The media shocked the world recently when they broadcasted insensitive remarks of CM Mulayam Singh Yadav and Abu Azmi about rape:
“rape accused should not be hanged. Men make mistakes… Handing death sentence for rape is not fair… boys make mistakes… there will be changes in the law if we come to power . Efforts will be made to change such a law so that those misusing it are punished. Those filing false reports will also be taken to task. When their friendship ends, the girl complains she has been raped.” The SP chief was citing the recent example of the Shakti Mills gang rape case where a young photo journalist was gang raped by five men inside the compound, out of which three of the accused had also earlier raped a 19 year old girl. The three accused were given the death penalty. Following in the heels of Mulayam Singh, Abu Azmi of the Samajwadi Party went on to shock the nation further. According to a report in Mid-Day, he was quoted saying, “Rape is punishable by hanging in Islam. But here, nothing happens to women, only to men. Even the woman is guilty. In India, if you have sex with a person with consent, it’s fine. But if that same person complains, it’s a problem. Nowadays, we see a lot of such cases. Girls complain when someone touches them, and even when someone doesn’t touch them. It becomes a problem then, and the man’s honour is ruined in this. If rape happens with or without consent, it should be punished as prescribed in Islam.”
Read more here, here and here.
The media, Bollywood and other prominent figures of India expressed their disgust and condemned this demeaning statement of our prominent politicians, but there is more to the story. These statements from people with power are not just personal opinions, they are proof that reflect illiteracy of these people with regards to human rights violations. It is lack of gender based education that makes people act this way.
In this article, you will find out the reality of false rape accusations.
Lesson # 1
Types of rape scenarios
The first thing you need to know about a rape accusation is that not all rapes are similar. There are different scenarios of rape that can be summarized under these headings:
Animalistic rape is one where the victim’s body has been injured beyond repair or where weapons or tools have been used to inflict intentional pain.
Minor Rape is rape with anyone under 18, including infants.
Alcohol and drug Rape is one in which the victim is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If she is too drunk to drive, she is unable to give consent.
Gang rape is where more than one offender is involved for ex the gang rape that took place on Dec the 16th 2012 in Delhi.
Date Rape is when a male and a female are dating or in relationship when rape takes place.
Marital Rape is when the victim is married to the offender.
As you can clearly see that there are 6 kinds of rape scenarios and the possibility of a false rape accusation boils down to just the last 2!!!
There is no way any female would lie about the first 4 types because they are out of question. No human can destroy half their body on purpose just to accuse a man. Having intercourse with a minor is automatically rape with or without consent and every man must know that. Similarly drinking alcohol or taking drugs is NOT illegal in India for neither men nor women. But that certainly does not give others the right to take advantage of a drunk person, male or female. Same applies to gang rape.
Lesson # 2
Speaking of date rape and marital rape…
Yes, there are chances that few women might lie about being raped for whatever reason and our politicians seem to be much more worried about the false rape accusations than that of the real ones.
Again there are few myths that need to be cleared here:
Rape and False rape accusations are two entirely different issues. False accusations are common in all crime activities and comparably much lesser in rape crimes. Fighting for justice for a rape victim is equally important to fighting for the rights of an innocent man. Please note that neither of these two must be compromised under the benefit of doubt.
From what our patriarchal male society and these politicians suggest, there is clearly a benefit of doubt being given to men by compromising the rights of a rape victim.
Lesson # 3
Actual rape cases vs false rape cases
I understand the concern of our politicians though and have put together these statistics because numbers don’t lie, right?
A recent report claimed that over 35% of rape cases were found fake last year after police investigation.
Meaning, in every 100, there are 35 women lying about rape.
Now consider the fact that “Ninety percent of the rape cases in India go unreported”.
While false rape accusations are an issue, it is a much smaller number in comparison to the mounting rape cases that actually happen in every day life of an Indian woman.
Lesson # 4
The woman that lies about rape:
The truth about women who claim to be raped falsely is also worth noting.
Many women take back their own claims or give a statement that they lied about it in marital cases. Often the husband is the man they love and when he asks for forgiveness and make promises, the woman has a change of heart and takes back her claims. Please note that, taking back these charges do not mean that the crime did not occur. It simply means that the woman is trying to be merciful, either for the sake of her children or her memories with that man.
In a country like India, women are also threatened for life if they report their rapists. More often than not, despite the FIR being registered, even the Police advises the victim and their family to take back their claims. This was clearly evident from the episode of Satyamevjayate by Amir Khan on fighting rape.
In the above horrendous case, how can one ever weigh the severity of rape cases against false accusations?
On one hand where thousands and thousands of young kids, girls, old women and happy women are ruined like plastic toys, are we really more worried about a few false accusations?
I am not saying that those falsely accused are of any less importance. Every living being has the right to justice, be it a man or a woman.
But if we live in a society where women can accuse men of false rape, why don’t we teach our men to be careful???
Honestly, I have never heard or read any rules or guidebook advising Indian men to be careful with what sort of women they sleep with. Recently, there was a case in the news about a married woman who claimed to be falsely raped to hide an extra marital affair. In such cases, why don’t we blame the man to make a choice to date a married woman in the first place? At this point, I can’t say if the woman’s claim is true or false but if I was a man, I would be careful in my actions.
Lesson # 5
Advice for men
As an activist for human rights, I truly think that instead of blaming women for everything that goes wrong in sexual assault cases, we must rather educate men on making wise choices. Here are a few pointers:
1. Don’t sleep with any person under 18
2. Don’t sleep with anyone on first few dates, unless you know her truly and are absolutely sure that she consents.
3. Don’t sleep with anyone who is drunk even if they insist.
4. Don’t assume you have anyone’s consent if they are shy.
Lesson # 6
The 7th kind of rape: Manipulative Rape
Manipulative Rape is a special kind of rape. This is the grey area of all rape investigation. This is a scenario where the offender rapes a victim, not through violence or aggression but manipulation. This rape is the most difficult to prove because the victim may not have made any noise and there may not be any injuries on her body. For ex, if a doctor rapes a patient in the name of examination, or if a religious authority rapes a victim by taking advantage of her superstitious beliefs etc