In this article we bring to you all that you need to know about Women Safety in India.

Negative arguments

  • Women in India-a better half of Indian society, today, are becoming the most vulnerable section as far as their safety and security is concerned. When we turn the pages of a newspaper, we come across many headlines reporting cases of sexual assault, molestation, sexual harassment, rapes, trafficking, ill treatment of women in houses, violence against women in remote areas etc. What does this indicate? This certainly implies that there has been an increasing trend of such sexual overdrives in present generation.
  • Every single day single women, young girls, mothers and women from all walks of life are being assaulted, molested, and violated. The streets, public transport, public spaces in particular have become the territory of the hunters. While the ones already hunted down weep in silence or in disdain, the rest fight their way to a basic life with dignity.

Statistics revelations

  • Officials from NGOs working with women state almost every single day, a young girl is being trafficked (sold) into flesh trade. Most of the times, her parents sell her off.
  • Officials from Stop Acid Attacks say there are reported cases of acid attacks on the streets two or three times a week.
  • Every 20 minutes a woman is raped in India.
  • We don’t need to look at statistics to confront the horrid truth. News stories of women from all over India being raped, beaten, killed are flashed across us day after day – and we all are aware of it. The fatal Nirbhaya gang-rape saw an outpouring on the streets of Delhi – protests decrying the fragile status of women in India. Candle light marches, editorials examining the patriarchal and sexist traditions of our country, an awakening on social media – even conversations on streets revolve around the night they cannot forget: the night that took Nirbhaya.
  • India has been a land following various social customs, traditions and certain sets of religious beliefs. These customs has a deep rooted place in the core of our minds and hearts of every people of India which has defined our lifestyle, our thoughts, our expressions and our beliefs be it man or a woman. This has given to the males, the feeling of masculinity in every aspect of their acts and thoughts. Indian males have thus perceived themselves as physically, mentally superior than their counterparts. Indian women also have accepted to treat their males as superior.
  • Parents prefer male child over female. In every aspect of the life, women are denied or given less preference over male whether it is for giving education or access to health care. They are always required to be within their limitations and the male counterparts have freedom in this regard. This system thus gives a feeling in male that they are superior and hence dominate over women. This instills in male a sense of hatred against women if they see a woman crossing their limitations.
  • Women are getting affected by the various violence almost every day which is disrupting the society. Women are being victims of violence at huge level day by day because of increasing crimes against women (according to the report of Crime Record Bureau of the Central Home Ministry). Woman is getting kidnapped at every 44 minutes, raped at every 47 minutes, 17 dowry deaths every day, etc. They may face violence within the family (dowry related harassment, death, marital rape, wife-battering, sexual abuse, deprivation of healthy food, female genital mutilation, etc) or outside the family (kidnapping, rape, murder, etc).
  • Although the increasing number of reporting and cases being registered should be seen as a positive sign, yet the widely anticipated systemic changes have been missing and, unfortunately, the hope is slowly fading away.
  • No doubt, some key amendments have been done to update the criminal laws dealing with serious crimes against women, but the implementation of these laws still remains a major cause of worry.
  • It is important to bear in mind that, the fear of law for those indulging in heinous crimes against women will only be there if these are strictly enforced; otherwise all efforts will be merely cosmetic.
  • Other important lessons which should have been learnt still remain on paper. The society has to learn to treat rape victims with respect and they should not be subjected to any harassment.
  • Institutions in India do not offer enough support for women who want to report on crimes. We are guided by weak laws, and women are not given enough support in their family to come out and talk about it. So, women face the worst of both worlds.
  • Sometimes standing up for themselves become more gruesome and embarrassing for women due to the callous treatment given to them by family, society and guardian of law 

Positive arguments

  • Wthin a year since the death of the young paramedic Nirbhaya, there was a 125% jump in the number of rape cases in Delhi. Molestation cases are up a massive 417%. However according to official sources, the rise in rape cases and molestation in Delhi is because more and more cases are being reported and registered.
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill-2013 was brought against the backdrop of the country-wide outrage over Delhi gang-rape, and it was named the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. The law, passed by Lok Sabha on March 19, 2013 and by Rajya Sabha on March 21, 2013 replaced an Ordinance promulgated on February 3.
  • The Centre also amended various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

Changes since 16 December 2012 in Delhi

  • Delhi Police have set up women help desks at police stations which are functional round-the-clock.
  • A Crime Against Women Cell has been established for redressal of complaints and grievances of women in distress. An all-women police mobile team has been made functional round-the-clock.
  • Orders have been issued to ensure immediate registration of FIRs in cases of crime against women and efforts are made to file charge sheet against the accused within three months.
  • Patrolling has been increased, especially at night and on routes taken by BPO vehicles ferrying women. 24-hour police cover has also been ensured around entertainment hubs like malls and cinema halls with heightened vigil from 8 PM to 1 AM.
  • A woman can also dial 100 and get dropped home at night by a PCR van if she is stranded somewhere. The police also involved the community to ensure security and self-defence training was provided to hundreds of women.
  • A ‘Parivartan’ scheme was also launched in order to create awareness in schools, localities and police stations, sending women police personnel to patrol the neighbouring areas.
  • Such steps are being taken in every state to address the issue of women safety

Way Ahead

  • There is an urgent need to set up one-stop centres to end the agony of victims who manage to reach a hospital after being subjected to sexual assault of any kind. It should be made mandatory for all hospitals to have such a centre with all encompassing protocol for the provision of medical, legal, and rehabilitative services for the victim.
  • A lady police officer, a lady doctor, a woman counsellor, a trained nurse, a forensic expert and a designated judicial magistrate will be required to attend to the victim and PCR vans have to be directed to take victims to the nearest hospital with such a centre to save the life and dignity of victims.
  • The women and child development ministry had proposed a new programme to be funded from the Nirbhaya Fund, called Shubh, for vulnerable mapping of areas and categories of women who needed protection. This should be executed as soon as possible.
  • Other important issues like inclusion of gender sensitisation in the schools syllabi and awareness in the society to treat women as equals and with respect seem to remain topics of debate, but if the lawmakers are serious in addressing the issue, then certainly a lot more needs to be done.

Anti-rape legislation

With an aim of providing a strong deterrent against crimes like rapes, the new law stated that an offender can be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 20 years, but which may extend to life, meaning imprisonment for the remainder of the convict’s natural life and with a fine.
It has provisions for handing out death sentence to offenders who may have been convicted earlier for such crimes. The law, for the first time, defines stalking and voyeurism as non-bailable offences if repeated for a second time. Perpetrators of acid attack will get a 10-year jail term.

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