forgetting is difficult, remembering is worse
Sexual harassment is one such incident that is hard for someone to forget but
also makes it even worse when remembered.
Nearly every country faces the issue of sexual harassment. Because of which it
has become a worldwide issue Every country deals with sexual harassment in their
way. Each country brings up many laws and regulations for the prevention of
sexual harassment. And each of these laws and regulations differs in every
Few countries treat sexual harassment as a gender-biased issue and few
countries treat it as a gender-neutral issue. But the fact that should be known
is that sexual harassment can happen to anyone despite age, gender, character,
and attitude. It is been taken into account that almost 35% of the women
globally experience physical and sexual violence.
The #metoo movement got a lot
of responses from all over the world. This movement shows clearly that women
face sexual harassment almost all around the world. This article shows the
comparative study between the laws/ regulations of countries like India, China,
In India, few rights are guaranteed from the time of birth and human beings have
rights which cannot be unavoidable. The rights are defined under the protection
of the human rights act which is related to life, liberty, equality, and dignity
which are assured under the constitution or enforced by the Indian courts which
are included in various international agreements. There is a breach of the right
to live with dignity in the matters of sexual harassment and it's a human right
to live with dignity.
The harassment laws are defined very specifically under
Indian law. Hence under article 15(3) its mentioned that Nothing in this
article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and
children which means this article gives the legislative powers to make special
laws or regulations regarding women and children for there protection. In India,
the laws are interesting for women and are very less for men. There is a lot of
gender bias in the making of laws in the issues of sexual harassment.
harassment laws under are defined under the Indian penal code, Information
and Technology Act, and Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention,
Prohibition, and Redressal) Act.
In China, sexual harassment has no definite definition at national level . The
existing legislation of china criminalizes sexual harassment only to women and
not to men. But there are few definitions of sexual harassment in local
legislation and applicable only at the local level.
Beijing, Currently, Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Guangdong, and Shenzhen have
there own definitions for sexual harassment but the enforcement of the laws
And Jiangsu Province's provincial regulations on the protection of
women's rights define sexual harassment at the local level. But for the first
time after the #metoo movement china could not run away from the fact of not
having defined laws for sexual harassment. Hence the PRC national peoples
congress issued a new draft with several sections of the PRC civil code on
5th September 2018. China has started work on its first draft of its civil
code. And the code includes clarity of the definition of sexual harassment. And
the changes in these sexual harassment will come into enforcement by 2020.
Except for the draft civil code, the national framework comprises the following
on sexual harassment:
The Protection of Women's Rights in PRC law:
- National human rights action plan (2016-2020): this plan mentions the
rights accessible to women and the goal of this plan is to prevent and
protect women from sexual harassment.
article 40 notably proscribes
sexual harassment against women. Under this, the women are given the right to
file their grievances in their own working space.
Special Provision on Labor Protection for Female Employees (State Council Order
No.619): article 11 laydowns that in the work premises employers should prohibit
and restrain any kind of sexual harassment against women.
Criminal Law of the PRC:
under article 237 the immoral assault of a woman is
held as a crime to which the punishment is Maximum fixed-term of 5 years
imprisonment to the offenders.
China Women's Development Program (2011-2020):
under this program, the
prevention of sexual harassment is the duty of employers in the workplace.
In Canada, sexual harassment is defined under Canadian criminal law, Canadian
labor law, and the Ontario human rights code. Sexual harassment is an
infringement of human rights. The definition of sexual harassment, which is
constituted as sexual harassment, and the remedies are provided under these
- Ontario human rights code:
this is the local law for human rights which handles discrimination.
According to this code sexual harassment comes under a form of sexual
harassment. Ontario also has laws for a safe workplace which specially deals
with the law for sexual harassment in the workplace. Under this code, sexual
harassment is treated as discrimination on the bases of sex. This code also
includes stalking as a form of sexual harassment.'
