The problematic authorized definition of rape

Enika Vania

The video clip of a gruesome act of sexual violence on a female in Begumganj, Noakhali that went viral in early October, and the subsequent reporting on the incident in various media outlets had led numerous to questions—was it rape or could it be named an try to rape, or was it a sexual assault? This confusion is all-natural given that the thought of rape, or of other sexual offences with identical degree, are principles that continue to be unexplained even in the key Bangladeshi legislation that criminalise this kind of violence.

In the Begumganj case, the details of the online video confirmed that the offenders were being sexually torturing the woman working with a wooden rod. The violence was no question similarly brutal as rape having said that, historically, in seeking justice for such violence, the attack perhaps would not be deemed as rape. Reportedly, the 1st FIR in the incident was submitted underneath section 9(4) and part 10 of the Women and Kids Repression Avoidance Act 2000 (WCRPA) for try to rape and sexual assault and not for the offence of committing rape. The explanation only is that the way the definition of “rape” stands now, it is tough for law enforcement companies to contemplate that this sort of sexual violence can be regarded as as rape.

Previously, rape was punishable only under the Penal Code of 1860. With the hope of speedier and efficient prosecution in scenarios of violence in opposition to females, the WCRPA was enacted in the calendar year 2000. The WCRPA offered elevated punishment for rape in diverse contexts (punishment for gang rape, custodial rape, and so on.). Even so, when it came to defining the offence of rape, WCRPA evidently mentioned that the definition of rape would be same as the a single given in portion 375 of the 1860 Penal Code. Which implies that while the WCRPA, which is a rather fashionable law, had brought many improvements in the diploma and mother nature of punishment for rape for defining the offence by itself, the British colonial law is what we have to adhere to.

The definition of rape in the Penal Code states there has to be sexual intercourse initiated by a man with a lady, and to take into account an act as sexual intercourse, “penetration” would be enough. The definition stops here without the need of describing what the expression “penetration” implies. Including to this, area 9 of the WCRPA employs the Bengali term Jouno shnagam to refer to sexual intercourse, once more with no outlining what unique sexual acts this kind of a expression could entail. As these kinds of, the various arms of the legal method typically take into consideration penetration in its common comprehending, leaving out many other techniques of sexual penetration which could at times be even a lot more violent. Forceful penetration by a sharp item, for occasion, may possibly drop exterior the realm of “rape” and may perhaps be punished as a sexual assault under section 10, which of system is a lesser diploma offence.

Rape below segment 9 is punishable with required sentences of existence imprisonment or loss of life as for each the new amendment ordinance. Nevertheless, for sexual assault, the punishment is most 10 years and minimum amount three several years imprisonment. Moreover, contrary to section 9, segment 10 nowhere mentions the punishment for leading to dying resulting from sexual assault. As this kind of, what seems is that, in addition to getting a lesser degree of offence, if sexual assault triggers death of the target, the WCRPA is not going to be relevant for her and the situation would have to be filed in the standard legal courts for murder beneath segment 302 of the Penal Code.

For the reason that the term “penetration” does not involve any further more aspects, the issue of proving rape may perhaps also rely on the degree of a individual penetration. Particularly in cases of child victims of rape, the offender generally can not completely penetrate the victim and then proving that penetration did come about gets cumbersome for the prosecution. This is precisely the explanation that subsequent to the Delhi gang rape situation, portion 375 of the Indian Penal Code was amended, including a number of clauses describing what varieties and extent of sexual intercourse or penetration would sum to rape.

The definition of rape has quite a few other spots of ambiguities and legal inconsistencies that want to be comprehensively reviewed in light of the progressive developments in other domestic regulations. The definition does not ponder a boy child to be a target of rape, it provides no indicator as to what the time period “consent” would entail and most importantly, it decriminalises rape by the partner from his little one bride, who may be as young as 13 years of age.

Formulating a well timed and appropriate definition of rape can be an efficient initially step in bringing a significant improve in the rape justice program. Unless of course the inherent loopholes in the present legislation are very seriously dealt with, concentrating on the harshness of punishment by yourself will not produce any significant change in rape prosecution.


Taslima Yasmin is a authorized researcher and teaches in the Division of Legislation, University of Dhaka.

Electronic mail: [email protected]

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