I was talking to a journalist friend about false rape cases in India, where she said something very meaningful. That in India, reputation and shame is always looked at from woman’s point of view.
Since childhood, we never look at how loss of reputation or respect affects a man or a boy. It is assumed by default that they can just take any kind of humiliation and hence we see media and society in general takes false accusations of sexual assault on men very lightly.
There is also this understanding that the man deserves this because he has multiple girlfriends or is a flirt or has multiple partners or whatever.
While people advocating justice condemn any judgmental behaviour on the basis of morality or character when it comes to crime against women, the same set of people without any hesitation pronounce validity of false accusation on a man.
It is quite unfortunate. Just the way a woman’s private life is no reason for her to be assaulted, a man’s private life is no reason for him to be falsely accused if he hasn’t forced himself on anyone and committed a crime.
We are now seeing mutually beneficial relationships between powerful men and women being dubbed as rape if anything goes wrong. Years of mutual relationship claimed as exploitation for years.
Everyone knows what’s happening but if anyone dares to speak up, he or she is labelled as misogynist. But who are these people trying to help? Women who have made heinous crime of rape a joke?
Why would a woman who’s being sexually exploited happily enjoy such exploitation, evident from visual evidences in many of these cases?
No one in the media asks such women a question as to what was the reason they let the exploitation happen and if they did, wasn’t it consensual?
It is really sad that such blatant misuse of these laws is being allowed by our courts and police. Women protection laws and the absence of any deterrent for their misuse has motivated wrongdoers to use these laws as tools.
We saw what happened in Arpan Verma vs CCD case as well. A molestation charge was used to pull down a boy who highlighted unhygienic conditions in their outlet.
If an organisation like CCD resort to such tactics without any fear, we can only wonder about situation at large.
I think it’s time for society to react to false accusations of crime against women in the same manner as it does to the real crime against women.
As society is constantly teaching men how to behave, I think it’s time for society to tell women too that they need to take responsibility of their behaviour, accept the fact that relationships break and it’s not rape and that if they’re exercising their choice of having sex with someone without any coercion or threat but merely to get any favour, it’s not rape! Their bodily integrity is first their own responsibility than someone else’s.
Else in few years, rape laws would become just like dowry laws- Means of Legal Extortion and Terrorism!
(Deepika Bhardwaj is an independent journalist, activist, documentary filmmaker and director of critically acclaimed film, Martyrs of Marriage. Views expressed here are the author’s won and Janta Ka Reporter doesn’t endorse them)