False complaints can harm case of genuine victims

Published: Oct 08, 2019, 05:20 IST | The Editorial

This still stands even though the top cop of Navi Mumbai has stressed that this was no gang-rape but self-inflicted by the man

This picture has been used for representational purpose
This picture has been used for representational purpose

For days now, this paper had been following a case where a Navi Mumbai man had said he was gang-raped and a coconut inserted into him, during the assault. Several reports cited how a dimly lit corner in Navi Mumbai was particularly dangerous and rife with drug addicts. It was also secluded.

The opinion column of this paper highlighted how attitudes towards sexual assault or harassment of men need to change. It is particularly difficult for men to complain of sexual harassment or assault because they become the butt of ridicule and shame. There is still the perception of how can a man be harassed sexually? There are questions about why he was unable to fight back. This still stands even though the top cop of Navi Mumbai has stressed that this was no gang-rape but self-inflicted by the man.

If this is credible, it is hugely unfortunate for every case of sexual assault as it casts a shadow of doubt on rape complaints. Cooked up stories for any reason do a disservice not just to the person who has made this up, but to other genuine victims of assault. Whatever the reality behind this case, we cannot lose sight of our overall aim, to look at sexual assault against men, just like another sexual assault and not single out survivors to shame or treat it with flippancy.

Citizens had expressed concern about the area as being particularly perilous, and the police must act on that. Notwithstanding this case, maybe attention has to be paid to complaints of drug addicts and unsavoury elements making this a dangerous place for locals, especially after a certain time in the evenings.

This case has to be a wake-up call on different counts, and we cannot expect those to be wished away or swept under the carpet even if this is self-inflicted and not an assault as the police claim.

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