ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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An Affirmative Standard of Consent


Weaponising rape culture against the victim during a trial ruptures the essence of the Constitution, making judiciary a sham. The judgment is chained in stereotypical ideologies putting the survivor on a trial. The question of whether we are regressing to the sexist theory of Aristotle is pertinent. Aristotle’s biological theory centred on the concept of heat. His claim was that only those embryos that had sufficient heat could develop into a fully human form, the rest became female. “A misbegotten man, less than fully formed and literally half baked” were the utterances by Aristotle.

Rape is not just a brutal crime but predominantly an assertion of male power and dominance. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) articulates that the offence of rape is the commission of a penetrative act upon a woman by a man under seven circumstances. The two circumstances befitting are: (i) committing the act against the woman’s will, or (ii) committing the act without her consent. In such a manner, the law treats a woman’s overt behaviour during sexual intercourse as a cold objective standard to substitute for her subjective episodes of violation. The definition of rape is discerned with a cultural narrative which vanquishes the soul of the innocent. Applying these archaic definitions, the defence inordinately sows the seeds of self-doubt on the survivor coercing her to normalise male chauvinism as romance in a sexual act. Tactics such as harrowing cross examinations humiliate and mortify the survivor before a patriarchal judge demeans the dignity of a woman.

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