With governments continuously emphasizing the need to remain in the lockdown and publically spreading the message that there is no place safer than your home, women across the globe have experienced it otherwise. As per the reports, domestic violence has significantly risen in China, France, UK, and other countries including India, since the imposition of lockdown.
In India, according to the data published by the national commission for women, complaints about domestic violence from women have doubled within a month from 116 reports in 1st week of March to 257 by the end of the month. Fear of losing job or salary cuts, uncertainty of future, financial insecurity, unwillingness to engage in domestic chores, and frustration of sitting ideal are some of the factors responsible for the surge in gender-based violence. Although stereotypical ideology and patriarchal nature have been the main reasons behind domestic violence.
Due to the restriction of movement, these victims confined within the four walls, are unable to seek help from their friends and relatives. They are also reluctant to report the abuse to the police in fear of retaliation from their spouses. As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data for 2015-2016, 24% of women faced domestic violence, whereas, actual reported cases to the police were negligible at 58.8 cases per one lakh women. This disparity throws light on how women are unlikely to seek help. Domestic violence happens more in the poorer section of the society. As the aftershock of lockdown, people are suffering from substantial income slump which is adding more to the domestic crime.
Well, on the positive side, the government, NGOs, related organizations, individuals, etc are trying to ameliorate the situation. For example, the French government has extended monetary support to the organizations working for women. NGOs in India are offering help and urging women to come out and report the crimes. The Government of India is also taking steps to allay the fears of women and helpline numbers are being circulated.
This tweet below by MyGovIndia, a citizen engagement platform of GOI, provides the helpline numbers for women in distress.
India also includes services to end Domestic Violence against women. Helpline numbers for women facing any type of violence or feeling unsafe can register their complaints on 1091 and 181 respectively. pic.twitter.com/7ltvns23F7
— MyGovIndia (@mygovindia) April 9, 2020