Under Section 375 of IPC, Rape is defined as “Sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped, or is of unsound mental health and in any case she is less than 18 years of age.” It is important to note down in this regard that in the definition of rape, woman word is mentioned which can be inferred as that the act will only amount to rape when it will be committed against the women. It does not recognize the rape committed against the men as well as against the transgender. That is why there is no explicit law in IPC for them and that further makes the situation worse and vulnerable.
Prison is a institution in the society which is known to be a reformative institution where people are placed because they did not abide by the laws of the society and caused disruption and distress in that. And since it is the part of the society, crimes exist here also. To be more specific, rape culture and sexual violence do exist in the institution of prison.
Touching the private parts of the inmates in order to have a sexual intercourse with them is a common and rigorous practice which is seen in the prison whether it be willfully or forcefully. It doesn’t matter that how the act is happening. It is immaterial. According to the research, the new inmates which come to the prison are more vulnerable because they are not aware of the prison culture where everything be it the laws, policies, staffs, rules and regulations are stringent because of the reason that it is made to make a non law abiding citizen into a law abiding citizen. It is often seen that because of all these things the inmates already residing in the prison for a long time, become so strong and powerful that they commit acts against new inmates and the new ones are unable to do anything. They can’t even complain to the authorities and staffs because they are not sympathetic towards them. All they see is that they are criminals and since they have caused so much sufferings to the victim they are getting in return and for that matter, it’s their karma and punishment forgetting the fact that they are sent here for transformation and not for the sole purpose of punishment. That is why, they do not pay any heed towards the sexual assaults and violence happening in the prison.
Adding to this, it is basically done for the favors. In a layman’s language, men believe that they are homosexuals. They need to fulfill their sexual desires. If a woman is there for that fulfillment, it is good but if they are not present there then it can be fulfilled against men also. Fulfillment matters. For this very reason, it is done. In the case of willful consent, it is not a free consent. It’s the consent merely given because the weaker is not able to resist more or will be benefitted if he complies with hiS stronger counterpart. He will get benefits like luxury and in some case essentials also which in the normal circumstances, he wouldn’t get. And in the case of force, there is nothing to say about. It is done forcefully.
Lastly, I want to conclude with the opinion that it is not that only women are vulnerable for the crime of rape. Men and LGBTQ+ community are also facing that and in the prison rape culture is now a common practice. For that matter, authorities should take this in account and make laws for that purpose because after all, JUSTICE IS FOR ALL AND ALL SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO JUSTICE. It should not be forgotten that prisons are reformative institutions and not a punishment institution.