We realise the importance of our voice, when we are silenced
To ride a bicycle we need two wheels for maintaining balance, in same way, to
run our lives and ecosystem we need proper balance between men and women.
Talking about women they are considered as a foremost part in our daily life,
they are not only responsible for growth and development of upcoming generation
but also for handling works from office to home.
Women are considered equally
important as men in our society but the question arise that do they get the same
value or do they get the same status as men the answer to all these questions is
no, even in 21st century women are not able to get the equal rights as men, it
does not matter how much developed or advanced we become but until we are not
able to remove this discrimination from our minds, from our mankind we cannot be
called developed or advanced.
Instead of getting the equal standard as men, women are forced to face
discrimination against them. Offences against women is not a new concept we can
see that various numbers of crimes are committed against women from ancient
times, the irony is that even after so long we are not able to cure it or
eradicate these crimes against women. As per secretary general of United Nation
Antonio Guterres, sexual violence against women is rooted in centuries of male
United Nation defines violence against women as:
any act of
gender based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual
or mental harm or suffering to women including threats of such act, coercion or
arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private
A third of all women and girls experience physical and sexual violence in their
lifetime, and these crimes can be committed at any age and at any time. The
1st declaration on elimination of violence against women was issued by United
Nation General Assembly in 1993 to maintain the status of women in our society
and protect them with the passing time various laws has been made at
international and national level by the authorities to protect the interest and
standard of women in our surroundings.
Major offences against women
At present there is diversity of offences or crimes that are committed against
women. as we know that gender-based violence or violence against women is not
limited to a particular area or to a particular country but it's a global
pandemic that affects 1 in 3 women in their lifetime. It is said that
- 35% of women all around the world have faced either physical or sexual violence
by their intimate partner or non-intimate partner.
- Globally 7% of women have expressed sexual assault.
- Globally 38% of murders of women are committed by intimate partner etc.
These are just rough figures if we talk about reality there are so many
incidents which are not reported or which do not come in the light of people. We
can classify some of the major offences against women as sexual harassment,
rape, domestic violence, women trafficking, discrimination, eve teasing and
- Sexual harassment:
This is one of the major offence that can be faced by a woman or a girl this act
can be performed anywhere from home to office, market etc.it can be defined as
when there is unwelcomed or unnecessary touching or derogatory comments,
impleading or blocking movements or any other act which cause sense of fear in
women is called as sexual harassment.
Such an offence comes under the category of grievous crime against women or
girl, nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) have been raped in their lifetime. The
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has defined rape 1st time in
Akayesu case in 1998 as A physical invasion of a sexual nature committed on a
person under circumstances which are coercive.
- Domestic violence:
This includes a range of abuse against women, including economic, physical,
sexual, emotional and phycological towards a woman at home by her own
partner or family members, these cases are mostly left unreported because women
mostly avoid to tell what is going on in there home.
It refers to an activity where force, coercion and fraud is used to
transport women across international boundaries for economic gain, 70% of
victims are women and 50% are children under 18 years. This is done to avail
cheap labours in factories, household agriculture industry and sex
industry, with the time passing this is becoming more frequent practice.
Due to the orthodox mentality of people who thinks that women are weak, there
arises discrimination between men and women at every point of time. As per the
convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women it
defines it as any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of
sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition,
enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis
of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the
political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.
- Eve teasing:
It is an act of annoying women in public places, it can be making sexual
comment or continuously watching her at public place, it can be experience by
very women nowadays. In a survey 36 women (40.4%) interviewed who faced eve
teasing 61.1% reported feeling of anger, 47.2% reported feeling of shame or
humiliation and more than 1/3rd reported feeling of worry or tension.
