Author: Srija purimetla, Student at IFIM Law School.
Almost every young girl has been the victim of eve-teasing by a friend or stranger. As a result, countless young girls are being deprived of their fundamental rights and their liberty. While all women have been victims of eve-teasing, women from minority groups are more likely to be exposed to it. Girl’s mobility was restricted, they were unable to attend school or work, they were blamed, and they caused family issues, according to the perceptions of eve-teasing as a result they end up being a burden to their family in most of the cases. The focus of this study is to define eve-teasing in the rural context, Problems faced by women especially teenagers and raising awareness of the issue and proposing a set of solutions to overcome such issues. Because a comprehensive elimination of such an act is not achievable in a day, certain actions as a reaction to decrease the scope of eve-teasing have also been recommended, because a thorough eradication of such an act requires a succession of reform actions.
Keywords: Eve teasing, Problems, Acts, harassment.
Eve teasing and harassment are issues that women all around the world face daily. Many women are seeking education and work in developing countries like India than in the past, which has raised the risk of sexual harassment in public places. Catcalling, vulgar remarks and unwanted sexual touches such as stroking, and fondling are all instances of Eve teasing. Tolerating such instances may escalate to more serious kinds of abuse and inspire more people to take part. Most of the women are often unaware of the laws and regulations that protect them against any such acts. Here are some of the most important legal sections dealing with sexual crimes against women that every woman should be aware of. Eve-teasing is a widespread term for sexual harassment of women by men in numerous public places in South Asia.
The Supreme Court in Vishaka vs, State of Rajasthan has provided us with the guidelines on what constitutes sexual harassment. These are some of the acts:
- Physical touch and advances.
- A solicitation or demand for sexual favours.
- Statements with a sexual connotation.
- Any other inappropriate sexual naturist behaviour, whether physical, verbal, or non-verbal.
The horrific kidnapping and rape of a 23-year-old female medical student in front of a mall in New Delhi about 9 p.m. on December 16, 2012, thrust the problem onto the global stage. She was gang-raped on a moving bus and died after suffering terrible injuries to her genitals and intestines for ten days. The case sparked widespread indignation in India, prompting new federal legislation to prohibit such conduct.
The harassment of young women on the streets in India is worsened by the country’s persistent gender inequity. While it is true that an increasing number of young women are leaving their homes to pursue education or employment, girls and boys are still socialised according to different gender roles. Women are socialised to be obedient, and sons are more likely than daughters to be prioritised in economic and social arrangements, such as job and marriage. Many parents keep blaming their girls for their sexual victimisation, believing that it would jeopardise their daughters’ marital prospects. As a result, many victims remain silent about the physical and mental violence they face outside of their homes. As a girl, I can attest to the fact that eve-teasing has become an unavoidable aspect of every girl’s existence. It has also become a common occurrence in public areas. This is a threat that women are constantly exposed to.
PROVISIONS RELATED TO EVE-TEASING
Eve-teasing is considered unconstitutional since it infringes on a person’s right to privacy by prying into his or her private life. It is also a breach of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees us the Fundamental Right to Life. Here are some sections of the Criminal Procedure Code to remember that will benefit and assist in seeking justice. Before 2013, the law prohibiting sexual harassment had a limited scope. It previously included Sections 294, 354 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. However, after the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013, these are the sections that deal with such offences.
- Section 294 Any person who annoys another by performing an obscene act, singing, reciting, or uttering an indecent song, or by words, is accountable under this Section. It is a bailable offence however, the punishment for such offence is imprisonment for a maximum of three months or a fine or both.
- Section 354 This section deals with the offence of Molestation. If any person is accused of using criminal force against a woman to outrage her modesty. Such act is Non-bailable and can be imprisoned for a minimum of 1 year and it may extend up to 5 years and fine.
- Section 354 A This Section deals with Sexual harassment. If any person shows pornography to a woman against her choice, makes sexually coloured statements, demands or requests sexual favours, and so on. Such an act is a bailable offence but, can be imprisoned for a maximum of 3 years or fine or both.
