By Fathima Ansaba ~ Bharatha Matha School of Legal Studies
Violence against women is one of the common evil crime, not only physical violence but extended to sexual, emotional, psychological, and financial abuse. WHO’s an estimation on violence against women shows that 1 in 3 that is,35%of women in the world undergo sexual violence or physical violence from the partner or non-partner, which may result in mental illness among victims. In the pandemic situation, there is a rise in violence against women all around the world. The high level of victimization led the government to make legislation for the protection of women in the workplace, domestic etc. and started many counselling programs for victims. The violence against women is common nowadays; it is reported to have at least once, in life, women experience violence mentally or physically. The Department of Health of Kerala with the government of India made many provisions for safeguarding women like the Social Justice Department, where women can approach for abuse and dowry demand and Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. These were made to ensure the safety of women even at home. However, many research studies show the high level of victimization and the high level of the suicidal tendency among the victims. Hence this research aims at finding ways to decrease the violence against the women in pandemic and better access to health. It was found that every victim who was abused sexually or mentally is likely to develop an emotional disorder. The prominent violence against women are bullying, sexual abuse, attitude against women who is a victim of abuse etc. 1/3 of victims, had the suicidal tendency or ended up in suicide. The women of different age group have different types of problems due to violence against women.
Keywords: violence against women, victims, sexual violence, suicidal tendency, emotional disorder.
The statistical report on the women population in Kerala, says Kerala is one of the states in India to have a high population of females. So there is an increased risk of violence against women in Kerala. The Covid 19 lockdown has increased the violence against women all around the world and in Kerala. UN defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”. Violence against women is a common crime among countries, which increases day by day. Due to Covid lockdown, every people is safe under their roof but not women. The violence against women has turned from streets to their domestic space. The recent study on violence against women in the shadow of Covid 19 gives a result in the increase of violence by 131 %. The main violence against women is sexual abuse. This odious crime affects women mentally and physically and has a high risk to end up in suicidal decisions.
At this juncture, the Government of Kerala with the Government of India formed many committees like Women Empowerment Safety and Protection Welfare and Assistance support and Rehabilitation, Supplementary Nutrition Immunization Maternity Aid, and Social Justice Department etc. Most of the cases concerning violence against women are solved by these departments to a great extent. But these are not fruitful in decreasing the violence. The dowry harassment is one of the violence in Kerala in an increasing death rate. The Dowry Prohibition Act helped many, but it is not followed by many. The victims of violence are likely to be solitary and have many psychological disorders; as a result, they lose hope in life, which eventually leads to mental illness. The violence against women is growing hour by hour. The attitude of society against the victims of sexual violence causes emotional discomfort among the victims and later turns to a mental breakdown. Only a smaller population dares to deal with such violence.
Various studies on violence against women deal with multiple problems like mental, emotional, physical problems. But there are not many steps taken in the attitude of society against the victims of violence. Globally, Syria is the worst country for women, followed by South Africa, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, etc. Many countries have started a helpline for women for protection and safeguard. However, these measures don’t decrease violence at home. Hence this research is carried out to find the violence against women in the shadow of Covid lockdown and attitude of society against the victims of violence.
- To determine what are legal assistance provided for the victims as well as for their protection in the shadow of Covid 19.
- To study the variation in behavior of victims of violence and solitary emotions in the pandemic.
- To study preventive measures taken to decrease violence against women in Covid 19 pandemic.
- To study the attitude of society towards the victims.
Review of Literature
Violence against women –
Violence against women in India refers to physical or sexual violence committed against Indian women, typically by men. Violence against women can also be termed as discrimination against women. Physical violence against women includes female feticide and infanticide, sexual abuse, rape within marriage, physical torture like punching, slapping, murder etc. This type of violence against women is common around the world. At least once in a lifetime, women undergo exploitation or abuse. In some remote parts of India, there is still a belief that women are meant to sacrifice their dreams and serve the family. But currently, it’s changing.
Rape is one of the common violence against women, without an age limit from infant to old experiences such as assaults and battery. This heinous crime is common among nations. Many countries have their legislation for punishment for the violence against women. The main punishment among countries is imprisonment. According to the Law Commission of India’s 2015 report, there is no evidence that the death penalty can reduce the violence against women. Their intimate partner also abuses them. The female partners are abused more than males and are likely to bear most. According to WHO, women are more likely to end up with mental disorders than men. So violence against women adversely affects women in this nature too. The solitary caused by lockdown down and the violence by partners are increased in this context.