- Cyber crime:
In the present time every person uses the technology it has became the lifestyle
of every person but with that there are several disadvantages and due to which
the number of cyber crimes has been increased. In normal terms we can explain
cyber crime as any unlawful act where computer or communication device or
computer network is used to commit or facilitate the commission of
crime,various offences comes under this category of cyber-crime such as
cyber defamation, sexting, cyber stalking, child pornography, cyber bulling etc
These all are some of the basic and heinous crimes that can be committed against
women once in her lifetime to stop or reduce the number of these we have various
international or national legislations, laws which are even proved to be
Offences against women: Indian legislations
In order to curb the offences prevailing against the women in the country, India
has made several laws. Offences against women and their provisions in India are
broadly classified into two main categories. They are:
Offences against women under Indian penal code, 1860
- Offences against women under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Indian penal code is
a official criminal code of India. It is a document in which all the offences
and their punishments are listed.
- Offences against women under special or local laws – In order to protect women
from various social evils like dowry, child marriage, domestic violence, sati
practice etc., various local and special laws are made in the country.
- Various offences against women under the Indian Penal Code are:
- Acid attack:
Throwing acid on women is one of the most prevalent crimes that has been
committed against the women in India. According to India Today Data Intelligence
Unit (DIU), 1,483 acid attack victims have been found in the country from 2014
to 2018. Section 326(A) and 326(B) of IPC deals with such crimes.
According to section 326(A), the person throwing acid shall be punished with
imprisonment for life or with the imprisonment of either description for a
term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine and as
per section 326(B), the person shall be punished with the imprisonment up-to
5-7 years and fine.
Rape is the faster growing crime against women in India. As many as 33,356
incidents of rape were reported during 2018 involving 33,977 victims, an average
89 rapes daily.
Section 375 deals with the offence of rape. Rape, signifies 'the ravishment of a
woman against her will or without her consent or with her consent obtained by
force, fear or fraud' or the carnal knowledge of a woman by force against her
will'. Therefore an unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman without her
consent against her will is rape and it is punishable under section 376 of
Under section 376(A), the person committing rape shall be punished with the
imprisonment of term not less than 7 years which shall extend to life
imprisonment and fine.
The various kinds of rapes punishable under Indian Penal Code 1860 are mentioned
- Custodial rape:
when the rape is committed on women when she is in
custody of someone it is known as custodial rape. Section 376(2)(a), (b) and,
(c) of IPC deals with custodial rape. Custodial rape includes, Rape done by
police officer or officers subordinate to him on the women in their custody
within the limits of police station, rape by public servant or by his
subordinate on the women in their custody, rape committed by the member of armed
force in his area of deployment, rape committed on the inmates of jail by the
- Gang Rape:
Section 376(D) punishes gang rape. When women is raped by
group of persons , they shall be for the offence of gang rape and shall be
punishable with the rigorous imprisonment up-to 20 and fine reasonable to bear
the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim.
- Rape Of minor:
Rape committed on a girl who is below the age of 18 is
rape against girl child. The offence of rape committed against minor girls is
punished under the IPC
- Dowry death:
Dowry means the transfer of parental property and gifts from the bride's side to
the groom's side. Dowry is the social evil that prevails in the country Since
ages. The offence of dowry death is provided under section 304(b) of IPC,
when the death of a woman is caused by the bodily injury or otherwise under the
seven years of marriage due to harassment by husband's side in relation with the
demand of dowry, then the husband or the relative responsible shall be
punishable with the imprisonment of at least 7 years which may be extended to
- Sexual Harassment:
Section 354(a) of IPC deals with sexual harassment and its punishment, inserted
in the IPC by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013. A man who makes a
unwelcomed physical contact with a woman and explicit sexual act or shows the
pornographic content again her will or demand the sexual favours from a woman or
makes any kind of sexually colored remark, shall be punished with the
rigorous imprisonment for a term which may be extended to three years or with
fine or both.
Section 354 (c) of IPC came into the existence after Nirbhaya rape case
by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013. It makes watching or capturing the
image of a woman engaged in a private act, in the circumstances wherein she does
not expect others would be observing her, punishable. The offence is punishable
with simple or rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than one year and fine.
