“Where shall we go amidst the pandemic? Cries echo within the confines. She bears it all, her hope for escape has died.”
It is regrettable how cases of violence against women have hiked during the COVID-19 lockdown. It represents how even in the 21st-century, women are vulnerable.
As the pandemic spread, people were asked to ‘stay in, stay safe’. Ironically, staying in became unsafe for some.
It was an uncertain scenario that took away jobs, a relaxed happy go lucky lifestyle and switched it to worries, fear, and depression. This agony of being stuck inside the four walls came out in the form of violence. The increase in alcohol consumption made the situation worse.
During the lockdown, women became more helpless, as they couldn’t reach out to authorities, or run away. Most of the cases still remain unaddressed while some which were reported didn’t receive any help.
The women in rural areas who wait for men to go on work so that they could have their leisure time couldn’t do it anymore. Their time was taken away while men stayed home which demanded an all-day presence in the kitchen. Young girls are left disillusioned about the future after the loss of education, are forced to look after the household chores.
The reason women become the victim is a deeply built ideology, an idea that has been long embedded into the subconscious that women are subordinate to men. That they have to be submissive and serve them.
Be it among partners or siblings the victims are mostly women. For men, the best way to prove their power and masculinity is by dominating their female counterpart.
How people react towards the issue is more devious. I have witnessed it myself whenever an issue of domestic violence is addressed, people blame the girl saying, “why would he hit her like that, she must have done something wrong“. That’s the blame game always played in our society.
A lady in my neighbourhood told me the story of her daughter as to how she has been a victim of domestic violence since she got married. On asking whether she reached out to authorities, she denied and said the fault is of my daughter as she has a sharp tongue, she argues unnecessarily and that makes my son-in-law furious. When rape happens, it is the fault of a woman for going out late at night or wearing clothes that invite male attention.
Such incidents of violence against women will keep occurring until people don’t promote equality; until our society doesn’t stop stereotyping the gender roles and, patriarchy and misogyny is completely wiped out.
Nothing can be done until men are made to realise that violence against women is unethical, highly unacceptable and violence or abuse of any kind is in no way a solution to satiate their frustration.
Nothing can be done until these conventional discourses like ‘men are superior to women’, or ‘Eve was made through Adam’s rib’ change. Right conditioning of children from a young age, addressing sibling fights and creating counselling sessions for men where they could be taught to manage their anger in a correct way without harming their partners, would play a crucial role in bringing down the cases of domestic violence.