Psycho-socio consequences of lock down with reference to domestic violence against women during COVID-19 in India

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In India there is marginal rise of instances of Domestic Violence during Lock Down. In families, men folk are staying at home and the authorities are promoting concept of ‘Work-from-Home’. It is unfortunate break of Pandemic of Corona Virus, which is a great threat to human beings. Official figures suggest that, crime has plummeted in many big cities but as lock down, began Domestic Violence has increased. A crime committed in private, in people’s home increased through-out India. In India, all the states have experienced Domestic Violence, not only in urban areas but also in the rural areas, though the incidents of Domestic Violence, is less in Country-side of India. In India, many women facing abuse went to their parental home, however, during the lock down they can only be sent to State-run shelter homes, where the risk of over-crowding and poor hygiene runs high, and there is a great risk of catching Corona Virus, which is highly infectious and likely to catch in the presence of infected persons. Even the touch of an infected person, to any part of a healthy person is highly dangerous. From the legal point of view, The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence, 2005 (hereinafter mentioned as Domestic Violence Act), gives the aggrieved women a right to Shelter and let her stay at home in her house, with her children, and the woman be sent to a shelter home, if he is going to abuse or abuses the innocent women in the middle of a pandemic, as provided and protected by law. In the prevailing situation, in India, in all the States as well as, Union Territories, it can be inferred that, the Government’s failure to cope up women’s protection organizations and to plan that what was an expected surge in Domestic Violence is of a piece with its failure to protect men and women and also daily wage-earners, particularly migrant from the devastating shock of this lockdown.


In India there is a surge in Domestic Violence since the lock down has been implemented and the people are staying indoors in their homes. In metropolitan cities, town and semi-urban areas, the continuous staying of family members, and due to improper adjustment in the new environment in an important cause of increase of Domestic Violence. Improper adjustment and ill-treatment of women relates in Domestic Violence, which is prevailing in all the States of India. Societies are ‘structured’, in the sense that people’s relationship follow consistent patterns. Social Policy is dominated in practice by the dominant values of Society, the issues of family, work and nation. One issue that has inflamed feminists more than any other is that of Violence against Women. According of one estimate this has been identified. These range from all types of abuses and torture. In of the most Ironical dichotomies of the modern era, it is indeed deplorable that antithetical to the process of progress and modernization, the liberated women of today is subject to growing acts of criminal violence; a terrible violation, not only of her body and being, but also a desecration of her individuality, her had won emancipation and her well-deserved status as Man’s equal in every sphere of life.

In prevailing days of Corona Virus in India, for the first week of lock down, the number of calls the organization got and the experts believes that is because women were basically locked in their home with their abusers. However, soon after, such aggrieved women began to call late at night or from their Children’s rooms, and the numbers of the callers began to climb. The stress of confinement of women in their homes along with financial constraints and lack of access to alcohol were exacerbating factors of rise of violence against women in their own homes. Though few States in India, has banned the sale of liquor but a large number of State implemented the same. In this COVID-19 lock down, Domestic Violence has increased and undoubtedly liquor has played a primary role in the rise of such violence. As men, no longer are attending offices and have been staying at their respective homes for a longer and continuous duration.

Though, in the Society, gender bias, economic disparity, unequal power equations between men and women, are all predisposing factors in the perpetration of Domestic Violence against women. In Indian society, that the struggle against Domestic Violence is the struggle against the unequal distribution of power- both physical and economic between the sexes. The Challenge lies not only in redefining hierarchal relationships between the sexes but, but hierarchal interactions in all aspects of inter-personal relationships. Women accept the male view of what is important and in violent encounters, end up blaming themselves, the victims, rather than castigate the perpetrators. Until women adopt a model of actions, that sustains the primacy of their own claim, they will not achieve full equality, unfortunately, domestic violence during this lock down is being reported throughout, India, not only in towns and metropolitan cities, but also in villages in India. This form of Domestic Violence, which seems to imbue men with a peculiar sadistic pleasure and provide a suitable vent for frustrations and rage, wrongly suppressed over  a period of time is perhaps, the most wide spread and common form of abuse against women, during the lock down period.

AIMS/OBJECTIVE

The main objectives of the study are mentioned below:

  • To analyze the Psycho-Socio consequences of Domestic Violence in the society during Lock Down since the beginning of Corona Virus in India and with reference to upper class socio-economic families, middle class socio economic families as well as lower class socio-economics families in India.
  • To examine the incidence of Domestic Violence during Lock Down in the prevailing situation of COVID-19 of women living in urban and rural areas of India. 
  • To analyze the factor that is responsible for the Prevention of Domestic Violence largely in metropolitan cities, as well as towns and state capitals during lock down in India.
  • To evaluate the role of government machineries in the settlement and rehabilitation of women suffering of continuous domestic violence during lock down in the society.
  • To analyze the extent of government measures provided to women suffering domestic violence during lock down in rural and urban areas along with comparative analysis between the two.

HYPOTHESIS

The hypothesis is as follows:

  • The present study shall prove to be a milestone in the prevention of Domestic Violence during prevailing situation of lock down in India.

METHODOLOGY

Methodology of the study is deductive, observational and analytical. The approach is diagnostic in concept of India. In India, domestic violence during lock down is prevailing in upper class families, middle class families as well as lower class families. The cases of Domestic Violence during lock down can be not only seen in educated families but also in uneducated families. The cases of domestic violence during lock down can be not only seen in educated families but also in uneducated families. The shifting of rural masses to urban areas of India and their continuous presence in Metropolitan towns and cities has increased, so as the cases of domestic violence during COVID-19.

