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How Do I Make A Cyber Crime Complaint? What Support Does Indian Law Provide To Women Survivors?

One big concern today is the trolling and cyber crimes targeting women. How do you make a cyber crime complaint, and what should you know?

One big concern today is the trolling and cyber crimes targeting women. How do you make a cyber crime complaint, and what should you know?

Namrata was deeply disturbed to see the messages she had been receiving from anonymous numbers. They were obscene and explicit with inquiries about sexual solicitation. She had a bigger shock waiting for her when an acquaintance brought to her notice objectionable photographs of her being circulated in an online forum, which turned out to be morphed. This left Namrata deeply disturbed. She had been working on getting her life on track after a messy divorce, and this incident of cyber harassment had left her deeply shaken and angry. She was advised by her family and well-wishers to forget this as a bad experience and move on. But did that put an end to her torment?

We have often come across cases similar to that of Namrata. Many women out there could have been the unfortunate victims of such stalking and cyberbullying. Our society objectifies women, and  equates a woman’s chastity with her and her family’s respect and reputation, the advice from Namrata’s family would be relatable for almost every woman in our country. But, thankfully Namrata chose not to abide by this advice.

The above scenario is a fictional representation of the first case in India where a conviction was handed down for posting an obscene message on the internet. This proved to be a landmark judgment, as it set a precedent for cases of similar nature. The accused was charged under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act and was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment under Section 469 of the Indian Penal Code.

Cyber Crime against women a growing menace

The pandemic has proved to be particularly harrowing for women. Like other crimes against women, there has been a steep rise in cyber crime complaints as well. The National Commission for women received 797 cyber crime complaints in 2020-2021 compared to 458 cases in 2019-2020 as reported here.

Data of the National Crime Records Bureau shows that in the capital city of Delhi alone there has been a 55% rise in cybercrime in 2020, as compared to 2021. Across 19 metro cities covered in the data, there were 18,657 cases registered under cyber crimes which was an increase of 0.8% in comparison to the number of cyber crime cases reported in 2019.

A survey by the United Nations which was conducted across 22 countries including India revealed extremely scary and alarming details. The survey revealed that 60% of women across the world have faced some kind of threat on social media. Another survey conducted in Delhi and its adjoining areas revealed that violence against women on the internet has increased by 36% but sadly the conviction rate in cases of online violence against women has come down from 40% to 25%.

A quick look at the kind of cyber crimes committed against women

Harassment through e-mails

Back in the day women would receive anonymous letters from stalkers which were intended to threaten and frighten a woman to oblige to the demands of the letter writer.

With the advent of technology, such stalkers and blackmailers have shifted their focus on e-mails. Such e-mails are often sent from a fake I.D or several fake I.D’s could be at play. The harasser in such cases may intend to harass the recipient as well the person whose credentials, they may use for creating the fake I.D.

Cyber stalking

A random stranger posts likes on pictures you posted probably 5years ago in your social media account, you find his comments cropping up on almost any post you make or even on comments you make on others posts, this soon escalates to “wanna friendship with me” kind of DMs in your social media account.

Almost every second woman out there must be nodding her head in agreement about this sequence of events, but sadly, most of us either choose to ignore such messages and comments or block the account. But this is a case of cyberstalking and can escalate into a serious threat, as the stalker intently stalks your virtual footsteps and can even steal vital personal information about you and use it against you or impersonate you. Hence it is advisable to take legal recourse, rather than try brushing the problem under the carpet.

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About the Author

Parvadavardini Sethuraman

A dreamer by passion and an Advocate by profession. Mother to an ever energetic and curious little princess. I long to see the day when Gender equality is a reality in the world. read more...

80 Posts | 238,617 Views

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