Cybercrimes Against Women and Children in India

JK Amritha Priya Dharshini[1]

Introduction

Women are not safe anywhere: on both physical and virtual space. Sexual violence against women and children has become very common nowadays. Victimization has turned into an obvious condition for almost every woman and child. One could not easily forget the horrible rape cases such as Nirbhaya’s, Asifa’s and Hassini’s. In virtual space like the cyberspace, where everyone can easily access adult content such as porn, etc., women are harassed in many ways. Many victims don’t report to police due to fear of the damage of the reputation of their family. As a victim of a similar derogative incident, in this paper, a personal account of sexual harassment through cyberspace has been discussed. An attempt has also been made to discuss how to bring out effective relief measures for the victims of cyber harassment.

Cybercrimes against Women and Children

Cyber Stalking

This involves stalking a woman by chasing her social media accounts by following her posts and texting her repeatedly with obscene words and asking her sexual favours. I can swear that every female having a social media account or any males who have their social media account in a female name would have come across this issue.

Morphing

Today, technology has seen such a giant growth that software applications and their usage have become very regular and obvious. Morphing involves attaching the victim’s face with some already available nude or obscene body’s photograph or video. The culprit often will be the one who wanted to have the victim as his girlfriend/ a person to fulfil his sexual favours. The victim would have refused, and the culprit would have undergone this cheap act to damage the victim’s image.

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Child Pornography

Pornography has now become a part of many persons’ life and porn stars are more familiar than the regular movie stars. Though pornography can be accepted to some extent there lies another black mark in this field, called the Child Pornography. Child pornography is illegal in India. But, there exist a lot of easily accessible child pornography sites in the internet. Many innocent children are forced to do obscene and vulgar acts by others and the children don’t even know what they are doing. This must be considered as a very serious issue and prompt action should be taken by the government to abolish Child Pornography.

My Personal Experience  

My personal mobile number had been shared by someone to a stranger. He texted me on WhatsApp and said that he loves me. I asked him from where he got my number. He said that his friends gave him. I blocked him after that. A few days later, I got many anonymous texts from six or seven men texting me with some rubbish and obscene words! At last, I came to know that my number had been shared in a Porn group on WhatsApp by the person blocked by me earlier. I then blocked the anonymous numbers continuously. After some time, since there was no response from my side, they stopped texting me.

The Information Technology Act, 2000

Unfortunately even though Chapter XI of the IT Act deals with the offences such as Tampering with computer source documents (s.65), Hacking with computer system (s66), publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form (s.67) Access to protected system(s70), Breach of confidentiality and privacy(s. 72), Publication for fraudulent purpose(s.74) IT Act 2000 still needs to be modified. It does not mention any crime specifically as against women and children.

Problems In Taking Actions Against Cybercrimes

The elementary problems, which are associated with Cyber-Crimes, are Jurisdiction, Loss of evidence, Lack of cyber army and Cyber savvy judges who are the need of the day. Judiciary plays a vital role in shaping the enactment according to the order of the day. One such stage, which needs appreciation, is the P.I.L., which the Kerala high Court has accepted through an email. Today with the growing arms of cyberspace the growing arms of cyberspace the territorial boundaries seem to vanish thus the concept of territorial jurisdiction as envisaged under S.16 of C.P.C. and S.2.of the I.P.C. will have to give way to alternative method of dispute resolution.

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Conclusion

Women are very easily made victims of sexual offences. But, the society views them as if they are the wrong doers! This is the worst part of the story. In Tamil Nadu, a primary school teacher named Vishnu Priya committed suicide after she continuously got anonymous calls from strangers asking her sexual favours. I must say that if one has not done anything wrong, then why should she feel guilty of her selves? Guilty are those who have done the shameful act shamelessly. In addition to the IT Act, 2000, amendments were brought in the Indian Penal Code and other skeleton statutes of India. But, the notable point here is that, technology is getting updated every day whereas, laws dealing with cyberspace are not updated. The laws remain intact and this condition paves way for the criminals to encourage cybercrimes. Thus, all laws dealing with cyberspace must be amended parallel with the updating of technology so that they will ensure appropriate solutions to cyber related issues.


[1] 5th year BA LLB (Honours), SASTRA Deemed-to-be University

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