Important things to keep in mind


  1. Keep the following points in mind:
    • Memory: A traumatic experience can impact your memory. A victim may recall the event hesitantly, or may have accurate but fragmented memory of the event and experience difficulty recalling what happened in a linear fashion.
    • Emotions: In reaction to trauma, the victim may experience unexpected emotional reactions. While recalling an incident, they may remain unemotional or experience extreme emotional swings.
    • Physical response: Know that trauma can cause temporary immobility in a victim, that causes the body to freeze in situations that provoke extreme fear. Resisting or escaping for a victim experiencing this is not possible. At this point, a person experiencing trauma will not have full control over their muscle response. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR NOT REACTING DURING THE INCIDENT.
  2. There are many instances when police have not cooperated with victims of sexual assault, when they go to report a complaint. Many times, policemen downright refuse to file a report. But even this is a crime. The amended section 166 of the Indian Penal Code says that a police officer who fails to register a case under sections 354, 354A-B, section 509 (among other sections regarding women’s rights) could be imprisoned for at least 6 months and charged a fine. Therefore, do not give up.
  3. It is also not a good idea to threaten a police officer regarding section 166, if you have to get the work done. It is always better to go along with an NGO who deals with such cases. The police are well aware that most NGOs will not give up on the policeman’s word. Nakshatra is such an NGO. Of course, you have to be careful about the credentials of the NGO – first and foremost all credible NGOs in this line provide all services for free.
  4. Please keep a copy of all police reports, medical reports with you.
  5. Under the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987 (Chapter IV, section 12) you are entitled to free legal services.
  6. The Code of Criminal Procedure Act and Indian Evidence Act were amended to include certain rules.
    • The amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedure Act tries to make the process of recording the statement of the victim has been made more victim friendly and easy. The presence of a woman police officer during the reporting of the case, recording of evidence, transport to medical centres, etc is made mandatory.
    • The character of a victim or previous sexual experiences with any person is now rendered totally irrelevant (section 53A, Indian Evidence Act).
    • In cases of aggravated sexual assault (as described here), if it is proved that sexual intercourse took place and the victim states in the court that she did not consent, then it will be considered that there was no consent (section 114A, Indian Evidence Act). Also from section 146 of the Indian Evidence Act, where the question of consent is an issue, there cannot be any evidence or cross-examination regarding the character of the victim, previous sexual experiences or how she showed her unwillingness to participate, for any case of rape or attempted rape.
  7. No woman should be detained in a police station for the night.
  8. If counselling is suggested by a doctor or such, please do not ignore the suggestion. Sexual violence can take a toll on you ways you may not even imagine. This is especially true for victims of sexual assault. The healing process is a long and difficult battle for them and should be done with the help of a professional counsellor. Nakshatra offers free counselling for victims of sexual violence. Here are some things a victim can do when he or she is feeling at their lowest.

Please read about the definition of sexual assault by Indian law, laws against sexual assault in India, and how to report a case of sexual assault to the police.

You should also know about the medical aid that is to be given to a victim of sexual assault.