Does the term “digital rape” refer to any sort of internet crime? Is the victim’s physical being implicated in the digital rape? Many of you probably assumed that “digital rape” referred to a sexual violation that took place only online, without the use of a physical body. But that’s not how it works! Digital rape is the act of forcibly penetrating a person’s toes, fingers, or thumbs without their consent and has nothing to do with computer intrusion. The reason most of you have never heard this term before is that rape was once classified as molestation rather than a crime. This article will cover a wide range of topics, including Indian rape laws, the definition of “digital rape,” whether or not such crimes have been codified into Indian law, and more.
Rape in India
According to Article 375 of the Indian Penal Code, “sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation, fraud, or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped, or is of unsound mental health and in any case if she is under the age of eighteen” is considered a felony. Let’s take a look at the various classifications given to this horrendous crime.
Types of Rape in India
- DATE RAPE
An “acquaintance rape,” often known as a “date rape,” is an act of non-domestic rape performed by someone the victim knows but has never lived with. The rapist deliberately doses the victim with a date rape drug so that they are unable to resist sexual assault. The most typical method is to poison the victim’s drink.
- GANG RAPE
Rape of a single victim by multiple perpetrators is what this term describes. Many regions of the world have a high prevalence of reports of rapes with multiple assailants. The penalties for participating in a gang rape are outlined in Section 376(2)(g). It mandates severe punishments, including a ten-year minimum prison sentence and possibly even life sentences for repeat offenders. Outraged citizens have spoken out against the likes of the Nirbhaya Rape case, the Bilkis Bano Gang Rape case, etc.
- MARITAL RAPE
Rape between a married or de facto couple without the permission of one partner is also known as spousal rape. Violent and sexual acts against a spouse are classified as domestic violence and sexual abuse. The “sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape” language of Exception 2 of Section 375 presents a challenge to the passage or recognition of this marital rape law.
- CHILD RAPE
To sexually abuse a child. Sexual abuse against a child or young person occurs when it is perpetrated by another child or young person, typically one who is older or stronger. To protect children from sexual abuse, the government enacted POCSO.
- CUSTODIAL RAPE
According to Section 376A, a man is guilty of custodial rape if he commits rape on a woman while she is in his care. The males can be any law enforcement personnel (police, constables, etc.) responsible for the woman’s detention. It would be a terrible crime if they used their power to sexually exploit women. However, the term “custody” was expanded to include broader concepts and meanings in 1983. The Mathura rape case is a good illustration of this.
- DIGITAL RAPE
Rape in the digital age refers to the forcible and unwanted penetration of a person’s fingers or toes, and has nothing to do with cybercrime. Let’s break down the specifics of this rape method.
What do you mean by Digital Rape?
In digital rape, the attacker uses his finger or fingers to infringe and compel the sexual act upon the victim. In simple words, a person is charged of digital rape when the perpetrator uses his finger or fingers to penetrate the vagina of the victim without her consent.
Incident 1– In a highly ridiculous incident, a 2-year-old was brought to the hospital bleeding in Mumbai, where physicians discovered that her vagina was ruptured. Still, there was no indication of sexual abuse or rape. Her father, though, was later found to be invading the girl with his fingers. He was taken into jail but penalized under Section 376 of the IPC.
Incident 2– Then, in another incident, a 60- years old woman was sexually raped by an auto-rickshaw driver, who used an iron rod to penetrate her when she was visiting her relative’s wedding. The driver was detained again but wasn’t convicted under Section 376 of the IPC, illustrating significant loopholes in Section 376 of the IPC.
As this pointed out several loopholes in Section 376 of the IPC, that deals with the punishment of rape crimes because digital rape, which involves a violation of a female’s dignity using fingers, foreign objects, or any other part of the human body, was not considered as a crime under any of the section under IPC. But after the Crime Amendment Act of 2013, the Supreme Court had to make a few revisions to its definition of rape in the Indian Penal Code. Given all these situations and horrific acts of crime, the definition of rape was broadened in 2013. By this new definition, rape is now described as “forcefully penetrating a woman’s vagina, mouth, anus, or urethra by a penis, any foreign object, or any other part of the body.”
Punishment for Digital Rape-
The penalties are set forth in the Indian Penal Code and the Public Order Crimes and Safety Act. The POCSO Act mandates a five-year prison sentence for offenders, and if the crime falls under Section 376 of the IPC, the perpetrator faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison. There are several sections of POCSO devoted to penalties.
Section 3 of POCSO Act
Penetration sexual assault was already defined as “the insertion of any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra, or the anus of the child, or making the child do so with him or any other person,” according to Section 3 of the POCSO Act, before the definition of rape was updated in 2013. Not only do these two sections apply to situations of digital rape, but additional sections may be applied as well. These items are:
POCSO Act Subsections 5(m) and 6
- A person who “commits penetrative sexual assault on a child below twelve years” is considered to have committed aggravated penetrative sexual assault, as defined in Section 5 of the POCSO Act. Section 3 defines penetrative sexual assault.
Penalties for aggravated penetrative sexual assault under this clause can be as severe as life in prison (for the rest of one’s natural life) or even the death penalty. The additional fine is substantial.
- If you commit aggravated penetrative sexual assault, you could face life in prison, which means you’ll be locked up for the rest of your natural life, a hefty fine, or even the death penalty. Section 6. (1) Whoever commits aggravated penetrative sexual assault shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life.
The victim’s medical bills and rehabilitative costs shall be covered by the fine imposed under sub section (1) which shall be fair and reasonable.
After the Nirbhaya rape case, an immediate need was recognized to change the rape laws in India. Before 2013, digital rape wasn’t incorporated under the definition of rape. But after multiple horrendous rape cases, as stated above, the Supreme Court had to make a few revisions to its definition of rape, understanding that there are other ways that a man can employ to violate a woman or child’s dignity. Hence, maintaining all these incidents and horrible instances of crime, the definition of rape was enlarged in 2013, and rape is now described as “forcefully penetrating a woman’s vagina, mouth, anus, or urethra by a penis,any foreign object, or any other part of the body.”
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Article by Deepa Bajaj.