Posted on: July 1, 2020 Posted by: Jimson Lemos Comments: 0
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‘She thought her hands were wet, but no it was blood flowing from her head!’

A moment of happiness changes into a moment of fear and struggle. We would have never imagined that such an unfavourable condition would ever arise in our busy lives. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world, it has affected everyone extremely, especially the economic development of our nation and thus, the world is slowing down. The economically weaker sections are the worst affected ones. Every section of the society has been affected, the education sector is trying to make it easier for students through online mode, work from home is imposed in MNCs and the whole nation is in self isolation. It is actually very difficult to imagine the lives of people who are staying away from their families and it certainly is affecting their mental health as well, but the worst affected ones due to this pandemic are women. A woman works day and night, feeding her family, taking care of her children and also doing other household chores which are supposed to be divided among the members but eventually she bears the burden. We are in the 21st century and we are still fighting for gender equality, Rights of working women, Eradication of sexual harassment and sexual offences. It seems really difficult that, in the real existence of human kind, the violation of rights of women can ever stop. Ever increasing crimes against women is a prime example of how the society is still conservative about women. In totality women can’t get equal opportunities until and unless the orthodox sections of the society change their mind-sets.

Domestic abuse is not just a crime against women but it’s a crime against the society and humanity.  Domestic or Physical abuse is not a new problem, it is an age old technique, where some men try to show their dominance over their wives or children. Section 498-A of Indian Penal Code, deals with the cruelty against women after their Marriage. Domestic violence has affected the lives of women in such a terrible way that they have lost their identity as a human being due to constant torture. Abusive relationships don’t have their existence only in India, but all over the world. Every type of sexual offence is committed during this time. When a situation like this has risen, it has led to offences against women and their personal security. Domestic Violence affects women in many ways, especially her mental and physical health.  The Indian National Commission for Women has said that the violence against women has increased after the nation wide lockdown was being imposed. I would like to actually include Marital Rape and Mental Cruelty as forms of Domestic Violence.

Domestic Violence and its effect on women!

Marital Rape or Conjugal Rape is an offence which the Indian law system doesn’t consider to be violating the rights of women. Sex is something which is meant to be consensual, but after Marriage a women becomes the property of a man (A usual thought of the Patriarchy) and hence a man has right to exploit her rights and treat her with inhumanity. This is something which is still prevalent not only in Orthodox Society but even in the Modern or open-minded Section of the society. Domestic Violence takes away the power from the women who really want to make a relationship work. If we truly consider the open minded section then it is absolute that Filmmakers are also to be taken into consideration. Many of us must have actually watched the misogynistic movie called Kabir Singh, where the movie has highlighted domestic abuse, but in a negative manner. Ironically the movie grossed more than 200 crores at the box office. A movie highlighting an abusive relationship in a negative manner was made twice with different actors! It is so obvious here that the thinking of people has not yet changed. Marital Rape is something which brings immense agony and exasperation in the lives of women. A woman has to go through this harassment even when she is “Pregnant”. It is the most difficult time for a woman because she has to bear a lot of pain and mental pressure during this time.

Your hit didn’t affect me, it affected my mental state

I tried to kill myself, but didn’t find enough space!

The people living in poverty have a miserable life because they don’t have enough space to live and that affects the women more. They are sexually, mentally and physically assaulted in front of their children. This automatically affects the minds of the children. A women dreams of becoming successful a human but that the dominant nature of men affects them in a very horrendous way. The High Court and Supreme Court have even had committee discussions to make Section 498- A compoundable! And it is not at all a wise move because the rapes are already so above the surface level and making some of the sections bailable will actually increase the rate of crime against women.“NIRBHAYA CASE” was a case which was inhuman in every manner. The innocent girl had to go through enormous mental and physical agony followed by death. This case of rape and torture changed the whole nation as it was so horrendous and dreadful. The most appalling thing in the case was that of insertion of a rusted rod into the private parts and causing severe destruction to her internal organs. That was not a rape, that was insanity and it still took 7 years for the judiciary to hang them to death.

One slap on the face can bring bruises, and then have you ever thought what it feels like when you are being constantly beaten for being the “weaker side” of the gender. Domestic violence is not only limited to thrashing but also includes Acid attacks. Acid Attacks are the most brutal form of physical attacks towards women. Even after the regulation on the sale of acid, it is openly sold in general stores. The acid attacks are still prevalent. Dowry is still a main factor because of which a woman has to go through physical abuse and mental torture. Renowned political leaders and Religious Teachers are also accused of violence. Domestic Violence in today’s world is not only physical abuse but it also consists of economic abuse, of mental abuse.

Does mental abuse affect a woman physically?

Mental trauma is a very dangerous thing. Mental cruelty usually leads to suicidal attempts from women who are being humiliated everyday at their home. Domestic abuse is an atrocious crime which eventually breaks a woman and her children. But domestic abuse is something which is not only prevalent in marriages, but is also in existence at work place, live-in- relationships and towards children and sometimes even men are considered as victims of domestic abuse. Casteism is still alive in our nation. A woman is humiliated and physically abused just on the basis of her caste or race. Their basic rights are violated and sometimes they are mob-lynched to death by the “upper caste men”. The Pandemic has actually made this crime more frequent than ever before, the whole nation is at home and this eventually will create distress and anger in people who are daily wage earners, which eventually comes out on the innocent women. The Pandemic is actually affecting the poor more than anyone else due to their economic crisis which is furthered by illiteracy which leads them to show dominance over women.

