by Shabdita Shrivastav
We have always lived in a male dominated society. Though women are progressing and walking head to head with the men there are certain issues which have made women vulnerable in Public places. And one such issue is EVE-TEASING! What should women do? Should they speak up or stay quite about it? One definitely has to think about stopping this social evil …
Roads, Malls, Buses, Trains you name it! You will find them wherever you go. And these breeds of men are known as ‘EVETEASERS’. These men don’t care about your attire. You wear a saree, or a salwar suit they will still eve tease you. Most of the times the women in such situation feel helpless and don’t do anything about it. One study shows that 35 percent of the eve teasers are anti-socials, 32 percent are students and 33 percent of eve teasers belong to middle age. Large numbers of females in metropolitan cities are carrying deterrents to protect themselves. Many others are taking self-defence classes. Though the judiciary and government are taking stringent actions against eve teasers but statistics do not show any real improvement.
In 2000 the government enacted tougher law to protect the vulnerable women and children of the country from various typical offences. The Prevention of Women and Children Act-2000 came down heavily on the oppressors of the women. In section 10(1), the law defines sexual torture as, ” if a man touches the sexual organ or any other organ of a woman or of a child by any of his organs or by any other objects with a view to fulfilling his illegal sexual desire, such act of the man will be termed as sexual torture”. This definition, in fact, includes the attempt of rape or outraging the modesty of a woman by actual physical contract. The law punishes the offender with rigorous imprisonment of minimum 3 and maximum 10 years and also an indefinite amount of fine.
In section 10(2), the law defines sexual harassment as, “if a man, with a view to fulfilling his illegal sexual desire outrage a woman’s modesty or makes erotic gesture, such act of the man will amount to sexual harassment”. A rigorous imprisonment ranging from 2 to 7 years and additionally an indefinite amount of fine is rewarded for this offence. According to this definition sexual harassment is an offence that is committed by not coming with actual physical contract to the victim.
However, the section 10(2) was abrogated when the law was last amended in 2003. A new provision has been added under section 9(a) of the present law that states, if a woman is forced to commit suicide as a direct consequence of somebody’s wilful dishonour/sexual harassment/assault, then the offender will be liable to a maximum of ten years and a minimum of five years of imprisonment. The amendment actually denied the remedy of sexual harassment of non-contract nature. The new provision though punishes the offender, it will not happen until the victim is dead.
For e.g. The Ruchika Girhotra case. Everyone remembers how because of Eve – teasing and embarrassment she committed suicide. We definitely don’t want such things to continue.The problem with incidents like eve-teasing is that the victims of crime do not report the incident so the criminals hardly get prosecuted. Because of which the eve-teasers think that nobody will punish them hence they continue with it! One should not hesitate and file complain against them. Or else we will never be able to get rid of them.
Firstly we need to reduce the gender discrimination that exists in our society. Children in families both Male and Female should be treated equally. Media needs to play a key role in this case. Awareness about the problem of eve-teasing should be inculcated in schools and colleges. But the main issue is if the males in the society do not change their attitude towards women and continue treating them as ‘suppressed’ nothing can change!