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India is famous for 2 things: Bollywood and being the rape capital of the world.

In India, a male prisoner’s biggest fear is being sexually abused. Prison is safer for men than a walk in the streets for women. A male prisoner has a 3.2% chance of being raped whereas any female in the streets has a 25 to 30% chance of being raped at least once in her lifetime. This means that a game of Russian roulette, which has a 1/6 of dying, is safer than being a woman in India.

We need to talk about rape.         

Section 1: Historical Context

Rape, as it is defined today, has always existed in the world, at least to some extend. But it was previously not considered to be rape, it was simply ignored by society so it is impossible to determine exactly when it started happening. In India ‘rape laws’ started with the Indian Penal Code in 1860, which stated that a man has committed rape when he has sexual intercourse with a woman under an of the following circumstances:

(1) Against her will,

(2) Without her consent,

(3) With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death or of hurt,

(4) With her consent when the man knows that he is not her husband, and her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married, and

(5) With or without her consent when she is under 16 years of age.

In this law, “sexual intercourse” consists of penetration, anything less than that was not rape and sexual assault (includes oral sex, sodomy, and penetration by foreign objects) was not a crime, neither was marital rape.  

After a 16 year old girl was raped in a police station by 2 officers in 1972 and the law was against her due to a “lack of evidence” and her “sexual history” the public protested, which led to a law stating that a woman claiming gang rape custodial rape, she must be believed even with no physical evidence or witnesses.  

The Supreme Court verdict of 2012 states that a trial for rape must end within 2 months of the crime and a victim must be given all mental health services and support needed to recover from the trauma until she can lead a “meaningful life”.

Unfortunately, marital rape has not been criminalized yet because, according to the Law Commission of India “changing the law on [marital rape] would amount to excessive interference with the marital relationship.”

Although all these laws were created as protection against the most common crime against women in India, rape remains an important and common problem.

The husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract, the wife hath given herself in kind unto the husband, whom she cannot retract.

Because of the things that are not defined as rape and due to the lack of reporting of this crime, statistics show an occurrence of rape that is much lower than the truth. It is reported that approximately 8.5% of women are raped in India but it is estimated that 25-30% of women may be raped within their lifetime.

Section 2: Current context

  • What is going on now regarding your issue?

Section 3: Case Studies

***Include at least 2 case studies that flesh out this issue.



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