Men Harassment: When Women Turn Into Predators
- IWB Post
- November 23, 2015
The term sexual harassment usually brings up the image of a woman as victim but, of late, quite a few cases are surfacing of men being exploited by women. The fact that the law is weighed heavily in favour of the latter doesn’t help matters either.
With dreams in his eyes, aspiring model Vikas Singh (name changed) entered the fashion industry a few years back. The first person the Jaipur lad approached with his profile was a senior female choreographer who, citing “ways of the industry”, compelled him to have sex with her in lieu of promoting him in the fashion world. In some time, the choreographer introduced Vikas to a columnist, another female, and once again, on the pretext of helping him further his career, this woman too exploited him. Despite trying hard, the 26-year-old could not escape the mess because the two women not just threatened him with finishing his career but also of implicating him in a legal web by filing false complaints.
At a time when almost all cases of sexual harassment have women as the victims, a case like Vikas’ is bound to appear unbelievable at first. However, he is not the only one. Of late, quite a few instances are emerging of well-off men, like senior police officials, builders and jewelers, being victimized by women. The worst part is that these men are unable to share their pain with their families and friends because of the long standing belief that men could not be sexually harassed. What’s more, because statements of women are given prominence and more weight in judicial system, men are dumbfound when it comes to their rights.
‘Sexual harassment’ is a term almost synonymous with ‘sexual harassment of women’ but just because society refuses to acknowledge it, doesn’t mean that it does not happen with men, said sources. “Around 45% to 50% of complaints of sexual harassment and rape of women are fake. Many cases have been found in which women make the clippings of their victims and then blackmail them, sexually harass them and even rape them,” sources added.
In fact, two police officials in the state are even entangled in such cases. Both of them are fed up of bearing expense of their family while also shelling out hefty sums of money to their blackmailers, who are women.
Shiv Gautam, a psychologist, told dna, “Many men in construction and jewellery business are undergoing depression due to sexual harassment and monetary exploitation at the hands of women. The men are bearing with the unfairness because the women threaten them that they would file case against them and the law would favour them (the women) only.”
Prakash Sunda, a lawyer in the high court, said, “The laws of our country have been devised such that they clearly state their existence exclusively for women. Sections 354, 509 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code, which deal with sexual assault, namely, outraging the modesty of a woman, eve teasing and committing rape of a woman, all assume that men cannot be subjected to these crimes.”
The Vishakha guidelines, which aim to prevent sexual harassment at work places, are also just limited to women.
A senior IPS official, seeking anonymity, said that in case of sexual harassment of men by women, police do not consider men as victims because law has no provision for it. “A man is only considered victim if he is sexually harassed or raped by another man,” he added.
Ultimately, women get the advantage of situation and policemen too try to wash their hands off the issue by filing case under sections of prevention of cognizable offence (151 CrPC).
“According to the Indian law, modesty, if at all, exists only in women,” says ex-RPS officer Sangram Singh on the issue of male sexual harassment.
“The only form in which a wrong sexual advancement on a man is recognised as an offence is as sodomy under section 377 of the IPC. Apart from that there is no law to punish a person for molesting a man,” he added.
Singh said police often take support of section 355 of the IPC; no doubt it has not explained sexual assault on men by women but it is related to assault or dishonour of a person. “Therefore, in a case of a woman assaulting a man, we try to cover the offence under this section,” he added.
Meanwhile, Vikas, the victim of sexual abuse, said, “A large number of males do face sexual harassment in work places, both at the hands of men and women. ‘Man on man’ harassment is more common, but ‘woman on man’ harassment also isn’t exactly unheard of,” he pointed out. The collective belief that men can only abuse and that only men can abuse needs to be shunned in light of the rising cases of sexual harassment of male employees, he said.
Experts said there is also the need to address this problem more publicly and accumulate data specific to the male gender. Majority of surveys, studies or discussions fail to address the issue of sexual harassment in males, they add.
Prashant Katiyar (name changed), another victim of sexual harassment, said families usually suppress the male victims in cases of sexual exploitation on the pretext that it would make their son look weak or even ‘turn him’ into gay. “Even my parents did it,” he added.
This story was first published here.