What is Digital Rape?
Many people assume that the term ‘digital rape’ is related to defacing someone’s identity on a digital platform, or related to any sexual offence committed digitally, but the term means something else. Digital rape’ does not relate to any sexual offence committed digitally, like defacing someone’s identity on the internet or misusing any digital platform.
While the term evokes ideas of the newly developing met averse, it actually refers to the physical act of using fingers of a hand or foot, i.e. ‘digits’, for sexual assault of a woman. Easy to understand, a person is accused of raping Digital when a person uses his or her finger to enter the victim’s vagina without their consent.. The term literally means forcibly inserting fingers or toes inside the other person’s private parts without consent. In the English dictionary, the finger, thumb and toe are addressed as ‘digit’ and hence the act has been named as ‘digital rape. Digital is used as the synonym for finger thumb or toes.
Before Nirbhaya gang rape (Dec. 2012), digital rape did not fall under the ambit of rape. After the horrific Nirbhaya gang rape, the classification of a sexual offence of digital rape was added to the IPC under the Criminal Law amendment 2013 ( Nirbhaya Act )punishment for digital rape. digital rape’ was considered molestation until 2013.
As per the rape law, a person can be sentenced to five years in jail if found guilty of digital rape. In some cases, the imprisonment could go up to 10 years or even a life term.
Recently, The internet was abuzz with the news about an 80-year-old man committing digital rape on a 17-year-old girl the past seven years in Noida. The 80-year man identified as Maurice Ryder is an artist cum teacher has also been accused of being involved in various indecent acts with the victim. The Noida Police have registered a case under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sec.376 deals with rape, sec. 323 for causing hurt voluntarily and 506 for criminal intimidation.
With the amendment, digital rape was included under the definition of rape in the Indian Penal Code. Before 2013’s amendment, rape means the act of ‘coitus’, that is, the sexual act of penetration of the penis of a man into the vagina of a woman. It now includes “insertion to any extent” of any object or part of the body into the mouth, urethra, vagina or anus of a woman.
Laws Related Rape In India
As per Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, a man is said to commit “rape” if he:
(a) penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or
(b) inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or
(c) manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of the body of such woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or
(d) applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, or urethra of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person, under the circumstances falling under any of the following seven descriptions:
- Against her will.
- Without her consent.
- With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.
- With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.
- With her consent when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.
- With or without her consent, when she is under eighteen years of age.
- When she is unable to communicate consent.
When the victim is a minor, it falls under the POCSO Act where A definition of “penetrative sexual assault” similar to the one in Section 375 of the IPC has been included under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offence) Act. Section 3 of POCSO defines “penetrative sexual assault”.