Home Criminal SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE: POSCO ACT AND LAWS FRAMED

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE: POSCO ACT AND LAWS FRAMED

ABSTRACT: SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is most heinous crime against children and in most instances, it is hidden in nature. It is the most under reported crime. The effect of CSA lingers across the lifetime of an individual. It is now being recognized as toxic stress which emotionally can harm the child irreparably. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) act was enacted in 2012 and has many difficulties in implementation. The law is being framed for the children’s whether its a boy or girl.

But in the current scenario males are considered to be the most dominant party and there can be no harassment against them by women on men. The current study investigated men’s experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace, including sexually advancing harassment (e.g., unwanted touching) and gender harassment (e.g., derogatory comments). In the absence of any systemic data, with more men coming up and reporting violence by women, it is important to understand and examine the issue of violence against men by women and associated factors.

With changing gender roles and power relations. The paper attempts to understand the dynamics and factors that play or will play a crucial role in escalating violence against men by women as well as men by men. The paper also presents the issues related to mandatory reporting, consensual sex, doctors preparedness for handling CSA victims, and status of special courts and laws under POCSO.

Introduction:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined ‘Child Abuse’ as a violation of basic human rights of a child, constituting all forms of physical, emotional ill treatment, sexual harm, neglect or negligent treatment, commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual harm or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.

‘Child Neglect’ is stated to occur when there is failure of a parent/guardian to provide for the development of the child, when a parent/guardian is in a position to do so.

Mostly neglect occurs in one or more area such as: health, education, emotional development, nutrition and shelter. ‘Child maltreatment’ sometimes referred to as child abuse and neglect, includes all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development or dignity.

Within this broad definition, five subtypes can be distinguished— physical abuse; sexual abuse; neglect and negligent treatment; emotional abuse; and exploitation. Failure to ensure child right to protection adversely affects all rights.

Analysis: SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

Child Abuse & Neglect is a worldwide social and public health problem, which exerts a multitude of short and long term effects on children. The consequence of children’s exposure to child maltreatment includes elevated levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, aggression, emotional and mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression. Several developed countries of the world have well-developed child protection systems, primarily focused on mandatory reporting, identification and investigations of affected children, and often taking coercive action.

The problems of child abuse and neglect in India need serious and wider consideration, particularly among the underprivileged rural and urban communities, where child protection systems are not developed. It includes all types of sexual victimization of children – penetrative or non-penetrative sexual intercourse, pornography, sexual harassment, commercial sexual exploitation, sex tourism and online exploitation . In India, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 describes various forms of sexual offences .

Whereas child sexual abuse has been mostly reported from economically affluent countries, it may be more common in developing countries. It is influenced by socio-cultural practices and frequently goes unreported, as a culture of secrecy, fear of indignity and social embarrassment prevents disclosure of such offences. The Delhi High Court observed that in 2014, of the 1704 cases of rape registered in the Capital, 215 cases were instances of incestuous rape. They are usually repeated over varying periods and may cause serious short- and long- term adverse effects.

In November 2012, India adopted The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) meant to provide for protection of children from the offences of sexual assault and safeguarding the interest and well being of children . It clearly describes various forms of sexual misconducts including actual or attempted sexual intercourse, oral sex, fondling sexual parts, pornography and inappropriately photographing.

POCSO is a comprehensive law, which besides expanding the scope and range of forms of CSA, makes its reporting mandatory and gives guidelines for various actions by the police and at courts. Physicians are made responsible for ensuring prompt and adequate response to child victims.

The Act includes child-friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial of offences through designated Special Courts. It deems a sexual assault to be ‘aggravated’ when abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority vis-a-vis the child, such as a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor .Different levels of punishment are included, which are more stringent in cases of aggravated assault.
India houses 40% of children in its total population but is ranked as the sixth most unsafe country for children. In 2007, Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, supported by United Nations Children’s Fund, save the children and Prayas conducted a study to understand the magnitude of child abuse in India ; they found that 53.22% children faced one or more forms of sexual abuse; among them, the number of boys abused was 52.94% and of girls was 47.06%.

Among the 69% of physically abused in 13 sample states, 54.68% were boys and 88.6% were physically abused by parents. Sixty-five percent of school going children reported facing corporal punishment; 50.2% of children worked all 7 days in a week and they never reported abuse to anyone. Children on the street, children at work, and children in institutional care reported highest incidence of sexual assault.

Child sexual abuse is a punishable act as per the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act the bill passed in the parliament in May 2012.Reporting is a difficult decision to be made by the survivors, many fear victimizations through the criminal justice system and fear they may be blamed for it. It can be illustrated by a real life case :

A 7-year-old boy was referred by the police from an orphanage with reports of sexual abuse by a 14-year-old boy another inmate of the same orphanage.
The police had received a complaint from the father of the boy who was a native of another country because he was ill and his wife died while they came to India, he had housed his son in the orphanage. He usually took the son home during the weekends and while bathing him claimed to have noticed abrasions on the private parts of his son, while questioned the son alleged this other boy of sexual misconduct.

The victim had several advantages over other inmates of the orphanage, he had facile command over spoken English, could play the piano, was kind and gentle. He was the favourite of most of the teachers. He had few good friends in his own class and reported being bullied by several older boys on a regular basis. On examination, no abrasions were found since several days had elapsed before the complaint was lodged. The victim also alleged that the older boy was being physically and emotionally abusive whenever he was alone. The child had newly learned to play cricket and was excelling at it too.

He said that the other boy was rubbing himself on the child with all his clothes intact, it was coercive-induced fear and shame. The child expressed a wish to return to his motherland once the father got well. He had symptoms of complicated grief over the loss of mother. He reported feeling numb and disconnected. He was diagnosed with dissociative subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder.

