Corrective Rape: Never a solution

corrective rape
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LGBT+ communities have been getting wide acceptance and recognition recently. People are trying to understand that being homosexual or not matching the gender assigned during birth is fine. A great positive revolution to this was brought when the Supreme Court lifted the ban on the part of section 377 which considered gay sex as an offense. This led to an understanding among “some” that gay sex is not unnatural or abnormal but just a normal course of life.
The reason why some are in double-quotes is that those people are very few. They cannot be categorized because it would be wrong if we say they are educated class, or even the people living in urban areas, or the high-class society. After all, everyone from these so-called categories too does not believe and support the concept of homosexuality. Here we will talk about corrective rape as a method being used to cure homosexuality of people.

What is corrective rape?

Corrective rape is a hate crime. It is the use of rape against people who do not conform to the accepted social norms of sexuality or gender roles. It is believed that corrective rape can be used to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals or ‘normal’. It is also called curative or homophobic rape. This term was coined in South Africa. It has emerged as a form of conversion treatment in the heteronormative world which believes that heterosexuality is the only form of sexuality. This is usually practiced by the families to protect their so-called names and hide the original sexuality of their children. They still believe that being a homosexual is a choice and an abnormality.

It is usually carried out with the help of a handpicked relative and it is believed that the abnormality can be cured or corrected this way. The involvement of family and relatives stops victims to report the happening to the police or some public authority.

Consequences of corrective rape

Firstly, it can by no means correct or cure homosexuality, because it is not a disease or abnormality in the first place. Rather it causes psychological effects on the victim like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and many more. The whole cause behind this is driven by misogyny and chauvinism. It needs to be understood that gender and sex are two different things. There’s no such hard and fast rule that compels a person to behave in a certain way according to the norms specified by society.

The practice creates insecurity in the minds of the LGBT community and they are forced to believe that the sexual orientation can be altered, while it is not possible. A number of its cases go unreported. In the past few decades, since the act has gained nomenclature, awareness regarding it is increasing. But the society has not yet accepted the fact. The practice of corrective rape, if continues will never let the LGBT community live their life freely and on their terms. They will always be put through this atrocity of the so-called normal people.

Way Ahead

Even though our constitution guarantees equal rights and the right to privacy, the people belonging to the LGBT community do not enjoy them. The state has the responsibility and obligation to stop such kind of discriminative and harmful activity. Awareness needs to be spread that each individual has a right to choose their partner, whether or not conforming to social norms. This brings us to the question of what are social norms. Society is made by the people living in it. It is they who make their own norms. There is no written code that ensures only heterosexuals would be the ‘normal’ and homosexuals would have to go through some senseless conversions or corrections to fit in that.

Though it has never been accepted and encouraged, homosexuality has been a part of Indian history. Its existence can be traced to Manusmriti and Shikhandi. And now, when it is legalised also, it has not been accepted. There needs to be a specific system that addresses the needs of the LGBT community and work for their betterment. Improvement cannot be marked until there is room for accepting differences, which is the need of the hour. And a healthy and respectful society can only be established by non-violence and acceptance.

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