PROVISIONS IN IPC REGARDING OFFENCES AGAINST WOMEN :AN ANALYSIS
Author: Sanjoli Verma, IV year of B.A.,LL.B from Hidayatullah National Law University.
Right from the time of her birth or even before a girl could become victim of a crime or target of a crime. Lets look at the stages in a woman!s life and discuss the threats briefly. Just as the stages vary,
Nature of crimes vary too. Below are illustrations/tables that highlight important aspects of the issue. The 2012 National Crime Records Bureau report of India states a reported crime rate of 46 per 100,000, rape rate of 2 per 100,000, dowry homicide rate of 0.7 per 100,000 and the rate of domestic cruelty by husband or his relatives as 5.9 per 100,000. A 2014 study in the Lancet states, "Whereas an 8·5% prevalence of sexual violence in the country is among the lowest in the world, it is estimated to affect 27·5 million women in India.
Further, the 2006 survey found that 85% of women who suffered sexual violence, in or outside of marriage, never sought help, and only 1% report it to the police.”
Women have been subjected to socio-economic and cultural deprivations for such a long time that there is a general indifference and lack of awareness for crimes against them . Crimes like murder, dacoity, robbery etc are condemned, but crimes against women are justified and condoned even by the women themselves . Women are reared in an atmosphere which slowly and positively helps in the development of a feeling of inferiority, they become used to the institutional legitimating of their low status and find nothing wrong in some of the crimes that are committed against them.
Stage 1 : Foeticide and infanticide -Where there is an economic or cultural preference for sons, the pregnancy diagnostic tools can lead to female foeticide
Stage 2 : School going age- Many Girls are not given the access to and completion of proper primary and secondary education as compared to boys and otherwise may also suffer from discrimination at the hands of parents and teachers in their upbringing.
Stage 3 : Adolescence- Many adolescent girls become victims of sexual abuse both on internet and otherwise, exploitation and violence, acid attacks, rape ,early marriage, or even HIV/AIDS.
Stage 4 : Marriage - Many women are tortured physically, raped, economically and emotionally abused after their marriage by their husband and in-laws.
Stage 5 : Motherhood- Women are sometimes not provided proper medical care and healthy food during and after her pregnancy . She is often compelled to abort a female foetus or tortured or killed due to this reason and for dowry.
Stage 6 : Workplace - often women suffer from exploitation , unequal pay for equal work , lack of promotions despite merit and physical, economic and emotional abuse.
All these stages woman quietly suffers or even if raises her voice it is silenced or suppressed. Most women neither knows she has rights to fight these crimes and what remedies are available in law to protect herself . In its first ever gender gap study covering 58 nations, the World Economic Forum has ranked India a lowly. The report is based on United Nations Development Fund for Women!s findings on global patterns of inequality between men and women. The low ranking reflects the large disparity between men and women in all five areas of the index.
It is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner (not including sexual harassment) at some point in their lives. Evidence shows that women who have experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence report higher rates of depression, having an abortion and acquiring HIV, compared to women who have not. Women and girls together account for 72 per cent, with girls representing more than three out of every four child trafficking victims. More than four out of every five trafficked women and nearly three out of every four trafficked girls are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. At least 200 million women and girls aged 15-49 have undergone female genital mutilation in the 30 countries with representative data on prevalence. In most of these countries, the majority of girls were cut before age five. More than 20 million women and girls in just seven countries (Egypt, Sudan, Guinea, Djibouti, Kenya, Yemen and Nigeria) have undergone female genital mutilation by a health care provider. With population movement, female genital mutilation is becoming a practice with global dimensions, in particular among migrant and refugee women and girls. Whatever be the shape and extent, it is a punishable crime. However, owing to the country’s crooked and lagging judiciary system, often, such crimes go unaddressed. The rates of violence against women keep on increasing.
Crimes against women in India
Violence against women typically means the crimes committed against women of any age, caste, and creed. The crimes can be of any kind; usually, they include murders, abuse, molestation, rape, and infanticide. The number of crimes committed against women in India keeps rising every year. In 2012, the crimes against women in India accounted for 6.4%, which meant in an average within three minutes, a woman fell victim to violence.The crimes against women in India take several forms. Mostly, these crimes result in lifelong trauma or death.
According to the age-old Indian tradition, the bride!s family is supposed to reward the groom with a considerable sum of money; this is the concept of dowry. In rural areas, the bride, usually belonging
to a poor household, is unable to meet the groom!s high demand for the dowry money. They fail to fulfill and pay the amount the groom asks for. In such cases, often, the bride falls victim to verbal and physical abuse of the groom. The woman is beaten, abused, and regularly molested, for her family's incapability to fulfill the dowry. Dowry deaths are mostly seen in the rural parts of India and form an accountable part of the crimes committed against women.
