International Men's Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated on November 19.
The day was inaugurated on February 17, 1992, by Thomas Oaster, a Men's rights advocate.
The objective of celebrating International Men's Day is to promote positive male role models, to celebrate men's positive contributions to society, focus on men's health and well being, highlight discrimination against men, improve gender relations and promote gender equality, and create a safer, better world.
And there are millions of people in more than 60 countries celebrating IMD. This achievement is remarkable when we consider it took place 20 years ago at a time when advocacy for men and boys was considered unthinkable.
But if we consider current scenarios our society needs International Men's Day as much as we need International Women's Day on March 8; Because crime against men in India is a silent topic or rather in the world, especially sexual crimes.
Both men and women are socialised to see men as powerful, assertive and in control of their bodies. It may be challenging for some to think of men being the victims of sexual crimes because it is challenging to recognise men as "victims" and still think of them as men. This socialisation makes less likely for men to seek help or any legal help.
There is an assumption in our society that "men don't get raped" which leads to most of the cases going unreported.
According to reports, 1 in 6 reported sexual assaults is against a boy and 1 in 25 reported sexual assaults is against a man.
If you search for any record of data related to crime against men by National Crime Records Bureau you won't get any results as no research has been done by any government organisation.
Even if we look at this legally, Section 375 of IPC dealing with rape and legal provision directly mentions a "man is said to commit rape if...." and then the clauses continues. There is no mention of rape of men. This can be interpreted that no rapes or sexual assaults happen against men in fact if rape has been committed then women are the victims and men the perpetrators.
A society that treats victims of sexual violence equally needs to be created because the experience of sexual violence such as shame, grief, anger and fear, and having issues surrounding their sexual and/or gender identity after a sexual assault is same for everyone be it a male of female.
In the recent #MeToo campaign, many men came forward and narrated instances of sexual assault against them.
On International Men's Day, we should read those instances posted under hashtag #MeToo and start to recognise and acknowledge that men are raped and they can be vulnerable too.
This is a crucial step towards creating a gender equal society.