- Section 509 If any person says anything to insult a woman’s modesty, makes a sound, makes a gesture or shows anything to a lady with the intent for those words or things to be seen by her or intrudes on her private. Such an act is a Bailable offence but can be imprisoned for a term of a maximum of 3 years and fine.
- Section 354 B If any man uses criminal force against a woman with the intent of disrobing or compel her to be naked. Such act is Non-bailable and can be imprisoned for a minimum of 3 years and may extend to 7 years and fine.
- Section 354 C If anyone who watches or captures anything which is a private act of another person. Such an act is a bailable offence but, can be punished for a minimum of 1 year and may extend to 3 years and fine. A subsequent conviction can be imprisoned for a minimum of 3 years and may extend to 7 years.
- Section 354 D Deals with stalking. It is an offence under this Section if a man follows or contacts a woman despite her repeated indications of disinterest, It might be physical as well as electronic. Such an act is a Bailable offence, but he can be punished for a maximum of 3years and a fine.
CASES RELATED TO EVE-TEASING
Rupan Deol Bajaj vs. KPS Gill the SC ruled that the only way to determine whether a woman’s modesty was violated or not is to look at the offender’s actions. This is the final criterion for determining whether or not an act is unlawful. A woman’s sense of decency should be shocked by the action. In light of the overall facts, it is impossible not to conclude that Mr Gill’s alleged act of slapping Mrs Bajaj on the posterior amounted to “outraging of her modesty.
In the State of Kerala vs. Hamsa. The accused winked his eyes at a female, which other individuals in the group noticed. Her modesty was insulted by this act. The court decided that even if the gesture only witnessed by a woman, they were nonetheless an insult to her modesty because she had no intention of reciprocating them. The accused was further charged under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code.
EVE-TEASING DALIT WOMEN
Everyone in the group of 60 Dalit women interviewed said they had experienced eve-teasing in some form or another, regardless of their age, and intensity decreases as they get old. It reaches its apex between the ages of 18 and 28. The majority of the women admitted that the teasers were usually middle-aged men when it comes to culprits. They discovered that young guys from backward areas, such as those from the inner villages (as judged by their dress patterns and languages), were the teasers on major roads and buses.
However, the teasers they noticed were primarily from surrounding areas who passed uncomfortable comments, jokes or winking, except for a few who moved for sexual assaults. Pinching is later discovered to be the most common form of physical assault in a crowded place. Such acts can lead to deep trauma. Let us look into one of the cases.
Rita Das, a 12-year-old girl from Silchar, has been subjected to eve-teasing. Rita, who comes from a very poor family, has regularly been subjected to verbal abuse by a gang of young lads who live next door. One day, when she was walking home from school, one of the males in the same group lifted her skirt from behind her, and the others laughed at her. The next day, she brought her mother along, and this pattern repeated for a few days. Her mother assumed all is Ok now because the boys had not shown up for those few days. Rita’s mother left her alone as a result of this. She went to and returned from school alone as usual, and her worry subsided a little when she realised, she could safely return home for two days. Later day, that evening, Rita was grabbed by those guys in the street and physically molested her, even to the point of opening her skirt in the road. Later she went back home and refused to go to school anymore.
Priya Das, a 23-year-old Patni girl from a middle-class family, is a university graduate. Priya managed to study despite enormous difficulties with the help of her parents, but she was subjected to eve-teasing like the other females. She says, “Eve teasing is something that every girl faces, regardless of caste, although the ones who appear slightly frightened and shy encounter it more than the ones who walk proudly. She also added that she realised who the potential targets of the teasers may be, and she strode boldly with rather arrogant attitudes whenever she moved away from any crowded spot. Priya believes that it is preferable to leave the situation or such physical attacks than to give the teaser a firm slap. As per Priya, she says being bold avoids this problem, but it cannot be the same in every case.
The situation of women in slum they are not only victims of eve-teasing in public, but also living in dangerous residences or work in environments that may or may not heighten their vulnerability to eve-teasing in public or sexual tortures in private.
