Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

February-04-13

India Enacts Harsher Punishments for Sexual Assault

Over the weekend, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and the Union Cabinet approved new provisions to the Indian Penal Code that create harsher punishments for sexual assault and rape. The laws went into immediate effect when President Mukherjee's signed them on Sunday, but must be ratified by Parliament.

With the new provisions, the death penalty could be sought in rape cases where a woman is left in a vegetative state, whereas before the death penalty could only be applied when a woman died from her injuries. In addition, the new provisions tackle other forms of sexual assault, such as voyeurism, stalking, and groping, and provides tougher punishments for offenses that had previously carried little to no weight. Human trafficking is also criminalized under the new laws, which could impact widespread child labor practices in India.

While many are applauding the new ordinances, some women's right activists believe that the new laws don't go far enough. For example, under the new laws it is still legal for a husband to rape his wife and service members are protected under a special law that gives them impunity.

Public outrage over a gang-rape that left a woman dead and garnered international attention spurred the President and Cabinet to approve the laws even though Parliament was in recess. On December 16th, the 23-year-old medical student and her male partner were attacked while riding a bus in New Delhi. Both were severely beaten. The woman was raped repeatedly for nearly an hour before a metal rod was pushed inside her, critically damaging her internal organs. She was transferred to a hospital in Singapore and required multiple surgeries for head and intestinal injuries. She died as a result of her injuries two weeks later. Five men who allegedly attacked her are currently being tried in a special fast-track court. A sixth was determined to be a minor and will be tried separately in juvenile court.

Media Resources: Times of India 2/4/2013; Wall Street Journal 2/3/2013; Washington Post 2/3/2013; Feminist Newswire 1/28/2013, 1/24/2013


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

11/21/2014 STATEMENT: Feminist Majority Foundation Applauds President's Executive Order on Immigration - Statement from Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation president: "The Feminist Majority Foundation applauds President Obama for taking much needed executive action to help fix our broken immigration system that has for too long torn hardworking families apart. . . .
 
11/21/2014 Fifth Circuit Court Refuses to Reconsider Ruling Blocking Mississippi TRAP Law - The full US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Thursday refused to reconsider a panel decision blocking enforcement of a Mississippi law that threatened to close the last remaining abortion clinic in the state. In July, a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction against a Mississippi TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals. . . .
 
11/21/2014 UN Expert Calls for Action To End Violence Against Women in Afghanistan - United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women Rashida Manjoo returned last week from a nine-day official visit in Afghanistan with a call to the Afghan Government and the international community to continue its focus on creating sustainable solutions to reduce violence against women. This was Manjoo's third visit to Afghanistan, and the Special Rapporteur noted many positive developments since her travel to the country in 1999, during the Taliban regime, and in 2005. In particular, Manjoo cited the creation of the Elimination of Violence Against Women Law (EVAW) by presidential decree in 2009 as "a key step towards the elimination of violence against women and girls."EVAW criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women - including rape, child and forced marriage, domestic violence, trafficking, and forced self-immolation - and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .