Being sexually harassed online

The 24-hour helpline in Chennai, operated by three women cops receives at least 150 calls a day, and many of these callers complain of vulgar, abusive calls from strangers or extortion threats from ex-lovers especially in the middle of the night.

However, The Women’s Helpline, in most cases does not entertain complaints and merely advises the victim to visit the nearest police station or takes action too late.[7] According to a Times of India Report, a woman approached the helpline with a complaint against a man who kept on terrorizing her via calls by making lewd remarks.

Any person who is convicted of committing the offense of stalking shall be on first conviction punished with imprisonment which may extend up to three years and on second or subsequent conviction with a term of up to five years and shall also be liable to pay fine.

Under section 67 of the Information Technology Act, publication or transmission of obscene material in electronic form is a punishable act.

A complaint with National Commission for Women: Under section 10 of the NCW Act, the Complaints and Investigation Cell of the commission processes oral or written complaints from women who have faced any violation of their rights.

According to The National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB), such crimes are increasing rapidly.

From 2013 to 2014[1] there has been a 63.7% rise in just cyber offenses and during this period the category of “transmission of obscene content in electronic form” has grown even more with a 104.2% increase.

Some of these are as follows: Section 509 of the IPC lays down that if anyone with an intention to insult the modesty of a woman utters any word, makes any sound or gesture or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or such gesture or object shall be seen by the woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of the woman, they shall be punished with simple imprisonment which may extend up to a term of 1 year, or a fine, or both.” This section is referred to as the eve-teasing section, and its main objective is to protect the chastity and modesty of a woman.

Though initially designed to address the issue of eve-teasing or street-sexual harassment, this section has also been applied to the cyber space to curb online stalking and harassment.

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