Sexual Violence: A Global Pandemic
Sexual violence is a global pandemic. One in three women experience sexual or physical violence – most likely from their intimate partner, according to a report from the World Health Organization. There is an urgent need to increase sensitisation regarding sexual violence and the awareness of consent and sexual violence amongst persons at large. In this series, we examine sexual violence and related issues that have come up in the news, on a weekly basis, published every Saturday. This is an attempt to improve awareness regarding incidents of sexual violence and related matters, so that we, as a society can take steps towards collective action to reduce its incidence. It is an effort to ensure that we acknowledge the rampant sexual violence that exists, lest we forget.
Our first issue looks at 5th th to 16th June, 2017.
The Uber Story
The recent allegations against Uber had already brought to light the sexist internal practices that are in place at the leading international company. Some time back, Eric Alexander, President of Business for Uber Asia pacific, was alleged to have obtained the medical reports of the rape survivor in a 2014 case in Delhi, India, where an Uber driver was the perpetrator of the rape. It is claimed that Eric shared these reports with other senior management, including the CEO of Uber. Eric is said to have thought that the rape case was a gimmick by Ola to reduce Uber’s market share! Eric has since been fired, but the concerns regarding the ethos of the company remain. Eric’s actions were taken with the knowledge of other leaders of the organisation, who are yet to face any action. What truly comes as a matter of surprise and concern for us though is how easily Eric managed to get his hands on the medical reports in the first place, when there are meant to be strict privacy protection rules to prevent medical reports of rape survivors, women and minors from being made available for public access. There is an imperative need for us to reflect on how our laws actually work in practise, rather than on just how they appear on paper.
Heinous Gurugram gangrape case
The survivor was on the way to her parent’s place in Khandsa village with her nine month old daughter when said incident took place. The survivor was on the busy NH8 when she was offered a ride by the three accused in an autorickshaw. The three immediately starting molesting the survivor. When the child started crying, the accused smothered the child and threw the child out of the vehicle, causing the child’s death. On continued protests by the survivor, they retrieved the child – the woman was raped for hours before the accused left her. The police have admitted that they needed to have responded more promptly to the woman’s complaint, a female sub-inspector has been suspended. All the three accused have been arrested.
Will India soon have a law that deals with revenge porn?
We may finally might have a separate law that deals with revenge porn soon; revenge porn is the act of posting intimate pictures online of partners or former partners without their consent or knowledge to exact ‘revenge’ on them. Recent trends have shown that such cases have been on the rise in India, in pursuance of this, The Ministry of Child and Women Development has adopted measures to reduce the gap between the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act rather than work on entirely new legislation. There aren’t specific details available on how such law will be formulated or what effects it will have, but governmental dialogue on this issue is a definite positive step towards addressing issues of violation of trust and sexual exploitation in relationships. What can you do? Write to the Ministry with your suggestions, collate opinions and lobby with your local representatives for the need for the change in such law. Support those whose rights and individual agency has been violated by such acts and create awareness. Shift the societal blame to the perpetrator, where it rightly belongs.
Government to create Resources for those in Abusive Marriages Abroad
The government, in response to NRI women being trapped in abusive marriages abroad and facing abandonment at the hands of their husbands, has decided to create a portal which will contain information on how to go about a lawsuit and seeking legal information for such cases. This will hopefully help women trapped in abusive marriages abroad seek justice. You can help by offering to volunteer your services as a professional in related fields towards helping women escape such marriages.
An endnote here to reiterate the concept of consent and its importance in all activity, including any and all sexual activity. Since the concept of consent remains fuzzy in the minds of many, consent is defined to be understood as, “positive, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement to engage in specific sexual activity throughout a sexual encounter.” It simply means that when a partner says no to any sexual act(s) or parts of such act, at any point, before, during or after he act, it means no. Consent given in an intoxicated state or under duress of any kind is not consent.
Connect with us
In case you like this new series, hate it, or think there are stories that we should be covering but have missed out on, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com. We look forward to your inputs and feedback!
Written by Soyra Gune & Vandita Morarka
Edited by Vandita Morarka
Policy and Legal Team