There are different definitions of Rape, from depending on the circumstances to the characteristics of the victim and perpetrator.
Similarly, there is a term, “Digital Rape” that people often misinterpretable and wonder how someone can rape digitally.
Not knowing the real term, they often consider it as digital abuse. Sometimes it is confused with defacing someone’s identity on the digital platform. People think sharing naked pictures or video’s on a digital platform without the consent of the owner is called Digital Rape.
Digital Rape actual meaning
Digital Rape is a term used to classify cases of rape. In the case of digital rape, the perpetrator used his finger or fingers to violate and force the sexual act upon the victim. In simple terms, a person is accused of Digital rape when the perpetrator used his/her finger or fingers to penetrate the vagina of the victim without her consent.
Rape is a very odious crime. And this term was coined in order to protect young women from the imposition of simple words. Though before 2013, our Supreme court didn’t have any law that provided justice to the victims of Digital rape. This was because there was no term such as digital rape before 2013.
Two cases that clear the concept of digital rape
In order to understand the sensitivity of this subject, there two cases that clears out the real meaning of the term ‘digital rape’.
2 year old digitally raped in Mumbai
In Mumbai, a 2-year-old girl was brought bleeding to the hospital. On examination, doctors found that her vagina was raptured, though there weren’t any sign of sexual assault or rape. Though, it was later found that her father was penetrating the little girl with his fingers. He was arrested but he was not punished or charged under Section 376 of the IPC which deals with rape crimes.
60 year old digitally raped in Delhi
In another incident which was occurred in Delhi, a 60 years old woman was sexually assaulted by an autorickshaw driver, who used an iron rod to penetrate the 60 years old passenger who was visiting her relative’s wedding. Again, the driver was arrested but wasn’t convicted under Section 376 of the IPC.
The loopholes in Section 376 of the IPC
This pointed out the various loopholes in Section 376 of the IPC which deals with rape crimes, as the crimes committed under digital rape – which basically involved violation of a female’s dignity using fingers, foreign objects or any other part of the human body, were not considered as a crime under any section.
But knowing that there are other ways that a man can use to violate a woman or child’s dignity. Supreme Court had to make some changes to their definition of rape. keeping all the above cases and heinous instances of crime, the definition of rape were extended in 2013.
According to this new definition, rape is considered as an act of forcefully penetrating a woman’s vagina, mouth, anus or urethra by a penis, any foreign object or any other part of the body.
Reports claim 70% of times offender is someone you knew
In many reports, it has been made clear that 70% of the time, the person who offended the modesty of a woman or violated the dignity of a child, are someone who they knew personally. Usually, these crimes are committed by the people who are close to the victim. Cousin, close friend, uncle (other relatives), neighbours and in some cases their own father came out to be accused.
29% of the time the offender was someone whom the victim knew through their social circle. Someone they knew through their friends or work circle. Or someone they are meeting for the first time through a date. You must feel strange knowing that only 1% of cases registered in which the offender was a stranger.
Just because they are not violating her body with their penis, criminals try to digitally rape women and children. Government finds it hard to treat these cases under the rapist law of India. Though, the new changes were made soon. It guaranteed to offer proper protection to females against these barbaric acts of criminals.
Cases of digital rape were criminal was punished
After the modification of the definition of rape, law authorities have started incorporating strict punishments who commit digital rape.
Conductor sentenced to 20 years in prison for digitally raping four-year-old girl onboard school bus
On December 12, 2018, Times now news published a report that explained a digital rape case. Here, a school going girl was digitally raped by the conductor.
The report said, “In their complaint to the police, the girl’s parents alleged that the conductor sat next to the child on the school bus. He sexually assaulted her as the bus approached her residence in the city’s Sector 56 area. The matter came to light when the minor complained to her parents about pain in her thighs. This prompted her mother to consult a doctor.”
Once the doctor suggested that she might have been sexually abused, the girl told her parents all about her ordeal and an official police complaint was lodged at the Sector 56 police station.”
The conductor was sentenced to 20 years of jail along with a fine of Rs. 50,000.
University student sentenced to three years, seven months and three weeks’ jail with a non-parole period of one year, for digitally raping an intoxicated friend
These cases are not just bound to India. Every day, there is a piece of new news related to the case of Digital rape. A university student was held for digitally raping a friend who was apparently intoxicated and wasn’t in a state to protest.
“Uni student jailed for digitally raping friend. This was done to show that women will get the full protection of the law regardless of intoxication.” The judge, however, did not take the intoxicated state of the women as something that proved she was equally responsible in the crime. Instead, the culprit was jailed to show that women will have complete protection against criminals. No matter what state they are.
Stanford student jailed for six months
This case was published on June 6, 2016. The Guardian published a report on, “Stanford sexual assault case that included victim’s complete statement on how it felt to be raped.” This specific case had the statement of the victim in detail. The statement defined how horrific and heinous digital rape can be. It all comes down to the point that the dignity of a female can be violated even without being raped. And how digital rape can have the same effect as rape.
This news created headlines for many weeks. As many believed that the six-month jail wasn’t justified. And that the culprit should have been sentenced to a longer term. The case is closed but the criminal, who was remanded right after his sentencing, is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Apart from the accounts that are mentioned above, the internet is filled with the number of other digital rape cases. Luckily, most of the cases now do justice with the victim. And the offender has to spend a minimum of 5 years in jail. In some cases, the offender has to serve a lifetime prison sentence of 10 years which can be extended later as well.
Thankfully, the term digital rape has joined the definition of rape and now there are strict laws for criminals who think that digital rape is not raping at all.