In India, the Harassment of women has increased rapidly in the past few years. Uttar Pradesh is the highest state to record of 5830 cases of sexual harassment. Madhya Pradesh is the second highest state with 2985 cases. Maharashtra is the third highest state to record 2910 cases of sexual harassment. In 2017, Delhi is the highest recorded state of sexual harassment cases in India followed by Mumbai and Kanpur. Telangana recorded the most cases of sexual harassment in the workplace. Bihar recorded the most cases of sexual harassment on public transport.
When someone is abusing, insulting, or harming you on a repetitive basis, it is called "harassment". Harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of people which can be offensive. In legal terms, these behaviors are disturbing, threatening, and upsetting. Harassment is unwanted behavior that makes a person feel uncomfortable. Humiliated and mentally distressed. Harassment can be verbal, physical, and mental. When these behaviors are repetitive it becomes Bullying. In school, harassment is often called Bullying. In the workplace, sexual harassment is common hence employees need to be careful. Sex-related offenses are universal. Sexual harassment sometimes damages the mentally and physically. The impact of the mental health of harassment on victims is also a serious issue. Rape, molestation, kidnapping, and trafficking of girls are sex offenses against women in India.
Types of harassment
1. Sexual harassment
Request for sexual favor, verbal, and physical harassment of sexual nature is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can happen to anyone, men, women, and kids. It can happen at any place which can be public transport, home, school, college, or workplace sexual harassment does not need to be sexual. It can be intimidating, teasing, or offensive comments based on stereotypes. Bullying a person based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Sexual harassment can be in form of making unwanted sexual requests or favor. Making inappropriate comments on someone's body. Making fun of a gay, lesbian or transgender person. Sharing sexual photos or videos, posting sexual posters, sexual touching, and sexual gesture.
2. Workplace harassment
Workplace harassment can take any form. It can happen to co-workers, clients, customers, or employers. Women have to be very careful in the workplace. If the harasser is an employer, then women are afraid to say "NO" this can impact their job, and they may lose their job. No response to harassment increases the cases of harassment.
3. Mental harassment
The majority of people believed that harassment in the workplace can only be sexual. It can be mental harassment also. Repetitive abuse, torture, unwanted words, or action that are painful, hurtful, or annoying is mental harassment. Mental harassment has a serious impact on the victim. There are various forms of mental harassment which can be, constant abuse of a person and can impact the mental health of the person. Cheating by a spouse is considered mental harassment. In India, mental torture is a ground for divorce.
4. Online harassment
In the pandemic, many people started using the internet. Nowadays people have easy access to the internet which leads to increasing cybercrime rates. Online harassment can be in form of verbal, sexual, social, or emotional abuse through the mode of social media platforms. The victim can be a person, an organization, or a group of people. There are 4 common types of online harassment which are cyberstalking, catfishing, pornography, and trolling. Online harassment has a serious impact on the mental health of the victim. Blackmailing or leaking private photos of women can make a large impact on the victims.
Sections and legal remedies to harassment
•Section 294, obscene act or singing an obscene song in a public place.
•Sexual harassment is punishable under Section 354A.
•Sexual harassment of women in the workplace Act protect women from sexual harassment in the workplace. And provide legal measures to fight sexual harassment.
Every organization or workplace who has 10 or more employees working is bound to set up an integral grievance redressal committee and if the same is not followed then the organization will be liable to pay a fine of Rs.50000 and if found committing the same will be liable for twice punishment.
• Mental harassment of married women is punishable under section 498A of Indian penal code 1860 which is imprisonment for three years and a fine.
•Online harassment of women is punishable under section 503, section 509, and section 354A of the Indian penal code deals with harassment as well as section 295A and 67A of the information technology Act 2000.
