Stigma, fear of being hassled keep women from fighting legal battle

Until a decade ago, women hardly came forward to report any kind of harassment.

Latest News
Stigma, fear of being hassled keep women from fighting legal battle


The stretch of time between the date of occurrence of an incident and when a woman decides to open up about it can lead to a hurdle in raising the allegation in the Indian court of law.

Until a decade ago, women hardly came forward to report any kind of harassment. Victims of harassment are often too scared to make their experiences public.

Also ReadDecades-old rape complaints still a challenge to investigate: Cops

Speaking about the difficulty that women face in taking their respective cases forward, Anjali Gopalan, a Delhi-based activist, said, "At times, they don't find a space protective enough to raise their voice against the incident.

Almost always, doubt is raised: did the incident occur at all or why did the victim wait for so long? Social environments are not supportive."

Speaking about a similar concern, Flavia Agnes, co-founder of Majlis Legal Centre and a women's rights lawyer, said, "The victims are scared to talk about their experiences. In certain cases, they want to talk about it in public but don't want to fight a legal battle. They fear the humiliation they will have to face in a courtroom. The cases which have been voiced recently have occurred many years ago. It becomes difficult for the victims to lead the police to evidence. In such a situation, the opponent has a better footing. The victim also has to deal with societal stigma."

Also ReadMovement will live on always': Kamayani Bali Mahabal

With an increase in the number of women coming forward to report acts of crime against them, others too are finding the courage to speak up.

Gopalan further said, "Whenever someone is abused, it is tough to recall and talk about the incident again and again. It is a painful experience. In most cases, nobody believes the victim. To fight a case after many years, it gets harder for the victim to find justice through evidence. It is not like a third person was watching during all this time."

Also ReadIt is a fight between decent & indecent men and women: Kamla Bhasin

In many cases, the incidents reported are from such a time, when there were no Vishaka guidelines. Sexual harassment was not spoken about in public.

Even after the introduction of Vishaka guidelines, it took a while for women to raise their voice. "It takes time to speak up in such matters. People need to trust the system before speaking up. Now, the social environment is gradually changing," Gopalan further said.

Also ReadKnowing man's side of the narrative

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013 also has a few drawbacks due to which years-old cases of harassment can't be taken into consideration.

Accused In Higher Ranks Of Society

There has been an increase in no. of women who report harassment

Nana Patekar, Actor

  • Tanushree Dutta, actress and model
  • Accused of sexual misconduct in 2009 on the sets of Horn ‘Ok’ Pleassss
  • On June 13, 2019, the Mumbai Police closed the sexual harassment case citing lack of evidence to prosecute

MJ Akbar, Journalist and former minister

  • Over 20 women journalists including Pallavi Gogoi, Priya Ramani, Ghazala Wahab, Shutapa Paul, and Tushita Patel
  • Accused of sexual misconduct, engaging in predatory behaviour during his tenure at senior editorial positions in various media organisations
  • Akbar denies all allegations, files defamation case
  • Akbar steps down as Minister of State for External Affairs on October 17, 2018
  • Priya Ramani was granted bail by Delhi's Patiala House Court on February 25, 2019
  • On May 4, 2019, in a heated courtroom drama, Akbar said the allegations made by Ramani were ‘malafide’ and ‘defamatory’
  • During cross-examination on May 20, 2019, MJ Akbar claimed he could not remember many women, who have publicly accused him

Alok Nath, Actor

  • Vinta Nanda, Writer and producer
  • Sandhya Mridul, actress
  • Deepika Amin, actress
  • Accused of rape, sexual harassment, inappropriate behaviour
  • FIR filed against Nath, court grants him bail. Nath files defamation case against Nanda who accused him of rape

Vikas Bahl, Filmmaker

  • Anonymous former employee of Phantom Films
  • Accused of sexual assault in 2015 during the pre-release promotional tour of Bombay Velvet
  • Super 30 actor Hrithik Roshan distances himself from director; Phantom Films dissolved
  • Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association issues showcause notice asking him to respond in one week’s time. Bahl denied allegations. Has received clean chit

—Compiled by DNA Research & Archives

Find your daily dose of news & explainers in your WhatsApp. Stay updated, Stay informed-  Follow DNA on WhatsApp.

Live tv