Appendix and Endnotes

Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to replace professional support, guidance, advice, or diagnosis.

Trigger warning: A trigger is a word or an event that can cause an action to take place. In this toolkit certain words can be triggering for survivors. Which means that reading those words or sentences can cause a survivor to either feel uncomfortable or anxious and might even take them back to an unpleasant memory. If while reading someone does experience this, it is best to do a quick grounding exercise.

Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Tell yourself that you are safe and you are ok. Use your breathing as an anchor to help bring you to the present moment. Do this as many times as you want to or at regular intervals. You don't need to go through this toolkit by yourself, sit with someone you trust and ask them to go through it with you.

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Types of crimes against women
“Violence against women and girls” (VAWG) refers to many types of harmful behaviour directed at women and girls because of their sex. Gender-based violence is visible at different stages throughout the lives of women and girls. It includes female infanticide, eve teasing, rape, sexual harassment at workplace, trafficking, domestic violence, marital rape, dowry-related abuse, etc.

Any form of sexual violence, whether a one-time assault or a protracted (lasting for a long time) abuse, can be physically and emotionally damaging for a survivor. Sexual assault includes all forms of non-consensual contact with a sexual intent and could range from eve teasing to molestation to rape.[20]

Below are brief descriptions of various sexual crimes committed against women which are punishable offences under Indian law.

  1. Rape[21]
    Rape is an act where a man:

    • Forcefully penetrates into the vagina, mouth, urethra, or anus of a woman or forces her to do this with another person;
    • Inserts any body part (not being penis), object into the vagina, urethra, or anus of a woman or forces her to do this with another person;
    • Manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration of vagina, urethra, mouth or anus or any body part of such woman or makes her do with him or any other person;
    • Applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, and urethra of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person.

    The above mentioned acts will amount to rape if the woman:

    • did not give her consent;
    • was pressured to agree to perform such acts;
    • Consented because the perpetrator put her or her loved ones in fear of death or hurt;
    • agreed because she thought the perpetrator is her husband;
    • agreed but is drugged, drunk, is not of sound mind or is mentally ill;
    • is under 18 years of age;
    • is a child bride;
    • is not in a position to communicate her consent (for instance she may be unconscious).

    If a man forces a woman to have intercourse under the false pretext of a promise to marry her, but has no intention to keep this promise, then it will amount to rape[22], “Marital rape” or forceful sex without consent of wife by her husband is not recognised as a crime in India. In such a scenario, where a husband forces himself on his wife, the woman can file a case for domestic violence. Irrespective of consent, a husband having sex with his wife who is under the age of 18, is considered as rape in the eyes of the law.

    The criminal law in India also provides punishment on the following counts:

    1. to persons in cases where after committing offence of rape and inflicting injury causes death or causes the woman to be in a persistent vegetative state[23];
    2. sex by husband with his wife during separation[24];
    3. sex by a person in authority[25];
    4. gang rape[26]
  2. Outraging the modesty of a woman[27]
    An act of a man slapping a woman on her posterior in the presence of other people with the intention that it would embarrass her, would amount to outraging the modesty of a woman[28].An act outraging the modesty of a woman is one where the perpetrator, either by a physical act or a non-physical act, intends to offend, embarrass or insult a woman. It can be either assault, use of criminal force or utterance of some words, or sound or gesture or exhibits any object so as to be heard or seen by the woman.“Outraging modesty” is a subjective phrase and may differ on a case-to-case basis. It is also considered a crime if the perpetrator commits an act knowing it is likely to outrage a woman’s modesty, even if he had no particular intention of doing the same. It is mostly interpreted as acts which are outrageous to morality, would be outrageous to modesty of woman[29].Physical acts could include the perpetrator pulling a woman which may be done with an intention to glance at her private parts, or remove her clothes such as dupatta/stole/scarf to glance at her breasts[30]. Even if a perpetrator does these acts to rob a woman, but not with a specific intention to outrage her modesty, a case under this section will be registered. Such acts may be coupled with a demand for sexual intercourse.Non-physical acts could include any song, picture or figure exhibiting lewd suggestions which are considered as immoral and insulting a woman’s modesty[31].
  3. Sexual harassment[32]
    Sexual harassment can be described as:

