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  • Mehak Maryam

“Men too, can become victim of sexual assault”, says Kerala HC

Mehak Maryam,

University of Kashmir

Men too, can become victim of sexual assault

The Kerala High Court highlighted the often-overlooked fact that males can also become victims of sexual assault in a landmark decision. The frequency of boys being victims of these types of crimes was made clear by the court, especially in situations where the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act applied.

The court emphasised the critical necessity for society to acknowledge and address boys’ vulnerability to sexual assault by citing other incidents. The court's observations refute the widespread belief that only girls suffer from such horrible crimes, highlighting the fact that boys are just as vulnerable to them.

Enacted in 2012, the POCSO Act is primarily concerned with protecting minors from sexual offences. But the court also called attention to an alarming pattern in which cases involving male victims are frequently ignored or minimised. In addition to depriving victims of justice, this omission feeds negative perceptions and stigma about male sexual assault victims. The Kerala High Court acknowledged this important issue and called on lawmakers, law enforcement, and society at large to identify and address the unique requirements and difficulties that male victims of sexual assault experience. Regardless of gender, the court emphasised the significance of creating a welcoming and helpful atmosphere for all survivors. Boys can also be victims of sexual assault; it is not just a problem for girls. Though uncommon, it is conceivable. I’m aware that it is taking place. But in general, we tend to be womento women. 99 percent of sexual assault victims are usually women for whatever reason, the court noted orally as it heard a doctor’s petition challenging a Kerala policy that limits who is called to evaluate victims of sexual assault to gynaecologists, preferably female practitioners. The court said that the practice is set to help victims, who are mostly women or girls. “Sexual assault is not confined to girls, it happens to boys also. It is rare, but it is possible”,

The decision also highlighted how important it is to provide specialised therapies and support systems to help male survivors deal with their trauma and pursue justice. The court hopes to end the stigma and silence surrounding male sexual assault victims by promoting an inclusive approach, which will ultimately lead to a safer and more just society for all. The Kerala High Court’s ruling is a powerful reminder of how crucial it is to recognise and take into account the variety of experiences that survivors of sexual assault may have. It demands a concentrated effort to destroy preconceptions, question social conventions, and guarantee that all victims—regardless of gender—get the assistance and justice they are due

The petition revealed a serious flaw in the current process for evaluating victims of sexual assault—namely, the exclusion of male victims. The comments made by Justice Devan Ramachandran provided insight into how sexual assault cases are evolving, especially those involving kids and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The court’s observation that there are more cases involving male victims highlights the need for a more inclusive approach that acknowledges the vulnerability of all victims, regardless of gender, and asks for a revaluation of current procedures.

Beyond the courtroom, Justice Ramachandran made statements urging medical professionals and the general public to see supporting victims of sexual assault as a civic responsibility. This viewpoint advocates for a change in cultural attitudes and processes that currently ignore male victims of sexual assault and promotes a shared responsibility for addressing and preventing these crimes. The High Court’s readiness to resolve any issues with the current procedure shows that it is committed to providing support and justice for all victims of sexual assault.

The observations made by the Kerala High Court are a big step in the right direction towards recognising and resolving the vulnerabilities that male sexual assault victims experience. Through questioning accepted norms and popular belief systems, the court has sparked a conversation about the need for more inclusive procedures that take into account the experiences of all victims. It remains to be seen how these conversations will affect protocol modifications and contribute to a more fair approach to aiding victims of sexual assault, since the subject is scheduled for a further hearing on March 5.

 

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