If someone forcefully removes my clothes is it rape?

No, it is not rape. If a man assaults a woman in order to remove her clothes or to force her to be naked, he can be punished for the crime of disrobing1. The punishment for attempting to disrobe, or actually disrobing a woman, is imprisonment from three to seven years, along with a fine1.

  1. Section 354B, Indian Penal Code, 1860.[][]

Medico-Legal Guide for Survivors of Sexual Assault

How can the guide help you?

The Nyaaya Guide on Medico Legal Examination for Sexual Assault helps survivors by providing a summary of the process along with some things to be kept in mind if a person is sexually assaulted. The guide helps in understanding the procedure of the forensic medical exams that survivors go through to preserve possible evidence, including DNA, and to get important medical attention. It gives an overview of the survivor’s rights and dispels various myths. While dealing with sexual assault, health workers play a dual role – one, providing medical treatment and psychological support and two, collecting evidence and ensuring good quality documentation of evidence. In 2014, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare put out guidelines and protocols for medico-legal care for survivors of sexual violence.

What are the laws being discussed in the guide?

The guide discusses the legal aspects of the medico legal guidelines by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2014. The guidelines are based on various requirements outlined in the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, the Indian Penal Code,1860 the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), 2012 and the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973.

To read more information on the medical process, download the guide at the link above.

 

Rights of a Survivor and Duties of their Caregivers

 

Resources

Contact Information 

Women’s Helpline – 1091 

Women’s helpline gives 24/7 immediate and emergency response to women affected by the violence, both in private and public spaces. They give assistance to file complaints. They can guide the survivor towards a hospital for a medical examination etc.

Police – 100

Police will arrive in case of an emergency.

Sources of Information

Guidelines 

  1. Towards victim friendly responses and procedures – Partners for Law and Development, Department of Justice (Ministry of Law and Justice) and United Nations Development Program accessed at <https://doj.gov.in/sites/default/files/PLD%20report.pdf>
  2. National Commission of Women – Rape accessed at <http://ncw.nic.in/sites/default/files/Chapter02.pdf>
  3. Guidelines and Protocols, Medico-Legal Care for survivors/victims of Sexual Violence, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (2014) accessed at <http://www.mati.gov.in/docs/GG%20cell%20materials/womens%20rights/Guidelines%20and%20Protocols_MOHFW%20(1).pdf>

Legislation

  1. The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013
  2. Section 357C of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
  3. Section 166B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
  4. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), 2012

Sample Forms

  1. Form to be filled by medical personnel conducting an examination: http://www.mati.gov.in/docs/GG%20cell%20materials/womens%20rights/Guidelines%20and%20Protocols_MOHFW%20(1).pdf

 

What is Rape?

[Trigger Warning: The following content contains information on physical violence and sexual violence which some readers may find disturbing.]

Rape is the crime that occurs when a man has sexual intercourse with a woman against her will or without her consent.

A man commits rape on an non-consenting woman if he:1

  • penetrates his penis or inserts any other part of his body (to any extent) into the woman’s vagina, mouth, urethra, or anus, or forces her to do this with him or another person; or
  • inserts any object into the woman’s vagina, mouth, urethra, or anus, or forces her to do this with him or another person; or
  • applies his mouth to the woman’s vagina, anus or urethra, or makes her do this with him or any other person.

A medical procedure or intervention is not considered as rape. For example, if a doctor examines the private parts of a patient as part of medical procedure, this is not rape.

  1. Section 375, Indian Penal Code, 1860.[]

What is Consent?

Consent is voluntary, clear and unmistakable agreement by a person who expresses their willingness to take part in a specific sexual act. A woman should understand what she is agreeing to and what the consequences will be if she agrees to the sexual activity . Even if she doesn’t physically resist the act of penetration, this does not automatically mean that she has consented to the sexual activity.1

Under the following circumstances, a man is said to commit rape even if the woman has given her consent:

  • If her consent has been forcibly obtained by threatening to hurt her or making her fear for her life or the lives of her dear ones.
  • If the man knows that he is not a woman’s husband, and that she has given her consent only because she thinks that the man is her husband.
  • If the woman is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the act to which she gives consent, due to unsoundness of mind or intoxication or because the man has given her an unwholesome substance.
  • If the woman is under eighteen years of age.

  1. Explanation 2, Section 375, Indian Penal Code, 1860.[]