The term of imprisonment may extend to three years
Section 354D , which is added to the 2013 by the Criminal Law (Amendment)
Act 2013, makes stalking an offence. A man is said to have committed the offence
when he follows a woman and contacts or attempts to contact her to foster
personal interaction repeatedly in spite of the fact that she clearly indicated
her displeasure or monitors her use of internet or e-mail or any other form of
However there are certain exceptions. A man who is doing it as a part of his
responsibility conferred on him by the state to prevent or detect a crime,
or to comply with any law or condition or requirement imposed by any person
under any law; or in the particular circumstances that make his conduct
reasonable and justified.
Offences against women under local and special laws
The main objective of these laws is to curb the evils prevailing in the country.
2. The various special or local laws are:
- Dowry (Prohibition) Act 1961:
Dowry is practice of giving parental property and gifts to groom at a time of
marriage by the bride's family. The main reason behind the prevalence of
this social evil is the orthodox views which says that men are superior than
women. The total 7000 deaths linked with dowry has been recorded in the year
2017 and around 20 women every day dies, either murdered or compel to
suicide, this is the data of the cases which are reported. The count of
unreported cases is still not made. In order to protect women from dowry, the
parliament has passed the Dowry (prohibition) Act in 1961. Under this act, the
giving and of dowry and the demand of dowry before marriage, during marriage
or after the marriage is an offence.
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005:
Domestic violence is a physical, or sexual, or verbal or emotional
abuse in domestic relationships i.e. marriage, by the husband on the women.
India is a country where marriage is considered as a sacred practice which is
the reason why women in our country tolerate such evils like domestic violence.
The 86% of women had never sought help and around 77% of victims of domestic
violence has never said about it to anyone.  The aim of this act to protect
women from domestic violence. It provide for remedies like protection orders and
monetary relief in order to protect women from domestic violence.
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition
and Redressal) Act, 2013:
Sexual harassment at workplace is a major problem women are facing irrespective
of their profession. It is increasing rapidly in the country. Therefore After 16
years of Vishaka & ors Vs State of Rajasthan, this act has been passed in
order to protect women from the sexual harassment at workplace. This act defines
the sexual harassment as unwelcome acts or behaviour. The physical contact
or advances would constitute sexual harassment provided such physical contact is
a part of the sexually determined behaviour.
- The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987:
Sati is a practice of burning of living widow with the corpse of her husband as
token of her love devotion towards her husband.  To stop this practice, the
Commission of Sati (prevention Act has been passed in 1987. According to this
act, the one attempting to sati is punishable with one year or imprisonment or
fine or with both.  It also punishes the abetment of sati and punishes the
sightseers and organisers with the life imprisonment and fine. 
- The Indecent Representation of Women (prohibition) act 1986:
This is an act to prohibit indecent representation of women through
advertisements or in publications, writings, paintings, figures or in any other
manner and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The
indecent representation means the depiction of women or her body in such a
way as it is against the public morality. Any person doing it, at first
conviction, shall be punishable with the imprisonment up-to 2 years and at
second or subsequent conviction, shall be punishable with the imprisonment up-to
5 years. 
Women constitute the 49.6% of the population of the world. Women are
considered as the vulnerable group in the world. The violence against women is
recognized in International law as violation of their fundamental rights. To
protect the rights of the women, many conventions have been made by the United
Nations. The conventions are:-
Universal declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
UDHR was enacted and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in the year
1948. It was the first document and was widely accepted. UDHR is not a legally
binding document on its signatories but the countries incorporated the
provisions of UDHR under its laws. Every United Nations treaty or declaration
does not specifically talks about the violence against women but has relevance.
UDHR has various social, cultural, economic, civil and political rights for
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
The CEDAW was adopted by the United Nations in 1979, known as the International
Bill of Rights of women. The main objective of this treaty was to eradicate all
the discrimination against the women prevailing in the world. The states
ratifying this treaty need to make provisions in theirs states to curb the
discrimination against the women on the basis of race, caste, sex, religion etc.
