Women Safety

Women Safety

Eve Teasing & Beyond

Streets, bus stands, railway stations, parks and other public places should be for everyone to access and enjoy. Yet for many women they are the scenes of harassment. Everyday women face systematic assault on their fundamental right to free movement and personal dignity.

The problem:

As Seema walks down the street, a group of men makes comments about her face and figure--"Hey, what a figure!" "Is it 32 or 36!" She walks on without comment annoyed at the intrusion. Then the comments get nasty "you bitch!" Sudha is standing in a queue for a bus. Suddenly she feels a hand grab at her breast. She looks around but isn't sure who did it. She feels violated and too stunned to say anything. Kavitha notices a man following her on the way home from work. He stays quite a distance back but is there day after day. One day he comes closer and calls out. She is afraid and changes her route and travel time to avoid him. Sexual harassment at public places is unwelcome, unsolicited behavior of a sexual nature including staring, gesticulating, touching, passing comments, trailing. These may not seem to be a big problem, but they can be quite upsetting. It makes women feel ashamed, humiliated or frightened.

Myths associated with sexual harassment at public places:

Wearing certain kinds of clothes lead to sexual harassment

This is a myth. Several studies done around the world show that women of all ages and wearing all kinds of clothes are vulnerable to harassment. A study done by NIPPCID for Delhi Police showed that 82% of the women who were part of the survey were wearing everyday, non-provocative clothes when they were harassed (salwar kameez, trouser –top, saree).

Is harassment only done by some kinds of people

This is a commonly held perception. The issue is not of one's class but of one's mindset, which allows one to harass women believing that women are easy targets

How to deal with sexual harassment:

It is not possible to have one single strategy to address this. It is important to make a judgment on the spot depending on the context.
Learn to say ‘NO' loudly and clearly. Prepare a stock sentence (like “Stop staring at me”) and practise saying it to yourself until it becomes a reflex. If you are harassed, repeat it again and again till you feel confident to use in public place.
Learn to communicate confidence in yourself. Look straight at people who accost you and speak clearly and calmly in response. Show others that you are aware of your rights and space.
If you are in a bus the driver & conductor can be approached for complaints. As per law they should assist the victim by accompanying them to the nearest police station.
Carrying with you safety pins and learning self defence techniques can be helpful.
If you are being harassed regularly it is better if you inform the same to your parents/friends. It can be therapeutic and supportive. Many women face this problem and understand what you are experiencing.

What men can do to stop harassment

Don't do it yourself. Learn about the problem so that you become more sensitive to what might offend others.
Don't cooperate with groups of men who harass. Act to frustrate or oppose harassment. Don't cooperate with harassment. Refuse to join in.
At a suitable occasion, raise issues about sexual harassment.
Show your opposition strongly.
If you notice a situation where a woman seems to be being harassed, you may be able to help her.
If someone is badgering her, you could go over and ask "Is someone bothering you?" If a woman in a crowd shouts out about being pawed, you might be able to voice a supportive comment to the crowd, such as "Whoever did that, it's not welcome."


Signs of A Cheating Husband

One of the most common ways you can detect if your partner is cheating is by looking out for changes in his day to day routine and behaviour. If your partner is having an affair it is quite likely that he will start acting differently. This is because we all settle into certain routines when things are regular and normal so it is only natural that if something changes in our lives then things get thrown off course and we start doing things differently. These changes in your husband's routine can be giveaway clues that he's seeing someone else but can be so easily missed.

Have you detected any of the following?
- Has he become short tempered with you or children?
- Does he want to be out more now whereas before he was happy to be at home with you?
- Does he stay awake later a night? This may be so that he can phone, SMS or email 'her' once you've gone to bed or simply in the hope that you'll be asleep before he gets into bed.
- Suspicious cell phone behavior - Has he become possessive of his cell phone? Does he keep it close by whenever you're nearby? Men who cheat use their cell phone to communicate with the other women. Unless they are totally stupid and use their home phone number. Look for him erasing his call logs and messages constantly.
- Does he insist on answering the phone and talks in coded mode if you are around or feels uncomfortable by your presence?
- Has he become more possessive toward his wallet, pocket calendar or briefcase?
- Has he started avoiding you in the home? Doesn't look into your eyes straight?
- Does he go out for longer and more frequent walks?
- No more arguing - Has he become docile when arguments arise? Men do not like confrontation when they are cheating, they will do whatever it takes to avoid any type of heated confrontation.
- Has he lost interest in things he used to be passionate about, say a particular sport or a particular hobby?
- All of a sudden has he starts talking about getting together with old friends he hasn't seen in years and about whom he has never spoken of to you?
- Have you noticed him suddenly being more knowledgeable about women's clothing, perfume or jewelry? If so he could be buying gifts for another woman.
- Has he started to take an interest in something that you know he was never previously bothered about?
- Has he stopped leaving his clothes lying around or started doing any of his own washing, maybe because there are revealing smells or marks on them?
- Has he started encouraging you to go alone to visit parents or friends now a days?
- Has he started attending extended seminars/official/business trips or going on tours he never used to attend and go before with that frequency?
- Did he remember things he had forgotten to do at the office and wants to leave immediately at odd hours?
- Does he forget to wear the wedding ring sometimes?
- Does he make a point of keeping the car/bike free of things belonging to you or the kids?
- Has he has started keeping an overnight bag in his car or office, apparently for a workout?
These signs of a cheating husband appearing now and then may not mean anything in isolation, but if you notice a number of them happening with a pattern, you should take them as a warning signs that there's probably something wrong going on. You must take corrective steps to save your marriage.

