Does The New Criminal Code (BNS) Protect Men And Trans Persons From Sexual Violence?

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07/07/2024

Institutional understanding of sexual violence is often informed by patriarchy and misogyny. Courts, police and lawmakers are all prone to this bias. The institutionalisation of such patriarchal notions about sexual violence and victimhood not only greatly harms women who face sexual violence, but renders invisible other victims. Sexual violence, undoubtedly, disproportionately affects women. An overwhelming majority of the survivors are women and most of this violence is perpetrated by men. Sexual violence committed against women is, unquestioningly a form of gender-based violence influenced by gender dynamics and power differentials that disfavour women. However, while women are predominantly affected, people of all genders can experience sexual violence. It is thus essential for institutions and policy-makers to create legal provisions for survivors, regardless of gender. While some – albeit limited and imperfect – legal protections existed in India for male and transgender survivors, with the BNS replacing the IPC, these legal protections have also been taken away.

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