Sunday, June 21, 2009
The rape of a 'near-minor' household help by an established actor in Bollywood, Shiney Ahuja, has opened up quite a few debates in India. The 'reckless' behavior of 'guys' is being questioned all over again and stricter laws are being invited.
While there are a few criterion which are taken into account to convict a man of raping a girl more than 16 years old, any kind of sexual interaction with a girl of 16 or less is considered rape (even if it happens with full consent of the girl involved). Such an act of sexual nature involving a girl less than 16 years of age can involve very severe punishment and is fairly easy establish.
There is, however, no law that talks about the rape of a boy (minor or otherwise!). There have been many cases recorded in the past which involve a young boy being sexually harassed but they come under much milder offenses and often are never officially filed nor investigated. A report by WHO said that close to 50% of Indian children are unsafe (it includes acts of sexual nature against minor children of both the sexes). This is a classic case of the law of the land encouraging gender bias and discrimination based on the sex of an individual!