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In Talk with
DR. ASHU DHIMAN
On DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AMID COVID-19
About Dr. Ashu Dhiman
She is Assistant Professor at Centre for Legal Studies, Gitarattan International Business School. Her qualifications include B.A.LL.B(H). LLM, Ph.D., UGC NET & JRF. Her specialization is in Business Law and Family Law. She has 4 years of Research experience and 6 years of teaching experience.
Q1. Do you think that the lockdown has created so much frustration that it has increased the rate of Abuse on women? What is your opinion?
A beautiful creature of nature is human and this Human is blessed with emotions, “Frustration” is one of those emotions that occur in such circumstances of life where a person is blocked from reaching the desired goal. The normal responses to frustration include anger, giving up, losing self-esteem and confidence, depression, and stress. To understand the connection of frustration, lockdown, and violence against women we need to understand the classification of our Indian society. Our society is divided into three major categories with reference to income i.e the lower class, the middle class, and the higher class.
The pandemic created a situation of crisis leading to difficulty in arranging food. Providing food to the family is the goal of a Lower class man, failing which gives birth to frustrations that accelerate anger and an economically lower-class man lacks anger management skills too. Lockdown directly hits the desired goal of people of this class, the frustration hits the mind and it comes out on the dominated section i.e women & children.
Talking about the middle-class man, he is educated and probably married to an educated woman who knows to fight for her rights, and here comes the situation which hurts the male ego in normal circumstances, whichever can be avoided going out of sight. But in situations of lockdown they cannot avoid each other and the ego turns into frustration which may generate domestic violence or abuse of women.
The higher class is frustrated due to economic losses faced during lockdown thus advancing the frustration which is accelerating the anger, victims are women and children.
These are not the only reasons for frustration among social groups. There is another common factor i.e. addiction, whether it be drugs or alcohol and the inability to arrange for these accelerates the domestic violence.
Q2. Can we state that the Violence against Women by their husbands have increased because they are spending more time at home, especially in the case of DV?
Of course, staying together 24/7 accelerates the cases of domestic violence. Staying at home all the time may give birth to Stress, the disruption of social and protective networks, loss of income, and decreased access to services and all this can exacerbate the risk of violence against women.
Q3. What can be the reasons for the increase of DV during a lockdown?
As discussed earlier the frustration arisen due to the current situation is the major reason for the rise in cases of Domestic Violence. Secondly, the increase in marital rapes is also an issue that gave rise to cases of DV.
Another noticeable point is that, we live in a patriarchal society where women are supposed to stay at home and look after the daily needs of the family and that domestic work done by women has never had any monetary value for the society. It leads women towards subjugation and it has increased due to lockdown. Being at home all the time there may be times when a man has to help the wife in domestic works which creates a feeling of irritation accelerating abuse.
Q4. What according to you are the ways to curb DV in the present time?
•The priority must be given to control the reasons for domestic violence, for example, the essential requirements like food must be provided by the government especially to the weaker section.
• There must be arrangements for the security of women and children, by providing some helpline numbers and helping booths.
• Government must start a common platform to educate the people about the effects of violence on victims and the need to help the survivors of domestic violence.
• Special officers must be appointed with special powers to protect the women and children from abuse.
• Proper shelter and Free legal aid must be provided to the victims.
Q5. How do you think the police should be reacting to DV cases keeping in mind the present scenario?
Police play a very significant role in the enforcement of Law. It is the duty of the police to fight against crime and protect every member of society. While taking care that people are not roaming around police must also be active in taking any suspicious person in custody. They must ensure that people who have been confined in their homes are safe at their homes. Every step must be taken by the police to help the victims of domestic violence.
Q6. What kind of solutions do you think should be provided to the wife keeping in mind the present time?
• The legal education must be provided to women through a proper channel. A woman being a wife must be made aware of her rights, not only right to live with dignity but also the right to raise a voice, the right to fight against violence.
• Active Helpline numbers should be provided to the women for their protection.
• A woman should not be allowed to live with her abuser, if any such case comes around, the woman must be provided with the shelter of should be sent to her paternal home.
• Police must be easily accessible and it must be active to book such abusers on time.
• People must be made aware that if they find any case of abuse on women or children they may also call on the helpline numbers to help the victim.
• NGO’s may also come forward to make people aware.
• Police must ensure that lockdown measures do not penalize women for seeking support when experiencing violence, such as by going to the police or hospital to report violence.
Q7. What kind of necessary action should the court be taking as everything is shut due to the lockdown?
• The court must issue necessary directions to the government to ensure the effective implementation of Laws related to Domestic Violence during the lockdown.
• Online hearing patterns must also be taken seriously in such cases.
• The court must ensure that justice, especially in grave cases, must not be delayed due to a lockdown.
• Special cells must be established to quarantine the perpetrators. They must not be left free to abuse women and children.
Q8. Anything you’d like to say to legal professionals or law students in these hard times?
Since we are addressing the issue of domestic abuse during lockdown I would firstly request the law students and legal professionals to stay active and report if they find any such case near them and try to provide legal assistance to the victims.
Duke Ellington has rightly said, “A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” And my message to law students and professionals revolves around this. The whole world is in problem, but as nature has utilized the chance and revived itself we must also do the same. As students are free they must work on their weaknesses by identifying and applying the required efforts. The most important thing,