Eve Teasing: The Social Evil
The article 'Eve Teasing: The Social Evil' attempts to explain the present scenario of eve-teasing and the legislative provisions associated with the same.
The article 'Eve Teasing: The Social Evil' attempts to explain the present scenario of eve-teasing and the legislative provisions associated with the same. It also discusses how any victim of such a crime can successfully file a complaint. Landmark cases relating to eve-teasing and statistics concerning such offences will also be analyzed in this article. Eve teasing falls in the category of sexual aggression and can take many different forms, including catcalls, vulgar remarks, purposeful brushing, and even groping in public. The phrase itself is not fully accurate, though, as it tends to blame women for being temptresses or teased in light of Eve's temptress nature.
The Indian National Commission for Women has already requested that the phrase be replaced with a more suitable one. Tolerating such instances could encourage other people to indulge in such abuse and lead to more severe forms of it. Even if regulations are necessary, they cannot immediately alter common public behaviours, especially those that are strongly ingrained in society. Hence, there is a dire need for comprehensive reform in dealing with eve teasing, whether it be a mindset, legislation, penal provisions, or regulatory mechanism.
Eve teasing is a peril that has various detrimental impacts on the lives of women who have experienced or are currently experiencing such harassment because it limits their mobility and makes it impossible for them to attend school, college or work in order to avoid being eve teased, and frequently places the blame on the girls which also creates problems in their families. As a result of being forced to live a life of perpetual humiliation, dread, worry, or stress, eve teasing has contributed to numerous cases of depression and suicide in women.
Men wilfully harass women in public settings like markets, buses, and trains when they engage in eve teasing, which is sexually explicit behaviour. In addition to the physical harm that comes from the way that women and girls are handled, they frequently face emotional trauma as a result of being threatened with terrible consequences if they report insulting remarks, inappropriate groping, or manhandling to the authorities.
The detrimental effects of eve teasing extend beyond the woman who is the target of it to our entire society. Unfortunately, these male humiliations don't simply occur in public spaces; they also occur in other settings, such as workplaces and other places of employment. The atrocities committed against women who dared to object to such behaviour are the worst.
Laws dealing with eve teasing in India
Eve teasing is considered a civil wrong in society. The perpetrator hurts the victim both physically and psychologically. Her dignity and the right of women to privacy are being violated. Even so, the Indian Penal Code doesn't specifically talk about eve teasing but it contains specific provisions within its ambit to explain and interpret eve-teasing.
Section 294, Indian Penal Code
Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860, which specifies that a male would be held guilty if he makes a girl or a woman the subject of obscene gestures, statements, etc., was the previous legal remedy available to victims. The term "eve-teasing" is not defined under the law.
According to Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, a man who displays any pornographic or obscene images, books, or papers to a woman or a girl faces a fine of Rs. 2000 and a 2-year prison sentence. If the offence is committed again, the offender faces a 5-year prison sentence and a Rs. 5000 fine. A person who makes offensive gestures or passes judgment on a girl or woman in a way that invades her privacy could face up to a year in prison, a fine, or both.
Section 354, Indian Penal Code
According to Section 354, if force is used to affront a woman's modesty, the offender will be penalized under this section provided that there was a conscious effort on his part to do so.
Section 506, Indian Penal Code
According to Section 509 of the IPC, anybody who intentionally violates a woman's modesty by conversing, making a sound, gestures, or displaying an object with the intent that the woman hears it or feels violated will be penalized with up to a year in prison or a fine.
Sexual harassment is now an express offence under Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code, pursuant to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. The offender will face a 3-year sentence in prison, a fine, or both under this clause.
Filing Complaint against Eve Teasing
It is always recommended for a woman facing eve teasing to call the police control room at number 100 or the women's helpline at number 1091 in the case of an occurrence; otherwise, the victim or complainant must go directly to the nearest police station, women's police station, or any public grievance cell which is usually situated at the Police Commissioner's office to file the FIR against such occurrence. The FIR will be duly filed and the registration number or receipt will be given.
