The news coverage of the Pinki Pramanik case revealed media biases about who can be a victim and who can be an offender

The rape charge against athlete Pinki Pramanik was overshadowed by speculation about her gender and sympathy for her struggles. Image is representative. Photo: Public Domain Pictures (CC0 1.0)

On September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised gay sex between consenting adults, much to the relief of the country’s LGBTQ+ population. However, the landmark judgment also prompted another question: what about non-consensual gay sex?

The law as it stands does not explicitly recognise that sexual assault can take place by men against men, by women against women, or by women against men. Rape is still widely understood as unwanted penile penetration of a woman by a man. This definition ignores two things — that sexual assault can take multiple forms, and that gender falls along a continuum.

Journalist Soni Sangwan on rape, reporting, and rural media

Nearly 70 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion population lives in villages, but rural issues — including sexual assaults — receive limited coverage in the mainstream media. “To better the sorry state of this country,” says Soni Sangwan, former consulting editor at Gaon Connection, “it is essential to branch out beyond mainstream media.”

Sangwan has held senior editorial positions at Hindustan Times, CNN-IBN and Headlines Today before she joined Gaon Connection, India’s largest rural media platform. …

Simran Singh

Exploring places and perspectives

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store