Since the beginning of time, there has been no decrease in the number of women who have been assaulted. The female population has been exploited and discriminated against in every way possible. As the suppression continues, and there is a strong possibility that it will continue, these things began to manifest themselves in the form of horrible crimes against this community. There isn't an option for women to get out of these depressing situations, because hail patriarchy. Women have always been seen fighting to live a life that is regarded as "safe."The way this minority community has been fighting to avail basic rights shouldn’t be a part of life. They are human beings, which is enough to give them all the rights. Most of the crimes against women hold their grip at the home itself. That is when the other gender realizes whom he is and starts looking down upon the other community.
Domestic Violence, which means abusing the partner or a family member within a house, has always been an important issue in society that needs to be weeded out as soon as possible. Women have always been a victim of all the kinds of disgusting crimes, but domestic violence is the most silenced one. During this pandemic, though many people found their peace being with family there have been a lot more instances where people have tried to vent out their anger and aggression on another family member, to be specific wives. According to a report by The Hindu, between 25th March 2020 and 31st May 2020, 1477 complaints of domestic violence were reported. This record has been found to flabbergasted a lot of people since this is the number of reports which weren’t been recorded for 10 years between these two dates. Research has concluded that the rapid increase in domestic violence rises from two crucial factors, unemployment, and withdrawal from alcohol. NCW found that the complaints regarding domestic violence just doubled during the nationwide lockdown. All the states registered double the phone calls and cases than ever before, implying inclination. It was groundbreaking, at the same time hurtful enough to know about the struggle women are going through inside their house just to breathe. The more pathetic issue here is that some of the women have been so traumatized that they cannot gather enough strength to even speak up for themselves. There are a lot of factors to consider here though. The factors could vary from embarrassment to financial dependency to fear of retaliation to deep emotional trauma. 75% of domestic violence reports that have been filed didn’t intend to seek help from anyone. The National Commission on Women has often tried to push women to speak out but in the contrast, the results have been negative as usual.
But though this pandemic has seen large-scale deaths of people, it has equally contributed to the emotional deaths as well. In 2021, till May 2,300 domestic violence complaints were being registered to National Commission for Women, which has been the highest since the year 2000. Domestic Violence rates are much higher than rates of them being reported which as a result, worsens the situation much more. Most of the underreporting seems to be coming from Karnataka, Manipur, and Bihar. It has been researched that percentage of domestic violence is 40% while the percentage of crimes being reported is only 8% or less. The age group of 18-49 has been proven to be the most affected. According to India’s National Family Health Survey, around 42% of men presume that they have the right to hit their spouses. It is not really to be surprised to know that one-third population of women in India has been through physical, sexual, and emotional violence at some point in their life.
A 16-year-old girl, who shall remain anonymous, was forced into Child Marriage, who later became the victim of brutal domestic violence. The survivor belongs to a small village Antroli, located in the Kheda district of Gujarat. Women's education is not prioritized in rural India much and survivor belongs to an orthodox society. As a result, the survivor was unaware that the problem she was dealing with was a criminal offense and that she needed to speak up for herself. ‘Gharelu hinsa' was the only term she knew. His husband, who was just 18 years old at the time, used to abuse her for a variety of reasons. He was also hooked to alcohol and would not listen to any of his family members if they expressed worry about him. Because this is such a vulnerable age for anyone to be subjected to such brutality, the survivor was traumatized and despondent for a long time. Though the survivor later learned about the issue and took a stand for herself, the initial years were no less than a nightmare for her.
Research made in the rural districts of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu answered the question ‘Is it alright for a husband to beat his wife’? Unfortunately, three out of every four women concluded that it is justified to beat the wife if her husband wants to. This is a widely accepted behavior among women. The majority of people thought that it is their "right" to assault their spouses if their expectations aren't met. Because women consider males as a source of their necessities, wife-beating has become commonplace. Because women rely on their husbands for the majority of their financial needs, they believe it is their responsibility to live up to their expectations, and that if they fail to do so, a woman being subjected to violence is their righteousness.
PARI made a short documentary in the rural area of Uttar Pradesh which recorded the heartbreaking story of two married women who has been the victim of domestic violence since they were married. Girija Devi, 30, is an ASHA worker and belongs to the Mahoba district of Uttar Pradesh. She has been a victim of this abuse for the past 15 years and alleges that the pandemic has increased the amount of violence. Since she is employed, her family members frequently raise their voices against her employment. She's been threatened numerous times, and members of his family have even vowed to kill her spouse because of the work she does. Her spouse claims that his mother has gone through this and that she, too, must endure the burden. Nageena Khan, 28, from Chitrakoot district has been severely injured and abused by his husband during the lockdown. She showed the bruises and cuts over her body and even explained the way she has been assaulted, which has often resulted in her being bedridden for a couple of days. Both the women are struggling through life every day and are on the verge of giving up.
The government has been alarmed about the rising graph about this issue during this pandemic. Three laws have already been made to ensure the safety of women, outside as well as inside the home.
- The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 is a civil statute that went into effect in 2005 and ensures that married women and those in live-in relationships are protected.
- The Dowry Prohibition Act concludes that if someone takes, gives, or even asks dowry under the provisions of this Act, they may be sentenced to 6 months in prison or a fine of $5,000.
- Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code states that“Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.”
Many organizations in India are working hard to prevent this crime, but the pandemic has gotten on everyone's nerves, leading to an increase in interpersonal conflicts.
- Abhay Helpline: It is a Pune-based organization that aims to protect women from ongoing domestic violence. Emergency Contact: +91 09423827818
- Shakti Shalini: This organization was established to make women realize their strengths. The sole purpose was to establish equal rights for both genders. Emergency Contact: +91 9711053706 and +91 9811390630
- Society for Nutrition, Education, and Health Action (SNEHA): It is a Mumbai-based organization that focuses to support women emotionally and morally. It stands against the brutality women go through and works to minimize it. Emergency Contact: +91 9833092463
- Aks Foundation and Neo-Gandhian Aid Organizations India helpline: A NGO which helps the victim of domestic violence to sustain a better life by providing them refuge. It is a 24 hours crisis line and seeks to help women who have faced crime brutality. Emergency Contact: +91 8793088814 /15 /16
- Ashraya Women’s Centre: This is center for women who have been the victim of mental as well as physical abuse. They tend to support women through rehabilitation, counseling, and training them to lead better lives. Emergency Contact: +918025251929
Domestic violence is a horrendous act that does not stop at physically harming individuals; it goes much beyond that. It has a psychological effect on them, sometimes rendering them speechless or scarring them for a long period. It fosters a variety of mental problems in addition to physical assault. Every act of abuse instills fear in the victim. Women in minority have always faced violence, and every one of them is attempting to overcome their obstacles. One must speak out against it rather than suppressing it due to embarrassment or cultural pressure. Contacting the police or a non-governmental organization may place one in a much better position than before. If the abuse does not appear to be abating, neighbors or relatives should be made aware of the situation so that a sensible decision can be made to preserve one's life.
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