India proves yet again that it is a terrible place for male rape victims. In case that I cannot begin to explain, Indian police charged a 12 year old boy with rape after an 18 year girl gave birth at a hospital:
Kalamassery police have registered a case against a 12-year-old boy and a private hospital here after an 18-year-old girl gave birth to a baby.
While the boy was booked under Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act for allegedly impregnating the girl two months before she turned 18, the hospital was charged for breaching the POCSO Act by not informing the police.
According to the Juvenile Justice Act, the boy faces a potential three in prison for:
[…] having the actual charge of, or control over, a child, assaults, abandons, abuses, exposes or wilfully neglects the child or causes or procures the child to be assaulted, abandoned, abused, exposed or neglected in a manner likely to cause such child unnecessary mental or physical suffering […]
If it seems like you are missing something, you are not alone. I looked up as many articles about this case as I could find, and not one of them explained how anyone determined that the 12 year old fathered the child, let alone why he and not the girl was held responsible. This was the best explanation:
Denying any wrongdoing, hospital authorities said the girl was 18—and hence not a minor—when she approached them and went into labour and .
The hospital said it informed the Childline once the young mother’s relatives informed that a 12-year-old boy had fathered the newborn girl.
“Besides reporting the case, all files regarding the girl was handed over to the Childline soon after she was discharged on November 4, hospital sources added.
Childline volunteers, meanwhile, were suspecting that whether the 12-year-old had impregnated the girl.
According to another article, the police will conduct a DNA test to verify the claim that the boy is the father. That seems fair, yet what seems unfair is that the boy was charged with rape. The logic behind charging the boy is that the girl was two months shy of her eighteenth birthday, making her a minor. That would make it illegal to have sex with her.
One would think this would also apply to the boy, and would apply more so him given that he is six years younger than her. However, it does not because India’s rape laws are gendered. Women cannot be charged with rape, only sexual assault. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 specifically genders penetrative sexual assault as something only a male can commit. The former carries a minimum seven-year sentence with a potential life sentence. In contrast, sexual assault, which women can be charged with, only carries a maximum five-year sentence and a fine.
The latter is the law typically used to charge female offenders, assuming they are charged at all. The implicit bias within India society holds that women simply cannot and do not commit sexual violence. Indian feminists railed against the notion of including women as potential rapists in the updated rape laws. That appears to be the explanation behind the boy being charged rather than the girl.
The girl’s family accused the boy and the police appear to have accepted it without any evidence. It is possible that the police did not reveal to the media all the evidence they have, yet based on what was reported, it appears the only evidence is the family’s accusation, hence the DNA test.
It makes no logical sense to arrest the boy in a situation where it is clear he is the younger party and less capable of giving and understanding consent. How can Indian police hold him more accountable than someone who is almost an adult?
Holding to their complete disregard for basic common sense, the police issued a statement:
Police added that a case of rape was registered against the boy. “However, as a minor he is entitled to certain legal protection. Both the boy and the girl are relatives. They are also neighbours. The girl’s parents also abandoned the child, who was later taken by the district child welfare committee,’’ police added.
This looks less like the boy raped the girl, and looks more like the girl either raped the boy or had sex with someone she was not supposed to, and either she or her family accused the boy in order to save face.
That anyone would entertain the notion that the boy is the perpetrator based on zero evidence is a testament to the attitudes that men and boys face when it comes to rape accusations and male victimization. There is no way Indian police would believe a 12 year old girl raped an 18 year boy. There is no way they would charge her with rape because the boy was two months outside of 18 when the alleged sex happened. There is no way they would simply take the boy’s family’s word that the girl raped him.
Yet flip the situation and it suddenly becomes believable to some people that a 12 year old boy would be the responsible party in a situation in which a girl six years older than him winds up pregnant.