- Canadian labor code:
employers are given the right to have employment free of sexual harassment
and any such issue related to sexual harassment should be treated positively
and to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace the employers need to take
a positive action under division XV.1 of part III. Under this code the
definition of sexual harassment in the workplace is given, who all entitled
to seek protection from sexual harassment in the workplace, the
responsibilities of an employer to prevent sexual harassment in their
workplace, and how the sexual harassment policy should be informed to the
employers by the employees.
- Canadian criminal law:
in the criminal code sexual assault is defined in 3 levels according to
nature and objective. What amounts to sexual assault is given Under s.
265(1). s. 271 is the level 1 of sexual assault, this section doesn't
specify anything further the definition in s. 265 but it takes into
consideration the sexual objective and the nature of the assault and the
accused serves a sentence of 10 years in this level. Level 2 of sexual
assault is defined in s.272 which defines sexual assault which includes
weapon, threats the person other than the complaint to cause bodily injury
and the accused serves a sentence of 14 years in this level. Level 3 of
sexual assault or aggrieved sexual assault is defined under s.273 which
says sexual assault resulting in wounding, maiming, disfiguring, or threaten
to the victim's life the accused is sentenced for lifetime prison which is
maximum 25 years. A summary conviction offense of sexual assault is
considered a less serious offense. Hence the punishment is only maximum up
to six months in jail and/or a $2,000 fine
The common intention of the laws made by the counties is to prevent and give
remedies to the victims of sexual harassment. In all the countries one of the
repeated problem faced is that they don't have an exact record on the how many
people are getting victimized because they don't feel free to share the incident
or they think about their name in the society and file a case, this makes it
very difficult to identify the accused and make effective decisions that can
give an impact in the prevention of sexual harassment.
One difference between the laws in India from China and Canada is that the laws
in India are gender-biased, they are made interesting only women, there are no
strict laws for sexual harassment against men but the present draft of china and
the laws in Canada are not gender-biased. India and Canada have strict laws
defined for sexual harassment at a national level but when compared to china, it
doesn't have any strict law which defines sexual harassment at a national level.
In China, sexual harassment is defined at a local level, the local level is
stronger than the national level. There is a very huge drawback due to the
strict laws in India, the women in India take advantage of the strict laws for
their advantage and file fake cases and accuses on the men where men have no
remedy to get a remedy for such fake cases, they bare a lot of damage. Many men
in India take their own lives due to these false accusations on them and they
are sexually harassed and have no remedy under the eyes of the law.
The punishments for sexual harassment differ from each country, for example, the
punishment is severe in Canada but in India, the punishment is not that severe
and china has no specific punishments for such acts in their present law but the
draft has rigid punishment. Another common thing is all the three countries' law
is that the companies are ordered to have a local compliant committee to deal
with issues of sexual harassment in their own company and the employer has been
given certain responsibilities to fulfill to prevent sexual harassment and
provide the employees a safe workplace.
The companies have the responsibility to spread awareness on such issues and the
remedies they are accessible in any such case. In India and Canada stalking a
person is also taken into consideration as sexual harassment.
Despite all these laws made by various countries, sexual harassment has always
been a socially complex issue. It always comes up with challenges to face and
deal with. Only making laws doesn't help in bringing change, people should be
educated with the laws and awareness should be spread.
Many more movement like #metoo
should be encouraged cause through this movements many victims come out of their
fear, share their story and fight for justice and try and bring out some
awareness and makes us realize that our legal and systematic provisions have
failed to deal with sexual harassment. When such movement's come in to air the
legal system and admiratives are pressurized to take the person into charge and
give this problem a justifying solution.
- Indian penal code, 1860
- Information and technology act, 2000
- Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and
Redressal) Act, 2013
- Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, 1979
- Ontario human rights code, 1961
- Canada Labour Code (R.S.C. , 1985)
- RSC 1985, c C-46
- Section 256(1), Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46)
- Section 271, Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46)
- Section 272, Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46)
- Section 273, Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46)