The exploitation of women happens in every way possible. These wounds are visible and for some, these wounds are so deep that they are not visible. The definition of domestic violence includes any act which harms or injures the physical or mental well-being of a woman and it also includes the verbal, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse they are subject to. Patriarchal thinking has been snatching the rights of women for thousands of years, and this kind of thinking has been harassment has been endured by women for ages.
Everything changed in the ‘Coronavirus era’ but the one thing that did not change was the crimes committed against women. These incidences are constantly increasing and are seen as a ‘new epidemic’.
According to the data released by the National Commission for Women (NCW), domestic complaints by women have increased by 2.5 times since the nationwide lockdown began in India. The National Commission of Women (NCW) reported a 100% rise in complaints of domestic violence cases.
A nationwide WhatsApp number was then launched by the NCW to provide an alternate method for women to report domestic abuse. Around 552 complaints were recorded in the month of May, and June saw over 730 complaints.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, reports of domestic violence surges all over the world is worrying. Husbands end up becoming more abusive towards their partners and channel their exasperation onto them. The lack of an income during the pandemic and the looming threat of hunger also added to the problem. Women who are financially dependent on their husbands have suffered more. The violence is not limited to one country but it’s a worldwide problem. One in three women, worldwide, experience physical or sexual violence mostly by their partner. Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation.
Emerging data shows an increase in calls to domestic violence helplines in India since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women continue to occur on the streets, in public spaces and online. Survivors have limited information and awareness about available services and limited access to support services. The lack of avenues to report cases during the lockdown has restricted women, and they are forced to live with abusive partners. Women are unable to go to their homes. This has caused a loss of privacy for women, and also, instances of violence rose.
Who will protect women when the protector of women’s rights becomes their ‘eater’? The chairperson of the National Commission for Women has often publically given statements that can be seen as ‘anti-women’. The National Commission for Women, Rekha Sharma, has been variously described as ‘bigoted’ and a ‘misogynist’.
The epidemic might end in a few years, but when will the crimes against women end? In a country which totally has deep-rooted patriarchal morals, where the women are supposed to tolerate each and everything that is thrown in their way, there needs to be a way out.
In our country, women are considered to be goddesses, but before raising their hands on her, no one thinks of her as a human. According to the Constitution of India, she is a human being with equal rights, not a goddess. The position of women in religion is also not equal. If she does not always get the same status as her husband, then how will they respect women? The time has come to free women from all chains.