Gender Sensitization and Its Importance for Rape Victims

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Gender Sensitization involves creating awareness about gender issues and working towards and creating an enabling environment of gender justice where men and women can work together with a sense of personal security and dignity. Gender sensitization is not about putting women against men but to make a man feel that he should respect an individual irrespective of their gender.

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent. Rape survivors need help of variety of institutions like police, hospitals, rehabilitation centers etc. No compensation can be adequate nor can it be of any respite for the victim but as the State has failed in protecting such serious violation of a victim’s fundamental right, the State is duty bound to provide compensation, which may help in the victim’s rehabilitation. The humiliation or the reputation that is snuffed out cannot be recompensed but then monetary compensation will at least provide some solace.

This dissertation aims to highlight the various measures taken so far and also the current available provisions regarding the rehabilitation of rape victim in our country. This dissertation work also includes gender sensitization issues and problems in society and its relevance for a rape victim.

Rape Defination Under Indian Penal Code, 1860

If we talk in layman language than rape is a type of sexual assault in which one person do sexual intercourse with another person without her consent and against her will. Rape is an offence against the whole society that is why it falls under criminal law and it is defined under section 375 of Indian penal code, 1860 and punishment under section 376. According to IPC, 1860 rape is done when any man penetrates his penis or inserts any object, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of women or makes her to do so with him or any other person.

The definition of rape remains unchanged till the Mathura rape case 1983. Nirbhaya rape case 2012 and Kathua rape case 2018 ignite the need for amendments in the present definition and punishment of rape under ipc,1860. Justice verma committee were set up in 2013 and on their recommendation many criminal amendments were introduced in IPC 1860, Cr.P.C, Indian Evidence Act 1872 through criminal law amendment act 2013.The recent amendments were also done in 2018 related to the punishment of rape cases.the criminal law amendment 2018 make the punishment more stringent and in some rape cases when it is done with the child below 12 years of age death penalty will be awarded to the rape accused.criminal law amendment substitute the definition of rape and mention 7 conditions when offence fall under these conditions then it will amount to rape, these conditions are:

  1. Against her will
  2. Without her consent
  3. With her consent but consent is obtained putting someone in fear of hurt or death
  4. With her consent when man knows that he is not her husband but consent is given because she believes that man her husband
  5. With her consent but at the time of consent she is not able to understand the nature of act due to intoxication or unsoundness of mind
  6. With or without consent when she is under 18 years of age
  7. When she is not able to communicate consent

The sine qua non of the offence of rape is penetration, not ejaculation. Ejaculation without penetration constitute an attempt to commit rape and not actual rape.

There are 2 exceptions when sexual intercourse is not amount to rape. These are:

  1. Medical examination and intervention for investigation purposes medical examination is done and it will not amount to the rape and medical examination of the victim should be done by the female doctor in the presence of the parents.
  2. Sexual intercourse by man with his wife not being under 15 years of age. Indian Penal Code doesn’t recognize the marital rape.

Section 376 to section 376-E describe different rape offences and punishment related to that offences. It includes the gang rape, habitual offenders of rape, rape with deadly weapon and caused death of the victim. Rape provision in detail is given below

Section -376-Punsihment for rape

  1. Except sub-section 2 whoever commits rape shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment (not less than 7 years but which extent to life imprisonment) and fine also.
  2. When person in authority like police officer, armed forces, hospital and women’s and child’s institution done this offence than he shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment not less than 10 years but which may extent to life imprisonment and fine also.
  3. If girl is less than 16 years of age than man commit rape shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment not less than 20 years but which may extend to life imprisonment. Which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life?

Section 376(A) – Punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative state of victim

When person commits the rape and in commission of it inflicts an injury which causes the death of women or leaves women in vegetative state the accused shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment not less than 20 years but which may extent to life imprisonment and fine also.

Section -376(AB) – punishment for rape on women under 12 years of age

Whoever commits the rape on women less than 12 years of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment not less than 20 years but which may extent to life imprisonment and fine also.

