Crime Against Women and Constitutional Safeguards

Crime against women. Image Credit: Indian Express.

Crime is an act of wrong doing by voluntary and intentionally. It is very dangerous to the individual and the society. Generally, it involves the violation of social law, moral law and country’s law with the objective to cause harm or injury to other. According to Paul Tappan ‘Crime is an intentional act or omission in violation of criminal law committed without defense or justification’. Mowrer has defined crime as an anti social act. The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘it is an action which constitutes a serious offence against an individual or the State and is punishable by law.

Cause of Crime against Women

(1) Situational Cause: The criminal are always active around such places. The crime is committed because of neither of the victim’s behavior nor of the offender’s psychopathological personality, but rather, because of the chance factor like working women or college girl living alone away from home, women coming alone from their working place or parties at late night. Conflict over money matters, ill treatment of husband’s parent may provoke the husband to assault his wife or man employer taking advantage of his female employee finding her alone in his office which creates such situations.

(2) Man’s Supremacy: Violence against women is an outcome of the social structure and ideology of gender domination. Man always keeps his supremacy over his wife and other female members of his families.

(3) Effect of moves, cheap literature: Kidnapping, violent action, bad wording, love seances cause the spoilage the life of young generation. People of criminal nature copy those seances and try to apply in real life. Easily available cheap literature, moves have prepared a big force of criminals.

Legal provisions for Crime Against women in India

The problem of crime against women in Indian society is not new. They have been the victim of suppression and exploitation. After a long struggle for her rights Indian women got the Constitutional grants like women empowerment, right to participate in social, economic, political affairs etc. The Constitution of India not only grants equality to women but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favor of women for neutralizing the cumulative socio economic and education.

Constitutional Privileges

> Equality before law for women (Article 14)

> The prohibition of discrimination by the State over the religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them (Article 15 (i))

> The State should make special provision in favor of women and children (Article 15 (3))

> Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State (Article 16)

> Prohibition of women traffic and other form of force labor (article 23).

> The State to direct its policy towards securing for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood (Article 39(a).

> Equal pay for equal work for both men and women (Article 39(d))

> The State to make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief (Article 42)

> To promote harmony and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article51 (A) (e).

In addition of the Constitutional guarantees, the State has enacted various legislative measures intended to counter social discrimination and various forms of torture, exploitation, humiliation etc.

> The Special Marriage Act, 1954

> Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956

> The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (Amended in 1995)

> Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

> The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976

> The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006

> Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987

> The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Despite having such Constitutional legal safeguards, Indian women are still suffering on different grounds. In our society problems of crime against women are deep rooted.

Type of Crime Against women

1) Kidnapping and Abduction: Kidnapping means removing of a minor away from lawful custody without the guardian’s consent. The victim has to be a minor i.e. below the age of 18. In this sense the kidnapped child could not know he or she taken away from their parents. They demand ransom for release, if the demand is not fulfilled, they kill the abducted child or threw into begging or sold at brothels. Abduction forcefully compelled a girl or a woman to go from any place deceitfully to sex or compelling her to marry a person against her will. The victim could be a major or a minor.

2) Rape and murder: Rape and murder are the fastest growing crime in the country today. This is heinous crime committed with girl or women of any age group. The rapist satisfies his sexual desire over the victims. In 10 per cent case the crime becomes more heinous when the rapist kills the victim after rape just for the reason that the victim had threatened him of reporting the matters to her parents or police. It is a sorry state of affairs that 90 per cent rape crimes are committed by relatives, friends and lovers. In other words 90 per cent rapists and victims are known to each other.

3) Female feticide: It is a termination of the life of a fetus within the womb on the ground that it is female. In India, there are less than 93 women for every 100 men in the population. It is the main cause of imbalance in the sex ratio. The main cause of female feticide in India is the age old custom of dowry system. If the status of women increases the practice of female feticide will automatically decrease.

4) Dowry Death: Marriage is a heavenly dream for every young girl. The tradition of dowry giving in India has led to massive amount of violence toward women. Dowry was a custom invented by women for women, a marker for their status.

Dowry Death is the death of young women unable to bear the continuous harassment and torture, driven to suicide, murdered or burnt alive by her matrimonial members or husbands or in-laws in failing to fulfill of dowry demand from bride families. Though Dowry Prohibition Act, 1960 and Domestic Violence Act, 2005 are there to give the full protection of married women but the case of dowry death and divorce and murders are still increasing day by day.

Besides this women are still facing molestation, pulling hair, eve-teasing, bad remarks etc in their day to day life at the time of going schools and college and in public transports and markets.

Source: Crime in India, 2007, National Crime Record Bureau

Can Pornography Cause Violence Against Women?

Pornography is a systematic practice of exploitation and subordination based on sex that differentially harms and disadvantages women through dehumanization. Pornography diminishes the worth and civil status of women and damage mutual respect between the sexes. If you have ever viewed pornographic material, it is clear that not only does pornography cause violence against women, but the material itself is violence against women.

Pornography also sends out the message to men that women enjoy being beaten, abused and raped. It is unfortunate, but over the last few years the violence portrayed in pornographic material has increased greatly. The material also tries to send the message that women secretly enjoy the abuse. Many studies have proven that pornography can lead to crime against women.

Suggestion to reduce crime against women in India

India has seen a rise in crime against women drastically in the last few decades. According to several research reports, crime against women in India will certainly rise significantly because of the ever-increasing gender gap. The situation is not dire yet, but significant steps need to be taken immediately to control this situation before it worsens further.

1. Involvement of the Voluntary Organizations and NGOs: The Voluntary Organizations and NGOs should be involved to provide counseling facilities to the married couples so that their mutual understanding could be establish and certain major and minor conflicts could be settled between husband and wife.

2. Strengthening of Women Commission: The National Commission for Women and the State Commission for Women should be given constitutional status with magisterial powers to deal strictly with the dowry seekers and wife beaters.

3. Role of National Human Right Commission: The National Human Right Commission should make efforts for the upliftment of women’s status and protection of women’s rights in society.

4. Provisions of Strict Punishments for culprits: Rapists should be given life imprisonment if the rape is confirmed against them. The honor killing should be declared as a horror killing and the culprits should be given death penalty. The kidnappers and the abductors should be given at least ten years’ imprisonment with heavy fine.

5. Empowerment of Women: The term ‘˜empowerment’ allow us to consider various aspects of life. It raises women’s status in society. If the women are economically independent, she is given all respect by all family members. For this Government should open such training centers from where they could get professional training i.e. tailoring, embroidery, beautician etc and should be given financial help as grants and loans.

6. Women’s Self-Defense Tips: Women have always been crime targets, it has therefore become necessary for every woman to know some truths about self defense. Women have always been considered the weaker gender that may be the reason why most of the violent crimes are against women. All women live with some level of risk for violent attack, ranging from mobile phone snatching to rape. Most crimes against women are perpetrated by people close to them. So it is necessary to take steps to counter any violent attack.

7. Rethinking of Male Roles: Many men are re-evaluating their own role in the family and in society. Some are asking themselves why some men are violent, and how can they be helped to end their violent behavior. UNICEF has launched initiatives to work with men on improving knowledge about the male role in the family. And men’s groups in many countries are taking the lead to examine cultural and social assumptions on masculinity, and develop strategies to help men curb violent behavior.

8. Expansion of Women Education: To make women economic independents and to make them to aware of their rights and freedoms and law to protecting them from domestic violence etc. State Government and Government of India should open more educational institutes. Scholarship should be given to girl students generously for higher education. Special attention should be given to the women residing in remote, backward and distant areas of the country.

*The article is written by Lisham Anandakumar Singh

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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