This article is in response to one of the posts under a Youth Ki Awaaz campaign, #ViolenceNoMore, which referred to woman named Jahnavi,a survivor of domestic violence and dowry. I would like to suggest some policy reforms regarding domestic violence, as demanded by that post.
First of all, awareness among women regarding such laws should be created, to enable such women to exercise them. As we read in that post, Jahnavi was trying to adjust with her in-laws even amidst grave violence and insults. She felt helpless and had lost the confidence to even approach the police. Had she been aware of the legal options, she could have resorted to them. For example, she could go to one of the One Stop Centreswhich have been specially constituted for women facing violence at home.
Recently the government has launched the Mahila Police Volunteer (MPV) scheme, under which a woman volunteer will be appointed in every gram panchayat to keep a check on incidents related to gender violence, and facilitate communication between the police and the community. Such schemes should be emulated in all states to ensure ground level help, expeditiously.
Section 375 of IPC should be amended to criminalize marital rape. Such loopholes are misused and marriage becomes a license to exploit women.
Another awareness campaign should be carried out for parents who force their daughter to stay with her husband, and compel her to ‘adjust’ to avoid any social stigma. They should be aware of the fact that such tolerance against atrocities is only further detrimental for the family, and most of all for the daughter. Similarly, girls are asked to be subservient to men and are taught the so-called Streedharma (duties of a woman). That needs to end, and girls need to be told that they are equal to men.
I was shocked to see that Jahnavi and her family tolerated such exploitation for such a long time. I mean what were they waiting for? They should have taken a strict action right away with the help of authority, immediately.