#metoo has flooded the social media and has made us question the society we live in.
Our society is plagued by sexual harassment, be it MNCs, government sectors or any institution. Despite everyone struggling with it, It has been one of the most unreported offenses, and the only way to combat it is by education and spreading awareness. Campaigns like #metoo have become medium to justice, but a lot of stories are still unheard. These stories remain unheard because of the societal shame and inability to find the right voices and help.
A woman with a disability is far more vulnerable when it comes to violence and harassment. Most of the time, the harasser is either a colleague or the person with authority. Therefore, most of the time women don’t report abuses thinking of the system or the power of the harasser. It comes to me as a shock that a lot of companies do not follow Sexual Harassment (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (‘the Act’).
The constitution of India secures every citizen including the disabled, a right to justice, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, workshop, equality of status and opportunity. The law covers gender discrimination, unequal wages or sexism at the workplace. If you feel that any of your rights are being violated, you can always file a complaint to the right authority as they are obliged to take legal actions. So, In order to combat such issues, here are your right which you can exercise:
Section 354A: Sexual harassment i.e. unwelcome gesture, contact, and advances. Asking sexual favors, showing pornography without consent, making sexual remarks. One can be subjected to three years of imprisonment and a fine, as per Indian Penal code, Section 354a.
Section 354B: Forcing a woman to undress, if anyone asks for sexual favors and threatens you for serving one. They are subjected to seven years of imprisonment and a fine.
Section 354C: Stalking i.e. capturing images or videos of women without her consent. If you are subjected to stalking you can file a complaint, consequently resulting into first conviction I.e. One-three year of imprisonment or else second conviction three to seven years of imprisonment and a fine.
Section 354D: Contact a woman against her will. Stalking a woman be it in any form digital or physical is subjected to punishment for three years.
Section 509: Insulting the modesty of a woman by words, visuals or gesture. Any action or gesture that intrudes her privacy is subjected to three years of imprisonment.
Any of the above complaints can be filed within three months of the offense. In case, one has not lodged the complaint and have exceeded the domain period, the ICC and the local committee gets the right to extend the period limit. The complaint can either be filed in writing or else imperatively be given to authority or the officer, who look as to whether the complaint is registered or not.
In case, the woman is unable to register a complaint because of her death, mental or physical capacity, the right to the complaint is assigned to the legal heir or any such person. It’s important to exercise your rights and tackle such offenses as soon as possible and to fight for your rights, we just can’t afford more me-too's.