COVID-19 and Upsurge of Domestic Violence - Siddharth Porwal & Rudhi Nawal
On 24th March, 2020, when our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi declared outright lockdown of 21 days in order to protect the spread of corona virus and encouraged people to stay in their home for nationwide safety, it was observed that there is a rapid increase in the number of domestic violence cases in India. According to World Health Organisation, this surge in the statistic of domestic rampage has been reported not only in India but around the globe due to the implementation of lockdown. “According to the organisation, domestic violence often increases during the time of crisis, and is exacerbated due to restrictions and containment measures put in place to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.” “UN Agency for Sexual and Reproductive Health (UNFPA)" has also estimated that there would be 31 million more cases of domestic violence worldwide if lockdown continue for another six months and the research also reveals the enormous scale of the impact that the COVID-19 is causing to women around the globe due to overloading of health care systems, facilities close or only provide a limited set of services to women and girls.” Due to the imposition of lockdown, the most vulnerable are now women, young girls and children as a many of the women’s have apparently lost their jobs and are now fully dependent on their husbands or families. The plight of women got impaired when lockdown was announced and it can be backed by a case where “a young woman rushed to her mother’s place in Delhi to save herself from the verbal and physical torture of her spouse and she felt she could remain safe and at peace for some days but her hopes were shattered as lockdown prevented her from returning to her husband’s house as she was severely beaten by her brother as being in an middle class family their income dwindled, leaving the sister an additional burden on the family.” There was a case in Hyderabad where a mother with her 10 year old son was facing the brunt of her second marriage as the husband of the women was not getting alcohol amid the lockdown and the women and her child were the sufferer of the atrocity and savagery due to the frustration of her husband. She contacted the police and informed about the same, but her condition deteriorated when the husband identified that his wife filed a complaint against him. The National Commission for Women, a statutory body which is responsible for the policy matters related to the women has also raise concerns for the benefit of women, also advocated that during the lockdown, domestic violence cases elevated almost 100%. “NCW received 239 complaints mainly through email and a dedicated WhatsApp number which is almost double the number of complaints (123) received during the previous 25 days, from February 27 to March 22.” These instances pertains to only one thing that although this lockdown has left psychological and mental imbalance in the lives of people but beating up a women and child for whatsoever reasons is always unethical and is a crime in the eyes of law. “From January 1 to April 23, the percentage of domestic violence cases out of the total cases registered with OSCs were 40% in January, 68% in February, 61% in March and jumped to 89% in April.” These stats have shown the true colours of many families in India living in urban areas, regardless of their educational qualifications, so called ‘modern lives’ and prominence in the society, these people have tend to done such things which are the true reflection of their mental level and their standards. Although the government of India have been looking into the matter but some strict actions are need of the hour, which includes setup of a concrete structure to deal with these type of matters and appropriate punitive measures so that such things will not be repeated specifically in that strata of the society/ household where they live in. In the country where women are worshiped as goddesses, where we celebrate nine days called ‘Navaratri’, specially dedicated to our goddesses in that country this behaviour is ironic. There is a dominant need of change in the reasoning of the society that women are not any kind of commodity to play with and are not husband’s obligatory in any form to be treated like this.
AFP, ‘Coronavirus Lockdown : Surge in domestic violence, says WHO’ The Hindu ( Chennai , 7 May 2020) <https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/coronavirus-lockdown-surge-in-domestic-violence-says-who/article31529111.ece#> as accessed on 7 June, 2020. United Nations Population Fund, ‘New UNFPA projections predict calamitous impact on women’s health as COVID-19 pandemic continues’ (2020) <https://www.unfpa.org/press/new-unfpa-projections-predict-calamitous-impact-womens-health-covid-19-pandemic-continues> as accessed on 8 June, 2020. Shemin Joy, ‘Coronavirus Crisis : No lockdown for domestic violence’ Deccan Herald (New Delhi, 26 Apr 2020) <https://www.deccanherald.com/specials/insight/coronavirus-crisis-no-lockdown-for-domestic-violence-829941.html> as accessed on 8 June, 2020. ibid M.L.Melly Maitreyi, ‘Lockdown sees spurt in domestic violence cases in Telangana’ The Hindu ( Hyderabad, 13 May 2020) <https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/lockdown-sees-increase-in-domestic-violence-cases-in-telangana/article31566810.ece> as accessed on 9 June, 2020.