    1. Inappropriate touching or sexual advances which are unwelcome
    2. Demands or requests for sexual favours, which may be made by intimidating, threatening blackmailing, etc., the victim;
    3. Showing of obscene or nude images or videos, making offensive, sexually coloured remarks or jokes, not limited to a person’s body or appearance;
    4. Making sexual gestures;
    5. Asking inappropriate questions, making suggestions or making remarks about a person’s sex life
    6. Following or stalking a person publicly or online;
    7. Sending unwelcome social invitations with innuendos, metaphors, often described as flirting; or Act 2013[33]
    8. Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

    Therefore, any action or gesture, directly or by implication, which is aimed at or has the tendency to outrage the modesty of a female, falls under the general concept of sexual harassment. 

    Sexual harassment is larger in scope and it includes stalking, eve teasing, voyeurism etc. Most of the time when a case for sexual harassment is registered it is coupled with the specific act (such as stalking, eve teasing, etc.).

    Understanding the acts

    • An unwelcome or inappropriate touch is one where the man intends to make you feel uncomfortable, has the intention of sexually harassing you and intends to cause injury.
    • Sexual gestures can be actions a woman finds insulting or that outraged her “modesty”. It could include inappropriate touching, blowing of flying kisses, etc.
    • A man could WhatsApp or email or share obscene or nude images.
    • Verbal forms of harassment could include innuendoes, metaphors or leaving vulgar comments on your social media profile.

    However, it is not limited to these acts alone.

    Sexual harassment at the workplace
    Example: For Bira, an offsite trip to Goa was nothing but a bad experience. Her colleague Ken from the Mumbai office approached her multiple times during the trip. He forced her to dance with him, insisted to sit next to her in the bus and touched her inappropriately in the swimming pool. Bira decided to report this to her supervisor.

    Workplace sexual harassment not only creates an insecure and hostile working environment for women but also impedes their ability to perform[8].The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act) protects women in case of sexual harassment at the workplace. The law provides protection to all working women, irrespective of their age, and irrespective of the place of employment (it could be organized sector or unorganized sector).

    Further, workplace includes any place visited by the employee arising out of or during the course of employment including transportation provided by the employer for the purpose of commuting to and from the place of employment. POSH Act also covers a victim’s educational institution and hospital where she may be admitted. A special law is in place to provide recourse to women to approach the company she works for to handle the matter internally.

    Sexual harassment at the workplace can be described as: (Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013[34]

    • Unwelcome to the victim;
    • Sexual in nature;
    • A subjective experience;
    • Where impact matters;
    • Mostly in a matrix of power.

    Unwelcome touches can be described as ones that make a woman “feel powerless”, “demeaning”, “causes anger/sadness”, “illegal” etc. Impact of inappropriate behavior can directly affect productivity at work and self-esteem. Such harassment is normally done by any person who is in the position of power at the workplace. For instance, it could be by a manager-subordinate relationship. The manager may make advances, with the threat that if she does not comply with his demands, he will not promote her.

    Professional impacts include[35]:

    • Decreased work performance;
    • Being objectified;
    • Retaliation from perpetrator and other colleagues; or
    • Job and career consequences. 

    If a woman is being subjected to harassment at her workplace, then she may feel depressed, shame, guilt, self-blame, stress, loss of motivation etc. The victim may be made to work in a hostile work environment where she might suffer humiliation which is likely to affect her health and safety[36].

    Conduct at the workplace that can amount to sexual harassment[37].

    • Suggesting or implying that failure to accept an invitation to a date or sexual favours would adversely affect the victim’s performance evaluation or promotion;
    • Explicitly or implicitly suggesting sexual favours in return for hiring, compensation, promotion, retention or anything related to allocation of work;
    • Act or conduct by a person in authority denying equal opportunity or making the workplace hostile only because such individual refused sexual favours; or 
    • Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favours.

    As mentioned earlier, the victim can take recourse in her place of employment itself. The victim is required to submit a copy of the complaint along with supporting documents and include a list of witnesses who are supporting the complaint to the Internal Complaints Committee within three months of the harassment. The victim should make six copies of it.

    The victim may choose to adopt an informal or formal mechanism. In case of the formal mechanism, the respondent would be served with a notice within 7 days of receiving the complaint and will have to respond within 10 days. The inquiry is to be completed within 3 months. In case either party is dissatisfied with the outcome then they may appeal to a court within 3 months[38].