Domestic abuse Against Elderly Parents!

As we are considering domestic abuse lets not forget the concept of violence against parents which is very frequent nowadays. The world is progressing in every aspect but that is eventually leading to brutality in the four walls of the house. Modern children are fed up of their parents because they think that they are not supposed to take care of their deliverers. Domestic Violence against elderly people is barbaric. The physical abuse has become so inhuman that the children stop giving food to their parents. Today, the world has become so uncertain that death can come to anyone and anywhere, but people are absolutely forgetting that humanity still exists. Just like a girl is a liability for Orthodox families, elderly parents are a burden for modern families.

In what manner have we progressed? Are we actually living a real life? The question is rhetoric! The complexities in modern family lives have increased, which is automatically making the life more miserable for the people who are suffering from the beginning.

I was born a girl, they tried to kill me,

they thought I was a liability.

My husband destroyed my dignity,

I thought my children would serve me,

But here I am starving because they don’t need me!

It is very appalling when you forget the amount of pain one has to go through to make you successful in life. Children, Parents, Wife all are equally important in making a relationship successful. Domestic Violence is not only against women it’s against men too. A slap can change a life. Thappad was an amazing movie on the concept of physical abuse in a relationship, it just didn’t focus on the aspect of a slap but it significantly dealt with the kind of trauma a woman goes through after the physical abuse. Smt. Paniben vs. State of Gujarat [1] case was a barbaric assault and murder of the daughter- in – law of the accused. It was a landmark judgement where in the accused was held guilty. It is true that

“First the acid is prepared in the mind and then it comes into their hands”.

We always are fighting for gender equality but then why is this Male Domination still alive? The answer finds its roots in Illiteracy. Not every literate person is educated, every person who knows to read and write isn’t educated about how a human especially how a woman should be treated.

Violence against Children in this pandemic!

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act (POCSO) is a very significant act which is been introduced in India. Violence against children is increasing day by day. Home is a place where a child should feel safe and secure. A child is innocent in every aspect; the brain of child is automatically affected when they go through something very inappropriate or inhuman. Sexual abuses and physical violence against children is the most barbarous offence. In Jai Prakash @Prakash vs. State of Rajasthan [2] the court gave the statement that a child abuse is the most monstrous activity. A child becomes a maladjusted human in the society when due to the inhuman activity against him/ her. There are some children who have to suffer from sexual and physical assault every single day due to the imposition of a nation wide lockdown.  The child abusers are mostly family members or relatives. It’s a bitter truth that sometimes a “Father Rapes his own daughter” for pleasure. It’s so outrageous than a person can do such inhuman activities.

Murdering of a Girl Child is also an abuse and it’s a heinous one. The patriarchs don’t want a girl child because “What good a girl could do? This is the general answer given by the people who abort their girl child. A girl can change the world. Abortion of girl child has affected the sex ratio of the nation. Especially in states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, etc. Abortion procedures are so bad that sometimes the woman becomes infertile due to improper procedure. Killing of a child affects a woman in a very emotional way, which again causes mental trauma and effects on her physical appearance as well.

Is the government working in the eradication of Domestic Violence?

India got independence in 1947 and USA got independence in 1776 but domestic Violence is still alive in both the nations. In totality it is in existence in each and every part of the world. The societal norms have changed and now the abuse has increased to murders of the innocent. Criticising the government and comparing it to The USA is fine but we should consider every aspect and as a rational thinker. Criticising the government for every single thing cannot eradicate Domestic Violence. The Society has to change its mentality; change in the society will eventually bring changes in the nation. So let’s work on changing the behaviours of the conservatives. The UN research said that at least 1 out of every 3 women is sexually or physically abused during this pandemic. This should definitely be taken into consideration because we don’t know when this pervasive disease will be eradicated. Until than lives of many women, children and elderly will be exploited and some may even succumb to their injuries.

Are we facing Physical Atrocities and Covid-19 together?

Let’s be the Change now!

The world, together, has a lot to deal with after the pandemic ends, especially economic crisis and unemployment. But the real problem is going to be poverty around the world and this eventually will lead to increase in exploitation. We cannot deny the fact that there are many good people out there in the society who work for the NGOs and try to make the lives of these women and children better, they need to be appreciated! But the real problem which is rising is undeniably devastating, the number of calls received everyday on the women security helpline are despairing, so why not work together as a society to change the perspective of people who think women are just sexual objects and they should be dominated? Let us work together in Eradication of Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuses because everyone can change as a human. The atrocities are heinous but then there are people like “MAJLIS” who are educating people and making the lives of sexually harassed women and children better. There is always a beacon of light everywhere we go in life. A ray of hope can change the life of an innocent or even a sinful person.

 

[1] Smt. Paniben vs . State of Gujarat1992 AIR 1817

[2] Jai Prakash  @Prakash vs. State of Rajasthan RLW 2006 (2) Raj 1548

Jimson Lemos
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First Year student at Rizvi Law College

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