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Akash Harijan attempts to understand and analyse the present status of women in the society and her struggle for survival.


Since ancient times, rape and other sexual offences were considered to be heinous crimes but the knowledge of sex and the terminologies in relation to it have undergone dynamic changes. What were once considered to be carnal desires of the king have now become perversions and offences under the umbrella of justice and are termed as ‘sexual offences’. The modern society found this term deficient and is heading towards promoting the term ‘sexual assault’ which has got a more broad spectrum in all aspects.


In most countries of the world, rape is considered as a serious crime. In many African tribes, rape is heavily fined because it is considered as a violation of property rights. The woman is considered to be a property that belongs either to a father or a husband. In the epic Mahabharata, Draupadi was used as a bet by the Pandavas. Not only this, Draupadi was shared amongst the five brothers. But the question still remains, who authorized Yudhistir to put his own wife as a bet in the game of dice? The answer probably lies in male domination and superior ego. Even Shakespeare wrote, ‘frailty, thy name is woman’.


In the present era, though a woman is tagged to have ‘equal status’ and is at par with men, the crime scenario against women speaks the contrary. The newspapers are flooded with the news of north-east women being raped and molested in the country’s capital. Even males and children are victims of sexual offences. ‘Barnali muder case’ still horrifies the people of Assam.


The cases filed in the court are in voluminous number. The fast-track courts are gearing up the process of delivery of verdicts in such cases which have got backlogs. But the underlying problem remains unattended. The crimes against women are increasing day by day. The Indian legal system has provisions for many sexual offences but the many dark arenas of the crime remains obscured in the present statutes of the law. Moreover, many of these crimes are never reported.


The need for a new law on sexual assault is felt as the present law does not define and reflect the various kinds of sexual assault that women are subjected to in our country. The law commission has examined the prevailing laws related to rape and sexual assault in IPC and suggested a complete overhauling of the law. Sex education has become necessary at the school level, so that an inquisitive mind of a child does not grow with the wrong notions about the other gender and the process of procreation. Education has to be imparted to all strata of the society or else we will run out of ideas and a will to make a difference.

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