Rapes and nonconsensual sexual activities form a large portion of the violence committed against Indian women. It is indeed true that women are now becoming more aware and open about the topic of rape; they are opening up about their own stories of sexual assault etc. However, the numbers in India keep rising.
The perpetrators often go unpunished. Marital rape is yet another prominent example of violence against women. Marital rape is the nonconsensual sexual intercourse carried on between a married couple. Husbands often impose and force themselves upon their wives without their consent. This leads to a great deal of abuse and physical molestation committed upon the female body. Women trafficking and forced prostitution are two other kinds of violence to which Indian women victims.
Various new legislations have been brought and amendments have been made in existing laws with a view to handle these crimes effectively, but alas they all have felt insufficient to solve this heinous issues. According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, reported incidents of crime against women increased 6.4% during 2012, and a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes.
Of the women living in India, 7.5% live in West Bengal where 12.7% of the total reported crime against women occurs. This is due in large part to the threat of ridicule or shame on the part of the potential reporter, as well as an immense pressure not to damage the family's honor. For similar reasons, law enforcement officers are more motivated to accept offers of bribery from the family of the accused, or perhaps in fear of more grave consequences, such as Honor Killings.
On one hand is the political apathy in formulating and implementing gender-sensitive policies. On the other is the lack of a clear protocol of action in these issues, care of victims of rape being one such example. Victims often sit for hours in soiled clothes in the hospital and feel humiliated all over again in the course of insensitive history-taking by doctors and health workers. Judgemental attitudes and lack of privacy in government healthcare establishment worsens their trauma .
Tip of the iceberg
In a democracy, it is said that the politicians are only as good as the people. The deep-rooted patriarchy of Indian society lay exposed when several people, including senior politicians, type casted the victims of sexual violence, as possibly having contributed to the perpetration of the crime. The problem of gender-based violence runs very deep in India. The rape crisis is just one facet of the multitude of problems that reflect the gender discrimination scenario. These prejudicial attitudes are seen right from womb to tomb . India has made great strides in terms of economic growth in the past decade.
Women and Indian cinema - The portrayal of societal themes in popular cinema could be considered as a reflection of popular societal attitudes. In Indian cinema, kissing was not allowed on-screen on the grounds of modesty until the mid-2000s. However, rape or izzat lootna (dishonouring) of women has been a recurrent theme and sub-theme in mainstream Bollywood cinema for decades now. Rape and subsequently avenging rape often forms the central narrative of many films. Rape also appears as a sub-plot to reinforce the heroic role of male actors in films. The familiar portrayal of rape and sexual assault of women in cinema, however tacit, is disturbing in its lack of censorship and its conflicting pervasiveness in a mainstream form of entertainment.
Another genre of mainstream media the saas–bahu serials (translation: mother-in-law and daughter- in-law soaps) have been acknowledged for their role in featuring other forms of violence and discrimination within Indian households.
Causes of crimes against women
Crime against women are as old as civilization and equally ancient are the efforts to combat and arrest them. These efforts have not succeeded and crimes are still maintaining their upward trend. When the whole world awakening to call of enlightened feminism, India Still wallows in the crime of primordial misogyny. In many parts of our country, women are still considered to be a burdensome appendage. She is an economic drain . Discrimination begins at birth, or even before it and continues till she is dead. Comprehensive studies conducted by UNICEF as well as Indian Social Scientists organisation provides these points : .
• An ecological model for understanding violence against women - The ecological model of public health-based analyses has gained traction in recent years to aid understandings of these complex and intersecting "contributing factors”, as embedded in the social practices and values of broader society.
• The societal level- The largest or all-encompassing circle represents the societal level. At this level, laws, policies and practices emanating from the State – as well as from traditional or customary practices at the broad social level – can directly contribute to violence against women, fail to respond to it, and/or create an environment where violence against women is tolerated, excused or justified
The community level- At the community level, other contributing factors begin to emerge, compounding those at the societal level. Isolation of women from support mechanisms, and the lack of safe spaces for women and girls to freely communicate and develop friendships and social networks have been found to contribute to violence and compound its impacts. Community (or social) norms such as those granting men control over female behaviour, acceptance of violence as a way to resolve conflict, notions of masculinity tied to dominance, honour or aggression, and rigid gender roles all contribute to higher risk of violence against women.
