Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Definition of rape

Rape is forced sex with a female by a male. Sex means vaginal intercourse which means penetration of vagina by the penis. Any other definition that includes other sex crimes under rape dilutes the gravity of rape.

Some countries have broadened the definition of rape to include various sex crimes. In India there is a demand to change the definition of rape to include all sex crimes. That should be avoided. Vaginal intercourse is different from anal or oral intercourse. In vaginal intercourse a female can become pregnant. That does not happen in anal or oral intercourse. Penetration of vagina by any object other than penis is an unnatural sex crime.

Some want to make rape gender-neutral. This is ridiculous. There are biological and physiological differences between men and women. No female can rape a male. Equality of sexes does not mean identity.

Punishment for other sex crimes can be same as punishment for rape.

Sex with a person with consent below the age of consent should be termed sex with minor and not statutory rape. In India age of consent for unmarried women is 16 and for married women to sex with their husbands is 16. That is because till about 1978 legal marriage age for men was 18 and for women 15. It was changed to 21 for men and 18 for women. However there was no change in the age of consent for married and unmarried women in Indian Penal Code. It is illegal to marry a woman who is below 18 but not illegal to have sex with her if she is 15.

Sex by deceit should be a separate crime. If a man promises marriage to a woman she does not have to sleep with him till they marry. She can tell him to wait till they marry. If the woman sleeps with him and the man does not keep his promise to marry it should be criminal breach of promise to marry. If the woman becomes pregnant and keeps the child the man must pay for the child’s upkeep. That is separate from imprisonment for criminal breach of promise to marry.

If a man hides his marital status and marries a woman and has sex with her it is sex by deceit.

If a woman sleeps with a man for a role in a film or TV serial and does not get it is barter gone wrong. Punishment for not keeping the barter, role for sex, can be same as punishment for rape.

If a woman has oral sex with an unconscious man it should crime of oral sex without consent, not rape.

Some say rape is not about sex but about power. But to show power a man need not rape a woman. He can slap her, kick her or beat her. Rape is about sex and may be about power. It is not an either or situation.

Updated: February 2, 2012 — 6:30 pm

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