Saturday, March 27, 2010

Can a woman abduction a man

The government afresh absitively to alter the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and alter the chat “rape” with “sexual assault’’. The angle would accomplish the answerability of abduction gender-neutral. But can a government change the acceptation of the chat “rape”?

Can a man abduction a man? Can a woman abduction a woman? And finally, unimaginably, can a woman abduction a man? Alike dictionaries action gender-specific meanings for rape.

So, does that accomplish a nonsense of the adapted IPC? Flavia Agnes, Mumbai-based advocate and activist, says it is absolutely far-fetched. “To assume that women can abduction men is rather outrageous,” says Agnes. “While women can sexually annoy men, they can’t sexually advance them. There accept been no such cases anywhere.” In fact, abduction is a “deeply gendered construction”, with several amusing implications for women such as stigma, she adds.

One abduction case is registered every 54 annual about in India. Abounding added incidents go unreported. Booty the case of 19-year-old Sulabha Rani* from Uttarakhand’s Chamoli village. In 2004, her uncle took her to Dehradun to assignment as a calm help. He awash her to two men who raped her in a affective car. The abutting morning, she begin herself lying half-naked and aching on a sidewalk. Aback with her parents now, and with her uncle absconding, Sulabha reportedly hasn’t been able to leave her bed or absolute a chat aback that day.

Then there is Radha, an Agra academy student, who approved to booty on a agglomeration of disorderly goons authoritative bawdy animadversion about casual girls. One evening, as she alternate from college, Radha was raped by the goons, who said they were backbreaking her for her ‘bravery’.

So, can a woman anytime do the aforementioned to a man? Agnes says abduction is not aloof a concrete assault, but an announcement of ability and ascendancy by men over women. “As we do not animate in a gender-neutral society, accepting a gender-neutral abduction law will alone accomplish the bearings worse for women, as abounding may get accused of rape,” she says.

Legal experts are afraid the IPC alteration will accessible the floodgates for added gender-neutral laws, such as those administering calm violence, affairs death, animality to wives or alike aliment to women afterwards a divorce.

But some aspects of the proposed alteration are actuality welcomed. Animal advance is to awning crimes such as sodomy, admittance of a adopted article and added offences that are not currently covered by the acknowledged analogue of rape. The abduction law was adapted in 1983 and anytime since, women’s groups accept campaigned for a law on animal assault, which would awning issues of incest and non-penetrative adolescent animal abuse.

Author-activist Pinki Virani, who filed a appeal for the benevolence killing of Aruna Shanbaug, a paralysed and brain-dead Mumbai assistant who was attacked and raped in 1973, says, “The alteration may not advice women too abundant but it will advice accessory victims. I’m animated boys will be included in the class of victims who can be sexually preyed aloft by earlier men after sodomy actuality the alone belief of boy-rape.”

The accoutrement can additionally advice in cases such as that of Ruchika Girhotra, who was sexually confused by Haryana DIG, SPS Rathore as a teenager, 19 years ago. Aradhna Gupta, who fought for amends for her asleep friend, says this is a admirable move. Speaking to STOI from Sydney, Gupta says: “Now, added culprits can be appointed for committing abhorrent animal crimes. Had it happened two decades back, Ruchika would accept been alive.”

Virani says the alteration raises questions about whether cases pertaining to accouchement can be clubbed with adults. What about incest, arguably added alarming than a distinct advance by a absolute stranger?

Agnes says the government charge booty these complexities into annual afore alteration the law of the acreage administering rape.