This article is written by Neelam Prusty, from Madhusudan Law College, Odisha. This article extensively provides official data regarding teen violence in India. It discusses the teen dating violence prevailing in India and how it affects the young generation of India.
In India, violence in any form is quite normal. The society of our country does not recognize violence in any form as a crime. Since in Indian culture, the relationships are believed to be established between two families and not two persons, the culture of dating is discouraged. Due to the reason that the culture of dating is criticized in our society, many teenagers can’t gather the courage to tell their parents about their relationship in fear of being punished. But the parents can guide them and protect them if they take interest in the lives of their children and communicate with them. Since people do not feel secure to talk publicly about their relationship, especially at their homes or with their elders or ask their elders for advice for their relationship, many are vulnerable to teen dating violence. Therefore, a record of 1 out of every 3 teens is reported to be suffering from teen dating violence all over the world. A short film named ‘Sunshine’ was released by BBDO New York in 2018 for raising awareness against teen dating violence. This kind of violence affects the young minds of teenagers who can be very productive if guided properly.
This article gives a clear picture of today’s society where advanced technology has affected thousands of teenagers adversely due to the old mindset and orthodox family structure.
“Ladki ho isliye sehna sikho… Ghar ko tumhe hi jod ke rakhna hai.” is the teaching by the family which insists to tolerate violence and abuses by their partners in silence. The mindset of holding the relationship makes thousands of youngsters a victim of this new form of violence called “Teen Dating Violence”.
Teenage is a very fragile age where the children tend to incline towards their opposite sex. In such a delicate circumstance, the children expect more attention, care, and love from someone who will listen to them and will not punish them for their mistakes rather will understand them and help them as a friend. But due to the generation gap and strictness of the parents make the children feel lonely, and the children try to seek love and attention from someone outside their family. Since it is quite normal that teenagers make many friends in school, college, tuition and even neighbour, there is a high chance that they make their partners in their school, college, tuition, or neighbour with whom they feel secure and gain attention with but many times, they prove to be wrong, and after sometimes they face physical and mental abuses too. They are forced to get physical, have access to their social media accounts, stopped from making friends, and if they don’t accept the demands of their partner, they are abused in the name of breakup or cheating.
But with the advance of technology, besides the social networking sites, there are many online dating apps like Haapn, Tinder, Yubo, OkCupid, Tantan, etc. where teenagers meet people online and date with them without knowing their background and past history. Such platforms make especially teenagers more vulnerable to face dating violence where they can be blackmailed, forced for sexual favours or maybe threatened for life. 1 among every 3 teenagers are the victim of dating violence and most of them have got their partner from dating apps. The official reports give a clear picture of the teen dating violence and even suggest ways to overcome or prevent such violence so that such a form of violence will not affect the young minds of the country.
Official reports relating to Teen Dating Violence
Here are some of the official records from different organizations throughout the world that produce clear data regarding teen dating violence.
According to the National Institute of Justice, 26.3 per cent of teens who are dating have faced cyber abuse whereas 29.9 per cent faced physical violence, 47.2 per cent faced psychological dating abuse and 13 per cent faced sexual coercion by their own partner.
According to the National Survey of Teen Relationships and Intimate Violence, there is 18 per cent of teens who faced physical violence, 60 per cent faced psychological violence and 18 per cent faced sexual violence within a year of their relationships. Since the evolution of technology, teen dating violence is not limited to physical or emotional abuse rather the teens are vulnerable as well as victims of cyberstalking due to unwanted contacts via their email and social media accounts.
National Domestic Violence Hotline presents the statistics where 35 per cent of minor girls are the victim of rape by their own partner. Around 57 per cent of college students have faced physical or mental abuse by their partners whereas 1 out of 3 experienced cyber abuse through their social media dating partners.
According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, it was stated that violence in any form can affect the young minds of a teenager. Such violence may lead the teenagers more likely to face abuse in the upcoming future or even abuse their own partner in their later relationships.
Categorized under teen dating violence
Teen dating violence is categorized under five main headings which is a mere indication or red signal to their relationship. A teenager should stop themselves from staying in such a relationship when they receive such signals and stop tolerating the abuses of such a partner if they face any kind of violence in their relationship either physical, or mental, or sexual, or financial, or digital. The violence or possession in the name of being protective is not normal, rather this is an indication of a toxic relationship from which one should get rid of as soon as possible. Hence, we need to know and discuss the various forms of violence in detail.
