The Criminal Law Amendment Act (2013) gives all women rights to fight sexual assault!

1. Registering an FIR is mandatory for the police

First, do not be scared. You are not alone – we are here to support you. You can file an FIR at your nearest police station. No police officer can refuse to register an FIR, if the offence being reported occurred outside their police station's jurisdiction. S/he is bound to register the FIR (this is called a zero FIR) and forward it to the concerned police station.

2. Right to privacy while recording statement

Under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a woman who has been raped can record her statement before the district magistrate when the case is under trial, and no one else needs to be present. Alternatively, she can record the statement with only one police officer and woman constable in a convenient place that is not crowded and does not provide any possibility of the statement being overheard by a fourth person. The cops have to, by law, upkeep the woman's right to privacy.

3. Time doesn't matter

The police cannot refuse to register an FIR even if a considerable period of time has elapsed since the incident of rape or molestation took place. If the police tells you that they can't lodge your FIR since you didn't report it earlier, do not concede.

4. Email to the rescue

According to the guidelines issued by the Delhi Police, a woman has the privilege of lodging a complaint via email or registered post. If, for some reason, a woman can't go to the police station, she can send a written complaint through an email or registered post addressed to a senior police officer of the level of Deputy Commissioner or Commissioner of Police. The officer then directs the SHO of the police station, of the area where the incident occurred, to conduct proper verification of the complainant and lodge an FIR. The police can then come over to the residence of the victim to take her statement.

5. Cops can't say no and they can be punished for not lodging a complaint

A rape victim can register her police complaint from any police station under the Zero FIR ruling by Supreme Court. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 also has provisions for punishment of public servants who refuse to register complaints of sexual assault victims.

6. No arrests after sunset

According to a Supreme Court ruling, a woman cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise. Even if there is a woman constable accompanying the officers, the police can't arrest a woman at night. In case the woman has committed a serious crime, the police has to get it in writing from the magistrate explaining why the arrest is necessary during the night.

7. You can't be called to the police station

Women cannot be called to the police station for interrogation under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This law provides Indian women the right of not being physically present at the police station for interrogation. "The police can interrogate a woman at her residence in the presence of a woman constable and family members or friends," says Abeed. So, the next time you're called to the police station for queries or interrogation when you have faced any kind of harassment, quote this guideline of the Supreme Court to exercise your right and remind the cops about it.

8. Protect your identity

Under no circumstances can the identity of a rape victim be revealed. Neither the police nor media can make known the name of the victim in public. Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code makes the disclosure of a victim's identity a punishable offense. Printing or publishing the name or any matter which may make known the identity of a woman against whom an offense has been committed is punishable. This is done to prevent social victimisation or ostracism of the victim of a sexual offense. Even while a judgment is in progress at the high court or a lower court, the name of the victim is not indicated, she is only described as 'victim' in the judgment.

9. The doctor can't decide

A case of rape can't be dismissed even if the doctor says rape had not taken place. A victim of rape needs to be medically examined as per Section 164 A of the Criminal Procedure Code, and only the report can act as proof. "A woman has the right to have a copy of the medical report from the doctor. Rape is crime and not a medical condition. It is a legal term and not a diagnosis to be made by the medical officer treating the victim. The only statement that can be made by the medical officer is that there is evidence of recent sexual activity. Whether the rape has occurred or not is a legal conclusion and the doctor can't decide on this," explains Bhaumik.

10. Employers must protect

It is the duty of every employer to create a Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee within the organisation for redressal of such complaints. According to a guideline issued by the Supreme Court, and the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act, 2012 it is mandatory for all firms, public and private, to set up these committees to resolve matters of sexual harassment. It is also necessary that the committee be headed by a woman and comprise 50% women as members. Also, one of the members should be from a women's welfare group.

11. Acid Attack, stalking and voyeurism also offences

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 also makes stalking (following a woman around even when she has shown her disinterest), voyeurism (watching or capturing images of a woman during private acts) and Acid Attack (throwing acid on or giving it to her in some way) serious and punishable offences.