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Dec 20, 2015

#KnowYourRights campaign


Our Indian society, its cultural norms and attitude per say has always reflected the patriarchal thought process. Sometimes I think it is a sheer oxymoron that we personify the Indian nation as a female while the societal hierarchy system is predominantly male. However, I would definitely agree with current chorus that the Indian society imbalance is changing. But the larger question is, has that anyway changed the thinking of general mass? It could be “yes” and “no” at the same time.


The progressively changing dynamics of male-female balance of our Indian society has promoted women from the four walls of their houses to schools, colleges, universities, offices, and even space. However, the dark, naked truth of female-violence, particularly sexual violence, continues to thrive large in our society. Previously it was limited to the houses alone. Now, it has moved to every area where women have tried to make a mark for themselves. Infact, it has taken inhumane turns in not sparing the kids. So, it is ever more important to #KnowYourRights and report the slightest of such incidents to safeguard oneself.

Ignorance can be bliss in any situation but this. In most of the cases, women are unaware of their rights and the criminal laws enlisted against acts of sexual-violence. So many females in our country go through the torture of sexual violence daily, without even reporting it. As per the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 offences like acid attack or attempt to acid attack, voyeurism, stalking and even uncourteous physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct which is sexual in nature is brought under the umbrella of sexual-violence and punishable. When the government is taking action to make laws against sexual violence stringent, it is imperative that the citizens know about it. This knowledge would push survivors of sexual-violence come forward and register cases against the unlawful hooligans. No law is effective until it is used rightfully.

There are infinite reasons why an unlawful act as grave as sexual violence should be reported, registered, judged, and sentenced. Such a horrendous act is violation of an individual’s fundamental right to life. Every citizen; man or woman, has the right to live in dignity without encroaching the freedom of another. An act of sexual violence on a woman violates this basic right in totality. It is a criminal punishable law under the Indian Penal code. Hence, the guilty has to take responsibility for such criminal conduct and bear the consequences. This is possible only when we encourage survivors of sexual-violence to report upfront.

It is important to lodge a first information report (FIR) as soon as possible in cases of sexual violence. The FIR is the first piece of information after the incident and helps the investigating officers in capturing crucial evidences (including medical reports) immediately. A time lapse in reporting only boosts the perpetrator’s confidence. In many cases, a delayed FIR has proved detrimental during the course of the case if not invalid. Therefore, in any such case of sexual violence family and friends should encourage the female to report without fear, instantly. With humankind’s ugly nature turning uglier, FIR becomes a vital first step in cases involving minors who barely understand the gruesome act. Parents and teachers should take care to teach the kids to comprehend such forceful activities if it occurs and inform them soon.

Sexual violence in any form, even if it is lecherous verbal abuse should be reported without a doubt. The decision to report is a difficult one for sure. Often the sufferers prefer silence to reporting. It could be due to fear of death or acceptance by society, shame, disbelief in the laws or to avoid repeated mental trauma. However, if the society, law enforcement system, police, and family can come together and stand in support of the sufferers they will feel safe in reporting such crimes. The guilty should be imprisoned and the sufferer freed from those judgemental looks. It is then and only then, the survivors of sexual violence will be encouraged to report. It is about time that the taboo around sexual violence is broken forever.

I’m writing this blog post to support Amnesty International’s #KnowYourRights campaign at BlogAdda. You can also contribute to the cause by donating or spreading the word.



Image Credits - Blogadda
Article © Copyright Salvwi Prasad
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