Rape is not merely a physical assault but also degrades the soul of a helpless female, a Delhi court has observed while sentencing a man to seven years rigorous imprisonment for raping his sister-in-law.

The court handed down the jail term to the 33-year-old man, a south east Delhi resident, while holding him guilty of the offences of rape and sexual assault under the IPC and also imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on him which shall be given to the victim.

“Rape is not merely a physical assault, it is destructive of the whole personality of the victim. A murderer destroys the physical body of his victim, a rapist degrades the very soul of the helpless female,” Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain said while referring to a Supreme Court observation in a rape case.

The court relied on the victim’s testimony that the man, who was her cousin’s husband, raped her on the night of March 26, 2016 and rejected the man’s claim that he was falsely implicated by the victim.

“Ours is a conservative society and, therefore, a woman and more so a young unmarried woman will not put her reputation in peril by alleging falsely about forcible sexual assault,” it said.

The court observed that sexual assault brings feeling of disgust, humiliation, tremendous embarrassment, sense of shame and trauma to a victim.

“It is, therefore, most unlikely of a woman, and more so by a young woman, roping in somebody falsely in the crime of sexual assault,” it said.

It relied on her statement that she made the complaint three days later when the man again came to rape her at her house as she was “scared”.

“Since the prosecutrix was scared of the accused and was alone in Delhi, she did not make the complaint. When the accused tried to repeat the incident, she called the police.

Nothing can be inferred from her testimony that it is a case of false implication of the accused,” the court said.

According to the prosecution, the victim had gone to her cousin’s house in New Friends Colony here as her parents had gone to their native village for a few days.

While she was sleeping in their house on the night of March 26, 2016, her brother-in-law, a rickshaw puller, raped and threatened her.

She did not complain to anyone as she was scared, it said, adding that when the man came again after three days to rape her, she did not open the door and informed the police immediately.

The defence counsel sought leniency for the convict, saying he has to support his family and has no criminal antecedents.