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Evidentiary Challenges In Gender Based Violence

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a pervasive global issue with severe consequences for victims and society at large. This research explores the intricate web of evidentiary challenges associated with GBV cases within legal frameworks. From issues of victim credibility to the complexities of collecting and presenting evidence, this study scrutinizes the hurdles that hinder effective prosecution and justice delivery.

Drawing on case studies and legal analyses, the research aims to delineate the multifaceted nature of evidentiary challenges in GBV, offering insights for legal practitioners, policymakers, and advocates seeking to strengthen the judicial response to this critical societal concern.

Literature Review
The consequences of gender-based violence (GBV) on mental well-being are significant, with victims frequently experiencing conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recognizing the impact of GBV on mental health is important for implementing support services and improving trauma awareness interventions.

The onset of the digital age has ushered in new facets in our lives, including the issue of gender-based violence (GBV). Studies by Henry and Powell (2018) and Moreno et al. (2011) revealed the various consequences of online bullying, cyber stalking, and unauthorized distribution of high-quality images. As technology continues to advance, addressing GBV in the virtual space becomes increasingly important and requires creative protection mechanisms and legal frameworks.

Gender-based violence, defined by the United Nations in 1993, includes acts that cause physical, sexual or psychological harm affecting females and males. due to gender inequality. This affects women by considering and supporting their subordinate rights, but can also harm men who violate gender norms. Women may also act this way to establish authority over others.

This is called gender violence and we could easily use the word "violence" instead because it highlights violence against the same people clearly due to gender, showing its connection to social norms, Gender connection Power imbalances and expectations. This term is used to refer to gender and diversity as a cause of violence, rather than seeing it as an isolated or widespread phenomenon.

According to article 1 of UN General Assembly Declaration[1], the term "Violence against women" refers to any form of gender-based violence leading to, or with the potential to cause, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or distress to women. This includes the threat of such acts, coercion, or unjust restriction of freedom, whether in public or private settings.

Instances of gender-based violence manifest in our society through diverse forms:
  • Violence against Persons with Disabilities:
    Individuals with disabilities, encompassing all age cohorts, confront social discrimination and gender-based violence.
  • Violence against Transgender Individuals:
    Despite notable judicial pronouncements upholding transgender rights in India, this demographic contends with inhumane practices such as coerced sterilization, matrimonial constraints, and a deficiency of social acceptance in our evolving societal framework.
  • Violence inflicted upon Women:
    Gender-based acts of harm directed at women represent a substantial menace for one out of every three women, regardless of age, complexion, faith, education, financial status, or societal standing. Women grapple with these challenges in varied contexts, encompassing their households, public spaces, and workplaces.
  • Violence against Infants and Girls:
    In India, cultural norms occasionally yield preferential treatment for boys over girls across diverse spheres of life. This predisposition may culminate in the prenatal termination of female infants and, in some instances, the deliberate harm or demise of girl children post-birth.

Forms of violence that can be referred to or classified as GBV:
  • Physical
  • Verbal
  • Psychological
  • Sexual
  • Economic
  • Domestic Violence

Physical Form
Force resulting in bodily harm, injury, or impairment, specifically targeting individuals based on their gender. This form of violence is characterized by actions intended to cause pain, instill fear, or induce suffering. Physical violence often takes place within the confines of homes or intimate relationships. Abusers may exert control through actions such as hitting, slapping, punching, or other forms of physical harm against the victims.

Assaults, harassment, and attacks motivated by gender-based motives contribute to this form of violence .During times of armed conflict, women and other marginalized gender identities may become targets of physical violence. Detrimental cultural practices, traditions, such as the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) or honor killings, involve physical violence against women as a way to enforce perceived norms or maintain family honor. In institutional settings like schools, workplaces, or detention centers, physical violence, including bullying, sexual harassment, or assault, may be perpetrated based on gender.

Verbal Form
Verbal violence within the realm of GBV pertains to the utilization of language, communication, or verbal expressions to cause harm, humiliation, or fear, specifically based on an individual's gender. Verbal GBV encompasses a spectrum of behaviors that can inflict emotional and psychological harm.

Using offensive or demeaning language with the intent to belittle, insult, or degrade an individual on the basis of their gender. Articulating intentions to cause harm or instill fear, often as a means of controlling or manipulating individuals based on their gender.

Consistent and unwelcome verbal conduct leading to distress, discomfort, or fear, encompassing unwanted comments, advances, or solicitations. Utilizing digital platforms for engaging in verbal harassment, threats, or cyberbullying with a focus on gender-based targeting. M

Psychological Form
Psychological violence, or emotional abuse, within the realm of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), employs non-physical tactics to manipulate and harm individuals mentally or emotionally. This form of abuse, though not immediately visible, wields considerable impact. Verbal abuse involves aggressive language, insults, and constant criticism, damaging self-esteem.

