After the sordid Delhi Gang Rape case, where a 23 year old lost her life after being assaulted and gang raped by 5 men, India has prepared a stronger law to protect its women. The new law has made stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment a crime. In fact it will also provide death penalty for repeat offenders or for rape attacks that lead to the victim’s death.
As the bill for a harsher punishment for rape offenders was readied, there were many controversies. Activists have hailed this as a milestone in India’s women’s rights movement.
Here are a few things that every Indian woman must know about the anti-rape law:
- ‘Rape’ will now include penetration of the mouth, anus, urethra or vagina with the penis or any other object without consent.
- There will be life imprisonment for rape as the maximum sentence, yet death penalty will be given to repeat offenders or those who left the victims in a vegetative state.
- Stalking and voyeurism are also seen as grievous crimes with punishments up to seven years.
- Gang rape has been recognised as an offence.
- Sexual harassment has been redefined and now includes unwelcome advances with sexual overtures and showing pornography without consent.
- The age of consensual sex remains 18.
- The law will also punish police and hospital authorities with jail up to two years if they do not register a complaint or treat a victim.
- The amended anti-rape law also helps prostitution workers by not including it as exploitation. This marks a clear distinction between sexual exploitation and consensual adult sex work. And will help sex workers report forced sex or rape.