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Sexual Harassment Of Men: An Overview

The most common term everyone knows is "Men don't get sexually harassed; they get lucky !" But sometimes it may be true that most men will welcome any sexual advances by a woman. You could sometimes say that sexual harassment of men by women is less intimidating or less potentially harmful. None of that makes it okay.

You wouldn't say "Getting punched isn't as bad as getting shot, so nobody should or can complain about getting punched." How about "Some people like being choked, so nobody should ever complain about being choked?"

Indian upbringing of a man has created a stereotype that "A man can never feel pain", and if he does, he is not a man. That same belief has led to many people believing that a man cannot be raped or they can't be sexually assaulted because men are more privileged to be men in a patriarchal society.

Can Men Be Sexually Harassed?
In general, crimes are against society and it never limits itself to gender, religion, caste, or territory. Sexual assault is also one of the heinous crimes which could happen to any one of us. It could be men, women, children, their sexual orientation, or even their gender.

Specifically, sexual harassment can be defined as any unwelcome or inappropriate sexual gesture of any person toward any other person. It includes a wide range of actions from sexual abuse to demanding a sexual favour instead of something.

Crime against women has always been a bigger problem for everyone. Most of the sexual offences take against women. Laws of several countries have enacted different provisions in a wider sense to deal with such heinous crimes but there is no such satisfactory law for men. The lack of such laws for men does not mean that a particular sexual offence cannot take place against men. crime has no limit to any caste or gender, but it can take place against any man anywhere around the corner of the world.

Sexual assault on a male person can happen in any place whether in a public area like schools, public transport, colleges, or universities or it may also occur in their private space. But most of the offences of sexual assault on males happen at the workplace, mainly by co-workers or bosses.

They may be assaulted in different ways which may include the demand for sexual favour, removing their clothes, touching their private parts without their permission, and much more. Another problem with sexual assault on men is that they can be assaulted by both males and females. Many men have been raped even by their male friends just for their own satisfactory needs.

Laws regarding Sexual Harassment of Men:
Sexual Harassment is one of the most heinous crimes as far. Offences of sexual harassment are a big social problem that needs to be penalized in every possible way. Seeing the graveness of such an offence, the legislator has enacted several acts and sections to curb such offences against women. Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013, section 354, 375, 498A of IPC, and many more have been enacted to safeguard women.

Justice Krishna Iyer has said:
"A murderer kills the body but a rapist kills the soul."

Even after knowing the consequences of sexual assault, legislation has failed to enact any such law which protects men from such offences. They do not provide any such remedy to those males who might have been harassed sexually. However, few other laws have been modified or enacted to provide some relief to children irrespective of their gender.

The Civil Right Act:
This law was passed by the United States Congress in 1964 and outlaws discrimination predicated on race, colour, religion, commerce, etc.

Section 6 of the said act prohibits any similar type of discrimination among employers. It also applies to discrimination predicated on commerce.

Article 14 of the Indian constitution provides us with the right to equality before the law. But after assaying the staidness of this offence, a question arises does article 14 provides equal right before the law to both men and women? In my perspective, it doesn't seem so. There are cases of sexual assault against both men and women, also why the laws are for women only and not for males?

Why a joker cannot be handed justice if he was sexually assaulted, "just because he's a man"? Why there are no vittles' to guard the rights of transgender? Seeing all these situations, it doesn't appear to fulfil the object of Article 14.

Rape Or Sexual Assault of Men
It has been kept a "Dark Secret" for so long that now society is either oblivious to this or completely turns a blind eye towards such incidents if it occurs and comes out of the shadow. The fear of being disbelieved and social backlash stop the male victims of sexual assault from opening up to anyone, family, friends, or colleagues, to talk about these difficult and painful incidents, encouraging the perpetrators to go on hunting their prey.

Rape Of a Male: The Silent Victim
In today's era common theme emerging in treating male rape victims is a lost sense of manliness. Their voice is concerned with reconciling their masculine identity with their experience of being raped. One of the patients reported that he never disclosed it to his wife of 30 years and that the sense of stigma from the rape was felt as huge and devastating.

Though the long-term effects of sexual assault by a woman on men have been studied extensively, there has been minimal research exploring the consequences of sexual assault by men on other men.

Until recently, little or no attention has been paid to the male victims of rape and sexual assault in adulthood, and even less attention has been paid to male rape in other workplaces like in the military.

Sexual Harassment of Men: Current Scenario:
Sexual assault on a man is no doubt an atrocious offence and thus Government needs to concentrate on this growing menace before it takes any precarious shape. The compass of sexual importunity laws should be widened and should do an invariant law should that needs to be brought to guard the rights of people.
  • The recommendation of Justice JS Verma's commission should be considered again. The modesty of males should be honoured in enactment books and needful vittles should be added to them to help sexual assault of a male. The laws dealing with sexual importunity should deal with every possible aspect as sexual harassment is as delicate to prove as it is to falsify.
     
  • Sexual importunity is a veritably real issue that went unnoticed for a long period, but not presently. All of us need to take measures to help it from passing as it damages the life of the victim oppressively. Therefore, make sure you help out those who are suffering from sexual importunity and make the perpetrator responsible.
     
  • If we say that the crime is gender-neutral then the laws also need to be gender-neutral. we live in a society where women and men are treated equally but then this balance should be reflected in the laws also. Laws need to be made that should be gender-neutral and not that is confined only to one section of society but it should also be emphasizing the equal treatment of people of any gender.
     
  • In a society where women are given special status but are still hesitant to complain and even that they have been sexually harassed, it takes a lot of courage and confidence for a man to speak about the same and hence he should feel equally comfortable coming out and complaining about the things that he is facing and objecting to the issues without the fear of being disregarded.

    Therefore, the problems they are facing for a quite long time are not taken into consideration as many people think that men are strong enough and that they are manly enough to deal with them. But the reality is different. They are expected to take these incidents in a fun-spirited manner and not to feel uncomfortable. In fact, until now neither any law is made to punish a person for molesting or sexually harassing a man nor a forum where they can talk about it safely and freely.

Conclusion:
India legislated the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2013 which recognized sexual harassment at the workplace for women 8 years back, India needs to know and needs to be well aware that the ambiguity of the law and should amend the Act by bringing in the harassment of Men under the purview of the Act.

There should be Effective protection that needs to be provided by the constitution to all persons vulnerable to sexual assault. The social stigmas attached to it need to be broken, and awareness needs to be created only then men will be free and safe and this will only be done when a person who is sexually abused or traumatized must complain about it.

Men too need to be courageous enough to stand up and come forward and complain about the things they are dealing with and break the social stigmas related to them. But this is a two-way process. It can't be dealt with only one side but first, we as a society need to accept that men too can be the victims of sexual assault.

Hence, there is a need for laws that men will be given equal protection and safety as women and that everyone regardless of their gender has the right to live free of harassment or importunity. Written By: Syed Afreen Hussain, A 3rd yr. student of Ballb from School of Law, Sharda University.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/syed-afreen-991468236

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