On January 21, 2017, the Women’s March on Washington, DC, drew a record-breaking public display of support for women’s rights and civil rights in a mass demonstration, estimated to be the largest one-day protest in U.S. history. With over 600 sister marches held in every major city and dozens of small towns across the United States—as well as at sites on every continent around the world—crowd assessments from police forces and organizers tallied up millions of participants globally. Participants from Boise to Nashville—and from Kolkata to Santiago—flooded the streets and airwaves, with an unprecedented 11.5 million tweets around the world to date using the hashtag #womensmarch.
The Women’s March joins other landmark historical events in the global movement for gender equality.
Crime against Women in India
In India apart from crime against women is riddled with numerous problems like superstition, illiteracy, dominance over women and the diabolic dowry system, etc; Apart from the major problems, we faced so far is the crime against women.
Even in this 21st century, it very surprising, that even these days we are still drowned in the dark depth of these evil societies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, last year on Independence Day, announces to the world that parents should teach their sons to behave before subjecting their daughters to restrictions.
Are women safe in their society?
Despite great strides made by International Women Rights Movement, over many years women and girl’s around the world are still married or going to marry at a very young age. Which was not perfect for marriage, they were called to be children who were trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery.
Till today in some parts of the country, women are refused to have their education; they are not allowed to any social, political participation by their husbands, families, and society; until they stand out to resist.
“It is a male-dominated society, some women were trapped in conflicts where rape and sexual harassment is used as a weapon to dominate over female society.”
According to SUSAN BROWNMILLER, in her book “Against Our Will”
“It (rape) is nothing more or less a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear…”
One of the major heinous crimes which are faced by women today. Under the ancient law codes, rape was not a crime against women but a violation of the property rights of her father, brother, or husband. A woman was considered to be the property of the parents or husband.
The punishment was that the damaged property be bought by paying compensation and marrying her. Punishment for rape should be quite stringent.
A man is said to commit rape if he penetrates his penis to the female vagina forcibly without her consent, even the slightest penetration will be amount to rape.
According to Sakshi v. Union of India – A case filed by an NGO named ‘Sakshi’, petitioned to Supreme Court to include all kinds of forcible penetration under the definition of Rape.
Rape is mentioned in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code where it says: A man is said to commit “rape” who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the six following descriptions:
- Against her will.
- Without her consent.
- With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt.
- With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.
- With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, because of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.
- With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age. Explanation.—Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offense of rape.
- Sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.
Section 376 of ipc
376. Punishment for rape.—
- Whoever, except in the cases provided for by sub-section (2), commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine unless the women raped is his own wife and is not under twelve years of age, in which cases, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both: Provided that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of fewer than seven years.
- Whoever,—(a). being a police officer commits rape—
(i) within the limits of the police station to which he is appointed; or
(ii) in the premises of any station house whether or not situated in the police station to which he is appointed; or
(iii) on a woman in his custody or in the custody of a police officer subordinate to him; or
(b) being a public servant, takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in his custody as such public servant or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to him; or
(c) being on the management or on the staff of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a woman’s or children’s institution takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on any inmate of such jail, remand home, place or institution; or(d) being on the management or on the staff of a hospital, takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in that hospital; or(e) commits rape on a woman knowing her to be pregnant; or
(f) commits rape on a woman when she is under twelve years of age, or
(g) commits gang rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be for life and shall also be liable to fine: Provided that the Court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment of either description for a term of less than ten years.
Explanation 1.—Where a woman is raped by one or more in a group of persons acting in furtherance of their common intention, each of the persons shall be deemed to have committed gang rape within the meaning of this sub-section.
Explanation 2.—“Women’s or children’s institution” means an institution, whether called an orphanage or a home for neglected woman or children or a widows’ home or by any other name, which is established and maintained for the reception and care of woman or children.
Explanation 3.—“Hospital” means the precincts of the hospital and includes the precincts of any institution for the reception and treatment of persons during convalescence or of persons requiring medical attention or rehabilitation.
Important Amendments in Rape Law
- Tukaram v. State of Maharashtra [AIR 1979, SC 185] also known as Mathura Bai Rape Case based on Custodial Rape. The results of this Judgement was the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1983. The Major changes in this context of rape through this amendment were. The burden of proof of proving that consent was presented lies on the accused, The custodial Rape brought in the purview of rape under Section 376(2), Section 376A-376D were added, Disclose the identity of the victim is punishable (added in Section 228 in Indian Penal Code).
- Nirbhaya Case/ 2012 Delhi Gang Rape Case: Resulted in Criminal law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 based on the recommendation of Justice Verma Committee. Also called the Nirbhaya Act., Anti-Rape Act. they Recommended increasing the punishment of rape along with other sexual offenses, strict provisions for registering complaints of rape, Bills of Right for women which gives dignity and respect to women over their choices of sexual relationships. and sexual autonomy.