Physical violence is an intentional and unwanted contact caused to the body of someone which may not be painful but leave a bruise and is unhealthy for them. This act may be done forcibly or conscientiously. The act of physical violence also includes:
- Scratching, hitting, biting, burning, or kicking the body of the victim.
- Throws any object such as a phone, book, shoe, or plate which may likely to cause any bodily injury.
- Pulls the hair firmly which hurts the victim.
- Pushes or pulls the victim to do something.
- Uses a gun, knife, bat, or any weapon to threaten the victim to do some act.
- Hits or acts sexually with the private parts of the victim without their consent.
- Pressurizes the victim to have sex or perform a sexual act.
- Grabs your face and prevents you from leaving.
Mental or Emotional Violence
Mental violence or emotional violence is non-physical behaviour such as threats, insults, defames, excessive texting or frequently calling, humiliation, threatening, or stalking. which may disturb the victim or tends to weaken them mentally. The emotional violence also includes:
- Shouts and screams at the victim.
- Intentionally humiliates them in the public.
- Prevents them from talking with friends and family.
- Frequently keep a check on their movement.
- Damages their property by throwing objects.
- Uses online platforms or phones to control the victim.
- Accuses the victim of cheating outside relationships.
- Threaten the victim to commit suicide.
- Threaten the victim to expose their sexual secrets.
- Spread rumours about the victim.
Sexual Violence is the act of forcing or coercing someone to do some sexual act without their will or will consent that is obtained by blackmailing them. In such a circumstance, sexual violence includes:
- Undesired kisses or touching.
- Undesired violent sexual activity.
- Rape or attempt to rape.
- Restricts the use of condoms or birth control.
- Restricts someone to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
- Intimidates someone into undesired sexual activity.
- Pressurizes someone to have sex or perform sexual acts.
- Sexually insulting someone.
Financial Violence is an act of controlling someone’s account and restricting their right to buy something. Financial violence includes such activities that will make someone financially unstable. There are some instances like:
- Maximum use of credit cards without permission.
- Refuses to give money for food, medicine, or clothing.
- Uses someone’s social security number to obtain bad credit loans without permission.
- Restricts from checking the bank records of the shared bank accounts.
- Prevents someone to work or limits the work hour.
- Prevents someone from going to work by taking away the keys.
Digital Violence is a new form of violence where someone can face bully, stalk, or harassment through the use of technologies. Digital violence includes the following situations which lead to a lot of crime in modern times:
- Restricts someone from making friends on social media.
- Manages social sites to keep a regular check on someone.
- Sends unwanted pictures or demands vulgar pictures from.
- Steals someone’s personal passwords.
- Constantly texting someone.
- Check through someone’s phone frequently.
- Uses spyware or GPS to monitor someone.
Concept of date rape
The concept of date rape has emerged in recent years. The term “Date Rape” is being used to define the group which is forced into unwanted sexual activity by their friends, colleagues, or intimate partner through physical violence, mental pressure, misuse of their authority, or even threat of life.
Drugs and alcohol also play a vital role in date rape. Since we are quite familiar with the fact that drinking alcohol or the intake of drugs reduces common sense and tends to experience hallucination, still people prefer to intake alcohol and drugs with their partners or friends in parties or functions to chill out. There are various kinds of drugs like Rohypnol, GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid), and Ketamine, that are used for date rape. These drugs are impossible to detect with naked eyes especially when mixed with dark drinks like beer or coca-cola or served in any drinks in dim lights. These drugs are mixed not only in hard drinks like beer or wine but also in soft drinks like coca-cola or coke so that their partners will intake the drink without any hesitation since they trust them. Though these drugs are very dangerous and harmful which may cause death, the drugs are used in date rape as these drugs erase the memory and the victim doesn’t remember any incident for a particular time span.
Especially teenagers are the victim of date rape. Some are blackmailed for getting sexual favours and some feel it a sign of maturity so they consent without knowing the consequences. The partners even restrict them to use birth control which results in pregnancy and/or other health problems like Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). During the teenage, the immature mind and improper guidance make the teenagers vulnerable to get trapped by the abuser who shows love and affection to them and gradually starts avoiding them, and slowly the teenagers in fear of losing their loving partners start doing everything as asked or demanded by their partners. Other than teenagers, many people stay in an abusive relationship due to their conflicting emotions of love, fear, low self-esteem, and even social or cultural pressure.
