Today we are going to talk about incestuous rape, what it is all about? Many of us don’t know what does incest exactly mean. The word incest means ‘sexual intercourse between closely related persons’. Now you might think we are taught to stay away from strangers, to protect ourselves and our modesty so now we have to stay away from our family members too? We have been taught as a child to report to our mom and dad first, if anything inappropriate happens with us, so if incestuous rape happens so whom to report, strangers? IRONY, isn’t it? By now you have got an idea about what is basically meant by incestuous rape now we shall see what the origin of it was and how is it developed since centuries.
The first time mention of incestuous relationship was in Bible genesis 19,The story is about Lot and his daughters. Lot was a notorious abuser and used to sexually abuse his daughters in Sodom. There is still no clarity of this incident as he was nephew of patriarch and he was going to be progenitor of the nation, so noble name and the family’s honour must be preserved. So naturally the blame is shifted towards women. Seduction under bible is the women’s nature and even Eve was blamed for seducing Adam to commit the original sin. Patriarchal societies were successful to diverting responsibility and hushing about incest and till now a women is to be blamed for every heinous crime occurring.
We already got to know about the basic history behind it. Hindi word Balaatkar whose root word is “Bal” which means strength, since ancient times women have been considered as a man’s possession. Women are been given equal status, they can assault women; they can treat them as per their liking. There is a similar phrase in Hindi/Urdu “IZZAT LOOTNA” that means stealing honour, whose honour are people stealing? Not women’s? But the property of father, brother, husband or son.
What makes the rapist think that females are inviting him? Length of clothes? Bold attitude? Or way of talking? A child of 3 month old getting raped to a 90 year old grandma who is Covid-19 patient getting raped. What was that baby wearing? Did anyone asked? Or what was grandma wearing so that people would later say she was seducing? No clothes and other factors leads to as heinous crime as rape to happen. A porn addict 22 year old boy raped his own biological mother, same mother who gave you birth bearing so much pain. A 60 year old father raping his daughters for 9 years, same father who we consider as our first hero. A 5 months baby getting raped by her cousin brother, oh brother did you forget your raksha bandhan vows?
Surprisingly, under IPC sec 376 i.e. rape there is nowhere mentioned about incest and also there is only mention of intercourse and no other sexual abuses and also it is not gender neutral. IPC does not recognise child sexual abuse in which most of the time the accused is known to the victim. Also there is no legislative provision that recognises incest as a crime.
Incest is been a small part of bail-able offence which is covered under IPC sec.354 ‘outraging the modesty of women’ which is not been treated as a serious crime. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 also fails to include sexual abuse by incest.
RAHI, a Delhi NGO, its report titled “Voices from the Silent Zone” has thrown a light upon how there are three quarters of women have been affected with has revealed that more than incestuous activities. The offenders most of the times are the uncle, brother, father or any person whom she has trustful relationship. The founder of the firm also mentions that “lacuna in the law regarding these tabooed abuses is a reflection of the society which is immature to own up to it, and this also sends a message that it is not serious an offence to commit”.
No incest isn’t a western concept, in our very sanskaari Indian household as we are been told that it happens only with families having low income. Only difference rape and incest has is we rile about rape because it happens outside the family and we are silent about incest because it happens within the family after all “Ghar ki baat ghar mai hi toh rehni chahiye” which means ‘what’s happening inside the family no one should know’
Instead of supporting we hush them so that society wouldn’t question and family reputation with remain untainted. Because we treat incest as ‘accident’ and not a serious crime. According to NCRB report on crime in India 2009, there was an increase of 30.7 %. According to another NCRB report, a total of 34,094 cases were registered in 2015 alone. And it’s still increasing. It has been said that 94 out of 100 rapes the victim knows the offender. It is quite conspicuous that incestuous rape is most atrocious violation and breach of faith. It is an act which undermines the capabilities of victims to bring life back in order.
In Ambaram v State of Madhya Pradesh (2000), 2009 CRILJ 1059l
In this case the relevant point of judgement was ”The hallmark of relationship between father and daughter is worldwide known and it is beyond expectation of any daughter that adultery in this sweet relation finds any place. If the protector himself becomes violator, the degree of vulnerability becomes greater and, according to us, leniency in passing the sentence finds no place in such a case. Ordinarily, the adequate sentence for the offence under Section 376 (1), IPC is between 7 to 10 years, but, looking to the act of the appellant who is father of prosecutrix and since in order to satisfy his lust and lascivious activity, he committed rape over his own daughter who was helpless and was residing alone with him, we are of the view that learned trial Court did not commit any error in sentencing him to suffer life imprisonment for the offence under Section 376 (1), IPC.”