To incorporate the legal provisions in the state.
The Optional Protocol to CEDAW was adopted in the year 1999 which establishes
the inquiry and complaint mechanisms. The women can file the complaint who are
facing the discrimination though the Optional Protocol.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
ICCPR adopted by United Nations in 1966 has 74 signatories, aims to protect the
civil and political rights of men and women. It includes the Civil and Political
rights like right to liberty, right to elect, right to legal status etc. Though
ICCPR do not explicitly refer to violence against women, in recent years, the
Human Rights Committee has interpreted them to include obligations to protect
women from violence.
International Covenant on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
ICESCR is an international human rights treaty adopted in 1966. It ensures the
enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, including the rights to:
Education, fair and just conditions of work, an adequate standard of living, the
highest attainable standard of health, social security. States that are parties
to this convention have an implicit obligation to protect women from violence as
part of their obligation.
It's a modern world but we are still way behind when it comes to the protection
of our women. Even after so many laws, the offences against the women are
increasing every day. It's a high time when we need to find solutions to curb
Few suggestions regarding the same are:
- Enforcement mechanisms:
We have made laws, but their enforcement is very weak. The country needs to make
some strict enforcement mechanisms in order to enforce the laws made.
- Efficient laws:
There are laws but they are not efficient enough to stop the offences. The
procedures are very long and complicated, therefore there is a need to make some
- Stay educated and updated:
People should know what comes under crime as its wrong to do and what are the
consequences of doing those crimes.
- Develop the broad mentality:
Everyone should accept that what women are capable of and always remember that
they can reach all the hights only if we make it possible for them.
- Always have action plan:
If any person sees any crime happening in front of him/him then they should have
a proper plan to sort that out and make it stop.
Every woman should have a belief in her and be confident that if anyone
tries to do any wrong act with her then she can stop that person and rescue
We live in 21st century and the world have made a great development in every
field, but the world is way behind when it comes to the protection of women from
the evils. On one hand the world is developing in the field of science and
technology and other things, on the other hand we have failed to provide a safe
world to live for women.
The violence and other offences like rape, domestic
violence, eve teasing etc. is a global phenomenon which needs the urgent
attention of the entire world. Women are the integral part of the society and
deserves a respectful life, free from all the fears. It our duty and
responsibility to provide women with a respectable life and a safe world free
from all the fears to live.
In India, the women are considered as goddess and the people worship women. Even
after so many years of independence, India has failed to provide a security and
protection to the women of the country. The crimes are increasing at a rapid
rate in India and the condition of women is getting worse day by day.
It can be concluded that the laws which are made are not enough to stop the
crimes. We need more laws to protect women from such crimes. Also, the making of
laws is not enough, we need to spread social and economic awareness in the
country and need to develop the minds of people at social level. We need to
create a society where a man respects the women and treats her equally.
Written By: Nupur Sharma and Nidhi Raj Sharma
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https://www.un.org/en/events/endviolenceday/messages.shtml (visited on July
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- Supra note 1
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- India today, India saw almost 1500 acid attack in five year available
- India Penal Code 1860- Section 326(A) - Voluntarily causing grievous
hurt by use of acid etc.
- Indian Penal Code 1860- Section 326(B) – Voluntarily throwing or
attempting to throw acid.
- National crime records bureau of India https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/rapes-in-india-offenders-victim-minor-data-ncrb-1635691-2020-01-10
- Bhupinder Sharma v State of Himachal Pradesh AIR 2003 SC 4684, (2003) 8
SCC 551; Aman Kumar v State of Haryana AIR 2004 SC 1497, (2004) 4 SCC 379; State
of Madhya Pradesh v Santosh Kumar (2006) 6 SCC 1, 2006 Cr LJ 3636(SC).
