Sex can be 'unnatural'

In August last year Geetika Sharma ended her life. In her suicide note, she blamed former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda and his aide and employee in his MDLR company, Aruna Chaddha for “harassment".

Later, Geetika's mother too committed suicide and left behind a note blaming the two. It reveals the tragedy of even a progressive society where women work but can't open up about the crime, and most certainly not when a powerful person is involved. The cops did not mention the real crime in the chargesheet.

The Delhi court has finally charged Kanda, and Chaddha for abetment:

"Relying on Geetika’s autopsy report, the court concluded that there is prima facie evidence that Kanda raped her and had unnatural sex with her."

Unnatural sex sounds like something from another era to those of us who are exposed to various forms of infotainment, and are 'modern' in outlook. It also reminds us of the earlier legal criminalisation of homosexuality due to this very proviso.

However - and I emphasise this - in many cases it is important to mention 'unnatural sex' because rape, as we understand it, may not have taken place. The girl or woman might instead be forced to perform acts that are perfectly natural between consenting adults, but not under duress.

I am not interested if the Bench has moral issues and uses what we may publicly call antiquated terms. (I refuse to believe that most Indians are comfortable even in private with sexual experimentation, although some would like to appear cool about it as a sound bite.) It is way more important that 'unnatural sex' is factored in to protect the victims who might not get justice if it is proved that there had been no penetration or bodily harm.

It is sad that certain recent cases of brutal rape have numbed us to the many others that are committed using other forms of force. Even in Geetika's case, it was an autopsy report that revealed the details. Think about the hundreds who are just silenced. Think about the children, infants too, who have no voice to begin with. Think about the 'bad touch' and the many other ways in which kids and adults are exploited, in familiar surroundings, in places where they are supposed to be protected, like remand homes, in the street and at posh parties too where a woman with a glass of tipple gives men the licence to grope. These are violations and a crime, and the people committing them get away because they did not manage or even want to 'go all the way'.

We forget that rape itself is unnatural sex. And anything remotely sexual that is not agreed to or has been got by force or deceit is.

© Farzana Versey


  1. Wish most benches of Houses and Chambers involved in legislation would have your outlook and clear thinking as they totter to legislate so as to solve and sort India's big social dilemma which has activists on streets after a horrific violation of a. woman or child . The current mindset , which incidentally has been generating the atrocities is only adding to the baggage of unusable draconian laws . Clear thinking without moral blinkers . Do publish it in newspapers the lawmakers of all hues read . Maybe then common sense will prevail as they legislate or define the laws .

  2. Sasu:

    Thank you, but I don't think much comes of clear thinking. For, it isn't that our leaders are incapable of it; it's just not profitable enough.

    We have always taken to the streets. Now, it has been taken over by the elite.

  3. This weird description of sexual crimes by our legal system is not helping anyone. Its time we modernise our language and start calling a sexual assault what it is, a serious criminal act against another person.
    I am hoping that with more women expressing and explaining to everyone the dangers and discomfort they face on a daily basis because of different ways they are being harassed and how they deserve a safe environment in the public and private space, some positive changes will begin to happen. Introducing more women into the police force, in fact making it mandatory to have 50% of women in law enforcement positions and other administrative positions may not be a bad idea.

  4. Sai:

    We have reached a stage where even our liberals are talking about degrees of brutality. I do believe that rape is a crime and there ought not to be such morality in the discussions.

    Am not sure reservations for women in the police force will make a major change. They ought to be there during arrests and questioning, but it won't alter the basic mindset. Many instances where women abet such crimes.

    Sad, but true.


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