Alcoholic Husband

Alcoholism is a universal phenomenon. Down the centuries, numberless women across the globe have been coping with husbands who come home drunk, bash their wives and children and make everyone's life miserable. However surprisingly most women timidly adjust to their husbands' ways rather than raising their voices in protest. Maybe they have their own difficulties and ways of dealing with the problem but if your alcoholic husband is abusing you then it is time that you put an end to this evil and fight courageously against this addiction and save you and your family.
Guidelines for Helping Your Alcoholic Husband:
- Acquire proper attitude. It is difficult to help people who sense that you despise them and do not care for them and respect them.
- Alcoholism is an addiction to a drug. Therefore willpower is not enough; proper therapies are needed and consult a proper rehabilitation center or counselor.
- Confront your husband with the fact of the disease, and offer a possible solution. Alcoholics never get well unless given a chance.
- Make your alcoholic husband responsible for his actions. Every time you make excuses for him or shielded him, you have just paid for the next drink.
- Use all the alcoholism resources available. It is a complex illness; it needs a network of people to treat it. Take into confidence some of your husband's closest friends (non -drinkers) and ask them to persuade your husband to relinquish the bottle. Most men brush aside the appeal of their wives but pay heed to their friends' advices.
- Never give up hope; never be discouraged. Even if your alcoholic husband does not recover at this time, the seed has been planted. It may bear fruit sometime in the future.
- Alcoholism is a family disease; all family members are affected; all need treatment.
- Do not leave him alone. Always keep supervision on him. Accompany your husband to all parties and gatherings to keep a vigilant eye on him. If he is under supervision he will not to exceed the limits.
- Try to avoid the parties where your husband will be forced to drink by his friends.
- See that your husband's salary directly comes into your bank account so that he shall not have access to money to spend on drinks.
- Try to find the root cause of the problem. Try to have a heart-to-heart talk with him in order to gauge the root cause of his addiction.
- Once the causes are discovered, ways and means could be devised to solve the related problems.

Domestic Violence

If you are facing Domestic Violence

Within the four walls of homes, the violence against women is quite high. Domestic violence against is widely prevalent, but has remained largely invisible. Statistics reveal that 45% of Indian women are slapped, kicked or beaten by their husbands. (ICRW 2002) .32% had committed acts of violence against their pregnant wives. Every 60 minutes a woman dies in India due to domestic violence. Women accept violence because social norms sanction them. At the same time, cultural conditioning and economic dependence prevent the vast majority of women leaving their marital homes. Though there is criminal law to prevent domestic violence, the recent civil law “Protection of women from Domestic Violence” is aimed at providing relief, compensation and support to a woman.

Your husband or partner commits any of the following acts of violence against you or your child

- Verbal and emotional violence.
- Insult –not attractive, not smart, doesn't respect him/his parents.
- Accusing/insulting your parents.
- Name – calling.
- Accusations on your character or conduct etc.
- Insult for not having a male child.
- Insults for not bringing dowry etc.
- Preventing you or a child in your custody from attending school, college or any other educational institutions.
- Preventing you from taking up a job.
- Forcing you to leave your job.
- Preventing you or a child in your custody from leaving the house.
- Preventing you from meeting any person in the normal course of events.
- Threat to commit suicide.

Economic Violence

- Not providing you money for maintaining you or your children.
- Not providing food, clothes, medicines etc, for you or your children.
- Stopping you from carrying on your employment.
- Not allowing you to take up on employment or.
- Taking away your income from your salary, wages etc.
- Not allowing you to use your salary wages etc.
- Forcing you out of the house you live in.
- Stopping you from accessing or using any part of the house.
- Not allowing use of clothes, articles, or things of general household use.
- Not paying rent if staying in a rented accommodation etc..

