omnipresent. A recent report of a survey iterates that of all the sexual offences 91% of the cases relate to women victimization. These women are those

  • who feel helpless, depressed, have a poor self-image and suffer from self-devaluation, or those who are ‘emotionally consumed’ by the perpetrators of violence;
  • who live in stressful family situations, or in families which cannot be termed, on sociological grounds, as normal families like structured, economically secured, functionally adequate, and morally conformists[5],
  • who are socially immature and lacks in social interpersonal skills because of which they are confronted with behavioural problems,
  • whose husbands or in-laws have pathological personalities.

In short and length, offences against women can be attributed to their personality. It occurs to them because they think they are weaker than their male counterparts and hence unlikely to retaliate either with physical force or with recourse to law. In real sense, they are the victims of that nestle belief which undermines their self-esteem and transports them to the slaughter by fragile male ego.

Sexual offences
Source: legodesk.com

PERPETRATORS OF SEXUAL OFFENCES  AGAINST  WOMEN

It is again disheartening that women are generally abused and assailed by the men known to them. This can be proved by one study conducted in England[6] which signalizes that 61% of the women are abused by their own family members and rest by strangers. Out of that 61%, 72% are victimized by their husbands, in the places considered as safe to them. This research is based on the cases reported to the administrative bodies; there are various incidents which go unreported because of the social stigma that such cases bring dishonour to their family and those tedious legal procedures further more victimizes the abused.

A shameful contention put forward in opposition is that since women do not adhere to the conventional patterns expected to be followed by them, they are exposed to such acts. For how long such patriarchal consensus and male chauvinistic approaches can be followed when we are willing to mark our presence on global map in golden words leaving behind almost half the section of society and how can these uncivilised acts ensure conformity to the parameters of expected behaviour?

Based on various aspects of research, there are 7 kinds of victimizers identified till now, they are those –

  • who have depressions, inferiority complex and low self-esteem;
  • who are psychopaths;
  • who have possessive, suspicious and dominant nature;
  • who have stressful families;
  • who have been victims of violence in their childhood;
  • who are alcoholic.
SEXUAL OFFENCES IN INDIA
Source: femina.in

GENERAL CAUSES OF SEXUAL OFFENCES AGAINST WOMEN

  1. VICTIM’S AGGRAVATION

In some of the cases, it is found that sometimes the victim by her own behaviour generates the situation of her own victimization even though unconsciously which triggers off the violent behaviour of the offender. Her actions transform him into an assaulter making him direct his criminal intentions against her. That is why, these victimizers do not regret for what they had done and do not suffer from any emotional turmoil.

The aggressors in wife-battering cases accuse their back-biting, illicit relations with some other person, ill-treating their family members, their nagging nature, etc. In criminal assaults such as rape, it is presented by the victimizers that they got a sexual invitation.

It rests upon the deciding agencies to determine whether the victim actually intended to invite such behaviour or it was just offender’s perception which led him to exploit her. 

Further, it leads to unfulfilling one of the major aspects of criminal law that is not only the offender is convicted and the victim is compensated but this offensive nature is curbed to a large extent and thoughts and energies of culprit are channelized into productive use and potential offenders are prohibited from committing any act which causes such social aberration.

  1. INTOXICATION

The consumption of alcohol for committing any offence can be accepted as a ‘cooperative’ factor rather than a ‘chief’ factor. Highly intoxicated man loses his ability to comprehend the upshot of their actions. Alcohol related sex crimes depict a heady disregard of time, space and circumstances. For example, in many of the cases of rape, the offender consumed too much alcohol which landed him to the state of inebriation and emotional excitement, their normal restraints had disappeared and their aggressive fantasies were intimately intermingled with sexual lust which then took shape of irresponsible actions[7].

It is unclear whether alcohol induces violent behaviour directly or it acts primarily as a restrainer of pre-existing aggressive tendencies. The latter theory is supported by the notion[8] that some offenders drink for courage prior to using violence against a person. There are many people who are accustomed of alcohol and hardly ever get violent.  

