Inspite of the strong cognizance regarding women’s rights and the evolving antagonism against gender based violence, women in the modern world still strive hard to materialize gender equality and fend off domestic violence.
Domestic violence refers to the violence committed by someone in the victim’s domestic circle. Although domestic violence is a broad concept which includes violence against men , children and even old parents , the abominable fact that 85% of the victims are women, reveals their extreme vulnerability to this inhuman act.
According to the ministry of women and child development the cases took a deep surge during the lockdown. In 2020 , between March 25 and may 31, 1477 complains were filed against domestic violence. This 68 day period recorded more complaints than those received between March and May in the previous 10 years , and was termed as ‘shadow pandemic’ .This transformed domestic violence into the top crime against women in India supplanting rape.
From stigmatizing daughters as “burden” and “misfortune” to fostering “male dominance” and “patriarchy”, majority of the etiquette and stigmas rampant in our society culminate into such heinous crimes against women. Resistance from within the family keep women away from even reporting such instances in the name of “family honour”. Movies and daily soaps have a significant role in labelling domestic violence as a pardonable and a frivolous act. Many even consider it’s a man’s “indisputable right” to beat his wife. The ineffable mental trauma the victim undergoes is not even acknowledged .
While physical and verbal forms of domestic violence are at least addressed it to some extent The economic, psychological, emotional and sexual forms of the violence are not even addressed seriously. Economic dependence of the victim on the partner aggravates the issue. Forbidding the victim from acquiring education or job, persistent humiliation and criticism , controlling their financial transactions, preventing them from talking with friends or relatives unless granted permission can all be included as domestic violence.
The initial step in countering domestic violence is to become aware of the violence you are experiencing. The monolithic social attitude considering women as primary caretakers responsible to serve the ‘entire family’ must be torn down completely. It is pathetic that in a country where religious and cultural traditions keep women in high esteem and women are worshipped in the form of many deities, they are subjected to ruthless violence from womb to tomb. It’s never okay to beat or harass a woman . Equality matters!