Physical violence

- Slapping.
- Beating.
- Hitting.
- Biting.
- Kicking.
- Punching.
- Pushing.
- Shoving.
- Causing bodily pain or injury in any other manner.

Sexual Violence

- Forced sexual intercourse.
- Forced you to look at pornography or any other obscene pictures or material.
- Any act of sexual nature to abuse humiliates or degrade you, or which is otherwise violating of your dignity or any other unwelcome conduct or sexual nature.
- Remember the Govt recently enacted Domestic Violence Act.

Salient features of the DV Act are:

- PWDVA seeks to cover all those women who are or have been in a domestic relationship with a man including live-in relationships, bigamous marriage and fraudulent marriages.
- The Act gives the women right to reside in the shared household.
- Protection orders can be given by the magistrate immediately to stop violence.
- It provides counseling for both parties singly or jointly.
- The act stipulates that within 3 days the case has to be registered and in 60 days all requisite relief measure to be given.

Whom to report domestic violence incident?

- Nearest Police station.
- Protection officer (Project director women and child welfare department of the Dist) Contact your local protection officer.
- Service provider (appointed by the State Government).
- Magistrate.

If you don't have shelter

- For Shelter : Nearest protection office or service provider to provide shelter in a shelter home.
- For medical facilities : Nearest protection office or service provider to provide any medical aid.
- Obtaining orders or relief : Application to Magistrate.
- For payment of compensation or damages : Right to reside in a shared house hold.
- Protection order : Prohibiting committing any act of domestic violence.
- Aiding or abetting : Entering the place of employment Or she is a child its school Attempting to communicate in any form including personal, oral , written, electronic or telephonic contact.

Alienating any assets

- Operating bank lockers, bank accounts used or held or enjoyed by both the parties jointly with her or single Stridhan.
- Causing violence to the dependents to her relatives or any person.
- Any other act.
- Residence orders.
- Monetary relief.
- Custody orders.
- Compensation orders.

Dowry Harassment

Practice of Dowry

In India, Dowry system that has been prevailing amongst every society and affected lives of the people who are involved in marriage and on those who are around.
When Princesses of a dynasty got married, the King offered, out of overwhelming joy, a part of his wealth and his State to his Sons-in-Law in a grand wedding function. His Ministers also followed this regal practice as a protocol. The public in general, irrespective of rich and poor, followed this showy practice to maintain 'prestige' and felt great at par with the still rich society.
This dubious matrimonial tradition however, seeped into the homes of the poor and downtrodden people to muster a false respect. By then there was already present a guilty conscious feeling of giving birth to and fostering of girl children. Also the growing percentage of female births over male children contributed its share to the corrupt system. The fact that every home having more girls than boys alarmed the elders make hurry the marriage of their daughters and created a ground for competition.
The Dowry system has recently become so popular that every groom felt proud and gaudy on the number of items, weight of gold and amount of money he received.
The parents of the girls too sighed in relief over gifting their sons-in-law with such things. They relaxed indebted because their daughters will be well respected and best treated by their in-laws, as compared to their counterparts.
The daughters too take pride in grabbing so much from their parents and loose no opportunity to highlight their material superiority over other girls of their position in the family they enter.
The less adorned daughter feels small of the situation and either quarrels with her in-laws or pesters her parents to give her more so that she could also gain equal respect in the family of her husband.

Effects of Dowry

The aforesaid skirmishes within the family engulf every member and take shapes to different dimensions, such as division of families, separation of couples, divorce, endless enmity, court cases, loss of happiness, and personal feud.
One could see the women acting like enemies of women in almost all the families while they start the talk of marriage. The boy's mother often makes the entire family silent by one sweep of her tongue in bargaining for the money and gold ornaments she would prefer her daughter-in-law to bring in and deposit with her.
A few mothers argue that they too brought such things when they got married and a few rearrange the in-laws' ornaments into a give-away dowry for their own daughters, thus inviting trouble and unwanted remarks from the daughter-in-law and her family.
Ponder over the plights of the parents who cannot afford to pay hefty dowry on Wedding that is demanded from them disproportionately, by the Groom's family or by the Groom himself. Due to the Dowry system the marriage becomes burden.
The Demand of Dowry creates hatred towards female child and misguides the parents to kill the female newborns, instigate forcible abortions, develops cracks in the unity of the family, spoils good relationship between couples, ends in enmity, causes gas stoves to blow up, and brings death to the young brides.

