Mulayam Singh Yadav, the former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, said, “Boys will be boys, they commit mistakes”, opposing the death penalty for three men convicted in a gang rape case. This is one of the many examples which reflect upon what goes into the making of a patriarchal society. The years of oppression, of men ruling over women, have resulted in the legalisation of sexual molestation crimes around the world. Here are a few examples.
Semen Terrorism, South Korea
When a man ejaculates in a woman’s belonging, without her consent or knowledge, the act is known as semen terrorism. According to South Korean laws, a man committing the crime goes through a trial and punishment under property damage and not a sex crime. In the past week, the law has been under the radar, as South Korean women have taken to the streets to fight for their rights.
According to a report by the Guardian in May 2021, a male civil servant discharged and released his semen inside his female colleague’s coffee cup six times over the course of half a year. The court ruled that it spoiled the tumbler and made it unfit for use. The man was fined three million South Korean won ($2570) for property damage.
Marital Rape, India
Recently, a Mumbai Sessions Court, in a trial of marital rape said, “Being a husband, he did not do anything illegal.” The victim in this case was paralysed after forced intercourse, by her husband.
The legal age of marriage in India is 18, but according to IPC Section 375, forced sex in marriage is a crime only when the wife is aged under 15. The absurdity of the law is visibly outrageous.
Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, former state minister of Home Affairs, while speaking in the Parliament had said that the concept of marital rape does not apply to India.
In January 2021, Bombay High Court acquitted a man, stating that groping without “skin to skin contact” cannot be termed as sexual assault. The man was undergoing trial under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 for groping a minor’s breasts over her clothes. The decision was further stayed by the Supreme Court.
According to the Indian judiciary, a man is not legally answerable to the law if he touches a woman without her consent, in a public or private place, if the touch doesn’t involve any skin contact. This provides sexual offenders with loopholes due to which law enforcers lose authority and victims lose their chance to gain the justice owed to them.
Indecent exposure of one’s private body parts leading to sexual harassment using the internet as a medium, is known as cyber flashing. Sliding unsolicited pictures and videos of a man’s genital in a woman’s “DMs” (direct messages) is one example of such acts. Scotland and Singapore recognise cyber flashing as a molestation crime. However, most countries across the world have no defined laws against such crimes, providing a free and safe window to carry out obscene acts online.
The laws across the world are changing, slowly and gradually. But the need of the hour is to acknowledge and fastrack such cases. Since time immemorial, the world has never been an easy place for a woman to survive. It requires fighting for one’s right in a system where almost all the senior positions are held by men, with minimal sense of empathy towards women.
The least that can be done for women is to provide a law structure with seamless accessibility and affordability at times of such heinous crimes.