Women Safety in India

Women Safety in India

This article deals with ‘ Women Safety in India .’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here .

Introduction

  • Women safety includes various dimensions like sexual harassment at workplace, rape, marital rape, dowry, acid attack etc.   
  • India is the 4th most dangerous country in the world for woman (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Congo are ahead of India) .

Factors aggravating & affecting women safety

1 . Socio-Economic-Cultural Factors

  • Institutionalisation of Patriarchal System  .
  • Objectification / Commodification  of women  .
  • Influence of “Western culture”.

2 . Institutional Failures

  • Poor enforcement of laws and present laws have various lacunae .
  • Poor conviction rate in crimes against women .
  • Slow criminal justice system .
  • Poor gender sensitization of law enforcing agencies like police, judiciary etc.

3 . Lack of Reporting

  • Women don’t complain due to various reasons like social stigma or fear of retaliation. 

4. Infra Gaps

  • Poorly lit urban spaces coupled with inadequate police patrolling .
  • Note – Not only physical spaces but women is not safe in India even on digital space (Internet)

Justice Verma Committee

It was formed after the horrific event of Nirbhaya death .   

Women Safety in India

Recommendations of the committee

  • It rules out death sentence for rape convicts .
  • Life Imprisonment in case of Rape means imprisonment for entire natural life of convict .
  • Stalking to be viewed as serious offence .
  • Law Enforcement Agencies are Gender Insensitive .
  • Marital Rape should be made offence under IPC  .
  • An officer who doesn’t report a FIR or delays it for a rape case should be punished.

Government schemes in this regard

1 . Acts and legal measures

  • Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace Act 2013 .
  • Various provisions under IPC .
  • States also have specific laws. Some states like Maharashtra have amended their laws making their provisions more stringent. Under the new Shakti Act, 2020, provisions include death penalty for rape, fine up to Rs 10 lakh on perpetrators of violence, investigation  to be completed within 15 days after an FIR is filed , trial has to be completed within 30 days after the chargesheet is filed against an accused.

2 . Surakshit Nari , Sashakt Nari

Following things have been done under this scheme

  • Panic Button has been introduced  in the Mobiles   .
  • 181 – Universal Women Helpline number has been started  .
  • Himmat App : To raise SOS alert has been started . 
  • CCTV Surveillance cameras have been installed in trains  .

3. Sakhi- One Stop Centre Scheme

  • It provides support women affected from violence .
  • Scheme offers Medical Aid , Police Assistance, Legal Aid , Counselling and shelters .

4 . Transportation Schemes

  • Pink Auto initiative of  Odisha: pink autos drivers have undergone psychological test and training.
  • Delhi : Women compartment in Metro .

Side Topic : Sex Offenders Registry 

In 2018 , India has joined the 8 countries that maintain Sex Offenders Registry

  • It will be maintained by NCRB
  • It will contain Residential Address,  Fingerprints, DNA Sample, PAN & Aadhar Number of convicted sexual offenders .
  • Database will not be available to public (unlike US) .

Benefits

  • Instil  fear in the minds of repeat sexual offenders 
  • It will be very beneficial and handy for the law enforcement agencies also.

Criticism

  • This could prove counterproductive . Reason = Out of the 39,000 cases of rape , in nearly 95% cases, the accused was known to the victim and was close family member. In such a scenario when there is already pressure on the victim to not report the crime from within the family, this will make the victim more vulnerable to pressure given the prospect that once the name comes in the registry , person will have limited access to jobs .
  • Issue of Technical Rape : Registry will also contain name of persons accused of TECHNICAL RAPE – a term used by law enforcement to describe consensual sexual activity involving a girl under 18.
  • Studies on similar initiatives in US and UK shows that such registries have virtually no effect on reducing crime .

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