Dowry is not Male

Covetousness, fondness for easy money, false prestige among friends' circles etc. make a boy to beg dowry from the girl's parents. He doesn't realize that he is selling himself by behaving like a male-prostitute for an amount disproportionate to his status.
He behaves like an obedient child, who never crossed the line, any time drawn by his parents, till he receives the dowry in full.
The boy-turned-groom must understand that easy money will never give him uplift to his life and he must be sensible to look into the economical standards of the girl's family.
Remember, you will always live with a guilty feeling and you can never truly possess what all you have got as dowry.

What Can you Do as a Parent

Any family, which goes to get their boy married, must understand that begging Dowry is not an issue of prestige in the society but a curse to them and a sin committed by them. This would definitely lower the status of the boy and his family.
The relatives and in-laws must stop passing awkward and degrading comments taking a moral responsibility to appreciate and adjust with any shortfalls resulting due to an expensive and delicate new relationship. Then only this devilish Dowry demanding practice will be curbed or routed out and many unmarried will have their lives simplified and scorn-free from the in-laws.
While not opposing voluntary and proportionate property given by parents to and for their children - newly wed couples, everyone must abhor and oppose Any Demand that is put forward as a pre-condition for marriage.
All responsible parents must encourage to discarding such an evil practice and making humble efforts towards the Noble Cause of getting their children wedded to live and lead a happy-married-life, with peace of mind.

Reporting Dowry Harassment

What should your complaint include?

Details of marriage including wedding card, marriage certificate, photos, videos etc.
Name(s) of accused persons and their details like addresses and passports etc.
Details of harassment like duration, time period, place and type of harassment.
Details of demand of dowry, if any.
Bank statement, if you have drawn dowry from the bank.
Details of the cheque if you have paid the dowry in that form.
Details of the person to whom it was handed over.
In case of physical violence, details of injuries and type of weapon.
Doctor's prescription or case sheets of the treatment of such injuries.
Details of the elders who had arranged the marriage and who tried to patch up the differences.
Places where the mediation/counselling sessions were held.
Details of witnesses, especially independent witnesses and your own children.
Any written agreements during marriage.
Details of gifts in the form of movable property like jewels/cash/garments/vehicles and immovable property like plots/flats.
Any written/voice communication between the partners, the victim and the parents in the form of letters, emails, voice records etc.
Reasons for the delay in lodging the complaint, if any.
Signature of the victim and contact number.

Help us prevent abuse of 498(A) and strengthen your case:

Always remember! No counselling is better than the couple and their kids thrash it out among themselves.
To err is human! Mistakes can take place from both the sides. One should not misuse any law to cover one's own mistake.
Try counselling on both of you before you decide to knock the doors of police station.
Never exaggerate what had happened to you. In other words, be clear, frank and specific about the issue.
Never include the persons who are NOT connected with the harassment. Be honest.
Always remember! 498A is not a law to take revenge but punish those responsible for harassment severely so that others learn a lesson.
There are many vested interests around to take undue advantage of your helplessness. They might misguide you by exaggerating the facts, adding those who are unconnected with the harassment to the list of accused, exaggerating the amount of dowry etc.
Should you need help in expressing your woes, please take the help of reputed voluntary organisations or help lines only. Avoid the unscrupulous persons who always promise you to get your dowry amount back and extort money from the accused side and dilute your case.
Ensure your presence while someone drafts the complaint for you and ask him to read it out before you lodge it in the P.S.
Some victims are misguided to exaggerate the contents of the complaint in order to make it a STRONG case. The truth is entire strength of the case hinges on quality of evidence that is provided by the victim. If the contents of the complaint are not supported by the facts on the ground, cases become very weak and genuine victims suffer.
If any policeman or the officer concerned demands money for investigating the case and arrest the accused, do not give in. Bring it to the notice of his or her superiors.
Never forget that both the daughter and daughter in law deserve similar affection and care.
Remember! 498A is not a tool to force the other party for divorce. There are so many of other legal procedures to find solutions to the incompatibilities in the marriage.
498A is also not a tool to get the custody of children. There are other alternate legal methods for this.
Never force the police to arrest the accused on same day of lodging complaint as gathering credible evidence takes some time. However, you can help the police expedite the investigation by providing most of the evidence at the time of lodging complaint itself.
If you have the information that the accused are planning to leave the country, you can always bring it to the notice of the concerned investigating officer without delay. Police can alert all the international airports or sea ports for their detention, if needed.
If you are a parent, lodge a complaint only after you ascertain the facts in detail from your daughter. Her statement is vital for the investigation.
Conviction rate in 498A cases is very poor in the country as a whole. There are many reasons for this. You can help us improve this by NOT retracting during trial from what you have said during investigation.