DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND THE PANDEMIC

Domestic Violence is one of the most atrocious crimes that a person can commit. The common reasons behind violence against women include: poor quality of life indicated by rampant poverty, lack of education, high mortality rate, poor health status, high fertility rate and high maternal mortality rate and societal mind set. Violence on women occurs both inside and outside her home.

A sudden rise has been witnessed in abuse against women during the COVID-19 pandemic. As per the statistics released by the National Commission for Women, 125 cases were reported in 25 days in the aforesaid period. Further, numerous complaints were received between March 27, 2020 and April 16, 2020. Cities with less COVID-19 cases indicated more domestic violence cases and Uttarakhand in particular recorded 727 cases during the global pandemic. A 25% increase in violence was also witnessed in the state of Punjab with 700 cases being registered during the pandemic.

It is pertinent to ponder on the factors that led to a substantial increase in the domestic violence cases especially during the pandemic. One of the reasons include that women do not want to verbalize primarily due to societal pressures and the consequences that would follow henceforth. Domestic Violence has become a common way of life not just in lower class but also in lower-middle class and upper-middle class. Women especially of small towns do not blow the whistle rather like to stay with their husband tolerating the abuse in the interest of their children. It is imperative that a victim should ask his/her lawyer such as alimony after divorce, cases where she is entitled for the alimony, procedure to claim maintenance for herself and her child (if any).

It has been over 15 years since the establishment of a Domestic Violence Act 2005. Article 15(2) under the Constitution of India speaks that the State can make special provisions for women and children for the realisation of right to equality. It is the duty of the State to safeguard women and children and hence, protection should be given to the all the victims who face such abuse. Prior to this, a law relating to Dowry Prohibition Act of 1985 was legislated as women and children were seen as one of the vulnerable sections of the society. Also, seeing a rise in the number of dowry deaths, a separate section was incorporated in the Indian Penal Code of 1860 (Section 304B) to counter the issue. Hence, a need was felt to enact Domestic Protection Act for a speedy remedy to the victims as litigation in India takes years to deliver the verdict. Section 498A of Indian Penal Code 1860 coupled with protection of women from Domestic Violence Act were strong initiatives made to eliminate this issue.

Before a case is filed under Domestic Violence Act, it is imperative to know the legal definition of Domestic Violence given under Section 3 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 which says, “Domestic Violence is a violent act of one spouse or another in order to gain power and control by instilling fear and subservient”. Here, the key elements include: the power of authority which is generally with the man in each household especially in an Indian setup, the man exhibiting the authority instils fear in the mind of the other, subservient. When two persons who live or have lived together in a “shared household”, it is said that such persons have a shared domestic relationship.

The important ingredients that constitute domestic violence include: harm, injuries that endanger health, safety, life, limb or wellbeing of a human being and physical or mental, sexual, economic, emotional abuse. According to facts and figures, 55% of women in India undergo domestic violence especially from states namely Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand with Uttarakhand topping the chart. As per United Nations Population Fund Report, 2/3rd of the married Indian women are victims of domestic violence.

Divorces are riddled with stigma in India. Women do not want to get involved in legal battle since matrimonial disputes takes years to get resolved. It eventually leads to public shame coupled with failure of our society to accept a woman who has been divorced. Even mutual divorce (Section 13B under Hindu Marriage Act 1955) takes a long time.

The man’s demanding wants leads him to have unjust and unreasonable hopes, so that the relationship revolves around his demands. His attitude is: “You owe me.” For each ounce he gives, he wants a pound back. He wants his partner to sacrifice herself while fulfilling his desires, even if it means that her own needs or her children’s get overlooked. The woman tries her best to keep her partner content, but a man would never be satisfied if he possesses such a mind-set. Moreover, he will keep feeling that she is controlling him, because he doesn’t believe that she should set any limits on his conduct or insist that he meet his responsibilities.

Hence, it is crucial to focus on woman empowerment in today’s era. There is no one but you yourself can raise voice not against for the wrongs done against you but against others as well.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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