India: A Hell For Women?

Posted on August 13, 2012 in Society

By A. Vijay:

Violence against women is present in every country, cutting across the boundaries of culture, class, education, income, ethnicity and age. Even though it is now forbidden in most parts of the world, the reality is that violations against women’s rights are often sanctioned under the garb of cultural practices and norms or through misinterpretation of religious tenets. Moreover, when the violation takes place within the home, as is very often the case, the abuse is effectively condoned by the tacit silence and the passivity displayed by the state and the law-enforcing machinery.

In India even in the 21st century, women cannot step out of their house at any given time, assured of her physical and sexual safety. Everyday women in this society face more problems than men. The fear of violence and teasing restricts a woman’s anatomy, curtails her mobility and her ability to work and participate in social activities. Even today in India, women can’t move at night in secluded places and even at daytime at crowded places. Hundreds and thousands of incidents of physical / sexual abuse and culturally justified violence happens every day to women in this country.

Violence against women is often a cycle of abuse that manifests itself in many forms throughout their lives. Even at the very beginning of her life, a girl may be the target of sex- elective abortion or female infanticide in cultures where son preference is prevalent. During childhood, violence against girls may include enforced malnutrition, lack of access to medical care and education, incest, female genital mutilation, early marriage, and forced prostitution or bonded labour. Some go on to suffer throughout their adult lives — battered, raped and even murdered at the hands of intimate partners. Other crimes of violence against women include forced pregnancy, abortion or sterilization, and harmful traditional practices such as dowry-related violence, sati (the burning of a widow on the funeral pyre of her husband), and killings in the name of honour. And in later life, widows and elderly women may also experience abuse.

While the impact of physical abuse may be more ‘visible’ than psychological scarring, repeated humiliation and insults, forced isolation, limitations on social mobility, constant threats of violence and injury, and denial of economic resources are more subtle and insidious forms of violence. The intangible nature of psychological abuse makes it harder to define and report, leaving the woman in a situation where she is often made to feel mentally destabilized and powerless.

Every day I see women suffering in public places especially in trains and buses. For the past 7 years I’m travelling in train daily to reach my college and office. When a girl enters the general compartment, 90% of men scan her from top to bottom and comment on her appearance and dress. The most frequent comment that is passed on is “Why she enters general compartment when there is ladies coach?” — What a shameful dominating attitude. I always wonder why these people don’t have the image of their daughter/sister/wife at such times. Where does that strict and constructed image disappear while staring at the other women in society?

The physical, sexual and psychological abuse, sometimes with fatal outcomes, inflicted on women is comparable to torture in both its nature and severity. It can be perpetrated intentionally, and committed for the specific purposes of punishment, intimidation, and control of the woman’s identity and behaviour. It takes place in situations where a woman may seem free to leave, but is held as a prisoner by fear of further violence against herself and her children, or by lack of resources, family, legal or community support.

The usual argument in cases of sexual harassment / rape is that the female must have provoked the assaulting male by either being out of her home so late at night or by her clothes or manner. I want to ask the men: Why do you always look at women as a commodity? Aren’t woman a part of society? Don’t you feel the warmth of love of your mother, sister or friend? If an eve teasing occurs, it’s she is who is being blamed for the way she dresses and not he for the affront. It’s a human rights violation and is highly condemnable.

The society and the government which advices women what to wear failed to give out a strong message to those culprits who are involved in violence against women. Today India is listed as 4th dangerous country for women to live in. Is this is the achievement we gift our mother land? Is this what we are going to gift to our daughters, friends, wives and mothers? Raise your voice and join hands to curb this menace. As a genuine gentleman encourage and empower your daughter, sister, wife to follow their dreams confidently.

For me women’s safety is not just about safeguarding her from sexual harassments; it also includes safe spaces, freedom from poverty and access to all basic amenities, safe public transportation, financial security and autonomy and safer healthier community. Building such a nation is everyone’s job. It’s a mandatory duty of government and judicial system to perfectly ensure women safety and most important duty is to take severe actions against culprits and to give a strong warning.

