“God resides where women are worshipped” is an old saying which guides us to give women their due respect. Women today, are reaching new spheres, they are speaking up, coming out of the hard-shelled patriarchal setup and owning their rightful place in society. But, sadly, this is just one side of the story. We might want to believe that women in India are treated with respect everywhere because that is the easy thing to do, isn’t it? But facts do not cease to exist just because they are ignored. The fact is that women are facing the wrath of domestic and sexual violence. The pandemic-induced lockdown has just exacerbated the torment they’re facing.
The National Commission For Women (NCW) revealed that there had been a sharp spike in the number of cases related to domestic violence being reported amid the lockdown. The story doesn’t end here. There are just as many cases of violence and harassment which go unnoticed or are never heard of, or sadly are buried deep within the family because of the stigma attached to it.
Many women simply do not reach out because of fear of judgement, or the fear of losing hard-earned respect, even though it might cost them their soul! Many fear more violence coming their way and their voice, if any, is nipped in the bud.
What’s more infuriating is that many women are simply led to believe that they ‘deserve’ what they are getting. The process of ‘conditioning’ them for a world which will eventually treat them as if they are second to someone starts from their very homes!
Ever wondered why a girl needs to “behave like a girl?” Isn’t that just a way of instilling timidity in them? Making them complacent with anything that happens to them against their will?
Many women lack knowledge or aren’t allowed to be educated enough to know that there is help available. All they have to do is to simply reach out and there are NGOs, counselling centres, and even domestic violence helpline numbers.
There is a sense of isolation that surrounds the people who endure domestic violence, a feeling that nobody would understand what they are going through, and that they are suffering alone and will have to suffer for long. Although I am sure there is no need to say it, if someone reading this post knows of or has seen someone enduring domestic violence, I urge you to help them. Tell them they are not alone and that there is help available.
We must understand that we cannot pass off everything as “not our business”. If you see something wrong happening, it is your job to ensure that the survivor has a voice, and if not, you can become their voice! The culprit must not roam free. And what if he is someone you are acquainted with? Doesn’t matter. You have to do what you have to do.
I can go on and on about why their voices go unheard, but the question is, why is there even a need for them to raise their voice? It ultimately boils down to one thing—the perpetrators of violence—men. Men who lack values, men who lack ethics, men who do not deserve to be called men.
The problem cannot be solved unless both men and women think of their counterparts as equals, and respect each other. But sadly, that’s far from happening. As of late, there is a trend of labelling feminism and everything related to it as a ‘fad’. I agree that there are some insincere forms of feminism, but the right voices need to be heard! The youth must come forward. Men and women must together come forward and take charge.