- Kathua Rape Case Resulted in Criminal law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, where the main objective of this amendment was to give harsh punishment of rape especially the rape of minor girls below 16 and 12 years of age, minimum punishment of rape increased, gang rape of minor result to the imprisonment of life, rape of a girl below 12 years of age has minimum 20 years punishment and up to to the death penalty, Provisions for speedy investigation and trial and appeal(CrPC), no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a minor girl, If different punishment in Indian Penal Code(IPC) and The Protection of Children from Sexual offenses act, 2012 (POCSO), then the punishment which is higher will be given.
Ancient Status of Indian Women
From an ancient time in India, many people think that the birth of a girl child is a disgrace for their families, so they should be kept aside from education, decision making for their families (family planning), they have been insulted, or insisted to foeticide, they are not allowed to stand out against any men in their society, family.
There is a conventional thought that the increase in “the rate of population, is equal to the rate of crime against women, because of lack of awareness and education in the society.”
Women have been violated through centuries all over the world. Even in today’s India marriage negotiation is settled in the lights of dowry.
The wretched parents or guardians or the helpless daughter or sisters are always made the victims of dowry. Demands of dowry do not diminish even after marriage. The in-laws of the bride are very much ready in Indian homes to inflict harassment, insults, and tortures both mentally as well as physically.
The husband on his part either remains passive like a very docile son of the family, or he himself starts torturing his wife for money, property, or the like. Often the poor guardians of the bridge cannot meet the commitments at the time of the wedding, or the other demands after marriage.Circumstances such as these result in dowry deaths.
This is the way how cases of suicide which are in fact cases of cunningly motivated masterly planned murders are never brought into the daylight. These problems can also be seen in respectable and wealthy families. Literacy is not the only thing we require here, mentality is one crucial factor too.
Some Acts for the prevention of crime against women
Due to the increase of Crime against Women, The Domestic Violence Act. (2005), the Dowry Prohibited Act. (1961), the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. (1956), Protection against Domestic Violence Act (1997), the Sexual Harassment Act(1989), along with the Punishment for Molestation, Rape, etc is introduced in the Indian Penal Code, that controls the increasing level of these situations to bring the safeguard for women in society.
Woman Frailty in Shakspeare’s Hamlet explains – “As long as the woman stays as puppet or pawn in the hands of her male relatives, she will always be manipulated, dominated, and used…”
According to Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code, Sexual harassment is the:
- Unwelcome touching or other physical contacts
- Asking or demanding sex or any other sexual activity
- Making remarks which are of a sexual nature
- Showing pornographic material which may include videos, magazines, books, etc.
There is a separate law on sexual harassment at workplaces – The Sexual Harassment of women at the workplace (prevention, prohibition, and redressal) Act and Rules 2013. There are provisions in the main criminal law (the Indian Penal Code or IPC) which are different from the special law on sexual harassment:
- The IPC is not limited to sexual harassment at the workplace but punishes such harassment done anywhere.
- The IPC makes it possible to file a criminal complaint if you have been sexually harassed, while the special law gives you the option of seeking civil remedies and damages, involving your office administration.
The punishment for the first three kinds of sexual harassment is three years as compared to the fourth type (making sexually colored remarks) which is one year.
The second heinous crime for a woman mentioned in Section 326 A in the Indian Penal Code lays down the punishment for acid attacks. The minimum punishment is 10 years imprisonment. It can extend up to life imprisonment with fine. A separate law to punish offenders in such cases was passed along with amendment of the law on sexual offenses.
Stalking is mentioned in Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code, Its ingredients are –
- Continuously following a woman or contacting her,
- Either online or in-person
- Where she has clearly shown she doesn’t want the attention
It is punished by three years for a first offense, and five years for repeat offenses. The section makes an exception if a person is stalking a woman as part of a legal duty to do so.
Today, the Indian Government is suffering from one of the major problems due to violence and crime against women. In recent years they have risen in revolt against this assault on their dignity as human beings. Today the evidence is everywhere; the voice of women is increasingly heard in Parliament, courts, and the streets. there is no doubt that we are in the midst of a great revolution in the history of mankind
In India, this is strongly believed (assertion) that women have for some strange reason been touched off by the Supreme Court’s first judgment in the Mathura Rape Case. Perhaps this was the proverbial match stick that set ablaze the fire. There are thousands of sexual harassment cases across the country that had been lodge and some of which were still pending.
Some details of Nirbhaya Case
After the 2012 Nirbhaya incident i.e the Delhi Gang Rape, On December 10, 2014, an interviewer asked KIRAN BEDI, “What are the steps that are needed for greater women’s safety”. She replied, “We need to energize and sensitize all segments of society and governance at all levels. I’ve been talking of six Ps – people or patients, principals, and NGOs, police in prevention, detection, and technology, politicians for updated laws, prosecution for effective trials, prisons for reform, and press projecting women with responsibility.
“All six Ps need a hub to make them work together regularly which could be the CMs in respective states.” according to the law, rape against women carries a punishment of jail, plus a fine of the heavy amount according to article 376(2)(g) along with kidnapping and abducting any woman with the intent that she may be compelled or knowing it to be likely that she will be compelled or seduced to illicit intercourse mentioned in Section 366, and murder mentioned which is section 302 of Indian Penal Code.