The relationship level- At the level of a relationship or family, one of the strongest risk factors for violence is male control over social and economic decision-making. Other factors include justification of male use of violence against women and girls in the family, such as the belief that husbands have the right to physically "discipline” their wives under certain conditions; and placement of individual and family privacy and honour above the safety and wellbeing of girls and women who experience violence. Many of the above (community and relationship level) factors can also be reflected in peer groups and organisational cultures, which also have further contributing factors such as male dominance and gender segregation, higher levels of hostility towards women, peer support for violence, norms of sexual conquest and the denigration of women.
The individual level- Finally, at the individual level, the most consistent predictor of the use of violence among men is their agreement with sexist, patriarchal and/or sexually hostile attitudes. Other contributing factors have been identified relating to age, level of education, and anti-social behaviour .
There are various social causes of crime against women some of them are like as under:
Inferior status of women due to social conditioning. Patriarchal structure of society.
Lack of proper training
Broken homes- The primary roles for women have been marriage and motherhood.Women must marry because an unmarried, separated or divorced status is a stigma.The custom of dowry is still prevalent in Indian marriages. Unwholesome family atmosphere and their mentality also effects the condition of women.
Over crowding in one room and too much interference by the parents & Too stick a discipline & Lack of love of parents.
Drunkenness - Alcohol operates as a situational factor, increasing the likelihood of violence by reducing inhibitions, clouding judgment and impairing an individual's ability to interpret cues. Regular consumption of alcohol by the husband has been strongly associated with poor mental health of women.
Immorality, Cruelty & Addiction to drugs.
Sickness and modern permissive atmosphere etc.
Gender Disparity: is one of the deep rooted cause of violence against women that put women at risk of several forms of violence. Discriminatory gender norms and gender stereotypes results into structural inequality.
Psychiatric Morbidity: Generally refers to the incidence of both physical and psychological deterioration as a result of a mental or psychological condition, generally caused due to the consumption of alcohol.
Sociodemographic factors: Patriarchy has been cited as the main cause of violence against women. Where women have a higher economic status than their husbands and are seen as having sufficient power to change traditional gender roles, risk for violence is high.
Family factors: Exposure to harsh physical discipline during childhood and witnessing the father beating the mother during childhood is a predictor of victimization and perpetration of violence against wife in adulthood.Traditional and cultural practices like dowry, child marriage and sati.
Female genital mutilation: Can lead to death, infertility, and long-term psychological trauma combined with increased physical suffering.
Acid attacks: Acid attacks have emerged as a cheap and readily accessible weapon to disfigure and sometimes kill women and girls for reasons as varied as family feuds, inability to meet dowry demands, and rejection of marriage proposals.
Killing in the name of family honour: In several countries of the world including Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, and India, women are killed to uphold the honour of the family due to varied reasons such as-alleged adultery, premarital relationship (with or without sexual relations), rape, falling in love with a person the family disapproves, which justify a male member of the family to kill the woman concerned.
Early marriages: Early marriage with or without the consent of the girl, constitutes a form of violence as it undermines the health and autonomy of millions of girls.
Judiciary and law enforcement machinery: An insensitive, inefficient, corrupt and unaccountable judicial system and law enforcement machinery fails to deter against various forms of crimes.
Sociocultural factors disfavouring women: Stereotypes of gender roles have continued over the ages.
Lack of education and awareness of rights and duties given by the law and regulations of the land.
Provisions under Indian Penal Code,1860
The global crusade for the decimation of violence against women is a proof to this fact. The changes in the living standards, lifestyle, imbalance in the economic growth, changes in social ethos and meagre concern for the moral values contribute to a vicious outlook towards women due to which there is multiplication in crimes against women. Moreover, such incidents are a matter of grave concern and its structure is absolutely necessary so that the women of India could live with respect, honour, dignity, liberty and peace in an atmosphere free from atrocities, denigration and heinous crimes.There are many legal provisions which punish the culprits committing offences against women. The Indian Penal Code though, provides provisions for women as a victim of many crimes such as murder, robbery, theft, etc. but there are certain crimes which are diametrically characterised against the women known as ‘Offences Against Women’. With the need of the hour, many new socio-economic offences have been enacted accompanied by various amendments in the existing laws with an objective to combat these crimes effectually.
1. Rape- Section 375 to 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with the sexual offences against women. In simple term it can be said that sexual intercourse with a women without her consent is "rape”. Section 375 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 states that- A man is said to commit "rape” if he- penetrates his penis or insert any object or a part of body in to vagina, anus, mouth, urethra of a woman or make her to do so with him or any person; or manipulates any part of body of a women so as to cause penetration in to vagina, anus, mouth, urethra of a woman or make her to do so with him or any person; or applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, mouth, urethra of a woman or make her to do so with him or any person, Under these circumstances,
Firstly– Against her will, Secondly– Without her consent, Thirdly– 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. Fourthly- With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married. Fifthly– With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason 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.
