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Women Safety in India
This article deals with ‘ Women Safety in India .’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.
- Women’s Safety includes various dimensions like sexual harassment in the workplace, rape, marital rape, dowry, acid attack etc.
- India is the 4th most dangerous country in the world for women (Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Congo are ahead of India).
- NCRB data (2019) shows that 88 rape cases are recorded daily in India.
Factors aggravating & affecting women safety
1 . Socio-Economic-Cultural Factors
- Patriarchal nature of society: Due to the patriarchal nature of Indian society, women are considered inferior to men leading to gender-based crimes like rape, domestic violence, workplace harassment etc. Furthermore, patriarchal attitudes also create barriers for women seeking help and support.
- Objectification / Commodification of women: In Indian society, women are viewed as objects to be used for men’s pleasure. It leads to a disregard for their rights and safety.
- Influence of “Western culture”: The encroachment of Western values like consumerism and hedonism has changed social norms as Indians have started prioritizing personal pleasure and self-gratification over the welfare of others.
2 . Institutional Failures
- Poor enforcement of laws and present laws have various lacunae.
- The poor conviction rate in crimes against women.
- Slow criminal justice system
- Inadequate gender sensitization of law enforcing agencies like police, judiciary etc.
3 . Lack of Reporting
- Women don’t complain due to various reasons like women are afraid to speak out, lack of faith in the legal system, family pressure to keep quiet, complex and lengthy legal process etc.
4. Infra Gaps
- Poorly lit urban spaces and inadequate police patrolling make it easy for criminals to hide and carry out their nefarious activities. Due to this, women who go out in the evening are more likely to become victims of crimes, such as sexual assault and molestation.
Note – Not only in physical spaces, but women are not safe in India, even in digital spaces (Internet).
Justice Verma Committee
Justice Verma Committee was formed after the horrific event of Nirbhaya’s death.
Recommendations of the committee
- It rules out the death sentence for rape convicts.
- Life Imprisonment in the case of rape should mean imprisonment for the entire natural life of the convict.
- Stalking is to be viewed as a serious offence.
- It observed that Law Enforcement Agencies are gender insensitive. Hence, an officer who doesn’t report an FIR or delays it for a rape case should be punished.
- Marital rape should be made an offence under IPC.
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 statutes making their provisions more stringent. Under the new Shakti Act 2020, provisions include the death penalty for rape, a fine up to Rs 10 lakh on perpetrators of violence, an investigation to be completed within 15 days after an FIR is filed, the trial has to be completed within 30 days after the chargesheet is filed against an accused.
2 . Surakshit Nari , Sashakt Nari
The following things have been done under this scheme
- Panic Button has been introduced in 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 to women affected by 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 tests and training.
- Delhi: Special women’s compartment in Metro.