There is deep irrelevance and injustice in our society’s approach to sex
“If we can fathom stripping away sexual orientation, skin color, sex, we’re all the exact same: We just want connection. We just want love.” – Trevante Rhodes
Why is this so hard to understand? Sex is just an expression of love. If it is between two consenting adults, then it is nobody’s business but theirs. Then, why is our country still hanging on to archaic laws like Section 377 of IPC, while we badly require better laws against child abuse and rape?
Worst Sex #1 The Unnatural Section 377 of IPC
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code states any voluntary sexual activity against the ‘order of nature’ with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine. It further states that penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section. Therefore, sexual acts such as fellatio and anal penetration may be punishable under this law. This archaic law dates back to 1861 and was introduced when India was under British rule.
In August 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the Right to Privacy and declared that this includes the right to pursue a same-sex relationship without any discrimination. However, there has been no change made to Section 377 of the IPC. Does this mean that our country is okay with two people of the same sex being in a relationship, as long as they don’t indulge in sex?
Related reading: Love in the time of section 377
Worst Sex #2 Delhi is the ‘Rape Capital’ of India
The statistics collected by the National Crime Records Bureau, from the first information reports filed in police stations across India, showed that the number of rape cases has increased in the country. With the escalated attention and public fury garnered by the gang rape and murder of 23-year-old Nirbhaya in December 2012, more victims have come forward to lodge cases against rapists in 2013. The number of rapes reported in the country increased by 35.2 per cent to 33,707 in 2013. Delhi reported the highest number of rape cases in 2013—1,441 rapes—confirming its reputation as India’s “rape capital”.
Worst Sex #3 Schools unsafe for children
The number of cases were children are sexually abused at school has shot up during recent times. On September 10th, 2017, a guard was held for sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl in a school near Gandhi Nagar. A month later, in October 2017, a 6-year-old child was raped by a housekeeping staffer at a South Delhi school. In May, we read a news item of a nursery student molested by a school van driver. Apart from the schools turning into unsafe hell for innocent children, what is more disturbing is that these demons will once again be released into the society endangering children once again. In fact, most of these villains were already repeat offenders. Till a Child Sexual Offenders Registry is stringently maintained and updated in our country, child sexual abuse will be an unchecked menace.
Worst Sex #4 Campaigns to free rapists
When an 8-year-old girl of Kathua city in Jammu and Kashmir was abducted, raped and murdered, all that her parents wanted was justice. However, when the accused were arrested, some local political groups and a few lawyers tried to give the incident a religious and political twist.
Around the same time, a 17-year-old girl tried to immolate herself in front of the residence of Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. She claimed that she was raped by Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh from the Unnao constituency. The police did not allow her to name her assailant and they did not take any action against the accused. After overwhelming support for the rape victim, the accused have now been arrested.
The Kathua and Unnao rape cases have led to widespread social outrage seeking justice for the victims.
Worst Sex #5 Allegations against popular personalities
There is something about the stars that light up in our eyes when we meet our favourite artists, that initially blinds us to their defaults. Then, when they finally divulge their true colours, we are too heart-broken to scream out loud.
This was what happened in the poetry and spoken word community when Sakina Bootwala, aged 19, put up a status message on Facebook, accusing spoken word poetry star Shamir Reuben of sexually harassing her when she was 16 years of age. Sakina had also attached screenshots in her Facebook post that showed many other women who had reached out to her. They had also recounted being similarly abused by Reuben. Shamir had always been viewed as a nice and helpful person who narrated poems on feminism, equality and other women’s issues. So the entire community was shocked to see this side of him. Apparently, the art and the artist were two different entities.
Earlier, there had been lists of media personalities and teaching personalities doing the rounds that had serious allegations of sexual harassment by prominent and popular personalities. However, with no legal action being taken, these will only continue to remain as gossip and hearsay.
Worst Sex #6 No abortion for raped 10-year-old
In July 2017, a ten-year-old girl was refused the permission to undergo abortion as she had crossed the 20-week mark after which Indian law forbids abortions. The child, who was raped by her uncle, was 28 weeks pregnant and did not understand her bodily changes. Her negligent mother also failed to notice the same, till a neighbour brought it to her attention. Despite doctors stating that it would be physically unsafe for the girl to deliver the baby as her pelvic bones are still not developed, the Supreme Court has not given her any respite.
Worst Sex #7 No punishment for marital rape
There is no recourse for a woman in the Indian legal system for marital rape if she lives with her husband in the same house. To claim that she is a victim of marital rape, she must be either a minor or estranged from her husband. Women can only seek protection under the Domestic Violence Act (DV Act), which is a civil legislation. Even under the DV Act, the victim will only be able to get a protection order, an order for monetary relief, a custody order, a residence order, a compensation order or more than one such order, but her husband will go scot-free. He will not be tried in court or punished by law.
Related reading: My husband was almost twice my age and raped me every night
Worst Sex #8 Revenge abuse of Malayalam actress
The entire Malayalam film industry was shocked to the core when their favourite actor, Dileep, was arrested for plotting the abduction and molestation of his colleague, a popular Malayalam actress. The reason for this abominable act was revenge, as she had disclosed his extramarital affair to his wife that had eventually led to his divorce. This incident further reiterated that the stars in the reel world are not always ‘heroes’ in real life. The one small silver lining in the cloud was to see this rich, powerful and popular hero being made to face the music.
Worst Sex #9 Peacocks procreate through tears
In 2017, zoologists around the world were stunned to hear judge Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma of the Rajasthan High Court claim that peacocks do not mate but that they procreate through tears. He claimed that the peacock is a lifelong celibate and that the peahen gets pregnant after swallowing the peacock’s tears. With sex being considered such a taboo that we cannot even allow our national bird to indulge in it, India has still a long way to go!