The boy, who was accused, reported feeling jealous of the younger boy as he was the favourite of teachers and also as the father of the boy showed interest, took him home often. The older boy had no father and his mother visited him once a year, never got him gifts. His jealousy made him angry with the victim, and hence, he tried to dominate the boy by force, sexually. He was referred to another psychiatrist for correctional therapy. Because of the poor health of the father, follow-ups did not occur.

Article 21

Article 21 states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.” Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person.’ The right to life is undoubtedly the most fundamental of all rights. All other rights add quality to the life in question and depend on the pre-existence of life itself for their operation. As human rights can only attach to living beings, one might expect the right to life itself to be in some sense primary, since none of the other rights would have any value or utility without it.

There would have been no Fundamental Rights worth mentioning if Article 21 had been interpreted in its original sense. This Section will examine the right to life as interpreted and applied by the Supreme Court of India.

Rape of males is still taboo, and has a negative connotation among heterosexual and homosexual men. Community and service providers often react to the sexual orientation of male victims and the gender of their perpetrators. It may be difficult for male victims to report a sexual assault they experienced, especially in a society with a strong masculine custom.

They might be afraid that people will doubt their sexual orientation and label them homosexual, especially if raped by a male, or that they may be seen as unmasculine because they were a victim. Mostly, male victims try to hide and deny their victimization, similar to female victims, unless they have serious physical injuries. Eventually, the male victims may be very vague in explaining their injuries when they are seeking medical or mental health services.

By masculine gender socialization, it is thought that males, even younger males, cannot be victims of rape, nor even that they are vulnerable. In some societies, it is considered shameful and unmanly if a male child cries, because the male stereotype depicts males as being able to protect themselves, which may not always be the case. Young boys may be weaker and vulnerable to perpetrators, who are usually stronger.

The perpetrators can use whatever they have to abuse the child, including money or other bribes. An adult male may also be helpless to fight back, or fearful of doing so because of the possibility of being arrested for assault and/or battery due to social double standards regarding the use of force in self-defence between genders, in some cases of female perpetrators .

India currently has no legal framework where a woman can be prosecuted for committing sexual offences against man. Indian law against sexual harassment protects only women. Meanwhile, Gender Neutral laws have found acceptance in 77 countries including Denmark, Australia, Switzerland, the U.S, the U.K etc. There is a disbelief surrounding sexual harassment of men which can perhaps can be attributed to absence of data. It is almost as if the idea that woman can sexually harass men is still considered inconceivable in society.

A few probable reasons why men may not complain are –
1.Men may be afraid of being mocked by co-workers. They may be emasculated for not being a
‘mard’.
2.They may believe that men can’t be truly be sexually harassed by a woman, or that being harassed by another man implicates their own sexuality.
3.They may fear being embarrassed if details of the harassment were leaked.

The problem of not acknowledging and recognizing male sexual harassment is perhaps because of men not accepting that they are vulnerable as well. Men may find it difficult to acknowledge sexual harassment because them may feel they have been feminized as the Indian mentality is that feminine is the weaker gender.

It is important to understand that Sexual Harassment is neither about sex or gender. It is only about power. But in the current day and age, with more women coming to powerful positions in the workplace, there is no reason why a woman in power cannot be as abusive as a man. It is hence very important to discuss the issue of rising incidents of crime against men in the public forum.

According to Indian law, modesty, if at all, exists only in women. The only form in which a wrong sexual advancement on a man is recognized as an offence is as sodomy under the Section 377 of the IPC. Apart from that there is no law to punish a person for molesting a man. This absence of law doesn’t stem from the absence of crime.

As stated above, many males do face sexual harassment in the workplace, both at the hands of men and women. In 2013, the Centre passed its stop-gap Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance on the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, which substituted “sexual assault” for “rape” and made the crime gender-neutral from the aspect of both perpetrators and victim.

However, the changes introduced in the Ordinance were reversed with the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act through active lobbying by Women’s Groups. They argued that Rape was an explicitly patriarchal crime. However, our definition of rape needs to progress from non-consensual penile-vaginal interactions to non-consensual penetrative-orifice interactions.

One notion is that males are less traumatized by the abuse experience than females are; this includes the belief that males are less negatively affected. The long-term effects are damaging for either sex and males may especially be more damaged by social stigma and disbelief of their victimization.


Conclusion:
The very low rates of reporting and help seeking among victims of sexually abused boys in India could be due to the hegemony of patriarchy. This social construct is usually being applied to understand the subordination of girls and women, the fact that it is oppressing all children who are perfect victims irrespective of their gender is being ignored in male children who are expected to be superior due to their biology and also because of this myth of superiority, there are unethical expectations for them to overcome the harmful effects of sexual abuse of childhood without treatment.

CSA is a particularly reprehensible criminal act. The practice is globally prevalent and occurs in all societies. Paediatricians and other health care professionals are often the first contact for CSA victims and thus need to have the expertise for its adequate clinical evaluation and treatment, and be knowledgeable of the legal aspects. A multidisciplinary response is necessary for comprehensive management that includes psychological support to the victim and the family.

The Government of India’s Act for Prevention of Children from Sexual offences Act (POCSO, 2012) defines CSA and lays down responsibilities of physicians and gives management guidelines and legal procedures. Parents, school teachers and the civil society at large must overcome the traditional inimical attitudes of silence and shame and take appropriate educative measures to prevent CSA( child sexual abuse ).

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE
SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

Keywords:

CSA, POCSO, mandatory reporting, special courts, Domestic violence, violence against men, gender

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST MALE

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