First of all, people have forgotten that rape/gang-rape is an already acknowledged offense both socially and legally and there is a punishment in the Indian Penal Code for the same. At the same time, a lot of innocent men have already been convicted under this law merely on the basis of the verbal statement by complainant woman and stereotypic assumption which assumes all women as descendants of Raja Harishchandra and all men as born criminals. Moreover, as soon as the complaint is filed, the accused is taken into immediate custody and is denied bail.
Yet, the society is behaving as if rape is a culture of India and rapacious Indian men are moving like hyenas in the society lurking like a danger at every woman and the same lot of rapacious hyenas are also protesting to get a stronger rape law, are observing fast unto deaths and shaving their heads off.
If your head is already spinning by now, then hold on to your breath as there have been demands like:
1. Death penalty for all rape cases.
2. Chemically-aided castration of the accused.
3. Rs. 2 Lakhs compensation to the girl, of which Rs. 50000 to be given immediately and rest as the case progresses. This payment will be irrespective of the genuineness of the complaint.
4. Accused must not be granted bail irrespective of the genuineness of the complaint.
5. Woman must be given a Government job with immediate effect.
6. Accused have to prove that he had not committed the alleged rape, the woman is not required to give any proof (even medical test also not needed to file rape cases).
7. Her verbal statement is sufficient to term any one as a rapist. She just needs to claim that she had been raped or gang raped and whoever is named will be arrested immediately and they will not get bail till the case is over, irrespective of how long the case continues, be it 1 month or 20 years.
8. Consent to sex: Any consensual sex can be termed as rape with excuse like, she was drunk / made to drink, she was promised for marriage, she was promised for job, she was under threat, etc. This means that the consent depends purely on women's will and wish. She is even free to enjoy the consensual sex, later call it rape and en-cash.
9. There should not be any Punishment to women for making "False and Fabricated" rape or gang Rape case to anyone.
10. A man can't be file rape case against women even if she rapes you every day and then cuts your body in 11 or 17 pieces.
Hence, it is very clear that the Indian nation has gone paranoid in its hatred against men to the extent that it doesn’t care whether complaint is true or false, whether alleged crime happened or not, but wants to make sure the life of the accused man is worse than hell merely because a woman has complained against him.
While there is no denying in the condemnation of a crime as heinous as rape, however, as a civilized society, it becomes our responsibility to respect the thin line between punishment and barbarism. Legalizing punishments like castration is “State Sponsored Barbarism”, a regressive step back into the medieval ages.
It is also pertinent to understand here as to why the nation went berserk asking for a new “Rape Law”. By and large citizens are illiterate legally and are driven more by media. And, in this particular case, a major role was played by media in inciting public ire by repeatedly displaying gory visuals of the incident and shouting at the top of their lungs and projecting a picture that rape is the single most problem in India and the whole country will be doomed or will stop to function if this one girl doesn’t get justice.
So, it was purely a function of the quantity and quality of information fed by the media to the public. What the people don’t know is that around the same time a husband was killed by his wife and his body was cut into 11 pieces. But since there was no media outcry about this issue, no repeated gory visuals, no continuous questioning on Government inaction, the poor husband died a silent death and there was no national paranoia against either the culprit wife or women in general, nor did any foreign tabloid raised eyebrows over Indian culture. There was no offer made by the U.S. either to help combat crimes against men. Even the general safety of men or husbands was not questioned.
A similar fate was met by yet another gory murder of a man by mother-daughter duo and this time there was a promotion. The number of pieces of the body rose from 11 to 17. Even in this, barring a few reporting here and there, no national outcry, no question on safety on men, no candle marches, no fasts unto deaths and no halting of the Parliament for almost 2 days over this single issue.
While, one may argue that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, it must also be reminded that two wrongs do not make a right.
When we keep hearing about gender equality everywhere and the term mainly lays emphasis on the requirement to give more rights to women to achieve “true gender equality” as they would like to call it.
However, true gender equality also carries responsibility.
When we are shedding so many tears for a bereaved daughter, why ignore our sons?
Why does our hearts go out for “Daughters on fire” and we conveniently forget our “Sons of Misfortune”?
What kind of Gender Equality are we trying to achieve here?
However, having highlighted the bias here, let us now come back to the original topic at hand. As the title says that knee-jerk reaction to the unfortunate sequence of events can be extremely dangerous, because, if the proposed amendments as listed in the article are passed, it will become a cake walk for a woman to trap a man in a rape case and this will ruin his life. Moreover, given the corrupt police force and inefficient judiciary that India has, it will literally mean the man will have to accede to every demand of the woman in order to get his life back. This is no short of legalized extortion.
Hence, in light of the above discussion, following changes are must to protect innocent men from false rape cases:
1. Make Rape Law Gender Neutral as in other countries of the globe.
2. Relationship cheating cases should not be allowed to be converted into rape cases which suck the scarce resources from genuine rape cases.
3. False complaints of Rape cases should be punished severely, so that genuine cases like ‘Nirbhaya’, gets justice.
4. Introduce the much required police reforms to increase conviction rates of rape cases
5. Introduce the much required judicial reforms for speedier justice and to increase conviction rates of rape cases.
All references to “Man” or “Woman” must be replaced with the word “Person” or “Whosoever”
All references to “His” or “Her” must be replaced with the word “His or Her”
All references to “He” or “She” must be replaced with the word “He or She”
All references to the word ‘Husband” or “Wife” must be replaced with the word “Spouse”
Relationship or marriage disputes should not be included in the Sexual Assault as they are already covered under Domestic Violence Act.
There must not be any knee-jerk reaction.