Rape and Its consequences : An analysis on legal perspective

Sadia Afrin
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Jagannath University



Rape is one of the crimes and social problems that is somewhat regarded as a community’s least priority although the victims suffer from grave physical, mental, and emotional consequences. It has a bad effect to the whole society. Young girls and women are considered vulnerable section of the society who do not feel protected in the society. The situation getting worse day by day. Recently, the government has amended the rape law. Capital punishment is introduced against rape in Bangladesh at the place of the existing life- term imprisonment. Still the situation in not getting well. People of Bangladesh are witnessing many more brutal cases of rape. Thus, the question remains, what is rape?

Rape is a type of sexual assaults usually involving having a carnal knowledge which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s concern. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such, as such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent. The term rape is, sometimes, used interchangeably with the term sexual assault. Section 375 of the penal code defines rape. Section 375 provides that; A man is said to commit “rape” who except sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the five following description:

First: Against her will.

Second: Without her consent.

Third: With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death, or of hurt.

Fourth: 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 to be lawfully married.

Fifth: With or without her consent, when she is under fourteen years of age.

Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape.

Exception: Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under thirteen years of age, is not rape.

In Bangladesh rape or sexual assault against a man is not recognized. When we read any news of rape, the common perception is that the victim must be a girl or child. We neglect or don’t want to accept the fact that men too are victim of rape in our society. Sexual violence against any men is the darkest secret of the patriarchal society. It is usually denied by both the victim and the perpetrator. Male rape is a controversial and taboo topic in our society. Legal inadequacy in this regard is also contributing to the social silence.


The prevailing situation raises some critical questions:

  • Why we cannot give equal importance to male rape?
  • What is basis of legal dilemma around male rape?
  • When it comes to justice for rape victims why the law has taken a gendered approach?

Section 375 and 377 of the penal code, 1860 and section 9 and 10 of the prevention of Women and Children Repression Act, 2000 address the issue of rape and sexual harassment. The definition of rape under section 375 of the penal code provides the definition on the assumption that only a women can be a victim of rape. Unfortunately, rape of man children and penetration by other means or oral penetration are not included in the definition which have made the law gender biased and inadequate to ensure justice for man.

Statistics of 2020

On October 1,2020, (Ain o Salish Kendra) revealed that from January to September of this year, man raped more than 1000 women. Forty-three of those women died, and more than 200 others evaded their rape attempts. This is dismaying a new trend in Bangladeshi society. To make matters worse, this year’s statistics show that 2020 has already marked as a worse year for Bangladeshi women than the past years. According to Bangladeshi human rights organization, odhikar, just 963 rape incidents where women were victims were reported between 2016 to 2019. Both sets of numbers surely underreport rape case in Bangladesh, given many women remain fearful to report their rapes. Due to the soaring rate of rape cases in Bangladesh, the United Nations has recently expressed serious concerns and firmly recommend the country to reform its sluggish lax criminal justice system. On October 13,2020 the government of the country introduced capital punishment against rape in the place of the existing life-term imprisonment. Why rape is increasing in Bangladesh? There are numerous factors contributing the rape culture against women, and these may vary from country to country. In the context of Bangladesh, there are three main reasons.

First: The judicial system of Bangladesh is ineffective and feeble. As stated by the Amnesty International, the issue is not harsh punishment against rapist, but the failure of courts to make Convictions in rape cases as well as survivor, trepidation to come forward. In six administrative districts of Bangladesh from 2011 to 2018, the courts brought conviction in just five out of 4,372 rape cases, as reported by (Naripokhho), a local women rights group. There are numerous reasons why prosecutors do not get convictions, the complex and slow trial system, a corrupt administration, and, in some cases, intentionally false lawsuits.

Second: Bangladesh is a conservative country where patriarchy is acutely pervasive. Patriarchal societies anticipate that a man will manifest his manhood through aggressive and dominating behaviors while a women will show her womanhood through submissive, caring, and emotional behaviors.

Third: Victim blaming is another reason for increasing rape culture in Bangladesh. Society blames women for minority of the rape incidents.

Fourth: There is an unacknowledged nexus between drug addiction and rape in Bangladesh. An estimation of Bangladesh government’s Department of Narcotics Control shows that 80 present of incident of rape and rape murder are by drug users in the country.


The consequences of rape on women can be classified either as physical, mentally or emotionally traumatic. Among the physical effects include unwanted pregnancies, disease or health problems, and certain disruption on the women’s body functions. On the other hand psychological effects range from self-pity to the more striking suicidal tendencies. Unwanted pregnancy of course, the most immediate physical effect of rape is the risk for the victim of getting pregnant. Dependent on the age of the victim, she may conceive a child even if she is just reached puberty. In most instances, rape victims who do become pregnant opt to abort the child that is considered the result of the crime committed against them. Without their knowledge, the rape victims are also at risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS that could affect their health in the short and long-term leading to death. Since rape is a form of forced intercourse, the victim’s body usually suffers physical injury particularly to the vagina, uterus and other parts of the reproductive system. The risks is greater if the rape victim is a child or a very young teen. In addition, the rape victims are often beaten up and tortured during and after the rape, which might even lead to losing their life in some cases. Rape can also lead the victim to pity or blame herself for the crime. This effect is partly caused by the social stigma or shame that societies or communities wrongly attribute to the victim. She is often deprived of the care she should receive from families and society at a large, who in turn can accuse her of callous and provoking behaviour. This worsens her mental state and she is left emotionally devastated. The most striking effect that rape can produce in a victim is the thoughts that tendencies of committing suicide. Because of trauma, self-pity, and seclusion, rape victims often feel that there is no longer hope and they could no longer recover and that they are not worthy of living.

Possible ways to End the increasing Rape incidents

Rape incidents become a great concern for the general public, society, and for the government. Government is trying to end the rape culture in Bangladesh. To eradicate rape culture from Bangladesh government, have to take some effective steps. To begin with,

Justice with proper and undyed implementation of law has to be ensured. In lieu of focusing on this, Bangladesh has just introduced CAPITAL PUNISHMENT for rape. However, the death penalty would not be deterrent against rapes because it could not stop crimes such as homicide. Further, this law will likely to encourage rapists to kill victims to hide evidence. With only sound execution of law, rape will not remain a trivialized and light crime in Bangladesh; a firm message of zero tolerance will go to assaulters.

Instead of just emphasizing training women to protect themselves from rape, men should be rigorously taught why they should not rape. In this regard, religious leaders could give moral lectures to traditional male mind sets to make them more friendly towards women. The pervasive drug addiction problem in Bangladesh needs to be swiftly addressed since most of the rape incidents are carried out by drug users Man is mainly responsible for rape. Rape is a way to show their manhood. The society have to hold them responsible for rape. Victim blaming should be stopped. Recently the ministry of law assured that they are removing the section 155(4) of Evidence Act which allows the courts to question the character of the victim. It is time that all human demand changes to all countries that perpetrate such injustices worldwide. It is time to provide the education and information and encourage discussions that will change society’s attitude towards rape and find ways to eradicate this intolerable social issue once and for all.

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