Sixth- With or without her consent, when she is under age of eighteen years, Seventhly- when she is unable to communicate consent.
Exception1- A medical procedure or intervention shall not constitute rape. Exception 2- Sexual intercourse by man with her consent his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape. In Deepak Gulati v. State of Haryana the Court held that intercourse under the promise of marry constitute rape only if from initial stage accused had no intention to keep promise and the intention of the accused was mala fide and that he had clandestine motive.
Section 367 Punishment for rape- Section 367 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 prescribes punishment for the crime. Whoever, except in the cases provided for by sub-section (2), commits rape shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be for life, and shall also be liable to fine. Any person 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. Being a relative, guardian or teacher of, or a person in a position of trust or authority towards the women, commits rape on such woman. Commits rape on a woman knowing her to be pregnant; or on a women incapable of giving consent or is in a position of control or dominance over the women, commits rape on such woman, Commits rape on a woman suffering from a mental or physical disability; or While committing rape causes grievous bodily harm or maims or disfigures or endanger the life of woman; or commits rape repeatedly on the same woman, such person shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
2. Kidnapping-(Section 359, 360, 366) - The term kidnapping refers to two kind of kidnapping under section 359 of the Indian Penal Code which are kidnapping from India and kidnapping from lawful guardianship. Section 363 in The Indian Penal Code prescribed punishment for the kidnapping. Punishment for kidnapping—whoever kidnaps any person from India or from lawful guardianship, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc.— Section 366 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 states that Whoever kidnaps or abducts any woman with intent that she may be compelled, or knowing it to be likely that she will be compelled, to marry any person against her will, or in order that she may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine, and whoever, by means of criminal intimidation as defined in this Code or of abuse of authority or any other method of compulsion shall be punishable as aforesaid.
3. Assault to outrage modesty (Section 354), Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman (Section 509) & Voyeurism (Section 354C) - Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
In Raju Pandurang Mahale v. State of Maharashtra The accused brought the victim to the house of co-accused on a false pretext. They confined her in the house and brought liquor which she was forced to drink. The victim was then disrobed and her nude photographs were taken. The Supreme Court held that the accused was guilty under Section 354, IPC as their acts were affront on the normal sense of feminine decency.
Voyeurism offence came into existence after Nirbhaya Rape Case, 2012. It is mentioned under Section 354C, IPC. The word ‘voyeurism’ means appeasement derived from observing the genital or sexual acts of others usually secretly. This provision is divided in two different parts.
4. Domestic violence (Section 498A) - Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.—Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.
5. Sexual harassment (Section 354A) - According to section 354A of Indian penal code, (1) A man committing any of the following acts- (i) physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures; or (ii) a demand or request for sexual favours; or (iii) showing pornography against the will of a woman; or (iv) making
sexually coloured remarks, shall be guilty of the offence of sexual harassment.
(2) Any man who commits the offence specified in clause (i) or clause (ii) or clause (iii) of sub- section (1) shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
(3) Any man who commits the offence specified in clause (iv) of sub-section (1) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe ( Section 354B)- Any man who assaults or uses criminal force to any woman or abets such act with the intention of disrobing1 or compelling her to be naked, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine. In 2013, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act was enacted to provide protection to women against sexual harassemnt at workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints regarding the matter of sexual harassment or any such incident thereto.
6. Dowry deaths - Section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860 states that, (1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called "dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death. Explanation.—For the purpose of this sub-section, "dowry” shall have the same meaning as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961). Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life. Murder, Dowry death, Abetment of Suicide, etc. (Sections 302, 304B and 306) Cruelty by husband or his relatives (Section 498A).
7. Eve Teasing (Section 509) & Importation of girls upto 21 years of age (Section 366B)- Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code states that Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such
word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
8. Chain snatching (Sec. 378)- Section 378 of The Indian Penal Code deals with the crime of theft. Chain snatching is one of the active crime of theft against the women in the modern society. The women belonging to the old age are most affected group of this crime .Section 378 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 states that whoever, intending to take dishonestly any moveable property out of the possession of any person without that person!s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft.
9. Acid attack (Section 326A, 326B) - Acid attack is one of the most dangerous crime against the women. The younger generation of women are mostly affected by this heinous crime.
(326A) Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid etc. Section 326 states that whoever causes permanent or partial damage or deformity to, or bums or maims or disfigures or disables, any part or parts of the body of a person or causes grievous hurt by throwing acid1 on or by administering acid to that person, or by using any other means with the intention of causing or with the knowledge that he is likely to cause such injury or hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and with fine; Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses of the treatment of the victim; Provided further that any fine imposed under this section shall be paid to the victim.