In India, many people, both male and female are suffering from the date rape by their own partner. They believe that everything will be normal with time due to the family or social pressure and gradually take up the abuses as normal. Due to the lack of courage to share these with parents or elders, they silently face everything. In many cases, they don’t share these serious experiences in shame or fear of being insulted or social comments.
What is stalking
Stalking is an act where an individual or a group of people constantly spy on another person without the consent of the individual. Stalking was not a crime in India until 2013. In 2013, the criminal amendment inserted stalking under Section 354 and Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code. The act of stalking is a cognizable, bailable, and non-compoundable offence according to Indian law.
Stalking is defined as follows under Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code:
- Any man who:
- follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact any woman to promote personal connection repeatedly despite rejection or clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or
- monitors the use of the internet, email, social media or any other form of electronic communication by a woman, commits the offence of stalking;
Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who was stalking proves that:
- It was for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the man accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the State; or
- It was contracted under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
- Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished:
- With imprisonment up to three years, and fine on first conviction;
- With imprisonment up to five years, and fine on a second or successive conviction.
Nowadays, technology has changed its dimensions. The crime of stalking has extended its scope and is presently witnessed in the form of ‘cyberstalking’ and ‘online harassment’.
Online harassment also includes sexual harassment defined under Section 2(n) of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act 2013. The unwelcome physical contact, demand, or request for sexual favours, making sexually remarks, forcefully showing pornography, spreading false rumours, or verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature may constitute online harassment or cyberstalking. Section 66D of the Information and Technology Act, 2008 defines the provision of cyberstalking where an individual creates a fake identity with a malicious intention of cheating or defrauding another person using a computer or electronic device.
Laws to penalize these crimes
There are various numbers of provisions prescribed under IT Act, 2008 and Indian Penal Code, 1860 that safeguard against crimes like stalking, harassment, or rape in the name of relationship.
- Under Section 292A of IPC, any person who prints obscene or scurrilous manner intended for blackmailing shall be punished with imprisonment up to two years, or with fine, or with both.
- Under Section 354A IPC, any person held accused of making sexually coloured remarks or held guilty for sexual harassment shall be punished for a minimum of one year which may extend to five years with fine.
- Under Section 354C of IPC, any man watches or captures the image or video of a woman involved in a private act in any circumstances where she expects not to be observed by anyone, shall be punished with imprisonment for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 3 years with fine if he is convicted for the first time. If convicted for the same offence for the second time or subsequently shall be imprisoned for a minimum of 3 years up to seven years with fine.
- Under Section 354D of IPC, any man convicted for the offence of stalking shall be convicted with imprisonment with fine which may extend to three years for the first conviction but from second or subsequent conviction, the convicted will be imprisoned for up to five years with fine.
- Under Section 499 of IPC, any person who sends defamatory messages by email shall be punished with imprisonment for a term up to two years, or with fine, or with both.
- Under Section 507 of IPC, any person who commits the offence of criminal intimidation by anonymous communication shall be punished with imprisonment for up to two years.
- Under Section 509 of IPC, any person intended to insult the modesty of a woman by using any words, gesture, or act shall be punished with imprisonment for up to one year, or with fine, or with both.
- Under Section 66E of IT Act, 2008, any person can be punished for violation of privacy for intentionally capturing, publishing or transmitting the image of a private area of any person without his or her consent shall be punished with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine up to two lakh rupees, or with both.
- Under Section 67 of IT Act, 2008, any person who publishes or transmits obscene material in electronic form shall be punished with imprisonment of either up to three years and with fine up to five lakh rupees on first conviction and with imprisonment of either up to five years and with fine up to ten lakh rupees on second or subsequent conviction.
- Under Section 67A IT Act, 2008, any person who publishes or transmits any material containing any sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form shall be punished with imprisonment of either up to five years and with fine up to five lakh rupees on first conviction and with imprisonment of either up to seven years and with fine up to ten lakh rupees on second or subsequent conviction.
In Shoba Rani vs. Madhukar Reddi [1988 (1) SCC 105], the court has observed that the cruelty may be mental or physical, intentional, or unintentional. The cruelty will be established if the conduct itself is proved or admitted. The intention is not a necessary element in cruelty.
