In the light of recent events, it is fair for one to assume that sexual harassment has been turned into a game through past decades.
If we type sexual harassment definition in Google, we get the following answer :
‘harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.’
India has been plagued with sexual assault for a long time now. May it be the Aruna Shanbaug rape or Nirbhaya gang rape. This can be credited to normalization of molestation in Bollywood films. They often emphasize the point that ‘ladki ke naa mein haan hai’ (there’s always a yes behind a no). All India Bakchod (AIB), did an amazing video ‘Sexual Harassment Through Ages’, last year to explain the situation.
In Bollywood, it is often shown the best way to ask a girl out is by stalking, asking someone to molest her so the hero can come save her etc. These are still visible in today’s age. With movies like Judwaa 2 and lyrics like ‘Ganpati Bappa morya, pareshan kare mujhe choriya’, still reek of harassment. This is not something new, in fact, it has been going on for many decades.
The recent #MeToo campaign was successful in urban India, it failed to cater to people in smaller town and rural India. This can be seen through a gang rape that took place in Bhopal earlier in November. A 19-year-old was raped for three hours by four men who occasionally took tea and gutka breaks. Hence, the situation cannot be improved in India unless people become more aware. This can only be done by educating people about sexual harassment and laws that imply the crime.
The Indian Penal Code has various laws against the issue. Some of which are-
Molestation: According to IPC Section 354, assaulting a woman with an intent to outrage her modesty results in the imprisonment of no less than one year and can extend up to five years. Similarly, according to IPC Section 354 B, molesting a woman with the intent of disrobing her or intent of seeing her naked in public can result in the imprisonment of between three to seven years.
Eve Teasing: According to Section 509, any words, gestures or actions, including singing obscene songs, exposing private parts can result in the offender being imprisoned from one to three years.
Obscenity: Singing of obscene songs, ballads or words against women in a public place can result in a fine, three months imprisonment or both.
These are some of the laws regarding sexual harassment of which the citizens of India need to be aware. The situation can also be improved by sensitizing ourselves from the depiction of harassment in media and taking a ‘no’ as a ‘no’.
The hiding and normalization of sexual assault in various societies in the world show that it is merely treated as a game. It is time we see sexual assault as the serious offense it is and speak up. We can not stay quiet anymore!