Posted on: February 1, 2021 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

Author: Simran Vudathu, Student at Amity University, Mumbai.


Rape has been defined as sexual assault of a male in opposite to female. It has been conceptualized as sexual victimization of ladies via way of means of male perpetrators that occur the rape supportive patriarchal society. In reality, massive number of rapes have males being the victims of sexual assault by females. The mindset, “rape cannot happen to men” has to be changed to assist those male survivors to speak up and to combat for their rights. The rape of males has a negative connotation withinside society as human beings generally doubt their sexuality and masculinity if they open up about assault. This is the stereotype that needs to be changed in which adult females and males have to be given equal safety with the aid of using the law. This fear has forced thousands of male victims to be quite due to the pressure of the society by labeling them homosexual or unmasculine.[1]


Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code states that rape can be done by a male to female however it doesn’t specify rape by a female to male; there is no room for adult male victims, much fewer female perpetrators. This section has to two main parts;

  • A rape offender is necessarily a boy or a man.
  • The victim of rape is necessarily is a girl or a woman

Also, there is no particular law that addresses sexual assault of a male against a male. Although, the Protection of sexual offenses of 2012 protect the child survivors of both sexes but the current laws leave out a large number of adult male victims who cannot come forward due to the lack of legal recourse and fear to be judged. The males in India are considered to abuse their power and authority over females. According to a survey of Insia Dariwala, it surveyed 1500 male out of which 71% of men surveyed said they were abused, 84.9% said they had not told anyone about the abuse and the primary reasons for this were shame (55.6%), followed by confusion (50.9%), fear (43.5%) and guilt (28.7%).[2]


In India, the meaning of the word rape is to inject your penis or object into a vagina which is the only interpretation people tend to follow. On the other hand, the cases of sexual assault of men continuously increased and men who were often subjected to sexual assault didn’t fall under this category of rape due to this stereotype or interpretation of law of sexual assault of a male against a female only. For instance, an 18-year-old boy had to endure sexual assault by a group of men in a village where there was an object inserted into his rectum. However, there was no such law which would justify this case. Hence, this case would be ruled under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which states that whoever voluntarily has a carnal interaction against the order of nature with a man, women or an animal shall be punished with imprisonment of life.

In the landmark judgement of Navtej Singh Jauhar v. Union of India (AIR 2018 SC 4321), consensual sex was decriminalized in India by the Supreme Court of India. However, after the judgement there was an issue regarding laws that protect men from sexual assault or rape in India. Eventually, there was no such law or provision that protected men so Section 377 of the IPC was applied.[3] Also, after sex was decriminalized in India now it will be difficult for a man to prove sexual intercourse by another man without knowing whether consensual or not.


In the Indian Constitution; Article 15 clause 3 states that nothing should prevent the state from making any special provisions for women and children which explains Section 375 to be women-centric law. Nevertheless, Article 15 also mentions that the state shall not discriminate any citizen of India based on sex, religion, caste or place of birth. Additionally, Article 14 states that there should be equality before law or equal protection of the laws within the country India. Hence, the government could introduce gender-neutral laws which could be applied in Section 375 of the IPC where male and females are equally protected by sexual assault. Rape should be considered as sexual assault irrespective of sex or gender. At the present, there are two laws that protect the male victims from sexual assault.

  1. Protection of Children from sexual offenses which protect child abuse irrespective of the sex of the victim
  2. Secondly, there is Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace which is considered as gender-neutral law. Even adult male victims are protected under this law.

In March 2000, the 172nd law commission of India proposed the idea of gender-neutral laws which protect both male and females from rape and sexual assault. Although, the government did not follow suggestion made in the commission. Later on, in 2017, there was a Public Interest Litigation filed by Advocate Sanjiv Kumar which challenged the constitutionality of rape laws in the Indian penal code. He stated that there should be laws made that equally protect male and female victims of rape and sexual assault. Making a female centralized law, would ignore the cases where males are the victims of sexual assault and would not give them enough courage to come forward. There was another bill called the Criminal Law Amendment Bill which was put in front of the parliament by KTS Tulsi to make rape laws gender neutral in India. The basic principle behind this bill is to make changes in the Indian Penal code, Indian Evidence act and Code of Criminal Procedure which specify provisions that indicate protection towards women and not men. Also, the provisions like 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D, 375 and 376 of the IPC to mention words that are gender-neutral. The Nirbhaya case in 2012 gave a lot of emphasis on women fighting against sexual assault which boosted girls/ women to stand up for their rights.


Gender-neutral laws imply equality between everyone and easy access to justice without any discrimination of any particular gender. The basic structure of the Indian constitution denotes equality irrespective of caste, colour, sex or religion. Similarly, considering sexual crimes to be gender-neutral then males and females should get equal protection against rape or sexual assault.


[1] Diva Rai, ‘Critical analysis of Rape of male in India’ (April 16, 2020) <Critical Analysis of Rape of Male in India – iPleaders> accessed 26th January 2021

[2] Gul Zehra, ‘India’s Silence on Sexual assault of Men and Boys’ (July 13th, 2020) < India’s silence on Sexual Assault of Men and Boys – iPleaders> accessed on 26th January, 2021

[3] Diva Rai, ‘Critical analysis of Rape of male in India’ (April 16, 2020) <Critical Analysis of Rape of Male in India – iPleaders> accessed 26th January 2021

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