INTRODUCTION – Violence against women in India is going side by side to the technological improvement in modern world in the country. Violence to the women is of various types and can happen at any place like home, public place or office. It is the big issue related to the women which cannot be ignored as it is hindering almost one half growth of the country. Women in the Indian society have always been considered as the things of enjoyment from the ancient time. They have been victims of the humiliation, exploitation and torture by the men from the time of social organization and family life.
THE CURRENT SCENARRIO–: Currently, India has a variety of laws that are aimed at protecting the rights of women, including strict penalties for crimes against women under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Although against a horrific and despicable backdrop of violent rapes and cases of sexual assault, the past few years have especially seen a spate of amendments to the criminal laws of our country to tackle this problem. Statistics, however, do not hint that these measures have contributed towards any meaningful improvement in the situation.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics indicate how crimes against women increased drastically over the years . Another troubling trend is the increase in instances of domestic abuse. A primary reason for the steadied increase in the number of crimes against women is the lack of focus on gender sensitisation. Therefore, the foundation of any approach, that is aimed at tackling these violent crimes, must first focus on the issues faced by women. Secondly, it must be grounded in the belief that women must be treated as absolute equals in society.
The way forward -:
(1)Gender sensitisation: The term ‘gender’ refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a society considers appropriate for men and women. Gender sensitisation is a practice of making people aware of such prejudices and roles that the society has attributed to both males and females and the primary purpose of gender sensitisation is to make people aware of such prejudices and differences between males and females. As stated above, while theoretically, there are a number of laws and programmes that are aimed at improving the status of women and reducing instances of crime against them, numbers on the ground show that such measures have unfortunately not shown tangible results
A large reason for this chasm between theory and practice is the lack of gender sensitisation programmes and conversations around gender in our country from the stage of drafting of legislations to the point of implementation of policies. Gender sensitisation programmes, however, should not be limited to the Government or the state but must be encouraged across age groups, ie, from children to adults and across forums and institutions (right from schools to offices).
To better understand how gender sensitisation can be useful specifically in the context of reducing instances of crime against women, one can look what the numbers tell us. For example, in order to ensure safety of women, it is important that women feel comfortable enough to report instances of violence against them. However, Indian police estimate that only four out of 10 rapes are reported. One of the reasons behind this abysmally low reportage is that currently, women are ashamed of being victims of such brutal crimes because they fear being ostracised and criticised by their family, their community and society as a whole.
Our role-Instead, men and women must be aware of how in cases of rape or other forms of violence against women, there is no blame that can be attached to the victim. It is also imperative that women feel safe to approach the State or their family/communities for guidance and support and not be ridiculed. Another example where gender sensitisation is required is at the time of drafting legislations to protect women. Governments need to apprise themselves of ground realities and avoid quick fire measures.
Words to action: There is no denying that in most cases of rape or assault on women, there is a set of standard lines expressing grief and anguish that are surely getting worn out. Unfortunately, lack of ambition of moving from ephemeral words to tangible action is not only limited to comments to the media and the public but extends to the Government and the executive as well.
For example, with respect to police reforms, various committees and commissions have noted that police officers are overburdened and ill-equipped to conduct investigations in a professional manner. One of the recommendations that have been suggested is training the police officers on modern investigative techniques. Another important change that must be introduced is the establishment of specialised investigative units within the police which will solely deal with investigation of crimes as opposed to law and order issues.
These changes will indubitably (certainly) help the police achieve a higher conviction rate with respect to crimes against women. This is pertinent (relevant) to note in light of the Ordinance, which provides for a shorter period for investigation but completely ignores the manner in which investigations are conducted. This is akin to putting the cart before the horse because it will almost certainly result in fewer convictions due to a weak case by the prosecution against the accused.
Though the Anti Rape Law and other legislations provides for adequate safeguards and are fairly stringent, the implementing agencies should be adequately equipped with strategic training to tackle all eventualities with dexterity.
Police authorities need to win the trust of the general public, by enhancing their presence, being sensitive in handling of these matters, improving their response time and being proactive to the requirement of the public.
Judiciary has to be more accountable and forthcoming in dealing with cases by conducting prompt, unbiased, fair and flawless trails.
Media can play a very significant and responsible role in generating social awareness, highlighting the lacunas in the system and stroking the conscious and moral values of the society for making a change for the better.