Solutions in Law –
National Commission for Women (NCW) reported that there is a 100% increase in the complaint related to violence against women during the lockdown. Domestic violence defined under the protection of women from domestic violence act as, any act of commission or omission or conduct resulting in physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and economic abuse”. This can also include insulting, humiliation, physical violence to sexual violence. Due to the increase in complaints, many steps are taken by the judiciary as well as the government to decrease the violence. The government has started a helpline cell for the women to get protection from domestic violence. And counselling for the victims is set up through phone communication to help them to feel safe. The UP government has started the helpline by “suppress Corona not your voice”. Tamil Nadu helps the victims to get safe at a home shelter etc. are some of the measures taken by the government of states in India. The government of Kerala includes the protection of women in the plan for Covid 19 to protect and safeguard women.
Despite many provisions are made to help the women from violence and the victims, in many cases, victims are making decisions to end their life. Recent cases of violence against women show cruelly women are stabbed to death or torturing mentally to end up in death. There is a high risk of an emotional breakdown during such violence, and it tends to increase in the Covid lockdown. Multi-Country Study on women ‘s Health and Domestic violence against women by WHO reported that 40 to 60 %of sexual abuse or violence is caused by the partners of women in the recent survey conducted in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru, Samoa, Thailand and Tanzania.
- It is a proven fact that every victim of violence tends to increase suicidal tendencies, lose hope in life, which amounts to eating less, and that affects their health adversely.
- There is no evidence that the victims of sexual abuse live free after such violence and free from the sacredness of repeating the abuse.
- Many of the violence against women in the Covid 19 pandemic is reported from there on a partner, and they tend to feel solitary after that. This may result in mental illness, depression etc.
- The attitude of society can badly hit a victim of sexual abuse, which may lead to many psychological disorders and tend to inactive in daily life.
- The attitude of society can also make a victim fear society for what she experienced and will not speak up about what she dealt with.
- There are many types of provisions made by the government to decrease the violence against women and girls in Covid 19 lockdown, but most of the victims are unknown or are scared to complain.
- The counselling process made by the government to help women is fruitful but not for everyone.
- There is no evidence to prove the death penalty is a solution for rape cases but can be reduced if the cases are adjudicated as fast as possible.
- Women tend to sacrifice more and are ready to forgive their husbands, maybe because of their children or because of any other issues. This made a feeling in male partners to suppress more on women.
- Victims’ age can also cause many other problems to their health, as small a victim is, there is a high chance for mental illness and lack of confidence to face the world.
- Many cases of lockdown give a result that the place where every human is safe may not be a place where every woman or girl can be safe.
- The women who live in slum areas have more risk against violence, and such women have no other place to get shelter for safety. This may tend to increase the violence on women, and these women barely report their cases.
- As Covid lockdown results in job loss, many women may also lost their job or jobless women who experience violence like physical or sexual abuse; mental torture may feel helpless as they depend on their partners or relatives for food and shelter. This may cause exploitation of women, and they are not ready to give complaints as they rely on their husband’s or father etc.
- Sexual violence or torture against women is already a significant issue that every country is dealing with. Due to Covid, when most of the countries adopt lockdown as a measure to tackle the increasing rate of Covid patients. But this result in another main problem that is the increase in violence against women. Not every woman is safe under her shelter. There should be a spread of knowledge about what women can do when she is a victim or having a threat.
- Teaching every child at a younger age about moral values as well as how to behave and respect women should be mandatory in every school.
- Counselling classes like what women can do when she is exploited, what are the provisions for her to feel safe should be known to every woman and child.
- Such counselling in every school for every child despite being a girl or boy can make a change in the attitude of the society of the coming generation.
- Fast actions should be taken against the accused, and make every victim feel law and governments are always there for her protection, which can give relief to some of the mental problems in victims.
- The attitude of society can be changed only by a proper spreading of knowledge on how their attitude can cause harm or destroy someone’s life. This can also help society to help the victims in their difficult stage.
- The provisions under the prohibition of domestic violence act should be strictly followed and help the women to feel safe.
- Every citizen should know the aftereffects of abusing a woman, and without any age limit, the accused should be imprisoned.
- If the rape or the battery against women is cruel that not a normal human can do, he should be hanged for the safeguard of society.
- The provisions to help women should not be misused by any women to suppress a man, and if any occur, strict action should be taken against that woman, to make sure such cases are not recurring.
Based on the research, it is clear that women from all around the world are experiencing violence sexually, physically, or mentally. As women have a greater chance to get depressed than male such violence will end up in psychological disorders, mental illness, poor health etc. The provisions established by the government to protect women are helpful to a great extent. Still, many are refusing to use the privileges because of many problems like love towards family, family reputation etc. The government should give a general awareness among the citizens on violence against women and what are the legislations created to protect them. No man in the world should be a victim of misuse of the privileges given to women and such misuse of privileges reported; there should be an immediate action taken against Every human in the world to have the right to live in the world in liberty, protection from external and mental attack. So the strict establishment of law not only safe every woman from violence but every living being.
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