Section -376(B) – sexual intercourse by husband upon his wife during separation

When the decree of separation is passed by the competent court and the husband done sexual intercourse with his own wife but without her consent than the husband shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment not less than 2 years but which may extent to 7 years and fine also

Section -376-(C) – sexual intercourse by a person in authority

When the person in authority like public servant, management of hospital, superintendent of jail etc if they misuse their position to induce or seduce any woman either I n his custody or under their charge to have sexual intercourse than they shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 5 years but which may extent to 10 years and fine also

Section 376(D)-gang rape

When one or more than one person commits the rape of woman with furtherance of common intention than all will be libel for the offence of rape and shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a tern not less than 20 years but which may extent to life imprisonment and fine also.

Section 376(DA) – punishment for gang rape on woman under 16 years of age

When gang rape is done on woman under age of 16 years than all shall be punished with rigorous life imprisonment and with fine.

Section 376 (DB) – punishment for gang rape on woman under 12 years of age

Whoever commits gang rape on woman less than 12 year of age shall be punished with rigorous life imprisonment and with fine or with death.

Section 376-(E) – punishment for repeat offender

Whoever is previously convicted for any rape offence mentioned above and subsequently convicted for same offence shall be punished with rigorous life imprisonment or with death.

The fine that is mentioned in all the rape punishments is under the discretionary power of the competent count and vary from case to case circumstances but the fine imposed should be just and reasonable, the amount of fine will be used for the victim treatment and rehabilitation purpose only.

Sexual Assult Under the Protection of Child From Sexual Offences Act (Pocso)

The pocso act came into effect in 2012, before this act there is no specific law that deal with the offences related to child rape victim. This act is come to protect the children from the sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and proviso for the establishment of special courts for the trial of such offences and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

State has the duty to protect the children from any type of offences which violent the fundamental right of the child which is guaranteed by the state government. Under article 15(3) of the constitution state government have the power to make the special provisions for child. POCSO recognizes forms of penetration other than penile-vaginal penetration and criminalizes acts of immodesty against children too. Offences under the act include:

  • Penetrative Sexual Assault: Insertion of penis/object/another body part in child’s vagina/urethra/anus/mouth, or asking the child to do so with them or some other person
  • Sexual Assault: When a person touches the child, or makes the child touch them or someone else
  • Sexual Harassment: passing sexually colored remark, sexual gesture/noise, repeatedly following, flashing, etc.
  • Child Pornography
  • Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault/ Aggravated Sexual Assault

The act is gender-neutral for both children and for the accused. With respect to pornography, the Act criminalizes even watching or collection of pornographic content involving children. The Act makes abetment of child sexual abuse an offence.

After the Kathua rape case 2018 criminal law amendments were also introduced in the POCSO which stringent the punishment of rape committed with the children amendments in 2018 are as follows:

  1. Section 3 which talks about the penetrated sexual assault if done with the girl who is below the age of 16 years then punishment shall l be 20 years which may extent to rigorous life imprisonment.
  2. Section 4-if aggravated penetration sexual assault done
  • During natural calamity
  • Assault which result in death of the child
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The accused shall be punished with the rigorous imprisonment of 20 years which may extent to the death with fine or both.

Gender Sensitization & Violence Against Women

Gender sensitization refers to the modification of behavior by raising awareness of issues related to gender equality. It helps in understanding the view a person holds about self and the other gender and lets people examine their personal attitudes and belief. Violence against woman is a problem across the world and gender discrimination is also one of the reasons which give rise to violence against woman. Violence against woman is taking many different forms which include rape of women to child marriage, sexual harassment, domestic violence, trafficking, gender mutilation, honor killing etc. Among them rape is perhaps the most damaging and a serious offence against the dignity of women

All type of violence against woman are also the violation of their fundamental rights. Although Indian constitution provide provisions related to the gender equality and many other provisions related to the uplifting of woman status in the society some of them are article 15 and art 16which says that there will be no discrimination on the basis of place of birth, caste & sex and there is equality of opportunity in matter of employment. Article 243 (D) say about the reservation of seat for woman in panchayat not only constitution but also their legislature was made by the government for the protection of woman, however, despite constitution protection and several legislatures, gender discrimination and injustice continue to occur.

According to World Health Organization, every 1 in 3 women are facing sexual violence at some stage of their life and there are large number of woman’s who are facing sexual abuse/ physical violence by their intimate partner. If we want to see a society devoid of discrimination one where women and girls are not treated as inferior and give them equal opportunity and rights, then we have to emphasizeon gender sensitization. It has been estimate that about 2.5 lakh girls are killed each year in India because of their sex.

Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls Include

Witch craft and dowry related violence and deaths; crimes committed in the name of so-called honour; femicide; domestic violence; harmful practices such as child, and forced marriage and female genital mutilation. IT ALSO INCLUDES SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND ITS DIVERSE FORMS SUCH AS forced sterilization; forced nudity; forced abortions; sexual harassment; incest, rape, including marital rape and gang rape.

Cases of violence against women are steadily increasing in the country. According to the National Crime Record Bureau, India, there is one dowry death in the country every 78 h, one act of sexual harassment every 59 min, one rape every 34 min, one act of torture every 12 min and almost one in every three married women experienced domestic violence.

Studies from India reported violence in 19– 76% of women (75%–76%)in lower caste women; 42–48% in Uttar Pradesh and 36–38% in Tamil Nadu; and 19% in an urban slum community of childless women).In Western India, 15.7% pregnancy-related deaths in the community series and 12.9% in the hospital series were associated with domestic violence. In Uttar Pradesh, 30% men reported beating wives 22% of woman of childbearing age from a potter community were physically assaulted. 34% of those physically assaulted required medical attention.

The population-based, multicenter based collaborative project of the study of abuse in the family environment (India-survey of abuse in family environment) was established in seven sites in India. It looked at the association with poor mental health. A total of 9938 women participated (from rural, urban slum, urban non slum areas). 40% reported experiencing any violence during their marriage. 56% had self-report questionnaire scores indicating poor mental health.

Traditional and Cultural Practices Perpetuating Violence Against Women

Female genital mutilation

Two million/year undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) in the world. It takes place in 28 countries in Africa, in some regions of Asia and the Middle East and in certain immigrant communities in North America, Europe, and Australia. FGM can lead to death, infertility, and long-term psychological trauma combined with increased physical suffering.

Acid attacks

In Bangladesh, it estimated that there are over 200 acid attacks each year. Sulfuric acid attacks have emerged as a cheap and readily accessible weapon to disfigure and sometimes kill women and girls for reasons as varied as family feuds, inability to meet dowry demands, and rejection of marriage proposals.

Killing in the name of family honour

In several countries of the world including Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, and India, women are killed to uphold the honour of the family due to varied reasons such as-alleged adultery, premarital relationship (with or without sexual relations), rape, falling in love with a person the family disapproves, which justify a male member of the family to kill the woman concerned. It is rather disturbing that in certain countries (Jordan) the penal laws governing such crimes are lenient if the person committing the crime is below the age of 18 years. In India honour killings appear to be on the rise.

Early marriages

Early marriage with or without the consent of the girl, constitutes a form of violence as it undermines the health and autonomy of millions of girls. Nearly 12% were married by age 12, 26% by age 15, and 24% married by age 18. The legal minimum age for marriage is usually lower for females as compared to males. In many countries, the minimum legal age for marriage with parental consent is considerably lower, than without it. More than 50 countries allow marriage at 16 and below with parental consent.

Sociocultural factors disfavoring women

Stereotypes of gender roles have continued over the ages. The primary roles for women have been marriage and motherhood. Women must marry because an unmarried, separated or divorced status is a stigma. The custom of dowry is still prevalent in Indian marriages. Marriage cannot be dissolved. In the settlement of marriage, it is generally ensured that the woman is younger, nonworking, and less educated than her husband. Thus, the “brother-sister” or “father-daughter” model continues into marriage with the husband having the right to dominate and discipline his wife. After marriage the girl has to go to her husband’s home, never to return to her parent’s place. At her husband’s place, she has to accept the prevailing norm of an inferior status of the “Bahu” (daughter-in-law), which means she should adjust and be tolerant and respectful toward all members of the family, including those much younger to her. She should not disclose her problems to anyone outside the home, nor take help from outside (not even parents). Husband is given a divine status. Relatives bless the husband “Suhagvati raho” (may your husband live long), or “Phalo puto” (may you bear fruits [children]); not the wife. She should bring money and gifts from parents on various festivals. She has nothing of her own. Without husband life has no meaning for her. Although the practice of Sati has declined, enforced widowhood is still prevalent. These sociocultural factors have continued over the years and have put women at risk for various forms of abuse.

