A third of Indian women cover up the signs of Domestic violence

 Domestic Violence Coronavirus

While the entire world is under the grip of COVID 19 thrashing human lives, some people are still doing their prey. In a time, when people are coming together to help each other, cases of domestic violence is still on the front-foot and for many victims it has caused more fear than the Coronavirus.

When lockdown was announced by the Govt. Of India to contain the spread of this virus, who knew that it would bind women behind doors of torment and pain inside their own house. And it was found, that about 35.2 per cent of women are reported of being beaten by their spouses every year.

Domestic violence and education

An act of shame which usually surfaces in the rural areas of the country, has taken a turn by surfacing in the literate families of the modern society. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), about 13-61 % of women experience physical violence by their partner, about 4-49 % experience severe physical violence and about 6-59% experience sexual violence by their partner.

A generation where education has moulded the outline of the society, there still exists a mild section of thoughts which are governed by the prospects of violence. And to mention, that these thoughts have exaggerated with the commission of lockdown.

A time when coming together should be a privilege has turned out to be a misfortune for the women in India. About 40% of married women in India face violence by the person with which they have sworn to live seven births of life according to the Indian customary, stated by the National Family Health Survey of 2015-16.

Too tough to handle

Domestic violence has become one of the unnecessary string in the lives of women in India. Amid lockdown the cases of domestic violence have spiked and have doubled-up, said NCW chief Rekha Sharma. As their husbands are staying 24/7 indoors, they are taking their frustration out upon their partners.

Such is the scenario of Parvathi, a 45-year old cook in a restaurant of Chennai. She is accustomed to her beating by her husband since her marriage. As her husband usually remains in the state of subconsciousness due to his alcoholic activity, she is bound to face the beatings. But there was a little relief for her during the normal days, as she would run away from him in the narrow lanes of the neighbourhood, but the lockdown has also reduced her possible escape as there are barricades all over the area.

This is her story of plight when a team of reporters asked her to deliberate it.

Job loss, salary cuts have resulted into a cold war inside the middle-class families too. “I see my self-esteem being crushed every single day”, said Sunanda Desai, a working woman in Mumbai. Now such a time has come, when women are taking make-up to hide the scars behind the mask, which is a complete nonsensical act of hiding the truth beneath the mask.

Odisha strides in domestic violence too

India was considered the most dangerous country for women by the survey of The Thompson Reuters Foundation in 2018. And Odisha being one of the prominent and fastest growing states of India, has also brought the light of attention towards itself in a mixed manner.

According to the report of India Today magazine, Odisha ranks 5th in the prospect of agriculture but it also ranks 7th in the category of crimes committed against women.

This is a distressing tale to tell, that a state rich and famous for its culture, tradition and respect towards women has been ranked among the top 10 infamy list of India.

During the ongoing period of lockdown, the cases of domestic violence has increased in the state, said the OSCW Convenor Secretary in a letter to Director, I&PR Department of Odisha Govt.

While Odisha adds about 3% of the population of India, it has also contributed 5.6% of all the crimes against women in 2017. And due to the defamed statistics, it ranked as the second-worst state in the country on this foot.

Odisha is taking steps towards economic growth but it is also moving ahead in the area of violence against women, which has turned out to be a hand-in-hand movement.

Laws and policies

“If I find the constitution being misused, I shall be the first to burn it”, statement of B.R.Ambedkar, father of our constitution. India has several policies that promise to keep the women safe like the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, in which a woman can seek help from the domestic violence protection officer.

But the laws would work, only when they are utilized. And the question which arises is whether the laws are beings used for them or against them.

The UN’s framework was built to enhance the action against domestic violence by promoting the concepts of gender equality, empowering women, ensuring economic independence to be introduced at an early stage. But the fact of the matter is, that these ideals do not reach to the correct section of the audience, as a result, they are deprived of the profit which would have ensured proper working of policies for their benefit.

Where will it take us?

The laws and policies formed acts against the convicts but never finds a way to make the victims able enough.

The reason women do not want to leave their marital house is due to the fear of retaliation, fear of lack of economic support, concern for their children and others which can only be eradicated by evolving them into an empowered women who is capable enough to bring about the change.

SN Surajbhan is a Bhubaneswar based author and he primarily writes on women’s rights, gender issues and social injustice.


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