In Gurucharan Singh vs. State of Haryana (1972), a minor girl under the age of 16 years old was forcibly taken to the field of the accused outside the village and was raped by the accused. The High Court of Punjab and Haryana held that though there is no mark of violence on the body of the victim, the accused will be tried for rape since the girl was minor and cannot be considered as an accomplice of the act.
In Ram Kripal vs. State of Madhya Pradesh [2007 II Cri. L.J 2302 (SC)], the victim had gone to the field to collect grass. On her way back, the accused obstructed and proposed for sexual intercourse. On her refusal, the accused forcibly committed sexual intercourse. It was held that in this case of an offence of rape, penetration of male organ in the female organ is a sine qua non which was satisfied in this case, and hence conviction of accused of the offence of rape was proper.
In State of U.P. vs. Naushad (2013), a woman was in a sexual relationship with the accused for approximately two years believing that the accused will marry her. The accused was constantly promising to marry the woman and had regular sexual intercourse with her. The accused lastly cheated on her. She was raped, and she got pregnant. The court decided that the elements of consent under Section 90 of IPC were fulfilled. Hence the consent obtained by the accused was not voluntary and was given by her under a misconception of the fact that the accused would marry her. The Court held that the man was guilty of causing a breach of trust by not ultimately marrying her and sentence him with life imprisonment.
In the famous case of Santosh Kumar Singh vs. State through CBI (2010) 9 SCC 747, otherwise known as PRIYA MATTOO CASE, a young law student from Delhi University named Priyadarshini Mattoo, was stalked by Mr Santosh Singh, a son of a former IPS officer, raped her and murdered her in her own house at Vasant Kunj in Delhi. Multiple complaints were filed against the culprit in Vasant Kunj and RK Puram police station but the police didn’t take any action. Mattoo was alone at home on January 23, 1996, when she was raped by Santosh and then killed. Later, the case was transferred to CBI in 1996. The high court awarded him the death penalty which was overruled by Supreme Court in December 2010. The convict was sentenced with life imprisonment
In Shri Deu Baju Bodake vs. The State of Maharashtra (2016), a woman who has committed suicide claimed that the reason for her suicide was the constant harassment and stalking by the accused. During her work, the accused would constantly stalk her and force her to marry him. The High Court held that the charges under Section 354D ought to have been recorded in addition to the charge for abetment to suicide.
In Kalandi Charan Lenka vs. State of Orissa (2017), the accused proposed the victim for marriage but when the marriage was not finalized, he transmitted obscene letters and threat mail defaming the character of the victim. The accused created a fake Facebook account in the name of the victim girl with malicious intention to exploit her sexually. Even after the girl changed her place of study, the accused followed her and continued to harass her, both online and offline. The High Court held the accused liable for offences under Section 354A of IPC for sexual harassment, 354D of IPC for online stalking, Section 66C of IT Act for identity theft, Section 66D of IT Act for Impersonation and Section 67 of IT Act for transmitting sexually explicit contents.
It is a crestfallen truth of our society that violence in any form is seen as normal, either it may be from one’s own family or outside the family. Even laws are so biased that it overlooks the dating violence against the male and they don’t have laws to protect themselves if any female trapped them and abused them. But the truth is that many elder females abuse their younger male partner and even blackmail them to charge in false rape case since the law is already biased. Like marital rape, dating rape is not recognized by Indian laws. Even the parents and elders in our family are either so busy or have an orthodox mindset that they are unable to understand the problem of the teenagers. They blame their children without understanding their hormonal imbalance at such ages.
The lack of sex education by the parents and the educational institution makes them vulnerable to be a victim of dating violence by their partners or friends who gives them love and attention. India is the country with the largest number of youth population hence such situations affect the progress of the country very adversely. In our society, people look at a rape victim as a sin but never blame them the rapist. Due to this, even many teenagers do not speak to their parents even after facing such a heinous crime of dating rape. Hence, there is a need for awareness among the children as well as parents. The parents must talk to their children and keep a watch on their activities. The attention and love of the parents will make a child feel secure and protect them from being a victim of any form of violence in such a young age and they will learn to stand for their own rights if faced any forms of violence. There is a need to stand up and raise our voice against dating violence. The most important thing is to make the children feel free to talk to the elders and share their life without any hesitation.
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