The word rape is derived from the Latin term rapio, which means to seize. Thus, it literally means a forcible seizure and that is the essential characteristic feature of the offense. In common parlance, it means intercourse with a woman without her consent by force, fear, or fraud.
It is ‘the ravishment of a woman without consent, by force, fear or fraud’, or ‘the carnal knowledge of a woman by force against her will’. Sexual intercourse with the consent of a girl below the age of sixteen years also amounts to rape.
Rape is not only a crime against the person of a woman (victim), it is a crime against the entire society. It destroys the entire psychology of a woman and pushes her into a deep emotional crisis. Rape is, therefore, the most hated crime. It is a crime against basic human rights and is also violates the victim’s most cherished of the Fundamental Rights, namely, the Right to life contained in Article 21 of the Constitution.
Objective of Section 375:
Section 375 of IPC tells about rape and what actions, if done by a man, can make him liable for punishment under Section 376 of IPC. Section 375 was in IPC from the time of the enactment of this statute but its ambit has been enlarged after the Criminal Law Amendment of 2013. Earlier the penetration of the penis into the vagina, urethra, anus, or mouth of a woman was considered rape.
But now even if the man inserts any object or any other part of the body into the vagina, urethra, anus, or mouth of a woman, it is considered rape.
The objective of Section 375 of IPC can be understood by the words of Justice Krishna Iyer in the case of Rafiq v. the State of UP where he said that the murderer kills the body of a victim but the rapist kills the soul. So, rape can be considered a more serious offense against humankind than murder. Section 375 plays a very important role in bringing to justice the women who are robbed of their souls by those perpetrators.
Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defines rape as “sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation, or 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 18 years of age.”
Consent under Section 375
Consent is defined as clear, voluntary communication that the woman gives for a certain sexual act. Marital rape is an exception to giving consent as it is not a crime under the Indian Penal Code, as long as the woman is above 18 years of age.
Ingredients of the Offence of Rape
The following are the essential ingredients of the offense of rape
- There must be sexual intercourse with a woman by a man;
- Such sexual intercourse should be under any of the following circumstances:
- Against her will
- Without her consent,
- With consent obtained under fear of death or hurt,
- With consent given under misconception of the fact that the man is her husband but the man knows that he is not her husband,
- Consent given because of unsoundness of mind, intoxication, or under influence of any stupefying or unwholesome substance,
- With a woman under 16 years of age with or without consent.
Exceptions to Section 375
There are two exceptions provided under the section. They are:
- Exception 1: When there is medical treatment or intervention it shall not constitute rape.
- Exception 2: When there is sexual intercourse or any sexual act by a husband with his own wife who is above 15 years of age is not considered to be rape.
Amendment to Section 375 of IPC
A man is said to commit rape if he penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra, or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any another person; or
inserts, to any extent, any object or apart of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra, or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or
manipulates any part of the body of a woman to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus, or any ~ of the body of such woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or
applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, the urethra of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person, under the circumstances falling under any of the following seven descriptions:
- Against her will.
- Without her consent
- With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested, in fear of death or hurt
- With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.
- With her consent when at the time of giving such consent, because of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome Substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.
- With or without her consent, when she is under eighteen years of age.
- When she is unable to communicate consent.
Except in certain aggravated situations, the punishment will be imprisonment of not less than seven years but it may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. In aggravated situations, punishment will be rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 10 years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also, be liable to fine.
There is so many cases of rape that are not even reported to the police. Although many guidelines are made, the punishments are made stricter but still, there is a rise in the number of cases. The reason is that women are not well aware of their rights and also those who are victims hesitate to come forward and report such incidents.
Society needs to understand that the victims are nowhere at fault so they don’t deserve to be ostracized by society rather people should support the victims to start a new life. When the thinking of the people about the rape incidents will change then only the various laws which are made can be implemented properly.