Relatives of two girls, said to be between the ages of 12 and 13, were raped outside their humble home as they sought to relieve themselves- their house did not contain an inside toilet. (It is estimated that 48% of the population in India, nearly a billion people, lack access to basic sanitation and defecate in the open). Five men have been detained in India’s Uttar Pradesh state where they are investigating the case. Reports indicate that the young girls may have been raped at gunpoint by the men who are from a neighboring village in the Badaun district. The incidents occurred at Jareef Nagar. Rape allegations have been both controversial, and at the front of new legislation in the country. India’s rape laws were dramatically revamped in 2013 and now include prohibitions against matters such as stalking and voyeurism. Elements of the offense of rape have been modernized in such ways so as to delete the requirement of physical struggle, provide prompt medical examinations and treatment, and to make it a crime for certain officials not to report complaints. More generally, the laws were aimed at dismantling the “security blanket” that protected misogynist” officers and other public officials from failing to take rape allegations seriously and not forwarding the cases for potential prosecution. Critics of the new law say the code does not go far enough; namely, they point to the lack of provisions that would criminalize rape against men and married couples. Also, military men in “disturbed areas” appear to be immune from the provisions.

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