I was standing on the road, looking to cross, when three men who had been stalking me, approached on a bike and stopped me on my way. One of them stepped towards me and hit me hard on my face.Seema*
Seema* was stunned, she didn’t know what to do. Unable to hear or speak, she says she felt helpless when she couldn’t even shout for help. She went back home and slept over it, aware of the fact that if she told her parents about the incident, they would take away her freedom and make her stay at home.
This incident left an indelible mark on her psyche, and she still walks out with caution.
Rita*, who is also hearing and speech impaired, felt a similar helplessness when she was stalked. She still shudders at the thought of opening her messenger, as she was cyberstalked over a long period of time, by a boy who is also deaf. He would incessantly send her obscene pornographic messages. When she blocked his account, the man started sending messages from other fake accounts.
I am not being stalked anymore, but this incident still haunts me. What if he starts stalking me again? What will I do then?Rita*
The Quint Steps In
Unfortunately in our society, the victim or the survivor is made to bear the brunt of the crime. This makes it harder for people to open up or file a complaint against their perpetrators. Rita and Seema went through something similar.
In this episode of #TalkingStalking Chuppi Todo, Richa Anirudh along with Jai Dehadrai, a Supreme Court lawyer, helped these women understand their rights and encouraged them to report their stalkers.
The biggest problem in our country is that the people do not want to report a crime. If they don’t report, the offender is given another opportunity to harm others. Hence reporting a crime is very important.Jai Dehadrai, lawyer, Supreme Court
Jai also shared special provisions that our law gives to the specially-abled people.
There are special courts in place for them (people with disabilities). The courts have provisions for interpreters as well. If they don’t even want to come to the police station to report a crime, that is also possible. They just need to send a written complaint via a representative and the investigating officer will come to them to take further information.Jai Dehadrai, lawyer, Supreme Court
Make Stalking a Non-Bailable Offence
Do you know that stalking is a bailable offence under the Indian criminal law? This allows stalkers to get bail without serious scrutiny, often putting victims at risk of facing acid attacks, rapes, and sometimes even murder.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):
- There has been a 33 percent rise in stalking cases. As many as 4,699 cases were reported in 2014 and 6,266 cases were reported in 2015
- Around 26 percent of the cases ended in conviction in 2015
- Around 35 percent of the cases ended in conviction in 2014
- In 2015, 83 percent of the accused were given bail before the investigation ended
- In 2014, 85 percent of the accused were given bail before the investigation ended
- Around 60 percent of all accused were men aged between 18 and 30. Around 2 percent were juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18.
This is why The Quint has launched a petition along with Varnika Kundu and MP Shashi Tharoor to appeal that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh make stalking a non-bailable offence. Sign our petition here.
If you are being stalked or know someone who is being stalked, do reach out to us. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop in a message at +91 9999008335.
Let’s break this silence together.
*Names of the victims have been changed to protect their identity.
Camerapeople: Abhay Sharma, Puneet Bhatia, Shiv Kumar Maurya, Tridip Mandal
Producer: Garvita Khybri
Interpreter: Kitty Gupta
Editor: Rahul Sanpui