Rashi Aditi Ghosh/Zee Research Group
As the nation moans ever growing sexual crimes against women, the similar crime against men often go unnoticed.
The number of such cases, however, officially registered with the police is yet small. The low number is attributed by legal experts to fear of society reprisal who insist many such cases go unreported.
The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) under the home ministry tabulates crime against men under various categories of kidnapping and abduction for variety of motives including illicit intercourse, prostitution and marriage.
According to NCRB 2012 data, 175 men have been kidnapped and abducted for the purpose of illicit intercourse since 2009. The cases have been registered under Sec.363 to 369, 371 to 373 of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Men too are vulnerable is evident from another disturbing statistic. The NCRB report also shows that since 2009, 995 men were either kidnapped or abducted for forceful marriage.
NCRB data further shows that 115 men were kidnapped for the purpose of prostitution. Most of the kidnappings and abductions of men for the purpose of getting sexual favour have been reported within 18 to 30 years and 30 to 50 years age group.
Men rights activists charge the situation is “serious” and needs “urgent attention.”
Atit Rajpada, men rights activist and ex president of Men’s Rights Association says, “The irony is that sexual abuse of men is not treated equally under law.” He wants government to accept the Association’s charter for changes in the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act to ensure men are treated at par on the issue.
Abha Singhal Joshi, High Court lawyer and Consultant at Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative concurs with the under reportage view. The exact incidence of sexual crime against men, however, is not known since no independent work has yet been carried on the issue.
“It is true that sexual harassment of men is not a much talked about issue but it does exist. I have personal knowledge of such few cases,” reveals Joshi. She, however, does not buy the argument of poor legal protection for such victims.
“Protection is available under the Section 355 of the Indian Penal code which deals with assault or criminal force with intent to dishonour any person as also under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012,” she explains.
Experts argue society retribution in such cases has to do with lack of exposure. Unlike heavy focus on sexual crimes against women in media and Bollywood, male victimization is by and large a taboo subject.
Bollywood has not being very vocal on issue of sexual crime against men. Akshay Kumar and Priyanka Chopra starring ‘Aitraaz’ is a rare example that dealt with the issue of sexual harassment of men at the workplace.
Only recently actor Zeenat Aman announced that she has starred in a bilingual movie called `Strings of Passion` that deals with the unexplored subject of sexual torture of male models and extras. The movie is under production.
A study by Texas Association Against Sexual Assault shows that in the United States about 10 per cent of all victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse and rape are men.
A book named “Betrayed as boys: Psychodynamic treatment of sexually abused men. Guilford: New York” also reports that in a 1996 study of 600 college men, 28 per cent of those surveyed reported some form of sexual abuse as a child.