The Ministry of Women and Child development has finally proposed an amendment to law in that the definition of rape be broadened in order to make the law more comprehensive and gender neutral. Dr. Ramesh Grandhi explores how civil society continues to sweep the real issues behind rape under the carpet.
Rape is a crime where more often than not the perpetrator goes scot free, if I were to hazard an educated guess I would say that even in these modern times rape victims prefer to suffer silently rather go through a media circus in trying to have the offender punished. The stigma attached to rape still exists and it is perhaps a sad comment on our society.
|Rape of Europa - Painting by Rubens|
It is slightly heartening to note that governments all of the world are waking up to this crime against humanity and making sure the definition of rape becomes even more inclusive, it is imperative that the definition should not allow wriggle room for the rapist. The 1998 International Criminal Tribunal defined Rape as “a physical invasion of a sexual nature committed on a person under circumstances which are coercive”. This definition does seem to give enough latitude to prosecutors to bring down the force of law on rapists.
The US government recently announced that it was expanding its definition of rape to include men and also rapes of women other than by physical force. The Obama administration and especially Joe Biden, the Vice President, should be congratulated for this. I don’t really know whether the stats mentioned are true but according to them one in five women are rape victims, a fact that should make all human beings bow their heads in shame!