In Sadhu Ram v The State (2013) 2013 VIAD (DEL) 439
Delhi court gave life term imprisonment to Sant Ram for committing a barbaric and ghastly act of rape of his 14 year old daughter and fathering her child and his sentence not to be remitted till he served 20 years as his offense was rarest of the rare
In Ram dhawan v The State
He is father who committed rape against his own daughter and was given imprisonment of lifetime with fine of Rs. 5000/-.
In some cases this problem was been thoughtfully discussed constructive as well as significant guidelines were also given but till date there is no suitable legislation passed. Legislative intend that the life imprisonment should be given only in the extreme rape cases and in case of less severity there should be reduction in imprisonment. The observation of Justice Pandian in case of Madan Gopal Kakkad v. Naval Dubey where it is ben observed that the judges who bear sword of justice should not hesitate to use that sword with utmost severity to the full and to the end if gravity of offences so demand.
SOME RECENT CASE ARTICLE:
A 22 year old porn addict son raped his 46 year old own biological mother in Gujrat patan in 2018. see
A 10 year old disabled girl was raped by her own brother and his friends just because he found her to be burden of the family, May 17 2020 see
A 15 year old girl was raped by her father and grandfather which led to pregnancy this incident happened in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. see
A 21 year old labourer from Bihar was given life imprisonment for raping and killing his 6 year old daughter. see
CONSEQUENCES OF INCESTUOUS RAPE
Here we will talk about what problems does the victim face and what mind-set does the perpetrator has.
When you try to open up about such issues to our family, you are being called as homewrecker. You start doubting our own memories thinking that maybe it’s your fault or its just hyperactive imagination or maybe after all it’s just an accidental aberration. Even after several years you find no closure to incident, we have to live with for the whole life. This affects the psyche.
Other sickening consequences of incestuous rape are honour killing, prostitution, delinquency and distrust.
Rape is not an 'act of lust' perpetrated by men who cannot control unquenchable sex drives. Men's motives for rape springs when they will an urge to dominate the women or commit violence against her to show how they are socially powerful than women. Rapist does not look like how they are been shown in the movies or in television series, but are normal looking people just like others roaming freely in the society. Masculinity needs to be understood in terms of its social determinations. It is a need to understand that men rape not because they are men .All men since centuries have seen economic, political as well as social oppression and also have inflicted violence against their women. Therefore, Rape should never be considered as innate quality or natural construction.
If a father sees his daughter with lustful eyes and tries to have sexual intercourse with her then she will definitely take time to overcome this trauma. There is rare justice for such victims because they are staying in predominantly patriarchal society in India. Many victims are underage who are dependant and helpless and some of them don’t even complain due to fear, social stigma, embarrassment or to protect their family name.
Most of victims suffer from depression, hysterical seizures, shock; many of them commit suicide thinking of the humiliation. Girls who get pregnant due to this are often killed by the doer or by the mother to avoid being disgrace to the society.
Several questions arises in our mind such as are we going to sacrifice our children just for the sake of status quo? Are we still going to stay mum about incestuous rapes? And still going to say that it might be your imagination, he won’t do it to you? How many more cases would it take to understand it is not a western concept and happens in our household? And when are we going to raise our voices?
It is the most atrocious of all the sexual offences. We need to understand the difference between rape, incest and incestuous rape and need to give punishment according to the gravity of the offence.
A small survey was conducted by me online with the help of questionnaire (10 people answered) Link below
have you ever heard about it before and when?
Response: 8/10 said that they have heard in news and other 2 were aquianted to the topic by social media
Is it a henious act?
Response: 10/10 people said that it’s henious
did that happen with you or your acquaintances?
Response: 6/10 have selected the other option and 2/10 said it happened with relatives and other 2 said it happened with their friends
can you share an incident which you have recently experienced or heard about it?
Response: Many have cited the cases and the most popular one was hathras.
what age group do you think is victim of it?
Response: amongst the 4 different age group given all of them think that age of 10-20 are more prone towards these crimes
What change should we bring in order to stop this crime?
Response: laws should be made, capital punishment should be increased, more campaigns and educational reforms should be held.
Any specific punishments or changes we should bring in the current law system and should the capital punishment degree vary?
Response: speedier justice and changes in judicial system were among the suggested response.
Have you ever felt unsafe at home?
Response: 9/10 have answered with No and 1 have answered yes.
To conclude, I would like throw light upon the issues covered such as how it leads to trauma and how no statutory has any legislation or provisions for incestuous rape and how it the most underrated crime reported in India. We saw some cases where there was justice given and some constructive guidelines were also given. And there is need for amending IPC, juvenile justice act, Immoral traffic prevention act etc. NGOs, bar council and other institutions should organise campaigns to bring awareness and sensitise the topic.
By Prachiti Shinde
COLLEGE OF LAW