In a video released on social media, one of the women who was molested narrated her experience, saying she was cycling on October 17. She claimed that the arrested police asked her for directions, and as she was going to provide him, he showed his private parts and left as the woman screamed. The other three women also claimed that he molested them, and the inspector was fired as a result of the claims, as well as departmental action.
MAJOR REASONS THAT MOTIVATE EVE-TEASING
- One of the reasons for eve-teasing is People are unaware of the laws against eve-teasing.
- Films and television shows have a big influence on individuals.
- Eve-teasing is also becoming more common in society as a result of a lack of basic education and gender inequality.
- Women are frequently considered commodities by some men.
- Parents’ lack of knowledge about their children’s actions.
MEASURES TO PROTECT
The situational model of bystander intervention (Latane and Darley 1970) identified five barriers. when any person in that area have sexually assaulted the failure to observe, the inability to recognise a high-risk condition, failure to intervene due to audience reluctance, failure to accept responsibility for helping and failure to intervene because of skills shortage .
- The media must play a constructive role in this process. Because the media, as portrayed in movies, continues to be a source of teasing the ‘Eves’.
- In such situations, self-defence is the most effective weapon and a legal right. It may be a kick, a punch, or an elbow strike, and a woman may acquire a variety of widely accepted self-defence tactics.
- The process of gender-biased socializing, wherein males are taught to be dominating and tough, while females are trained to be obedient, soft, and tolerant; it is critical to socialise them in a way that teaches both boys and girls equally from an early age.
- Physical behaviour such as facial expressions, gestures, eye movement is something to notice while suspecting anyone. Most of the time, being aware of such bodily behaviours might be useful.
- Everyone should have the phone numbers of immediate family members on the fast dial or call 100.
PRECAUTIONS TO AVOID EVE-TEASING AT PUBLIC PLACES
- Avoid walking through dark streets alone.
- Any overcrowded buses should be avoided.
- Accepting rides from strangers is not a smart option.
- Try not to wait alone at bus stops or railway stations.
Daily, we either witness men harassing women or experience it yourself. However, we are too afraid to report the incident to the authorities, and the offenders get away with little trouble. It is past time for females to come out in the open and make use of the rules that have been put in place to assist them. In our culture, such acts have been going on for far too long. Unless women take action, they will continue to exist.
Just because a woman is dressed in scanty clothing, no one has the right to harass her. The answer is to change people’s attitudes and teach morals and values in our educational system. I suggest that women should start learning to defend themselves. They should learn that fighting back is the correct thing to do and that raising their voice in this situation is nothing to be.
Every individual must be aware that eve-teasing is not something to be overlooked. It is the violation of a woman’s dignity, honour, liberty and self-respect. It is important to address this rapidly rising issue. Staying vigilant is the greatest approach to avoid eve teasing and molestation. Molestation and eve-teasing cases are difficult to prove, so collect as much evidence as possible. Obtain as many witnesses as possible, as this will help you win the case. To build a strong and convincing case, you should always report the incident to the local police station.
 Vishaka vs, State of Rajasthan, AIR 1997 SC 3011
 Mukesh vs. State (NCT of Delhi), AIR 2017 6 SCC 1
 Rupan Deol Bajaj vs. KPS Gill AIR 1996 SC 309
 State of Kerala vs. Hamsa 1988 9 Crimes 161
Academia article titled, “Eve Teasing of the marginalized women: Experiences from Cachar(Assam)”,available at https://www.academia.edu/15764792/Eve_Teasing_of_the_marginalized_women_Experiences_from_Cachar_Assam_
 Zee news article titled “Eve-teasing: You should take these few steps to save yourself” available at https://zeenews.india.com/india/eve-teasing-you-should-take-these-few-steps-to-save-yourself-2320313.html
 Springer link article on “A situational model of sexual assault prevention through bystander intervention. Sex Roles, 60, 779–792” available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-008-9581-5