Women is a unique creation of God understanding, hardworking, full of compassion holding high level of initiative and a trend setter for progeny inspite of these qualities the women have never been treated at par with the men . She has faced and is facing discrimination, exploitation and violence from time immemorial.Violence against women and girls continues to be a global epidemic that kills, tortures, and maims – physically, psychologically, sexually and economically. It is one of the most pervasive of human rights violations, denying women and girls’ equality, security, dignity, self-worth, and their right to enjoy fundamental freedoms.
After independence have seen tremendous changes in the status and the position of the women in the Indian society. The constitution of India has laid down as afundamental right- the equality of the sexes. But the change from a position of utterdegradation of women in the nineteenth century to a position of equality in the middle of the twentieth century is not a simple case of the progress of men in the modern era. The position of women in the Indian society has been a very complicated one. In fact, it could not be an exaggeration to say that the recent changes in the status of women in India is not a sign of progress but it is really a recapturing of the position that they held in the early Vedic period. The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines Violence Against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm, or suffering to women including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty; whether occurring in public or private life”.It could be seen that despite the totalliteracy and global model of development, Kerala tops the list inDomestic Violence, according to the survey conducted by ICRW. Domestic violence is to be perceived not as a law and order problemalone. Primarily it is a socio cultural problem. Its impact has farreaching effects on the family life, health of woman, life of children etc.Studies such as these which examine the causes, its nature andmanifestations and consequences would assist the general society tounderstand the magnitude as well as its implications on the lives as wellas the institution of family.According to the National Victims Centre, one woman is raped every minute, and 30% of all women murdered in this country are murdered by their boyfriends or husbands.
WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Article 2 of the UN draft Declaration of Violence against womenidentifies three areas in which violence commonly takes place. They are:
a) violence occurring within the family
b) violence occurring in thegeneral community and
c) violence perpetrated or condoned by thestate.
Earlier victims of domestic violence did not lodge complaints, as they feared that suchcomplaints might create a hostile home environment. Very often, women used to endure the violence towards them in silence for fear ofrepercussions. In spite of the extreme physical andpsychological violence meted out on many women, they do not seekdivorce, as they feel their trauma and that of their children is too great aprice to be paid instead. Thus to a great extent she accepts domesticviolence as part of her family life. The National Family Health Survey(NFHS-2) findings released at the end of the year 2000 points out thisfact. Although no direct link has been established, the survey revealsthe extent to which women lack autonomy, even as more than50percent justify, or accept violence within the home.
Domestic violence is a global issue reaching across national boundaries as well as socio-economic, cultural, racial and class distinctions. Domestic violence manifests as verbal, physical or psychological abuse often in forms that are more subtle than violence elsewhere in the society.“Domestic violence is not simply an argument. Abusers use physical and sexual violence, threats, emotional insults and economic deprivation as a way to dominate their victims and get their way”.
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 says that any act, conduct, omission or commission that harms or injures or has the potential to harm or injure will be considered domestic violence by the law. Even a single act of omission or commission may constitute domestic violence – in other words, women do not have to suffer a prolonged period of abuse before taking recourse to law. The law covers children also. Even in the United States, it has been reported that 85% of all violent crime experienced by women are cases of intimate partner violence, compared to 3% of violent crimes experienced by men.
INCIDENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
The insult of women through abusive language is reported to be continuing among 41.3% of women of Orissa, where as 23.8% of women reported that they were experiencing daily. The World Health Organization reports that the proportion of women who had ever experienced physical or sexual violence or both by an intimate partner ranged from 15% to 71%, with the majority between 29% and 62%. National Crime report of 1991 reveals that in every 33 minutes one Indian woman is being abused by her husband. It also reveals that in 1989 one dowry death occurred in every 125th minute. In 1990, 91, 92 And 93 the figures were 109th, 102nd, 106th and 90th minute.
India’s National Family Health Survey-III, carried out in 29 states during 2005-06, has found that a substantial proportion of married women have been physically or sexually abused by their husbands at some time in their lives. The survey indicated that, nationwide, 37.2% of women “experienced violence” after marriage. Bihar was found to be the most violent, with the abuse rate against married women being as high as 59%. It was followed by Madhya Pradesh (45.8%), Rajasthan (46.3%), Manipur (43.9%), Uttar Pradesh (42.4%), Tamil Nadu (41.9%) and West Bengal (40.3%).The National Crime Records Bureau has recorded an increase of 40% in the case of social harassment, and 15.2% in cases of dowry deaths.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND ITS IMPLICATIONS
Violence not only causes physical injury, it also undermines the social, economic, psychological, spiritual and emotional well being of the victim, the perpetrator and the society as a whole. Domestic violence is a major contributor to the ill health of women.
It has serious consequences on women’s mental and physical health, including their reproductive and sexual health. These include injuries, gynaecological problems, temporary or permanent disabilities, depression and suicide, amongst others.In several places of India, violence faced by women on a regularly basis goes unreported even in newspapers.
