The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) defines violence against women as any act of gender violence against women which affects them physically, sexually and psychologically. There are certain kinds of sexual advances which attack the self-esteem and dignity of a woman but are not recognised as offences because they don’t fit in the conventional definitions of statutes.

There is a need to codify subtle acts of harassment so that they can be legally categorised as offences and the offenders can adequately be tried. Semen terrorism is one such act of sexual misconduct which needs to be recognised as a sex crime.

Semen terrorism refers to the act of distributing or spreading sperm on another person or their property. This conduct is not only disrespectful, but it is also a blatant breach into the individual’s personal space. With regard to this act of sexual misbehaviour, there is a legal disagreement in both developing and developed countries. It is not classified as sexually criminal behaviour, but rather as an act that causes property damage to another person.

Terrorism against women: The Situation Around the World

To be considered a legal offence in South Korea, a sex crime must involve the use of violence or intimidation. This indicates that if the act is indirect and non-physical, there can be no offence. Even though it is not intended to be physical, the law requires friction and aggressiveness. This is why South Korean officials are pushing to modify the legislation on sex crimes to include semen terrorism because the current definitions of sex crimes are insufficient to confront it.

Because of several cases in South Korea, there have been earlier attempts to criminalise sperm terrorism and bring it under the scope of sexual crimes. Because the ejaculation occurs surreptitiously on their property and there is no physical assault, the current legislation in South Korea classifies this offence as “damage to females’ property.

It is insulting in itself because the shock and uncertainty of being attacked are not taken into account by the legislation in this country. Only a few real-life cases of sperm terrorism have been documented in South Korea. In one example, a male allegedly put semen and laxatives in a girl’s drink as retaliation for rejecting amorous approaches. Despite the addition of his sperm and phlegm, as well as other substances, the incident was not classified as a sex crime because no forcible sexual assault was committed.

A male civil worker ejaculated into a female colleague’s coffee cup nearly six times over the course of two months in another case, but he was not charged with a sex offence. The court decided that his actions harmed the tumbler’s ‘utility.’ Despite the fact that the victim was mentally and sexually humiliated in both cases, the Court did not recognise it as a crime of spite against a specific gender-based on sexual humiliation.

In the United States, a 38-year-old man who approached his victim while spewing foul-smelling fluids from his car was placed on the New York sex offender registry and charged with various criminal offences. In Los Angeles, a guy was found guilty of smearing sperm over his female colleague’s working desk, computer keyboard, and personal items. He was found guilty of misdemeanour assault and was sentenced to spend the rest of his life as a sex offender.

The situation in India

Semen terrorist offences have also been reported in India. In our country, however, such an incident is not classified as a separate offence or category. These types of offences, on the other hand, may fall under the definitions of ‘criminal force’ and ‘assault’ set forth in Sections 350 and 351 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), respectively.

‘Criminal force,’ on the other hand, is limited to the use of non-consensual force on a person’s body, which means that if the person’s property is attacked, this definition is invalid. There must be “a preparation or gesture” in the case of “assault,” i.e., an apprehension of unlawful force.

If we look at other sections, Section 509 of the IPC, which punishes words, gestures, or acts meant to insult a woman’s modesty, might be utilised to combat semen terrorism. However, the concepts of modesty and determining whether or not an act has offended it are extremely difficult to ascertain.

In Ramkripal v. State of Madhya Pradesh, the Supreme Court attempted to define modesty by stating that the core of a woman’s modesty is her sex. However, such definitions are problematic and regressive, and they lack the scope to cover instances of sperm terrorism in order to fully address the issue.

It is critical to recognise subtle levels of sexual assault, such as sperm terrorism, and to legally classify them as sexual offences. To meet the evolving nature of sex crimes, the existing provisions of the IPC should be examined in order to broaden the scope and interpretation of such offences. The legislation is even more contradictory and complicated in cases of sperm terrorism by minors.

As a result, we must go further into the numerous types of sex crimes and sexual humiliation experienced by survivors and pass legislation that includes all types of criminal behaviour that represents sexual power assertion, humiliation, and assault on an individual’s emotional and mental integrity.

Written By-

Tanisha Kushwaha
Masters in Political Science IGNOU

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