Intimidation utilizes threats or actions to instill fear and control. Isolation separates victims from support networks, deepening vulnerability. Gaslighting manipulates perceptions, fostering confusion and self-doubt. Excessive control over the victim's life and cyberbullying are forms of psychological violence, as is degradation through belittling or name-calling.

Economic Form
Gender-Based Violence (GBV) extends beyond physical and psychological forms to include economic dimensions. Economic or financial abuse is a form of GBV wherein individuals, often but not exclusively women, experience control, exploitation, or sabotage of their financial resources.

This form of abuse can manifest in various ways, such as preventing access to employment or education, controlling finances, or withholding economic resources as a means of manipulation and coercion. Economic GBV can trap victims in abusive relationships by limiting their financial independence and autonomy. It is a subtle yet impactful form of violence that reinforces gender inequalities, as it hinders economic empowerment and perpetuates dependence on the perpetrator.

Sexual Form
Sexual Gender-Based Violence (GBV) constitutes a spectrum of harmful actions driven by sexual motivations, targeting individuals based on their gender. This category involves severe infringements, such as the non-consensual act of sexual intercourse or penetration, known as rape, and any unwarranted sexual contact or behavior without explicit consent, categorized as sexual assault.

This distressing form of GBV encompasses a range of actions, including harassment and coercion, wherein individuals may experience persistent unwanted sexual advances or be forced into sexual activities against their will. Additionally, sexual violence extends to being subjected to human trafficking for sexual exploitation, coerced into marriage, or forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage, and sexual harassment in the workplace. These acts represent egregious violations not only of physical autonomy but also emotional and psychological well-being.

Causes Of GBV In India
India's identification as a land of various cultures and traditions is a source of countrywide delight and a testimony to its historic resilience and adaptableness. The coexistence of various cultures and traditions has contributed to the nation's rich and precise individual. the prevalence of male dominance over different genders has resulted in a significant gender imbalance in India.

Gender-primarily based violence has diverse root causes, encompassing factors within the social, political, and cultural spheres as well as obstacles inside the legal and character nation-states:
  • Social/Political/Cultural Spheres:
    • Discriminatory legal guidelines, norms, and practices rooted in social, cultural, or spiritual contexts that marginalize and overlook the rights of women and girls.
    • Gender stereotypes justifying violence towards girls, with cultural norms reinforcing competitive male dominance and subservient woman roles.
    • Family, social, and communal structures' collapse exposes ladies and women to risks, limiting protecting mechanisms and avenues for redress.
  • Judicial boundaries:
    • Loss of access to justice institutions fosters a culture characterized by freedom from accountability for acts of violence.
    • Insufficient and unaffordable legal advice and representation.
    • Insufficient victim/survivor and witness protection mechanisms.
    • Discriminatory legal frameworks, such as national, traditional, customary, and religious laws against women and girls.
  • Personal limitations:
    • Threats or fear of shame, segregation, and societal alienation expose victims to further violence from perpetrators, groups, or authorities.
    • Limited information about human rights and remedies hinders seeking help.
Challenges To GBV
Instances of gender-based violence (GBV) are substantially underreported, with studies revealing only 7% of women who have encountered violence formally filed reports. such incidents to authorities like the police, healthcare services, or social support systems[2]. This lack of reporting not only impedes our understanding of the actual prevalence of GBV but also poses risks by reducing criminal deterrence and perpetuating the occurrence of such offenses.

To Access Healthcare To The Survivors Of GBV
Quality healthcare for those who have experienced Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is crucial during crises such as natural disasters, conflicts, or disease outbreaks. GBV can lead to severe and enduring impacts on both physical and mental health, resulting in injuries, unintended pregnancies, infections, and even loss of life.

Healthcare professionals play a vital role in assisting survivors of GBV, often being their initial and sometimes sole source of support. In addition to providing immediate medical care and assistance, healthcare providers also link survivors with other essential services, including mental health support, legal aid, housing services, or assistance with livelihoods.

Kimberle Crenshaw introduced the concept of intersectionality, highlighting that discrimination is multi-faceted. This principle was exemplified in the Supreme Court case Patan Jamal Vali v. State of Andhra Pradesh, the court recognized the marginalized position of a disabled woman who was a member of the Scheduled Caste. This legal instance emphasized the significance of adopting an intersectional approach when evaluating instances of oppression.

