By M.C. Linthoingambee
Wikipedia has defined “Gang rape” as an occurance when a group of people participate in the rape of a single victim. Rape involving at least two or more violators (usually at least three) is widely reported to occur in many parts of the world. Systematic information on the extent of the problem, however, is scant. Rapes in India has been described as one of India`s most common crimes against women and by the UN’s human-rights chief as a “national problem”. The reign of dinosaurs had so quickly dispersed and thus came the art of Civilization growing pensively in the pavilion of our world. Myth also foretells a reason or a story of how men came to be and that also began with the creation of a sin between Adam and Eve. There is a saying that goes, “Behind every successful man, there is a woman”. Women are the architects of a civil society but recently the crime against women has been growing painstakingly high. There seems to be a recent trend that goes with the attack done on women by one or more men which is the doing of a gang rape. In the so called process, they have been hurt, blood have been shed, lives have been lost, victory often comes with the price of war, but men is yet to learn and yearn, aren’t they?
On a smaller segment, India witnessed its first ever massive uproar in relation to the recent brutality of the Delhi Gang Rape Case withholding protests at the national capital and several other places in the country. The incident occurred on December 16 year in which a para-medical student was gang raped and murdered in the turn of events while boarding a bus in South Delhi. Again on June 4, an American woman was gang raped while she was returning from Manali to New Delhi. The start of Saturday began with the news of the gang rape of a final year MBBS student in Karnataka; these are just some of intended news that ends up being headlines. But many of such stories are still hidden away, closed in the respite of restoration of a normal life or the revelation being futile to the victims. The real question is how far we are willing to go to protect such mishaps.
The offence of rape under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, have made both penile and non-penile insertion into bodily orifices of a woman by a man an offence. The definition is broadly defined in some aspect, with acts like penetration of penis, or any object or any part of body to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or making her to do so with another person or applying of mouth to sexual organs without the consent or will of the woman constitutes the offence of rape. The Indian Penal Code defines punishment for rape under section 376 as being imprisonment for 7 years or fine wherein it states that the 7 years may be extended to a life imprisonment but if the woman raped is his wife than only an extension of 2 years punishment has been provided. The specific section sub contains a clause (g) which states the provisions for punishment of committing a gang rape. It goes that the accused shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term of 10 years or life imprisonment or fine or both. The above are obligatory punishments unless the above is lessened with the judgment so provided after viewing the all facts and circumstances of a particular case.
A new section 376A has also been added stating that if a person commits sexual assault or inflicts an injury which causes the death of the person or causes the person to be in a persistent vegetative state (not likely to function as a normal human being), shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for twenty years which may extend to imprisonment for life. In the case of “gang rape”, persons involved regardless of their gender shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term of twenty years, but which may extend to life and shall pay compensation to the victim which shall be reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim. Certain changes has been introduced in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and Indian Evidence Act, like the recording of statement of the victim has been made more friendly and easy, character of the victim is irrelevant for consideration, presumption of no consent where sexual intercourse is proved and the victim states in the court that there has been no consent, etc. Marital Rape has also been accepted as rape. As a result, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA) which came into force in 2006 provides protection against marital rape or other forms of sexual perversions and domestic violence by offering only civil remedy to the victim.
On April 3, 2013 President Pranab Mukherjee’s gave his assent to the anti-rape bill which now provides for life imprisonment and death sentences for those accused of rape is a start for battling those actions for crime against women. Mukherjee accorded his assent to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill-2013 against the backdrop of the country-wide outrage over Delhi gang-rape case, and it will now be called the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. ,This particular onset follows suggestions provided by the Justice Verma Committee which is a committee appointed for the study of sexual abuse against women in the country.
Furthermore, as an aftermath of the Delhi Gang Rape case more people have stepped into the limelight in the method of professing those locked away crime against women and many fast track courts have given due significance and priority in such arenas. But truth to be told these actions of sexual abuse still continues in unknown areas whether in parts or fragments. Does training for self defense help? Yes / No, we cannot truly affirm the answer either way as one know not of such until reality comes true. Little is done to make this world safer for women.
(M.C. Linthoingambee is an undergraduate pursuing B.Com. LL.B(H). An avid blogger, poet, a seasonal artist and a foodie, she is also a life member to the Indian Society of the Red Cross.)