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Looking at sexual crime through the lens of gender leads to a flawed understanding of the dynamics of crime itself; gender neutrality is the answer.
Gender Neutrality is the idea that policies, language, and other social institutions which characterize social structures, gender roles, or gender identity, should avoid distinguishing roles according to people’s sex or gender.
This is believed to help in avoiding discrimination based on gendered conceptions of every phenomenon. In view of this definition, it seeks to enforce the idea that:
This means that a man is not always the perpetrator of the crime and the woman is not aways the victim. Men, women, transgenders or any other persons identifying with a particular gender identity (or not) may fall in the ambit of ‘perpetrator’ or ‘victim’
Understanding sexual crimes in light of specific genders and biological sex further perpetuates gender roles. This results in a flawed understanding of the role of gender in society, and reinforcement of stereotypical ideas such as
Statistics of sexual crimes almost always point abysmally towards women as victims, as against men or other genders. But that does not mean that this can justify one crime against another.
No matter what the statistics say, it is a rather flawed way of understanding sexual crimes and violence.
We fight the regressive mentalities that exist in our society and insist that women are “not the property of their husbands or fathers.” We express outrage against incidents of sexual crimes and violence against females.
But we also, more often than not, never fail to laugh at the ‘funny scenes’ in movies that show men at the receiving end of sexual crimes, like in the recent Badrinath ki Dulhania. We also fail to express outrage against incidents of sexual crimes and violence perpetrated against men, transgenders, and other gender identities.
It becomes extremely important to understand sexual crimes and violence from a psycho-social lens and not in terms of gender or sex.
On the one hand, in ongoing momentous moves such as those of decriminalising homosexuality and repealing the old adultery law (as being a regressive penal provision), the Supreme Court is definitely pro-active in recognising gender neutrality and its benefits for forging progressive mindsets.
Yet, when in July 2019, KTS Tulsi introduced a bill in the parliament which sought to make sexual crimes gender neutral, it was heavily opposed by the central government on the ground that the statistics are heavily inclined towards justifying women-specific laws, and insisted that women are the ‘victims’.
The tightroped stand of the government against gender neutrality seems to be antithetical to the pro-activeness of the Supreme court of India.
Both these – the judiciary and the legislature – are the pillars of democracy. Even though they are independent of each other in their functioning, some fluidity between them may serve to effect a transitional shift in recognising the root cause of sexual violence and crime.
The need of the hour seems to be to work towards having a better understanding regarding complexities of gender, and to recognise the repercussions of having gender specific laws which further perpetuate the idea of solidified gender roles.
Indeed, ignorance of how the laws impact people’s lives leads to consequences that promote an already regressive mindset.
Image source: shutterstock
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Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Consultant I Legal Journalist I Curious Cat read more...
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As parents, we put a piece of our hearts out into this world and into the custody of the teachers at school and tuition and can only hope and pray that they treat them well.
Trigger Warning: This speaks of physical and emotional violence by teachers, caste based abuse, and contains some graphic details, and may be triggering for survivors.
When I was in Grade 10, I flunked my first preliminary examination in Mathematics. My mother was in a panic. An aunt recommended the Maths classes conducted by the Maths sir she knew personally. It was a much sought-after class, one of those classes that you signed up for when you were in the ninth grade itself back then, all those decades ago. My aunt kindly requested him to take me on in the middle of the term, despite my marks in the subject, and he did so as a favour.
Math had always been a nightmare. In retrospect, I wonder why I was always so terrified of math. I’ve concluded it is because I am a head in the cloud person and the rigor of the step by step process in math made me lose track of what needed to be done before I was halfway through. In today’s world, I would have most probably been diagnosed as attention deficit. Back then we had no such definitions, no such categorisations. Back then we were just bright sparks or dim.
Pathaan touted as SRK’s comeback has been in the news for mixed reasons. Right from the hype around SRK’s comeback and special mentions his body contours; yet I can't watch it!
The movie touted as SRK’s comeback has been in the news for mixed reasons. Right from the hype around the movie being SRK’s comeback and special mentions his body contours and even more than the female lead!
For me, it’s not about Deepika’s bikini colour or was-it-needed skin show. It’s about meaningful content that I find is missing big time. Not just this movie, but a spate of cringe-worthy narratives passed off as ‘movies’ in the recent past. I feel insulted, and not because I am a devoutly religious person or a hardcore feminist, but because I feel the content insults my intelligence.
But before everything else, I am a 90s kid who in the case of movies (and maybe more) is stuck in time as it wrapped around me then and the gamut has too hard an exterior for me to crack it open!
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