Trigger Warning: mentions of sexual assault and false allegations.
Many people regularly get hauled over the coals for their shabby treatment of women, and rightfully so. But does society give a single thought to harassment towards men?
Sexism against women or girls is still a more severe problem in most parts of the world. However, contrary to popular belief, men and boys can also be subjected to discrimination. Men are also victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, but state institutions and society, in general, take such violence less seriously because of the prevailing stereotypes towards men, such as the belief that men are fearless, sustain greater pain, and are more capable of self-defense. Recently, men’s rights activists scored a significant victory in India when the Supreme Court essentially identified them as the victims of domestic violence cases. The judges weren’t making the law gender-neutral, however. They stated that Indian women were filing inaccurate claims of domestic violence.
Whereby, an absolutely horrifying case is trending now from Amity, Noida, where two girls not only asked a gang of 25-30 goons to beat up the victims brutally over a lame parking argument but filed a false molestation case on them, where one of the victims has been declared dead and the other is still fighting for his life in ICU. If using the rights given by the Indian Constitution for threatening somebody and still being safe is women’s right, then do we as women deserve these laws? Women’s rights are given for protection and recently some women are using it as a shield to make the victim sound like a culprit. This assumed belief leads to disappointments- that courts are places where innocents get harassed. So, the only way to get justice is to harass the opponents and thereby that harassment will force them to come to the bargaining table and close the cases.
Are women misusing the rights they have fought for centuries to get just to invoke revenge? This question, though valid, ends up unanswered with the questioner often being labelled as ‘misogynist’, ‘insensitive’ and what not. The only way to stop false cases is to work towards rigorous prosecution of all false cases and false pieces of evidence, including the wrong investigation by police. The most prominent example is rape. According to the Indian penal code, rape is a non-bailable offence and is gender specific. Which means a man can get arrested if a case is filed against him even without a complete investigation. I’m not saying that every case filed is false, but every 2 out of 10 cases turn out to be false. Note that women don’t accuse a man of rape out of nowhere, but they accuse him of convincing them into a sexual relationship on the pretext of marriage.
This accusation, filed by either the ex-girlfriend or her parents, is insulting on so many levels. Firstly, it undermines a woman’s ability to discern and make her own decisions. Secondly, it encourages a society which deems a woman whose agency, dignity and sense of safety were forced away from her, to be more ‘honorable’ than a woman who has the ability to choose what she can do with her life.
In a 2014 report by the Delhi Commission of Women, 53.2% of rape cases reported were false.
And the percentage is only rising as it leaps towards 90%. Indian society laughs at a man when he says he has been raped. India ridicules any complaint about male rape. Society thinks that only men are perpetrators of a heinous crime like rape, and they don’t get that even women can rape a man. Owing to such psyche, there are no laws for men who are survivors of rape.
No law should be misused by anyone. An allegation by a woman is not enough to make an arrest. The police must investigate thoroughly and then take action. Even all the women out there should realise that many people over the centuries spent their entire lives trying to pull women from under oppression. So, when you go out there and misuse the protective rights we still continue to fight to have, you put to shame the effort and yourself. Women have been raising their voices and battling the unbalanced power dynamics to get equal rights as men. Now that countries around the world have come up with policies and laws to aid women and help them feel safer, we should be mindful not to use them as leverage to get revenge, climb the career ladder, or threaten other people. That defeats the whole purpose of it.
In a landmark judgement, the honourable Supreme Court said that some women are spreading legal terrorism in India; the laws for protection for women are being misused. One could list at great length of many problems that afflict men today, including the male suicide epidemic, the paucity of resources for male victims of domestic violence, and the falling behind of young men and boys in education. However, there is one fundamental factor related to all these problems that men encounter: there is a lack of mainstream acceptance of systemic men’s issues which is compounded by the absence of male advocacy groups with a broad remit to make the case at a political level and the level of the media.
Men have started sharing their agony, torture, and harassment by women/spouses.
The Dowry Prevention Law (Section 498A/ 406 of IPC) is one of the most misused provisions of law in India.
Yet, no modifications seem to have been made to it over the years. This section was enacted to protect the dignity of a woman and has become a widely misused weapon by them. It is used to harass and blackmail their husband and his family. Once an FIR is filed under 498A/406 (IPC) it becomes a stooge in the hands of the police to harass the husband and all his relatives named in the FIR without an intrinsic worth or preliminary investigation. This provision further diminishes all chances of an amicable reconciliation between the couple. The prolonged trials further add bitterness to the already strained relationship between the families. There have been ample cases where this law has been misused. Women use this law as a weapon to extort money out of their husbands at the time of divorce. Small incidents of little consequence are exaggerated in a large number of complaints. Male victims of violence can be saved/helped through appropriate intervention such as recognition of violence against men by women as a public health issue, a helpline for the male victims of violence, education, awareness, and legal safeguards.
Countries like Brazil, China, Russia, Japan, and USA now have government bodies to tackle and end this pseudo-feminism; it’s high time India wakes up from hibernation. It’s time we understand that feminism is about equality and rights for everyone, not about one section of people being superior to another.