Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or below the legal age of consent.
Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. According to the National Crime Records Bureau 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. Out of these, 24,470 were committed by someone known to the victim (98% of the cases).
According to 2012 statistics, New Delhi has the highest raw number of rape reports among Indian cities, while Jabalpur has the highest per capita rate of rape reports. Several rape cases in India received widespread media attention and triggered protests since 2012. This led the Government of India to reform its penal code for crimes of rape and sexual assault.One of the root problems that stimulate rape is the low amount of private toilets. Hence, to relieve themselves, women (and men) need to use public toilets. These toilets are often frequented by sexual predators who lie and wait until they see an opportunity to rape a woman not accompanied by a friend
Indian law was expanded in 2013 to consider rape as any acts like penetration by penis, or any object or any part of body to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or making her to do so with another person or applying of mouth to sexual organs without the consent or will of the woman constitutes the offence of rape.
The section has also clarified that penetration means "penetration to any extent", and lack of physical resistance is immaterial for constituting an offence. Except in certain aggravated situation the punishment will be imprisonment not less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. In aggravated situations, punishment will be rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
Section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Indian law lays down certain provisions for medical examination of the accused. Section 164A of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the medical examination of the victim.
The revised statutes of 2013 Indian law, in section 376A, mandates minimum punishment in certain cases. For instance, if the sexual assault inflicts an injury which causes death or causes the victim to be in a persistent vegetative state, then the convicted rapist must be sentenced with rigorous imprisonment of at least twenty years and up to the remainder of the natural life or with a death penalty." In the case of "gang rape", the same mandatory sentencing is now required by law. The convicted is also required to pay compensation to the victim which shall be reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim, and per Section 357 B in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Death penalty for the most extreme rape cases is specified.
The 2013 law also increased the age of consent from 16 years to 18 years, and any sexual activity with anyone less than age of 18, irrespective of consent, now constitutes statutory rape.
The new law has made it mandatory for all government and privately run hospitals in India to give free first aid and medical treatment to victims of rape.
On 3 November 2015 the Allahabad High Court observed that a child born out of rape will have inheritance rights over the property of the assaulter and will be treated as illegitimate, however if the child is taken for adoption then he/she will not have any rights on the property of the biological father.
Sexual Harassment At Workplace
Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual behaviour,which could be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. It can be physical, verbal or written.
Sexual harassment is covered in the workplace when it happens:
- at work
- at work-related events
- between people sharing the same workplace
- between colleagues outside of work.
- Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Very generally, “sexual harassment” describes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Title VII is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, race, colour, national origin, and religion, and it applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments.
- Even with Title VII’s protections, many people across the country still face sexual harassment in their workplaces. This page offers basic information about sexual harassment and guidelines for next steps if you believe you may be experiencing sexual harassment at work.
Criminal Proceedings / Disciplinary action:
- Where such conduct amounts to a specific offence under the Indian Penal Code or under any other law, the employer shall initiate appropriate action in accordance with law by making a complaint with the appropriate authority.In particular, it should ensure that victims or witnesses are not victimized or discriminated against while dealing with complaints of sexual harassment. The victims of sexual harassment should have the option to seek transfer of the perpetrator or their own transfer.
Where such conduct amounts to misconduct in employment as defined by the relevant service rules, appropriate disciplinary action should be initiated by the employer in accordance with those rules.
Complaint Procedure Must Be Time Bound:
Confidentiality of the complaint procedure has to be maintained.
Complainants or witnesses should not be victimized or discriminated against while dealing with complaints.
The Complaints Committee must take an annual report to the Government department concerned of the complaints and action taken by them.
The employers and person in charge will also report on the compliance with the aforesaid guidelines including on the reports of the Complaints Committee to the Government department.
Section 354, IPC deals with assault or criminal force to a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty and lays down that:
- Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine or both.
Section 509, IPC deals with word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman and lays down that:
Whoever intending to insult the modesty of any woman utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or both. (Cognizable and bailable offences).
- Civil suit can be filed for damages under tort laws. That is, the basis for filing the case would be mental anguish, physical harassment, loss of income and employment caused by the sexual harassment.
Under the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act (1987) if an individual harasses another with books, photographs, paintings, films, pamphlets, packages, etc. containing "indecent representation of women"; they are liable for a minimum sentence of 2 years. Further section 7 (Offenses by Companies) holds companies where there has been "indecent representation of women" (such as the display of pornography) on the premisesguilty of offenses under this act, with a minimum sentence of 2 years.