Types of sex offenses
Rape is the fourth most common crime in India. In 2019, according to the national crime bureau, 32033 cases were registered in India, and the average number of cases per day was 88. A man is said to commit "Rape" if (a)he penetrates his penis to any extent, into the vagiba, urethra, or mouth. (b)Or any other object or body part into the vagina. (c) or applies his mouth to the vagina or any other body part of the woman. (d) or when he manipulates any part of a woman's body that results in penetration into the vagina. When these acts happened with any person with her consent or without her consent is called "Rape".
"Delhi gang rape case"
On 16the December 2012, A gang-raped of 23 years old student in Delhi. She was with her male friend when the incident took place. They both were beaten up by offenders with a rod. The same rod was used to penetrate the victim resulting in the removal of the intestine thirteen days before the death of the victim.
Unlawful detention of a person against his will is said to be a Kidnapping offense under section 359 and section 360 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
"Renuka @Rinku @Ratan Kiran Shinde v. the State of Maharashtra"
Appellants have kidnapped several children and killed them in a heinous manner. In some cases, bodies have been found and in some cases, bodies could not be traced out. Renuka Shinde and Seema Gavit were both sisters who kidnapped 13 children and killed 5 of them from the year 1990 to 1996. They were given the death sentence in the year 2001 by the session court. They took it very casually and were least bothered about children's life.
3. Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is one of the most distressing crimes faced by many countries. Trafficking means the recruiting, transferring, and transportation of people through force, deception, and fraud. And exploit them to gain profit. Human trafficking is the second highest organization crime. Many people are involved in human trafficking, by forcing people or kidnapping them in the first process of trafficking, sending them to a different location to use them for begging and prostitution. Women are mostly used for prostitution; minor girls are the victim of human trafficking many times. Around 700 to 800 minor girls are stuck in the red-light area of Nagpur. Maharashtra state has the highest number of cases of human trafficking in India. In India, every hour four girls enter into prostitution, three of them against their will.
4. Sexual violence by an intimate partner
Sexual violence by an intimate partner often starts with controlling behavior that can further lead to sexual, mental, and physical abuse. Warning signs of an abusive partner can be an attempt to cut off from friends and family or destroy your property. Force sex and marital rape are a form of sexual violence by an intimate partner. In the state of Uttar Pradesh 6000 men, 7% reported having sexually and physically abused their wives. 70% of women are victims of physical and sexual violence by an intimate partner in India.
5. Force prostitution
Forced prostitution is when young children are forced to enter into prostitution due to various factors. In India, prostitution is legal but forced prostitution is illegal. Minor girls are the victim of forced prostitution. Sometimes their parents sell them to the person for the seek of money or they force minor girls to enter into prostitution for easy money. Metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Delhi are the main players in the prostitution industry. According to a report, in 2016, 2300 cases were filed of immoral traffic and about 100 victims were men. It is estimated that more than 110 women have been abducted for forced prostitution.
Section and legal remedies to sex offenses
• force prostitution is punishable under section 372 of the Indian Penal Code of ten years of Imprisonment to the person selling minors for prostitution. Section 373 of the Indian penal awards ten years of Imprisonment to the person buying minors for prostitution. force prostitution is punishable under section 2(f) of the immoral trafficking Act 1956.
•Punishment for rape under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code. Except in some cases, provided in section 376(2) punishment will be rigorous imprisonment which is not less than 7 years, which may extend to life imprisonment and a fine.
• kidnapping is punishable under section 359 to section 369 of the Indian penal code which is imprisonment for specific years, it can extend to seven years of imprisonment and a fine.
• human trafficking is punishable under sections 370 and 370A.
Prevention of Harassment and sex offenses is possible by educating children about harassment. Teach students how to deal with harassment at any level. Educate parents to deal with children who are victims of harassment. Seminars and webinars can educate about harassment and the prevention of harassment and sex offenses. Government can make the law tougher for harassment and sex offenses. Government can organize campaigns to educate about harassment.
Harassment and sex offenses have become common crimes in India. All of us need to take measures to prevent harassment because the impact of harassment on the victim is serious.
This article is written by Anjali Ravindra More of NEW LAW COLLEGE, MUMBAI.