(326B) Voluntarily throwing or attempt to throw acid- Section 326B states that whoever throws or attempts to throw acid1 on any person or attempts to administer acid to any person, or attempts to use any other means, with the intention of causing permanent or partial damage or deformity or bums or maiming or disfigurement or disability or grievous hurt to that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
10. Stalking (Section 354D) - Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code states that any man who— (i) follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or (ii) monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, commits the offence of stalking; Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued it proves that:
11. Women trafficking (Section 370, 370A, 372 373) - Section 372 in The Indian Penal Code deals with the trafficking of person. (Section 372)Selling minor for purposes of prostitution, etc.—Whoever sells, lets to hire, or otherwise disposes of any person under the age of eighteen years with intent that such person shall at any age be employed or used for the purpose of prostitution or illicit intercourse with any person or for any unlawful and immoral purpose, or knowing it to be likely that such person will at any age be employed or used for any such purpose, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall be liable to fine. Explanation I.—When a female under the age of eighteen years is sold, let for hire, or otherwise disposed of to a prostitute or to any person who keeps or manages a brothel, the person so disposing of such female shall, until the contrary is proved, be presumed to have disposed of her with the intent that she shall be used for the purpose of prostitution.
Section 373 says Buying minor for purposes of prostitution, etc.—Whoever buys, hires or otherwise obtains possession of any person under the age of eighteen years with intent that such person shall at any age be employed or used for the purpose of prostitution or illicit intercourse with any person or for any unlawful and immoral purpose, of knowing it to be likely that such person will at any age be employed or used for any purpose, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. Illicit intercourse” has the same meaning as in section 372.
Measures to prevent crimes against women
States should coordinate all measures across the various branches of national and local government Initiatives to address violence against women should be properly funded and resourced. States should cooperate with civil society organisations to develop and establish good practices to eradicate violence against women. States should ensure education of children and young people and information for the general public promotes gender equality and the eradication of violence against women. To incorporate routine screening of violence into healthcare practise, healthcare professionals!$preparedness to treat such patients needs to be assessed and they should be trained in the maintenance of confidentiality, positive attitudes, and respect for patient’s rights. Gender sensitisation of personnel towards this sensitive issue is another step that needs to be taken to make sure that the law enforcers as well as medical staff – largely men – are more sensitive towards rape victims. States should ensure access to services for victims, such as shelters and hotlines. All professionals - particularly in the health sector and criminal justice sector - should be trained and their performance monitored to ensure that they are providing an effective service to victimsThe media should be encouraged to report on violence against women responsibly and accurately
Criminal law should include the range of forms of violence - including stalking, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, forced abortion and forced sterilisation, as well as physical, psychological and sexual violence. Family and civil law should include protections for victims of violence, for example, access to protection orders, and recognition that parental rights to child contact should not take precedent over the rights and safety of women and child victims of violence. Police should take effective action to ensure immediate risk assessments and protective measures.
State would make rules more strict, so that it can be made as a lesson for others. Proper education and awareness should be provided to students of both genders at home and as well as school. Girls should be taught self defence and should be encouraged to come out if something wrong happens with them at all.
Conclusion & Suggestions
Gender-based violence, especially violent crime like rape, is a multifaceted problem. To address this, it is essential to tackle various other concurrent issues that act as contributing factors and thus play an equally important role. An example for this is the portrayal of women in Indian cinema. This bears evidence to the deep-rooted prejudicial attitudes towards women and other deeper societal issues that are contributory to these crimes. Although the incorporation of stringent laws and stricter punishments are important to deter people from committing such crimes, the solution to this is much more than just promulgation. Though the amendment to criminal law addresses a few of these issues, it still falls short in many aspects. It is important to acknowledge that judicial reform is only one aspect; there is a more humane side to this whole issue. Legal solutions in the form of amendments to improve conviction rates could function as deterrents to such acts. However, in such a scenario health workers could play a key role in applying a gender lens to their work as healthcare providers, researchers and policymakers. In a country with gender discrimination operating at so many levels and in so many ways, bringing about the needed change requires dedicated and combined efforts of multiple agencies. While education and empowerment of women is a larger social process to which public health professionals may not be able to contribute directly, we urge health workers and public health professionals to facilitate improved access, utilisation and coverage of women in the services that we study, plan, implement and evaluate. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers, researchers and public health professionals need to respond to this social predicament individually and engage with this problem in their own families, organisations and communities.
% The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Bare Act)
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