Need for Gender Sensitization and Rehabilitation of Rape Victims

Gender Sensitization is a term which is talk of the day everywhere. It simply means creating awareness about gender equality concerns. If we want to see a society devoid of discrimination one where women and girls are not treated as inferior and give them equal opportunity and rights, then we have to emphzise on gender sensitization. It has been estimate that about 2.5 lakh girls are killed each year in India because of their sex.

Our Constitution framers were well aware about the neglected condition of woman in India so, in order to improve her status and dignity they have inserted special provisions for woman like under Article 15 (3) wherein State is empowered to make special provision for woman and children, Article 42 provides that maternity relief has to be given to a woman and other provisions of like nature. Further, extended interpretation of Article 21 by Maneka Gandhi Case opened the doors for woman to get her status and position safeguarded in society through Judiciary.

Right from the enactment of Constitution it is being questioned by patriarchal society that all such provisions are in contradiction to Article 14 where concept of equality is given. But, the various judicial pronouncements have negated such views and held that these provisions are inserted to achieve the object of securing social order and to eliminate the inequalities in status…

Gender sensitivity is not about putting women against men but to make a man feel that he should respect an individual irrespective of their gender. Gender Sensitization and Gender equality is a matter of everyday concern and today this concern is most required in Rape cases. When a woman is raped then she is not traumatized and molested at one instance but trauma that she suffered after rape is more horrible and life threatening then the moment of rape. Evil of Rape cannot be eradicated unless society understands the importance of modesty and chastity of woman but what can be reduced is secondary traumatization of Rape survivor.

We are heading towards the reformative penology of rape accused and at the same time we are required to focus on rehabilitative victimology. Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 & 2018 have made more stringent penal provisions to punish a rape accused under Sections 376, 376A,376-AB, 376 B, 376 C, 376D,376-DA,376-DB and 376E of Indian Penal Code but here an important concern is to focus on need of rehabilitation Laws for rape survivors. Although certain provisions have been inserted in Criminal Law which provides for compensation to Rape victims and monetary help for their treatment. It is pertinent to mention here that compensation to rape victims cannot be claimed as matter of right instead it is at the mercy of State.

In certain situations, such as the cruelty and dowry deaths, corruption among police and other enforcement officials works as a major obstacle. The Governmental authorities, social organizations, women’s organizations, voluntary groups and NGOs should come forward to serve the cause of rape victims. There is an urgent need to bring a change in the attitude of the police authorities in the matters of rape cases. They should have a sympathetic attitude towards the victims of rape and the necessary support should be provided to the victims. The law-enforcement agencies, the police and the judiciary can play an important role in the control of crime against women and particularly rape.

The law-enforcement is a continuous process from the time a crime is reported till the criminal is prosecuted and punished. This is a long process involving various stages such as, investigation, prosecution, trial and judicial decision, every person seeing the victim from another prospective that she has been raped it is her fault. The victim needs to be facilitated at all these stages. Never-ending trials have also led to a scenario where the complainant is forced to compromise with the victim outside the court secretly due to the social pressure, thereby frustrating the whole purpose of law. What is the use of increasing the punishment when the chance of conviction itself is a rarity? Keeping all this in mind effort has been taken to understand the realities from various perspectives. Deep impact of the trauma remains in their minds even after post-violence corrective measures and rehabilitation… essential rehabilitation pre-requisites such as free long term counseling, advocate compensation, free physical and psychological therapy, social security, free education and gainful employment opportunities are virtually non-existent or exist only on paper.

The district wise and area wise distribution of the respondents indicate that the victims are across the area. Percentage wise difference is observed but the cases of violence are found across the geographical area and within the high and low prevalence area. In some cases, victims have received counseling services but in few they didn’t get referred for counseling. Many of them have not received the services like, free legal aid and financial support, compensation. For prevention and control of crime, women need to be aware of their self-defeating behavior. There is need to put in place en entire system that can ensure rehabilitation to various levels that a woman can lead her life confidently, indecently without suffering social stigma or discrimination. To prevent such violence, they should be trained for self-defense. They should be made aware of the provision of services for the victims like counseling, free legal aid, financial benefit for their help and support. Most importantly the police department and the concerned officers need to be trained to develop sensitivity so that they can deal with the victim with more compassion and care.

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