    The victim can also complain on the website of the Ministry of Women and Child Development through the SHe-Box, an online platform for filing a complaint in the case of sexual harassment. The portal helps women register and track complaints. 

    She can also approach the police and file an FIR.

  4. Voyeurism[39]
    Example: Rose went to the market to buy new clothes. While trying on the clothes she realised that the changing room had a hidden camera. This is a punishable offense. Looking at or capturing a woman’s private parts, especially when she thinks no one is watching her, is a punishable offence[40]. “Peeping toms” may look at or capture when:

    • You are using a toilet;
    • You are undressing or are in your underwear; or
    • You are engaging in a sexual act with your partner.

    This can happen by illegally installing a camera in your bedroom or hacking your webcam and a man watches you when you are in the privacy of your room or home[41].

    If a woman has consented to private photos, with the expectation that they will remain between her and the photographer, and the same are shared with third parties, then too it is a punishable offence.

  5. Stalking[42]
    Example: Satish and Sana broke up. Sana noticed that despite her cutting contact with Satish, he was following her home and harassing her colleagues for information about her. She felt very scared to go out of her house.
    Stalking is an act when a man follows you, contacts you or monitors your whereabouts with the intention to harm or cause fear[43]. This may occur even though the women gives a clear indication that she is uninterested and in most cases the victim is unaware. In this digital age stalking is not confined to physical stalking, it could also be over the phone or online. Stalking is not necessarily a standalone act, and it may be coupled with sexual harassment, eve teasing or outraging a woman’s modesty[44].Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc. are sometimes used to victimise women[45]. In case a man monitors or follows the victim’s activity online through social media and instant messaging applications, then it is cyberstalking. The victim can report the case to a cyber cell.
    Some acts that may amount to stalking include: 

    • You may receive harassing phone calls;
    • You may receive harassing text messages on your mobile;
    • The perpetrator waits outside your house every day;
    • You may receive letters or gifts; or
    • Your online activity may be monitored on social media platforms.
  6. Eve-Teasing
    It can be described as unwanted sexual remarks or advances made by a man to a woman in a public space. The victim can approach the police and file a complaint. Eve-teasing can be in the form verbal, physical, psychological, sexual harassment or harassment through some objects[46].
    Under law [Section 294 of Indian Penal Code, 1860], women can complain against men who make  cheap comments or sing obscene songs to bother them[47].


20. Section 354 and 509, Indian Penal Code, 1860
21. Section 376, Indian Penal Code, 1860
22. Deepak Gulati v. State of Haryana, AIR 2013 SC 2071
23. Section 376A, Indian Penal Code, 1860
24. Section 376B, Indian Penal Code, 1860
25. Section 376C, Indian Penal Code, 1860
26. Section 376D, Indian Penal Code, 1860
27. Section 354 and 509, Indian Penal Code, 1860
28. Kanwar Pal S. Gill v. State (Admin UT Chandigarh)
29. State of Kerala v. Hamsa, (1988) 3 Cri 161
30. Raju Pandurang Mahale v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 2004 SC 1677
31. A Critical Overview Of Offences Against Women Under The Indian Penal Code
32. Section 354A, Indian Penal Code, 1860
33. Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal)
35. India’s Law on Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace, October 2018
36. Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace for Employers/ Institutions/ Organisations/ Internal Complaints Committee/ Local Complaints Committee (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, November 2015
37. India’s Law on Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace, October 2018
38. Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
39. Section 354C, Indian Penal Code, 1860
40. Sexual Crimes
41. Invasion of privacy
42. Section 354D, Indian Penal Code, 1860
43. Stalking
44. #MeToo: How the law protects you against stalking
45. #MeToo: How the law protects you against stalking
46. The Deputy Inspector General of Police and Ors. vs. S. Samuthiram, MANU/SC/1029/2012
47. TBI Blogs: From Eve Teasing to Stalking, There Are Laws to Counter Any Form of Sexual Harassment in India


Legal Procedures

Medical Support and Examinations

MoHFW Medico-Legal Guidelines for Care
Comprehensive Health care Response to Sexual Violence: CEHAT

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