Today, we are witnessing more violence against women in different forms in our country which is turning our nation into hell. Till we achieve the safer status for women in India, my advice to all the women is try to avoid dressing glamour. I’m not dominating, but I hope you all are aware of what actually happening in this nation which is now having more lusty beasts. It is time for our entire society to eradicate all forms of violence against women and to gift a safer nation to our coming generations.

Youth Ki Awaaz

YouthKiAwaaz.com is an award winning, India's largest online and mobile platform for young people to express themselves on issues of critical importance. This article has been written by a Youth Ki Awaaz Journalist/Contributor. You can submit a contribution too. Click here to write for Youth Ki Awaaz, or submit a photo or video.

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Sukhpreet

You’re just over-exaggerating. Please stop it, it’s embarassing. It’s utterly pathetic how you say that malnutrition or lack of access to education are “violence” (oh dear i’m scared) against women. This is laughable. You abused the meaning of the word “violence”. Just because you don’t give women access to education you haven’t commited violence. You apparently have no idea of the changes that are taking place in this country. The youth, especially the females, go online and write blogs vehemently attacking the society they live in. They attack the police, the elders, their culture – unbelievable. The thing that is partly to blame for this – everyone knows this- is the widespread consumption of the english language.

    Vijay

    Lack of access to education (even after RTE) esp for women is a form of violence… You may take it as a little discrimination, but that’s the level that just pushes the matter to next levels… Violence are inter-connected… Today India is listed as hot-spot for women trafficking – UN reports say this clearly… Violence against women is raising everyday in India – Need proof? Please check with National Crime Records Bureau Authority… India also stands as 4th dangerous nation for women to live and a highly dangerous nation for unborn girl babies… This is not just my teams statistical data… Everyone knows this data…

    Vijay

    Moreover, today’s entire youth community is getting out of illogical cultural and superstitious bindings… The unchangeable conservative people in this society are fear to accept it; the scientific changes! Those people couldn’t control male youths… So, when just 2 out of 100 female youths taking up to extreme level, they try to dominate and showing anger shamelessly, which they can’t show it to male youths… They are exaggerating the 2 with whole 100 which is completely creates a hell… To the whole the society we live in takes charge…

    M.A.Rao

    Sir,(Sukhpreet) I happy you have comment on this article but the truth can’t be hided.According to you it is the youth especially women who have access to education and use online.I don’t agree with you.In few cities progress does not mean over all or everyone is educated.I suggest to visit few internal rural village where still basic need are not available then you will understand the word “VIOLENCE” .Things are not same as they look from above.Kindly view it as “an educated mother can bring up an cultured family and these cultured family make better society to live in”.

    K.Prashant

    I think Sukhpreet is trying to generalize the so called ‘modern’ women he saw as the only women that exist in the Republic of India! Common, gimme a break. There is nothing wrong in somebody attacking something she/he does not agree with a good reason and justification. This is a fundamental right of every citizen of the Republic of India under the very constitution, called ‘right to free speech’ !. Women should have as much right as you, who have voice your dissent to this article (I appreciate your dissent and will not steal your rights- Don’t you think it is only just to give the same rights to women?)

    Tina

    You my dear are an asshole. You are generalizing – oh how easy it is to blame western culture rather than looking at your own
    men need to educate themselves before they have the audacity to comment on the education of women
    Thank God I don’t live among scum like you

gaurav

this is a general purpose article that sheds lights on areas where women have issues but does little else. the writer needs to water down and deal with one issue at a time and provide constructive solutions and ways to implement them. but the writer continues with his rant without a thought towards how to deal with the issues touched upon. this is the standard recourse among most people who wish to tackle any issues. they end up highlighting all issues and do not do much other than waste time. hopefully indians will learn to focus on one issue at a time and provide constructive inputs.

    K.Prashant

    Definitely your point is taken, but that does not make this article useless. If everybody sprung up their own solutions to problems (perceived in their own perspective), most of the solutions would be imperfect and unidimensional.
    What the situation needs is a thorough understanding of the problem and connecting all the dots, before we set about hastily in search of the solutions.

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