If For example, women who were subject to violent attacks during childhood are bothered by menstrual problems and irritable bowel syndrome in later life. Studies in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh have also shown that unplanned pregnancies are significantly more common among wives of abusive.Besides this, research has shown that battered women are subject to twice the risk of miscarriage and four times the risk of having a baby that is below average weight.
MEASURES TAKEN TO GIVE PROTECTION TO WOMEN
Women must organise themselves in groups and raise a collective voice against a system that turns a blind eye towards. If not actually condones, violent acts against women.
Every public minded person and the media must contribute to spreading a civilised attitude in society.
United effort can certainly create a public opinion and outcry against situations when women are humiliated by public officials or others with their connivance- this has been witnessed recently in the Saharanpur incident.
Women too have to be persuaded to become aware of their rights and stand up for them. For the more they retreat inside their shell the more ready are the predator’s outsides to seal that shell and suffocate the very life out of them.
Women most help themselves and each other in the fight against violence. But it is in fact a social issue that affects many others and the system as a whole. In a democratic polity and society violence against any section cannot be condoned.
The courts are expected to be sensitive in cases involving crime against women. The verdict of acquittal made by the trial court in the case is an apt illustration of the lack of sensitivity on the part of the trial court.
Women in India are subject to violence not only from husbands but also from members of both the natal and marital home. Girls and women in India are usually less privileged than boys in terms of access to material resources. Nevertheless, there are regional and community variations. Women in the north have relatively less autonomy than their counter parts in south, and experience fewer opportunities for control over economic resources (Karve 1965). In India comprehensive household data on the prevalence and costs of domestic violence were lacking. The multi-site study by the International clinical Epidemiologists Network (INCLEN) is a pioneering effort to estimate comparable rates of violence within and across for countries: India, Chile Brazil, Egypt and Philippines. The multi-site household survey conducted by INCLEN was a part of the 3 year research programme conducted by the International centre for Research on Women (ICRW) on Domestic violence in India (1997- 2000) in partnership with researchers from a range of Indian academics and activist organisations.
In terms of economic loss due to domestic violence, a Canadian study showed that the total cost to abused women and to government due to domestic violence was more than $3.2 billion in 1993 (Greaves, Hankisky, and Kingston – Richers 1995).As many as 22 cases of domestic violence have been reported till February 13 this year. Jan 24 to be declared ‘girl child day ‘NEW DELHI: The UPA has chosen to ride on the memories of India’s first woman prime minister in declaring January 24 as the girl child day. Women and child development joint secretary Kiran Chadha said the decision was taken by the Union Cabinet recently. “We found that girl child day is celebrated on different days by different countries. The Cabinet made the final decision,” she said.
Focus on women’s rights
MYSORE: Though 75 per cent workforce in most industries in the country is led by women, their total earning is just 2 per cent.
393 cases solved at loknyayalaya
PUNE: As many as 393 cases were settled and compensation of over Rs 37 lakh was awarded at the loknyayalaya organised by the Pune district legal services authority (PDLSA) at the district and sessions court on August 21.
Meena Kumari, protection officer of women cell, women and child welfare department, said, “With the commercialisation of weddings in the region, people have become greedier. Several non-government organisations and groups of women have come forward to help a victim whenever there is an indication of domestic violence.
Within the last few decades, a gradual improvement in women’s status due to women’s activism in various parts of the world has helped slowly to increase the visibility of domestic violence as a social problem. Despite this, violence against women within the family/home, until very recently has received little attention as either a social or public health issue. The sensitivities and stigma associated with domestic violence, the perception that it is primarily a judicial and legal issue, and the lack of data on the dimensions of abuse, have hampered understanding and the development of appropriate interaction (Heise et al. 1994), Research to address these obstacles has begun to make a difference. It would be an elementary step in bringing together the victims of domestic violence under one umbrella and fight against this vice that breaks down the bonds that exists within the primary institution of the society i.e.; the family and thereby make efforts to formulate appropriate measures/strategies that could contribute to the minimization of domestic violence and uphold their rights before the society.
A few days ago when the tribal women of Andaman were made to strip and dance for money, on camera, there was a mild uproar all over. Maybe not all over, but definitely on the news channels, facebook and twitter. Just yesterday a20-something woman was beaten up mercilessly by Punjab police, for selling liquor without license. My guess is that, she wouldn’t have been beaten up in public had she given him a bribe, in cash or kind. Again, an onlooker recorded this instead of helping her.
A few days ago a 19-year-old was gang raped in Odisha and today she has very little chance of recovering despite treatment. The above mentioned women are unnamed. Also unnamed are the hundreds of female foetus that are aborted even before they begin to take human shape!
Investigations by Human Rights Watch have found that in cases of domestic violence, law enforcement officials frequently reinforce the batterers’ attempts to control and demean their victims. Even though several countries now have laws that condemn domestic violence, “when committed against a woman in an intimate relationship, these attacks are more often tolerated as the norm than prosecuted as laws….In many places, those who commit domestic violence are prosecuted less vigorously and punished more leniently than perpetrators of similarly violent crimes against strangers.”
National centre on elder abuse. Washington DC: 2005. Fact Sheet: Domestic violence.
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