The time has come ladies, to empower yourselves; in case of an emergency, be informed of your rights and don’t let any sneering police constable convince you otherwise.
The recent rape cases, and the ones which have come tumbling out of the closet since, have firmly driven home one point: Trouble does not politely ask your permission before striking, nor does it send over a written notice two days in advance. The time has come when you could be marching down a street with an army of wrestlers in broad daylight and still be at risk. If there’s one lesson to take home from the recent happenings, it is that trouble can strike anywhere and at anytime.
The politicians will keep yelling themselves hoarse. The journalists will keep pronouncing the end of civilisation in grave tones. The unfortunate victims will keep being shuffled around from pillar to post. The time has come ladies, to empower yourselves; in case of an emergency, be informed of your rights and don’t let any policeman push you around:
Privacy While Recording Statement
Recording a statement isn’t an easy task and you are fully entitled to demand privacy while doing so. Under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a woman who has been raped can record her statement before the district magistrate without the presence of a third party. Alternatively, you can also record the statement with only one police officer and woman constable present.
Cops Can’t Refuse To File FIR
Before the constable pulls out the stock line, “The matter doesn’t come under my area,” remind him that you are empowered to file an FIR under police station in any part of the city that you wish. Under the Zero FIR ruling by the Supreme Court, a woman has the right to lodge an FIR with any police station that she finds convenient.
Your Identity Can’t Be Revealed
Not under any circumstances. Not by the police, nor by the media. Publishing or making known the identity of a victim is deemed as a punishable offense. Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code forbids the judiciary from disclosing a victim’s identity, and failure to compile by the diktat is considered as a punishable offense.
You Can Refuse To Go To The Police Station
Pressing charges against an offender is a harrowing task without the additional hassle of being interrogated at an unfamiliar police station with a bunch of overly concerned policemen eavesdropping. To prevent the victim from facing undue harassment, the Constitution entitles you to put your foot down and refuse to be physically present at the police station. Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code allows a victim to be interrogated at her residence in the presence of a woman constable and family members or friends.
Your Employer Is Responsible Too
Though sexual harassment at workplaces makes great fodder for Bollywood films, don’t discount it as a baseless threat. Remember that your employer isn’t just responsible for your paycheque; it is his duty to set up a Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee, headed by a woman and containing 50 % of women as members, within the company for redressal of such complaints. The Supreme Court has made it mandatory for all companies to set up such committees to look into complaints of sexual harassment.
Much as we want, eve teasing and molestation is a malaise that isn’t going to be magicked out of society overnight. In case of an emergency, dig your heels in and remind the khaki clad men that the law guarantees you full privacy and anonymity. Share this list with your friends so that, if need be, they may make full use of the rights the Constitution has bestowed us with!