“I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic,”
— UN Secretary-General António Guterres wrote on Twitter.
Even though the United Nations (UN) has called domestic abuse a shadow pandemic that is thriving with the Covid19 crisis, Indian has shown little to no urgency towards safeguarding its women.
While the National Commission for Women (NCW) has come up with a Whatsapp number to report domestic abuse, it hardly solves the problem given the lack of forces that are there to cater to the issue during the lockdown.
What we need right now is to reach out to more and more people and send a strong message against domestic abuse, and Media, with a blend campaigning, is very much capable of fighting this #ShadowPandemic.
We know the media power has moved/influences policy-level decisions in the past. Our prime minister Narendra Modi mentioned that post COVID it’s going to be a new era.
A new era with new policies, new resource alternatives, new health priorities. It’s the perfect time for the media to tap into this change and spread the message around gender sensitisation. As domestic violence stands highlighted, pushing the right policies around it via the media can be the course of womxn safety standards in this new era.
There’s no way that the media should let go of this power.
Of course, “with great power, comes great responsibility”. It’s time we urge the media to deal with domestic violence with a revised lens of gender sensitivity.
This is a correct window for the media to come together and fight against the gender-based atrocities that come with the crisis. With the ripple effect, we can aim at getting this graphic into the vernacular media, which by the way, is what 59% readers in India prefer, according to an India Internet report.
Having a uniform graphic across various progressive media houses can be one of the steps to stamp solidarity and sensitised approach:
Media houses have shown immense courage working round the clock with the frontline workers.
If they take up this graphic on their website or channel, it will be a simple but effective way of reaching out to the masses with a strong message against the abuse of women in their own houses.
Home is supposed to be the safest place for us. However, that’s exactly what’s turning into a torture cell for a lot of women.
With the lockdown being extended, we can use this time to one, urgently help support our women. And tackle the problem while it is highlighted.