A survey carried out by the Confederation of Indian Industry in 2013 found that one of the key reasons for cases of sexual violence going unreported in India was a lack of awareness of laws related to sexual violence. This legal resources section aims to provide a brief overview of the legal provisions that are in force with regard to acts of sexual violence, in India. Here we look at Sexual Violence as violence of a sexual nature that is committed against another person, without their consent. The aspects of sexual violence covered here form a subset of an overarching problem of gender based violence and are only confined to gender based violence that is sexual in nature.
However, Indian legal provisions do not cover all forms of sexual violence. Certain forms of sexual violence, such as rape, voyeurism and stalking are also only recognised as perpetrated by a man against a woman. This disregards cases of sexual violence committed on men, trans men, trans women and other persons across the gender and sexuality spectrum, it also discounts such acts committed by persons other than men. Marital rape is considered an exception to the act of rape and clear legal provisions for action against acts of revenge porn do not exist. Also, many women are hesitant to report cases of sexual violence because of victim blaming, fear of social consequences if they report the case and a lack of trust that their claims of sexual violence will be taken seriously by authority figures, such as police and medical officials, after the trauma.
Under this Legal Resources section, laws relating to sexual violence are sub divided in terms of spaces in which such violence takes place, for e.g., at the workplace, college, domestic space or in the cyberspace. There is also a section that examines the laws relating to child sexual abuse and sections that cover pertinent information on ‘Filing of a FIR’ and on ‘Applying for Legal Aid.’ Several laws may overlap and may be applicable across spaces, for e.g., if a woman does not want to follow the internal complaints procedure as established under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013, she is free to file a criminal complaint under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
The content provided here in no way claims to act as legal advice.