If You’ve Ever Faced Or Witnessed Sexual Violence, These Are 8 Points About Reporting It

By John Paul:

Only 1% of women who face sexual violence and want to seek help end up reporting it to the police according to the National Family Health Survey, 2005-06. Let us flip this. 99 out 100 women who seek help do not approach the police!

Alarming? Read on.

Nearly two-thirds of women who have ever faced violence (physical and sexual) never seek help. In cases of only sexual violence, only 15% have ever told anyone about their experience and only 8% of women ever seek help!
Think about those of us who are not informed enough and think of communities in which even conversations about sexual violence are taboo. How do we then increase the rate of reporting of sexual violence to the police?

What adds to the problem is the poor knowledge about reporting procedures and about our rights. That we need to help each other out, stay informed, listen and encourage people to report to the police is clearer than ever.

This is why we, at Amnesty International India, started the ‘Know Your Rights’ initiative. We want to inform people about laws, procedures and individual rights related to reporting sexual violence. We have created educational modules that we can use as conversation starters. We can help each other out.

Here are 8 things that ‘Know Your Rights’ wants you to know today about reporting sexual violence in India:

1. Sexual violence does not only include physical harm. The law was changed in 2013 to cover a broader range of offences, including sexual harassment, voyeurism and stalking.

2. One can file an FIR against sexual violence in any police station, not necessarily the one nearest to the incident.

amnesty sexual harassment 1

3. One can register a complaint either over phone or e-mail. But to complete the FIR registration one must visit a police station.

amnesty sexual harassment 2

4. An FIR can be filed by a friend, witness or a family member too. But they must have the full consent of the survivor and the survivor must be willing to be part of the investigations later.

amnesty sexual harassment 3

5. If a survivor of sexual violence is physically or mentally disabled, a police officer must visit the survivor to register the FIR.

amnesty sexual harassment 4

6. Police cannot refuse to file an FIR. If refused, the police officer can be punished under law and you can register a complaint with higher authorities.

7. A woman police officer must be present when you file an FIR against sexual violence.

amnesty sexual harassment 5

8. After registering an FIR, one is entitled to a court-appointed lawyer. But it is good to consult your own lawyer.

Amnesty International India and the Bengaluru Police came together in July 2015 to start a unique initiative that encourages active community participation in reporting sexual violence with safety and dignity.

In addition, Amnesty International India has started the ‘Know Your Rights‘ programme to educate people about reporting sexual violence. They do this via virtual reality, e-learning, WhatsApp and a missed call service that has been made available free of cost.

Think about each of us using these tools to helping 10 of friends or 10 women in our local community. We could solve the first problem – the problem of poor knowledge.

Importantly, for this initiative to work, we, as a community need to work with the police. As the then Bengaluru commissioner said, “We are, after all, your police.”

To get involved or to volunteer write to learn@amnesty.org.in

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below