- Indian Penal code 1860 - Section 375 -A man is said to commit "rape" if
- penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or
anus of a woman or
makes her to do so with him or any other person; or
- inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the
penis, into the vagina, the
urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person;
- manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration
into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of body of such woman or makes
her to do so with him or any other person; or
- applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, urethra of a woman or makes her
to do so with him or
any other person.
- Custody must be lawful custody, conferred by a court based on statutory
provision or otherwise: Omkar Prasad Verma v State of Madhya Pradesh AIR 2007 SC
1381, (2007) 4 SCC 323, (2007) Cr LJ 1831(SC)
- Refer section 21 of IPC 'Public Servant'
- The essentials ingredients of section 304(b) are:
- Death of woman should be caused by burns or bodily injury nor otherwise
under normal circumstances.
- Death should have been occurred within 7 years of her marriage.
- The woman must have been subjected to cruelty or harassments by her
husband or any relative of her husband.
- Such cruelty or harassments should be or in connection with, any demand
Such cruelty or harassment should have been subjected soon before her death.
- This definition of sexual harassment is identical to that was
articulated, as one of the guidelines, by the Supreme Court in Vishaka v State of Rajasthan
AIR 1997 SC 3011, (1997) 6 SCC 241. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace
(Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 provides for protection to
women against sexual harassment at workplace and redressel of their complaints.
It, for the purpose of the Act, defines 'sexual harassment', in similar
- Any man who watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a
private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of
not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the
behest of the perpetrator or disseminates such image shall be punished on
first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which
shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and
shall also be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent
conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall
not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall
also be liable to fine.
- Mukesh v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2017) 6 SCC 1: (2017) 2 SCC (Cri) 673.
- Any man who--(i) follows a woman and contacts, attempts to contact such
woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of
disinterest by such woman; or (ii) monitors the use by a woman of the internet,
email or any other form of electronic communication, commits the offence of
- PSA pillai, Criminal Law, 530,Lexis Nexis, 12th edition, 2014
- Indian Penal code 1860,Section 354( c), provided that such conduct shall
not amount to stalking is the man who pursued it proves that – (i)
- Indian Penal Code 1860, Section 354( c), (ii)
- Indian Penal Code 1860, Section 354( c), (iii)
- Dowry Prohibition act 1961, Section 2
- According to the report of National Bureau of India.
- Dowry prohibition act 1961 available at : https://www.shethepeople.tv/top-stories/opinion/dowry-deaths-reality-in-india-but-until-when/
- Dowry Prohibition act 1961 – section 3 -Penalty for giving or taking
- Dowry prohibition Act 1961- section 4 - Penalty for demanding dowry
- Protection of women from Domestic Violence act 2005, section 3 (d) (i):
"physical abuse" means any act or conduct which is of such a nature as to cause
bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, limb, or health or impair the health or
development of the aggrieved person and includes assault, criminal intimidation
and criminal force;
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 – Section 3(d)(ii),
"sexual abuse" includes any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses,
humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of woman
- Protection Of Women From Domestic Violence Act 2005 – Section 3(d)(iii)
verbal and emotional abuse" includes:
insults, ridicule, humiliation, name calling and insults or ridicule
specially with regard to
not having a child or a male child; and (b) repeated threats to cause physical
pain to any person in whom the aggrieved person is interested.
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 – Section 3 –
definition of domestic violence
- According to National Family Health Survey 2015-2016
- Vishaka & ors Vs State Of Rajasthan AIR 1997 SC 3011
- namely, physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual
favors, making sexually colored remarks, showing pornography, any other
unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature
- Shanta Kumar Vs CSIR 2017 SCC Online Del 11327
- The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987:Section 2(c)
- The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987:Section 3
- The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987:Section 4
- The Indecent Representation of Women (prohibition) act 1986 Section 3 &
- The Indecent Representation of Women (prohibition) act 1986 Section 2(c)
- The Indecent Representation of Women (prohibition) act 1986 Section 5
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