Women Forum Raises Voice against Increasing Rate of Sexual Harassment on Women
Women Forum for Atrocities on Women Raises Voice against Increasing Rate of Sexual Harassment on Women, and urges Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil to take appropriate action
Mangaluru : The problem of violence and atrocities against women in India, and for that matter, even in Dakshina Kannada and surrounding areas, is one important problem relating to women who cannot be ignored. Women in the Indian society have been victims of humiliation, torture and exploitation for as long as we have written records of social organization and family life. Today, though women are being gradually recognized as important, powerful and meaningful contributors to the life of men; but some of the cruel practices thrive even today. In spite of the legislative measures adopted in favour of women in our society after Independence, the spread of education and women’s gradual economic independence, countless women still continue to be victims of violence and extreme cruelty.
The term ‘atrocities against women’ refers to as “a cruel and wicked act against a woman which causes her emotional or physical injury or both“. There is a need to raise voice and fight against atrocities against Women. Further, for each reported rape, many unreported rapes and for each reported eve-teasing many unreported eve- teasing cases occurs. The number of reported cases of atrocities against women in India has increased in recent years. The increase in the number of reported not only indicates increased reporting but it only indicates an increased awareness about gender parity and women’s rights, the confidence of the victims in the new laws for their protection, and because of institutions such as Mahila Courts, Family Courts, and NGOs working for women. But we know that all cases are not reported and recorded for various reasons.
And to bring awareness on increasing rate of atrocities and sexual harassment of women, a local Forum Against Atrocities on Women based in Mangalururaised their voice during a press meet held at Mangaluru Press Club. Addressing the media persons, Ms Merlyn Martis- Director of a NGO “DEEDS”-Mangaluru said, ” At present, the sexual harassment against young women has been increasing. The gruesome sexual assault (gang rape) of a student from Puttur, the sexual assault of a minor from Papemajalu High School and the sexual assault of another minor from Vitla are very disturbing. This has created fear in the minds of the public, women in particular. Such grave and heinous crimes which must be taken seriously have been sidelined effortlessly. As responsible citizens, the time has arrived where we must use the resources available to identify the necessary measures to be taken to bring this situation under control”.
“Forum Against Atrocities on Women is an organization started with an aim to safeguard the interests of women is active in Mangaluru since the last eight years. In association with several women’s organizations, this Forum is submitting the following recommendations for the immediate action of Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil- and also that Impartial investigation must be conducted in all the above mentioned sexual assault cases so that the accused do not escape through the loopholes of law ” added Ms Martis.
The Recommendations are :
1) As soon as the information that the video is becoming viral is brought to the attention of the authorities, stern and immediate action against any person circulating the video or any other propaganda defaming the survivor must be taken.
2) When such incidents take place, the concerned officers must be sensitive to the issue at hand and should act immediately. (For instance, it has come to our notice that in the Puttur rape case the medical examination of the victim took place after much delay.)
3) Capacity building of all Police/Medical Officers/Authorities dealing with the case so that they build up a foolproof case and handle the survivor with sensitivity.
4) To control the sexual harassment of women while travelling, there must be posters stuck in each bus and drivers and conductors must be capacitated to handle such incidents. Awareness regarding sexual harassment must be spread in public transport.
5) Under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, a Local Complaint Committee is functioning under the Deputy Commissioners of the district through Department of Women and Child Development. Since that committee has to engage in the redressal and prevention of atrocities on women, it should be empowered and publicity should be given to it.
6) Compulsory education on life skills must be provided to High School and Degree students. Problems and dangers regarding teenage relationships must be identified and they must be taught how to overcome these issues. Mainly it must include the boys in this programme.
The above mentioned recommendations were submitted to DC for immediate action, and the Forum will support the actions taken by the authorities.
Ms Terry Pais- President of DCCW, Mangaluru; Ms Vidya Dinkar- Coordinator of Citizens Forum for Mangaluru Development; Ms Manjula Sunil- active member of NGO ‘Samvada’-Mangaluru; and Ms Gretta D’souza- Editor of ‘Jagran’ publication.