The Bill seeks to amend sections of the Indian Penal Code and the code of criminal procedure and the Indian Evidence Act. The juvenile was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment in a reform facility, as per the Juvenile Justice Act on 10 September 2013
After 7 years of long struggle Nirbhaya Case finally came to closure, all four accused were hung at Delhi’s Tihar Jail on March 20 at 5:30 am by 3 bench Judges lead by Justice Dipak Mishra pronouncing the verdict around 2:30 am. The Lawyer, Seema Kushwaha who fought alongside Nirbhaya’s Mother while from the other two, committed suicide on 11 March 2013 in jail, but defense lawyers and his family allege he was murdered, and the other minor has been released from the correction home.
The four remaining adult defendants were found guilty of rape and murder and three days later were sentenced to death by hanging. In the death reference case and hearing appeals on 13 March 2014, Delhi High Court upheld the guilty verdict and the death sentences. On 18 December 2019, the Supreme Court of India rejected the final appeals of the condemned perpetrators of the attack. On 7 January 2020, a judge in New Delhi issued death warrants for the four men, scheduling their executions on 3 March 2020.
The authorities alleged that the four adult convicts were “intentionally delaying” and “frustrating” the legal process in this case by filing their pleas in stages so that their execution could be postponed. On 17 January 2020, after the convicts exhausted their mercy pleas, a Delhi court issued a second death warrant for the convicts to be hanged on 1 February 2020 at 6:00 a.m. Lastly, they were executed on 20th March 2020 at Tihar Jail
After the Nirbhaya case, the center convinced the state to allocate additional funds for setting up of fast track courts for trials related to crime against women and children.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly. Described as an international bill of rights for women, it was instituted on 3 September 1981 and has been endorse by 189 states. Over fifty countries that have endorsed the Convention have done so subject to certain declarations, reservations, and objections, including 38 countries who rejected the enforcement article 29, which addresses means of settlement for disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention. The CEDWA Chairperson position is currently held by Hilary Gbedemah
National Crime Records Bureau
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of rape cases is increasing day by day, nearly 12 or 30 rape cases are committed in our country every day. Every day we find nearly a lot of rape cases in our daily newspaper. In 2006 there are over 32000 murders, 19,000 rapes, 7500 dowry deaths, and 36500 molestation cases are the violent crimes reported in India, which is nearly 20 to 25% increase since 2001. At the end of 2014, the number of cases relating to sexual harassment, kidnapping, and abduction, voyeurism, acid attacks including rape had reached near to a million. But according to unofficial reports, a very large number of cases go either unreported or pending.
Along with the cases of suicides due to dowry system, eve-teasing, stalking, and molestation, the murder of women have risen abnormally. It has become a great social problem.
The negative social attitude towards the victims of such cases creates serious psychological problems. Unfortunately, people look down upon a victim of rape, whereas a woman who has gone through an extremely painful situation, needs social and emotional support. This is double victimization – one by the rapist and the other by their social circle. So rape is not only a sexual and physical attack upon a woman but also on the last vestige of honor of her family.
“New Delhi: Crimes against women are on the rise, and so is the pendency of such cases in the subordinate and high courts across the country. Delhi only seems to do worse year after year. For instance, while the national crime rate declined negligibly by 0.02 % in 2006; Delhi’s rate grew to 357.2% more than double the national average of 167.7%
Concerned at increasing pendency of cases of crime against women and children, the law ministry has written to the state government and the chief justices of HCs to continue fast track courts. The conviction rate in these cases came down from 27% to 22% between 2011 and 2013.
How can women tackled violence against her:
So the violence against women and girls can be tackled at two levels –socially and legally. In the case of the former, the women’s will have to have to be confident in her had spread those confident to women’s on their society. From the legal side, she will have to be treated as a living, thinking sensitive human being having her own identity; she should not be treated as the property of her husband and parents
But simply by imposing deterrent punishment we cannot do away with the evil of rape. We cannot or should not look at rape in purely sexual terms. It is a cultural offense. A man should not be allowed to consider women as his property; she is a companion who must enjoy all the rights of being equal. Society must atone for her suffering instead of condemning her. And there should be a capital punishment for rape to the accused after being proved with proper justification.
So what do you think who is responsible for crimes against women?
As any type of crime does not involve an individual. A single man can’t be the torch-bearer for a social evil like this. The whole society is involved with their sick mentality that has penetrated deep down in the very roots of our basic upbringing. In a patriarchal society that we lived in, women have often been looked as an object. The basic craze that society taught to teenagers that they need a girl just to satisfy their needs. So, it’s the society that we make, is responsible for the crimes against women.
Indian women belonging to any class suffer from an inferiority complex. The male-dominated society makes them feel that they are competent inadequate and worthless. It is from the time of their birth, their brainwashing begins. From childhood a girl is groomed for a way of life that is accepted by others. This passive acceptance of her lot makes her easy prey in male-dominated societies.
The modern scenario of women’s status in their society
Nowadays in many fields where women get opportunities had proved themselves that they are not less talented than men. Women are showing talent in business, sport, decision making in the field of social, economic, and political fields. Some of the successful women are also holding higher posts in office and institutions. Women are also motivated by giving awards and credits for their work.
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