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Why Most Women Still Hesitate To Report Sexual Assault

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Why Most Women Still Hesitate To Report Sexual Assault

‘Sexual Assault’ refers to sexual contact or behaviour that occurs without the explicit consent of the victim.It includes – Rape, attempted rape, molestation and sexual harassment or threats.Unfortunately, Violent Acts against women in India are nothing new. The increasing presence of women in the workforce, in social settings and public transportation in public areas, has pushed the issue into the more public domain.Pink

As far as India is concerned, the women here are still treated as a commodity or a thing in most of the places. She is treated as a tool of entertainment and never given the respect she deserves.

When it comes to the women who are sexually assaulted, a situation is much more difficult much scarier much more pathetic. Chances of losing herself or her family take a complete toll on her social life.

Most of the women hesitate to even report such cases – Reasons though very very sad and beyond her emotional control – Few such reasons are:-

i) Lack of Proper Mechanism:

This is a very important factor and there has to be a proper and adequate mechanism set up to deal with such cases. The delay in reporting such incidents greatly weakens the complainant’s case. Unfortunately, there are no structures that enable a woman to come forward and report such cases.

ii) Ambiguity:-

This is a very strange reason which again holds the woman back from reporting such assaults. For example – In sexual harassment at work place, the issue of consent becomes more ambiguous – vague and this causes doubt in the mind of the victim and this delays their coming forward and report such abuse.

However, this hesitation can be overcome by treating sexual harassment as Civil Offence.

iii) Future in Jeopardy:-

In most of the incidences women are made to feel responsible for what has happened. She is often told that it is her way of dressing or her behaviour towards the colleagues of opposite gender are the factors responsible for the harassment. Thus, victims are often made to think that reporting such things or incidences would have a detrimental impact on their future and also on the reputation of that particular organisation. Hence she is often asked to settle the issue OR rather to live with the issue. So a constant reminder of the fact that reporting such cases will put the future of the women and the organisation in jeopardy is another reason that keeps her away from reporting such cases.

In most of the incidences women are made to feel responsible for what has happened. She is often told that it is her way of dressing or her behaviour towards the colleagues of opposite gender are the factors responsible for the harassment. Thus, victims are often made to think that reporting such things or incidences would have a detrimental impact on their future and also on the reputation of that particular organisation. Hence she is often asked to settle the issue OR rather to live with the issue. So a constant reminder of the fact that reporting such cases will put the future of the women and the organisation in jeopardy is another reason that keeps her away from reporting such cases.

iv) The Known Assailant:-

In almost 6 in 10 cases of rape or sexual assault, the victims are assaulted by an intimate partner, relative, friend or acquaintance and then reporting the abuse against these known people become a task for that women.

v) Victim Blaming:-

It could be a substance abuse or otherwise sex life, way of dressing, friends, parties etc. attached to the victim. In such cases, assault is blamed for being the outcome of victim’s ways and hence not taken seriously. Thus go unreported or even if reported – go unnoticed.

vi) Man Handlings:-

Most of the victims fear man handling of their cases even at the police station or other concerned authority. They don’t feel the comfort disclose the trauma and often suspect the insensitive response from the authorities. Big reason the cases are not reported!!

vii) Family Reputation:-

Social stigma not only the victim but her whole family is dragged into it and either humiliated to such an extent that the victim fears for well being of her loved ones and don’t want to disturb their life for the harassment she goes through and hence never reports such cases.

*Reasons are many – much more than this – point is or question is what needs to be done –

*Understanding – not every person is born strong – what we need is to stand by ourselves and by each other with the strength – with the belief – and with pride.

This article is written by Jahnavi A. Kulkarni. She is a lawyer practicing in Bombay High Court.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Priya

    September 1, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Very well written

  2. Priti karandikar

    September 1, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Very well articulated and simple to understand. Jahnavi we look forward to read more.

  3. Riddhi

    September 1, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Very well written jahanvi.
    This article is awakening the women to get stronger.

  4. Chanda Bhide

    September 1, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Well written Prachi.
    Keep writing and posting?

  5. Preshit Joshi

    September 1, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Nice article Janhavi. Simple wording, easy to understand and no legal jargon…

  6. Yesha

    September 1, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    Too good. Very simple to understand and to the point.
    Keep writting such articles janu

  7. sanjeev

    September 25, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    If u want women to be treated nice that should come from home ….every mom should teach her son to do so.

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