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Men as Victims: The Flip Side of Gender Laws

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When we talk about gender and gender rights, particularly in the Indian context, we talk about women. We talk how women have always been oppressed, and how everything has been so unfair to them. Taken. It IS true that women have been oppressed since the prehistoric times and up till today, and they are not given the rights and opportunities that they very much deserve. That said, the next logical step has been to bring about laws and legislations to curb the atrocities, oppression against women. India’s dowry law and domestic violence law are classical examples of this.

Now I may seem a misfit to say this, as against what is the general idea of our society, but men can also be victims. And we don’t have any laws to protect them. In fact, what is more astounding is the fact that our laws (some mentioned above, and many more) themselves victimise men. This is done purposefully by some women. Laws are being used as tools for personal rivalry, revenge and sometimes, extortion.

The worst part is that such men are nowhere in the conversation. A victimised man is considered a myth, and men become the biggest victims of ‘masculinity’!

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We have had a considerable number of cases in the past, where victims were men. Remember the infamous case of the braveheart ‘Rohtak Girls’ who thrashed some boys in a bus? And the facts that emerged later on? A classic example that women can be wrongdoers as well. Then there was a recent case, wherein two women tried to rape an auto driver, who could escape only by jumping out of the balcony. There was yet another case, in which a woman accused her husband of dowry and domestic violence, leaving him behind the bars only to elope with her lover. The list can be endless, only if we would like to list these cases down.

Digest this: a man (a husband or otherwise), can be arrested at the mere accusation of a woman, without any proof or investigation. And it’s non-bailable. What’s the guarantee that the accusation can not be false? Who is answerable, when the same man is proved to be innocent in the court. Is there a way to justify the public and personal humiliation, that too in serious crimes like dowry, rape and abuse, that the ‘innocent’ man faces?

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It’s not even just the laws which are unfair. The whole administrative setup, and the society in general is to be blamed. When a grieving woman reaches a police post, and claims to be the victim, an unprecedented wave of sympathy goes down the police personnel, and even the modalities of the law, which do exist are done away with. This is what happens in most of the cases. The accused is declared the guilty, at least by the society, much before the trial. And this is horrific.

Of course, I don’t have anything against the women. We want equality, we want to empower women, we need to lift them up in a society which has oppressed them for centuries. But we can empower women without bringing men down, or victimising them. Can’t we? After all, a hundred years from now, we won’t like a society with powerful women, where men are the victims! The crux of the debate is that our laws should be more gender neutral. They should talk about the rights of the ‘individual’, and not those of ‘men’ or ‘women’.

-Vaibhav Jain

Edited by Mrinaal Datt

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