  1. ANTAGONISM (ENIMITY) FOR WOMENHOOD
  2. SITUATIONAL URGE

In this category, those offences may be included which are neither because of the victim’s behaviour nor because of the offender’s psychopathological personality but rather because of the circumstances which instigates violence.

SEXUAL OFFENCES IN INDIA
Source: blog.ipleaders.in

SEXUAL OFFENCE AGAINST MEN

The discussion so far relates to sexual offences against women, but such offences against men cannot be ignored. The due advancement in every sphere of life has caused a few of the male community suffering from sexual abuse. Unrealistic it may sound, but it is true in the today’s scenario. It is hard to believe that in the country like India where patriarchy is known to be cause of vulnerable condition of women, men can also be ill-treated. Sexual offence can be done against anyone irrespective of their age, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sexually assaulted men or boys have the same rigorous feelings as other survivors of sexual abused have. They have to go through additional challenges owing to the social attitudes and stereotypes about men and masculinity. Although the number of victims of male sexual assault is quite low but cannot be snubbed. The reporting rate of male victims is even lower than the already-low rate for females which is low because of the fear of being perceived as homo-sexual.

LAWS MADE BY PARLIAMENT TO COVER SEXUAL OFFENCES

  • Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956
  • Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
  • Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012

The change in the outlook of judiciary toward status of women (specifically) in society significantly tells that there is an upliftment in their social status. The judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court that punishment for rape of a girl below 12 years of age has to be capital punishment[9]. Sexual intercourse with a minor wife of below 15 years is an offence of rape[10]. The judicial activism in the matters concerning dignity of women has been a milestone. The various legislations passed and approved by the Parliament serves the same. The green signal given to the Triple Talaq Bill, 2018 recently solidifies the same contention. The position of women though does not depend upon the religion of victim, yet their revival in some of the communities had a tough fight. Despite of these so many strict laws, a large number of culprit are not convicted because either cases go unreported or because of inbuilt loopholes in investigative process, connivance of unscrupulous forces, high approach, etc. All these factors dilute the efficacy and stringency of many of the strict provisions of laws.

MEASURES TO CURB SEXUAL OFFENCES[11]

Besides the pronouncement of severe punishments or putting the offenders behind the bars, the following measures can be taken to curb sexual offences:

  • Giving due consideration to the issues already being taken up the Women’s organisations as well as Government and private/public institutions.
  • Assistance in finding employment and childcare facilities and immediate financial support.
  • Establishment of cheaper, more convenient and less formal courts for redressal the problems of victims of sexual offences.
  • Strengthening and increasing voluntary organisations ready to deal with such burning issues for rendering voice to those who are unheard for so long.
  • Publicity to those organisations which provide free legal aid.
  • Change in parents’ attitude.

REFERENCES-

[1] www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l201-Changing -facts-of sexual-offences.

[2] Of Offences Affecting the Human Body

[3] P. Madhava Soma Sundaram, K. jaishankar & Ramdoss; Crime Victims And Justice System- An Introduction to Restorative Principles; Sarla Publications, New Delhi; 2009.

[4] Raymond, N. (2003), Sexual Harassment at work. [ www.indiatogether.org/combatlaw/vol2issue3/harass.htm]

[5] Borland, Marie(ed.), Violence in the Family, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1976.

[6] University of Warwick: Joanna Liddle

[7] Ahuja Ram; Social Problems in India; ed.-3rd; Rawat Publications, New Delhi; 2014.

[8] Blumer, 1973; 73-87

[9] Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018

[10] Independent Thought v. Union of India [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 382 of 2013]

[11] Ahuja Ram; Social Problems in India; ed.-3rd; Rawat Publications, New Delhi; 2014.


WRITTEN BY-

SHIVANI PANDEY

BBA LL.B

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