Being a woman is not easy, especially in a country like ours that ranks 133rd (on a list of 167 countries) in the Women, Peace and Security Index. Fortunately, over the past few years, women in our country have embarked on a journey to empower themselves, raise their voice and fight for justice, starting a revolution for female rights and safety. However, there is still a lot we are ignorant towards, especially when it comes to legal protection. The Indian law has provisions to safeguard women and their interests but we are just unaware of them. To shed light on such laws and legal methods of protection, we invited Manasi Chaudhari, an Advocate and Founder & CEO of Pink Legal to answer questions women had about safeguarding themselves against harassment and crime at home, in public, work places and online. Here are some of the most common and important questions on legal safety for Indian women that she answered.
1. What effective action can I take against unsolicited and inappropriate images sent by men?
This is something most women encounter these days and it is disgusting. Unfortunately, social media platforms hardly take action upon reporting such accounts. What you can do however, is take a screenshot of the harassment and file a complaint with the cyber police of your city and they should be able to help out.
2. How do I tackle the unwanted male gaze in public places? How do I go about feeling confident and comfortable in public, no matter what I’m wearing?
The best thing to do to tackle the unwanted male gaze would be to raise your voice against it. I know it can be uncomfortable to do and we do feel inhibited, but when these men don’t think twice about staring us down in public, why should we when it comes to calling them out for their harassment? You will be surprised at how effective the simple act of calling someone out is. Always keep your safety in mind when you do so, and call them out in a safe, public space. Never do it when you are alone.
3. What can be done if your male sibling takes up all the property left by the parents and refuses to give the sisters their fair share? Are there laws that safeguard the daughters’ rights or equal segregation of property?
Property rights vary based on your religion. Since 2005, Hindu property laws give daughter and sons absolutely equal rights to their parents’ property. If parents leave behind a Will deciding whom the property will pass on to, it will pass on according to the Will. If there is no Will, it will go according to law, and the law gives equal rights to the sons and daughters. Therefore, male siblings cannot claim the property. You can file a case against this in court.
4. If someone gets property through gift deed, can their siblings challenge it? Can a parent give their property to just one, and not all their children?
Unfortunately, you cannot challenge a gift deed if it is a legally valid document. How a person passes on their self-acquired property is completely up to them. Therefore, parents can decide to pass on property to one child and not the other.
Legal safety for women is watertight and we could help save ourselves and others if we become more aware of the rights and safeguards the Indian Law provides for us.
What legal tools do you use to ensure your safety as a woman? Share it with us in the comments below!