India introduced a new set of stricter laws regarding sexual assault and trafficking this weekend, responding to pressure from protestors and activists in light of the gang rape and eventual death of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi this winter.
While the new legislation is a step in the right direction, women’s groups are not pleased with the government’s efforts. Though the laws put into place yesterday do well to address child labor and sex trafficking, there are plenty of blind spots left. Marital rape is not touched upon at all, nor is the fact that people in the armed forces or police are basically impossible to prosecute for sexual assault.
The new laws do, however, broaden the definition of rape to include instances of sexual assault that do not involve penetration. These crimes have, in the past, carried very minor punishments, but will now involve greater penalties. Perhaps the most promising part of this new legislation is the fact that it will help to eradicate child labor, an issue that has long plagued the country.
India still has a ways to go when it comes to prosecuting sex crimes, but this new batch of legislation is definitely a move in the right direction—and the government insists that it will continue pushing for more reform.
Photo via NationalTurk.com