The women suffering from Domestic Violence during lock down will be studied from rich and poor families, literate and illiterate families, from east and west India as well as North and South India, i.e. in other words, consisting of all the states of India. The women studied were belonging to families of Central Government Employees and State Government Employees, Insurance Employees, Bank Employees, Public Sector Employees, Private firm Employees, technocrats as well as business class families. The women studied were out of the nine-fold occupational classification from the National Commission for Women (NCW). The basis of this study, are complaints lodged in the NWC.

Keeping in view the objectives of the Study, multi staged studies were followed. The women studied in this manner were representative of the population. This study is based mainly on primary as well as secondary sources, information collected from the respondents was based upon memory and past experience. Though every effort, was made to obtain accurate information, the possibilities of error in the study due to lack of the recollection of the incident and personal bias could not be ruled out completely.

Most of the women, reported the cases for the National Commission Women and its allied branches, feared that giving the information of Domestic Violence during lock down would harm them.  They were mad to understand that information obtained regarding Domestic Violence, during lock down will be used as relief and rehabilitation measures by the government.

LOCK DOWN MEASSURES

In India, some women’s groups and many feminist lawyers were more prepared, anticipating the incidents of Domestic Violence during lock down and in many states if India, in the South as well as diverted calls, from their landlines to Counsellors’ mobile phones and base phones that helped many suffering women, from Domestic Violence.

The Government of India and the State Governments have adopted many measures to minimize, Domestic Violence during lock down and even NGOs are coming on the fore front to prevent Domestic Violence during lock down. It is a ticking problem is already abusive homes in India, according to the Director of Prajnya Trust, a Chennai based Non-profit Organization working for gender equality. According to the Report of Prajnya Trust, as the tension of outside goes up, violence on women and children increases at home. There is already so much, so much burden of work in Indian homes. It does not take too much for these homes, to turn violent. The research conducted by the Prajnya Trust revealed that the anxiety of economic uncertainty that the Corona Virus Pandemic has brought with itself only adds to the burden of that violence. Despite this, constant fear and certainty of increasing violence, women are unable to seek help with abusive families at home and limited services available, the silence of the already silent victims is only getting louder.

INCREASING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DURING LOCK DOWN

In India the number of cases of Domestic Violence is increasing day by day and in the first week after the country wide lock down was imposed, the National Commission for Women received 214 Complaints, out of which 58 are cases of Domestic Violence. The number of Complaints that were registered during first week of lock down is equal or even less than the number of complaints, they receive on an average normally. In January, they received a total of 1,462 complaints, out of which, 270 were cases of Domestic Violence. In February, there were 102 cases of reported Domestic Violence and in March, 1,323 complaints. According to the report of NCW, it was revealed that the organization is prepared to handle the expected rise in Domestic Violence. The report further reveals that, the NCW is encouraging women to send them e-mails instead of using the postal service. This, is in, other words, is one of the ways the NCW is trying to help victims of domestic abuse.

“Even in normal circumstances, the research report of Domestic Violence reveals that, the NCW, do not have a robust reporting system. NCW, do not have the structure to fund out the extent of violence. The numbers are only reported cases, only if the women has gone to the Police Station and filed a case. There are cases, the Police themselves, do not want to record, or women are discouraged to report.”

INDIA’S EXPERIENCE

India ratified the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against women (CEDAW) IN 1993. The Protection of Women for Domestic Violence Act, 2005 tries to be in line with this Convention. However, in a survey, conducted by Thomas Reuter’s Trust Law Women, a hub of Legal Information and Legal Support for Women’s Rights, India ranks with Afghanistan. While, women in India also face numerous disadvantages, like poor health indicators, low literacy rates, low income levels. Poor female to male ratio, due to sex-selective abortions and female infanticide. Violence against women during lockdown in the prevailing situation of COVID-19 are co-related with these facts and cases of domestic abuse have already surged since, India, went into lockdown. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Country into a lockdown, women are calling helpline numbers.

RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN INDIA

To prevent Domestic Violence, Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the basic rights and freedoms every human being is entitled to. Article I of the Declaration reads, “All Human beings are born free in equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in spirit of brotherhood.” Men and Women equally partake inhumanity by birth, notwithstanding the biological difference, in terms of anatomy. Differences and disparities between men and women are in fact, based on differential upbringing and conditioning among the genders, and are therefore socially constructed.

SELF HELP GROUPS

With regard to the upsurge of Domestic Violence cases during the lock down, in times of COVID 19 in India, International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care revealed that, suffering women diverted calls from their landlines to many Counsellors’ mobile phones that largely helped such women submit the documents. They were needed to save such documents on their mobile that started a WhatsApp service in the prevailing times. 

CONCLUSION

Now-a-days in all sectors of the economy women’s concerns have been flagged. However, the challenges lie in converting these into reality. Nothing can be achieved without the all- round development of women and their involvement in National Development. As said by Marx on India, “Women are the last to be hired and the first to be fired.” To demolish this fact, general awareness should be created among women, regarding their importance in the society, their social status and legal rights, etc. By the measures, of strengthening women and providing them all the assistance by government, NGOs and National Commission for Women, we can prevent to a large extent, the incidence of Domestic Violence during lock down in the prevailing situation of COVID-19 in India.

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