Impunity and Corruption
The challenge of impunity and corruption in addressing gender-based violence (GBV) means that many perpetrators escape punishment, and corruption within the justice system makes it harder to hold them accountable. This undermines efforts to combat GBV because when abusers are not held responsible, it fosters a culture of silence and reduces trust in the legal system.

Corruption complicates matters by allowing manipulation and bribery within legal processes, hindering the fair resolution of GBV cases and discouraging survivors from seeking justice. To effectively combat GBV, it's crucial to address these issues by implementing reforms, ensuring transparency, and holding perpetrators accountable within the legal system.

Victim Blaming
Victim blaming, perpetuates a culture that deflects responsibility away from perpetrators, thereby impeding the pursuit of justice and discouraging survivors from accessing legal remedies. The act of assigning blame to the victim rather than holding perpetrators accountable not only undermines the principles of justice but also creates an environment that fosters silence and deters survivors from seeking legal assistance. This phenomenon hampers the efficacy of legal mechanisms designed to address and rectify criminal acts or transgressions., as it obstructs the reporting and prosecution of crimes.

The inadequate reporting of violence based on gender (GBV) in India introduces substantial evidentiary challenges within the legal framework. Forensic evidence is often compromised due to survivors delaying or avoiding medical attention, hindering the establishment of a clear timeline and the collection of crucial forensic data.

The reluctance of witnesses, driven by fear of reprisals and social stigma, creates a scarcity of corroborating accounts, impeding the construction of a robust evidentiary case. Additionally, delayed reporting results in a lack of contemporaneous documentation, such as medical records or eyewitness testimonies, providing opportunities for the defense to question the accuracy of the survivor's narrative.

Cultural barriers further obstruct testimony, as societal norms may discourage survivors from openly testifying, particularly in conservative environments, challenging the legal system's ability to address these cultural nuances. Limited access to legal support and a lack of awareness about legal rights contribute to the underreporting challenge, as survivors may struggle to preserve evidence or navigate available legal avenues.

The perceived ineffectiveness of the legal system in addressing GBV fosters a lack of trust, further diminishing the probability of timely and accurate evidence collection

Constitutional Provisions To Safeguard Individual Against GBV:
The Constitution of India includes measures to prevent gender-based violence in its main provisions, including the Constitution, Fundamental Duties, Preamble and Fundamental Rights. These laws give the government significant powers to deal with the crisis. Using these laws, the central government has taken appropriate measures and ratified international agreements to promote gender equality.

But there is still a serious problem: Many people whose rights have been violated do not know the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. These include:

Article 14:- Article 14 of the Constitution of India guarantees equality before the law, ensures that all human beings have the same rights and that this equality shall not be recognized by state gender or place of birth while allowing the state to create special laws for females and minors.

Article 16-Provides equality to all citizens of India in working or being employed in any workplace.

Article 39 - Authorizes the State to ensure that men and women have adequate health, that equal pay is given for equal work, that economic wealth is protected, and that materials are distributed for common purposes.

Article 42 - It aims to guarantee fair and compassionate working conditions while offering support for maternity. It specifies that the government should establish measures to ensure fair and compassionate labour environments and provide assistance or aid for maternity.

Some Of The Acts As Follows:
  • Dowry Prohibition Act (1961)
  • Amendments to the Indian Penal Code, 1862
  • Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act (1986)
  • Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act (1986)
  • Domestic Violence Act (2005)
  • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (2006)
  • Information and Technology Act (2008)
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (2012)
  • Criminal Law (Amendment) Act (2013)
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act (2013)
  • Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act (2016)
  • Decriminalization of Gay Sex (Section 377-2018)
  • Criminal Law (Amendment) Act (Death penalty for raping a minor- 2018) etc.

Support Services And Victim Advocacy:
A research article investigates the aftermath of a brutal gang-rape incident on a Delhi bus in December 2012, which spurred widespread protests and the "Indian Spring" social movement against gender based violence (GBV). The study assesses the impact of the incident and protests on subsequent GBV reporting in India, comparing more exposed districts to less exposed ones.

Exposure is determined by socio-economic proximity, considering factors like media coverage, demographics, and public transport access. The results show a significant surge in reported GBV in more exposed districts post-incident, notably in female kidnapping (52%), domestic violence (32%), and sexual assault (27%).

Interestingly, the research proposes that the reported increase in GBV may stem from heightened reporting rather than a genuine rise in incidents. Analysis of Delhi Police records shows that awareness dropped after the 2012 incident, implying that public events led survivors to disclose information and report the crime.


  1. Resolution Adopted By The General Assembly, UN [on the report of the Third Committee (A/48/629)]
  2. Tip of the Iceberg: Reporting and Gender-Based Violence in Developing Countries

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Manisha Bahuguna
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: JN401298034882-12-0124

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