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Last Updated: Jan 10, 2023

Five Laws Every Woman Must Be Aware Of!

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Dr. Pallavee WaliaPsychologist • 11 Years Exp.PhD Clinical Psychology, Post graduate diploma in Rehabilitation Psychology, Internship Certificate in REBT/ CBT, certificate in guidance, M A Clinical Psychology
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Most of the developed countries of the world have witnessed a massive shift in both the attitudes and inherent thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation.

Women in the west are more secure, liberated and aware to fight the oppression or injustice at any given point of time.

However, in developing countries like India, women are still struggling to get equal rights. It is very painful to witness that in 2018 when the world is moving towards an economic and technological revolution, we are still struggling for equal rights. It is depressing to see that the women in India continue to be ill-treated, oppressed and exploited.

In the context, it’s imperative women are aware of their rights under the law.

I present a list of five laws that you must know of, so that the right action is taken, at the right time.

1. Stalking is punishable. Don’t avoid it, report it.

In one of the many aftermaths of the Nirbhaya case, stalking was added as an offense as section 354d of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) under criminal law (amendment) act, 2013. In a shocking state of affairs, after this ordinance came into effect, as many as 203 men were arrested and 259 cases were registered in the first six months of the enactment of the law, according to a report by Times of India. However, even these numbers are far away from reality.

Stalking is, unfortunately, not given enough attention in India, because of the casual attitude of the society and women getting uncomfortably used to it. “getting-used-to” stems from the idea of self-preservation or being taught, if not actively, to not retaliate in case of any danger.

Stalking is strictly censured as per the criminal law (amendment) act, 2013. Section 354d enables the state to take legal action against the offender.

Even after the law is in place, why do you think the women are not reporting incidents of stalking?

Most women are either intimidated by the stigma of reporting, or by the casual attitude of police officials, who most of the time dismiss such cases as trivial.

If you are being stalked, you can report the crime through an online application to the national commission for women (NCW). Once the ncw is intimated about it, they will take up the case with the police. You can visit the website of NCW. If you are being stalked, and need immediate assistance, you can also dial 1096 or 0111-23219750.

2 Lodge an fir - don’t worry about the jurisdiction

You can only register an fir in the police station of your own jurisdiction or where the crime has been committed. This is one of the primary reasons why police officers often refuse to lodge a fir and ask you to visit a different police station. It often leads to the aggrieved individuals being stressed, frustrated and eventually giving up on even filing the complaint.

But, if you are a woman who seeks to file a complaint, you can file a zero fir. It came as an after effect of Nirbhaya rape case with an intention to initiate the investigation or an action by the police officials without taking the place of crime into account.

3. Sexual harassment at the workplace is not acceptable, report it

As per a recent survey of 6, 074 participants (both male and female) conducted by the indian national bar association, around 38 percent of respondents confessed to being sexually harassed at their workplace. The same report reveals that around 69 percent of respondents decided against complaining to the management.

In addition, 65 percent of the participants revealed that most of the companies did not follow the procedure prescribed under sexual harassment (prevention, prohibition, and redressal) act, 2013 (‘the sh act’).

Sexual harassment at the workplace is more common than it may seem. However, as a woman it is your primary duty to know your rights, keep yourself updated and complain in case of any discomfort. 

4. If you are married that does not mean you can be abused

One of the major stigmas associated with the Indian society is, “irrespective of what happens, the marriage shouldn’t break.” this idea has been glorified in various Bollywood movies, speeches of various politicians and protectors of religion and culture. These ideas are so deeply embedded in the mindset of a majority of women that they often suffer domestic violence without raising a voice.

This situation gives a huge boost to the individuals who demand dowry or subject their wives, daughters-in-law or newly married women to domestic abuse. 
A report revealed that from 2005-2015, 88, 467 women (on an average of 22 women each day) died due to dowry-related cases. In 2015 alone, 7, 634 women were killed over dowry. This situation is worrisome.

Section 498a of the IPC aggressively condemns dowry death. In addition, section 3 and 4 of the prohibition of dowry act, 1961 not only provide for penalty for giving or taking dowry but also for demanding dowry.

The fir once registered makes it a non-bailable offense in order to ensure that a woman’s safety is not put under question and further abuse can be avoided. Any abuse, be it physical, verbal, economic or sexual is covered under section 498a.

5. No one can upload your pictures/videos without your consent

Call it fortunate or unfortunate, but we are living in a world of technology, where the internet has connected thousands of individuals under one umbrella, and cell phones are easily accessible and a mobile camera is in everyone’s pocket.

With the kind of technology available, it is not uncommon to find nude or smutty pictures, indecent videos shared through WhatsApp becoming the biggest nightmare of women. You can easily find changing room videos or maybe the most intimate moment between a couple doing rounds on the internet. As per a report by the news minute, the transmission of obscene content in electronic form witnessed a sudden explosion in the number of registered cases with a 104.2 percent increase from the year 2012 to 2013. The real number could be higher as many victims do not come forward due to fear or embarrassment.

What are the remedies available in such a case?

The first priority is obviously to have the videos or images removed from the portal. You must know that Google has the policy of removing revenge porn or pictures/videos shared without the consent of the victim. You need to directly approach the website that has published your pictures or videos. These websites are subject to laws and are obliged to comply with them. Extorting money for removing the content is equally illegal. You can also opt to get an injunction order from the court so that the images/videos cannot be circulated further.

Section 67 and 66e of the information technology act (it act), deal with punishment for violation of privacy and explicitly forbids capturing, publishing or transmitting the image of a private area of any person without his or her consent. Section 354c of the criminal law (amendment) act 2013, also known as the ‘’voyeurism section’’, criminalizes capturing and sharing images of a woman during a private act.

All you need to do is be bold and go ahead with the complaint. Be assured that the content will be taken down. Rest assured, the law will back you.

In the end, all I can tell you is: I see my mother, sisters, and friends and keep wondering how difficult it might be to be a woman. These challenges can be easily avoided with knowledge, awareness and a little courage.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!

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