Engendering rape laws and achieving substantive equality : analysing international human rights standards and Indian legislation for equal protection against rape
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India, the largest democracy in the world, has gender specific rape laws that provide legal protection to women only. This is because the Indian Penal Code presumes a rape victim as female and their offender as male. There is no effective legislation that recognises and provides legal protection to the rape victims who are not women. This thesis examines the international human rights standards for equal protection against rape, in law and in practice. It further assesses the extent to which India complies with these obligations. In the beginning it argues the need for equal protection against rape - discussing various viewpoints about male rape victims and gender based violence. Later, it discusses the international human rights law with a focus on CEDAW, CRC and ICCPR - and enquires if there are specific standards for equal protection against rape universally and in Indian context. Lastly, it contributes to an understanding of the gender specific rape laws in India and the loopholes in providing equal protection to all rape victims. The article points out the limitations of international human rights law in ensuring gender inclusiveness and the Indian legislation in providing legal protection to all rape victims.