Shocking Aspect: How Does Pakistani law view male victims of rape?
Rape is NOT a gender-neutral term in Pakistan.
Jami’s case has shaken the media fraternity. With challenging the credibility of a powerful figure, CEO Dawn Hameed Haroon, Jami has also opened new avenues of discussion. However, one very significant aspect of the case is that it exposes the loopholes which exist within our legal system.
While Meesha Shafi’s stand against Ali Zafar showed how that Pakistani law should be more specific with its clauses regarding workplace harassment, Jami’s case initiates discussion on another important facet: how will the law protect him?
Unfortunately, it does not. Rape is NOT a gender-neutral term in Pakistan. The phrasing of section 375 only recognizes women as potential victims. According to the mentioned section, the victim can only be a woman while rapist a man as ‘penile penetration’ is essential for it to be labeled as rape.
Section 377 of PPC:
Section 377 may provide weak support to the male victims of rape, as it penalizes unnatural offenses. However, it is still quite vague for two reasons:
- It articulates that there has to be voluntary carnal intercourse.
- The term ‘unnatural’ only translates to sodomy, without mentioning male rape victims.
Hence, only victims of child sexual abuse are addressed in this section. If a male victim of rape reports under this section, he has to prove that he did not ‘consent’ to it. If he fails to do so, he is liable for punishment for an unnatural offense, along with the rapist.
Hence, now that he finally has spoken against his alleged abuser, Jami still does not have any legal protection. Even when he is already vulnerable because he has decided to come out against a strong and influential media tycoon, even the law provides him no cover. The case is not only about him but also hundred of male victims of rape who continue to suffer silently in Pakistan. More power to him!
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