This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Adnaan Murtazaa. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Domestic Violence Against Women: A Human Rights Issue

Human rights are the basic and fundamental rights to which all humans are entitled by virtue of being born in a family. The fundamental rationale behind the concept of human rights is that each person is a moral and rational being who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

Human rights are based on equality – and its basic philosophy strikes at the root of discrimination against humans. The Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “[…] Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

Human rights are supposed to negate gender inequality and discrimination – but in the case of women, the reality is often divorced from the theoretical concepts and ideal perceptions. Women form one of the most vulnerable sections of society, and they have been facing violence and discrimination since times immemorial. Women often bear the brunt of hypocrisy and discrimination, right from the moment they are conceived in their mothers’ wombs. Then, they have to face it in the different stages of their lives – as daughters, as sisters, as wives, as mothers, and above all, as women.

Violence against women is a universal issue and a direct violation of their basic human rights. There are many forms of violence directed against women which have been condemned globally. However, one certain type of violence (domestic violence) has not been condemned with the severity it merits. Instead, it is actually complicitly condoned and accepted as a social norm in many parts of the world.

Domestic violence against women means any act of violence that is directed against women in a domestic setting. It may be physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence or the threat of such violence inflicted against her – by a person intimately connected to her through marriage or family relations with the intention of subduing her or controlling her. Earlier, it was often considered to be a private/individual matter, but it is actually a social disease – the consequence of the established gender inequality within the society, buttressed by existing structures of power in gender relations, entrenched by traditional educational systems, ingrained by religious and dogmatic beliefs and media influences.

Domestic violence shakes the very foundation of society, and stands as an obstacle to the achievement of equality, development and peace. It is not merely a physical form of violence, which leaves behind only physical injuries. It is also an emotional, psychological pattern of violence which devastates and destroys the identity and person-hood of a woman. It eats at her dignity and erodes her self-worth in the long term. Domestic violence by an intimate partner has harmful effects on a woman’s sexual and reproductive health – like unwanted pregnancies, gynaecological disorders, physical injury to private parts and large-scale impacts on mental health.

Measures against domestic violence are implicitly mentioned in each and every global convention and declaration that seeks an end to violence against women and exhorts equality among humans. It is implicit in:

1. Articles 1, 5, 16 and 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

2. Article 12(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966

3. Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), 1966

4. Article 4(c) of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (DEVAW)

Domestic violence violates a woman’s right to a dignified life, her rights against torture and inhuman treatment, her right to liberty and security, and her right against all forms of discrimination. Now, it is widely treated as a human rights issue which violates the basic rights of women.

Here, it would be pertinent to mention the case of Jessica Gonzales vs the US. Jessica’s case was the first domestic violence survivor to initiate legal action against the US before an international body. In the case, the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held that the domestic violence is a violation of a woman’s basic human rights. Likewise, in the case of Opuz vs Turkey, the European court has also held that domestic violence is a human rights issue that violates the basic rights of an individual.

In 2004, the United Nations General Assembly also specifically addressed domestic violence in Resolution 58/147, titled “Elimination of Domestic Violence Against Women”. In this resolution, the General Assembly recognised that domestic violence is a human rights issue with serious immediate and long-term consequences. It strongly condemned all forms of domestic violence against women and called for an elimination of violence in families. One of the recent developments in the area of human rights and domestic violence is the adoption of the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence by the Council of Europe in April 2011.

Domestic violence is now recognised as a human rights issue – the European Court’s jurisprudence and the decision of the IACHR being very significant in this regard. Conventions have called for an end to this menace.

Yet, there is a wide gulf between the articulation of these goals and their accomplishment. Women continue to suffer in the confines of their homes and in the secrecy of their families. The lives of these women are brutalised, and their rights are trampled upon. ‘Unremedied’ domestic violence essentially denies women equality before the law and reinforces their ‘subordinate’ social status.

Ending domestic violence is a long-term aim achievable only through individual daily efforts for non-violent behavior and peaceful resolution of conflicts. An atmosphere of no tolerance against this violence needs to be created. People need to be made aware of this menace by properly educating and sensitising them about the issue.

Also, stringent action should be taken against culprits. Faster remedies need to be provided to people who face such violence. Until a multi-faceted strategy is adopted, the prevention of domestic violence will remain an elusive dream.

A version of this post was first published here.


The author studies law at the University of Kashmir, and is currently doing an internship with the State Human Rights Commission, Jammu and Kashmir.


_

Featured image used for representative purposes only.

Featured image source: Wikimedia commons
You must be to comment.

More from Adnaan Murtazaa

Similar Posts

By Anmona Handique

By Jagisha Arora

By Nishtha Gupta

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below