If the victim cannot approach the police station due to any special circumstances, then she can also request the police to approach her home and make further inquiries regarding the incident. It is always advisable to consult a lawyer before registering the FIR.
The zero FIR clause, which requires that the FIR be filed in any police station and that it may thereafter be transferred to the proper police station in the proper jurisdiction, was added by the criminal law reform act of 2013. Here is a list of the numerous women's hotlines that are offered by the government.
Cases relating to eve-teasing
There have been various instances where courts have interpreted the issue of eve teasing and passed their judgment regarding the same:
1) The apex court stated in the case of Deputy Inspector General of Police and Anr. v. S. Samuthiram, Civil Appeal No. 8513 of 2012, that eve-teasing constitutes behaviour that is subject to punishment, although this is exclusively observed in the state of Tamil Nadu and it shall be practiced in other states as well.
2) The Supreme Court outlines the behaviours that constitute sexual harassment in Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1997 SC 3011. These actions comprise:
- If there is unwanted sexual behaviour, whether directly or indirectly,
- Whenever there is physical contact or an advances
- Whenever a request or demand for sexual favours is made,
- It contains comments with a sexual undertone,
- Sexual harassment includes any other sexually explicit physical, verbal, or nonverbal behaviour.
Statistics of eve-teasing
The National Crime Record Bureau's (NCRB's) report for the year 2019 highlighted that there were 4,05,861 occurrences of crime against women overall, a rise of 7.3% over the year 2018 (3,78,236 cases).
In accordance with cases registered under IPC, cruelty by a husband or a member of his family accounted for the majority of cases involving crimes against women (30.9%), which was then followed by assaults on women with the intention of outraging their modesty which also include eve teasing (21.8%), kidnapping & abduction of women (17.9%), and rape (7.9%). According to the NCRB study, the crime rate per lakh women was 62.4 in 2019 compared to 58.8 in 2018. Surveys conducted by different sources have also highlighted that 90 percent of college women in the national capital Delhi had been the victim of sexual harassment in some way.
However, it's surprising that just 1 in 10,000 cases of eve teasing is reported to the authorities. Pins, pen knives, and even daggers are now being carried by an increasing number of college-bound women using Delhi's public transportation having apprehension that they might be victims of eve-teasing. Such sexual harassment on the roadways had some impact on their academic or personal growth.
Eve-teasing is essentially a mindset or attitude that is represented by a specific set of behaviours but it has a serious negative effect. The crime initially looks to be a harmless attempt to attract a girl's attention, but it can ultimately result in kidnapping, rape, murder, and abduction. Therefore, evil must be stopped in its tracks. Eve teasing is a terrible event that can leave the victim woman with lasting psychological scars.
Additionally, it has detrimental effects on the entire community. There isn't a specific piece of legislation that addresses eve-teasing. In the lack of legislation, sections 294 and 509 IPC were typically used to address the offence of eve-teasing. Since the criminal law amendment act of 2013 identified offences including stalking, voyeurism, disrobing, etc., the potential for eve-teasing punishments have increased.
Eve-teasing can be stopped if the individuals are informed about the laws and penalties associated with it since the offender must be aware of the repercussions of his actions. To instill fear in criminals, we must enact strict laws. However, mere regulations cannot lead to changes until the attitude towards women in general, changes. We must eradicate the evil of considering women in society to be merely objects of carnal enjoyment by teaching the next generation how to treat women with respect and dignity.
Sadly, eve-teasing and other forms of harassment against women no longer occur only in public places. Cybersexual harassment now follows women everywhere they go, whether they are in public or at home. Every other woman has been a victim of cyber-harassment which include unwanted, offensive, and sexually explicit WhatsApp messages, emails or SMS's, lewd messages along with offensive inappropriate messages asking for advances on other social networking sites.
Eve-teasing incidents can be decreased if a person is self-sufficient and capable enough of defending themselves physically or virtually. To deter people from committing these kinds of crimes, laws should be strengthened and harsher penalties should be applied.
 Mangai Natarajan, Rapid Assessment of "Eve Teasing" (Sexual Harassment) of Young women during the commute to college in India, Available Here