No Lockdown for Domestic Violence - S.Saindhavi (3rd Rank, 1st National Blog Writing Competition)
Regardless of the endeavors taken by the government and people to combat the novel Coronavirus pandemic - COVID 19, there has been a surge in the incidents of domestic violence during this nationwide lockdown. Domestic violence often referred to as intimate partner violence where the spouse or the partner is physically abused, and mostly happens in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence also includes violence against children, the elderly, parents. This abuse incorporates mental, verbal, emotional, sexual abuse. Since the stay at home order has been put into effect, the risk of domestic violence is at the skirt behind the closed doors. With things being what they are, what could be the reason behind the increase in these cases during this shutdown? The people are socially disconnected in this crisis, there is a sudden and drastic change in the daily routine, with a huge number of people abandoned in the roads, without work and a long way from home. This prolonged lockdown exacerbates the mental health of the people due to the pressure of work at home, strained relationships, economic instability, etc. This lockdown has given us a sense of being trapped inside our house. They vent their frustration by tormenting their wives and children, as they are the softest target of the house.
In India, 70% of women are victims of domestic violence. Though the home is considered a safe place for women, it is not the safest place for all and always. Women in India are exceptionally under the threat of this brutality by their partners and most of the cases are grossly under-reported. Thus the statistics do not collect data in its entirety, They are being trapped in violence and with manipulative spouses, they are being tormented to death, which has an everlasting effect on the woman’s mental health and well being. Why aren’t women voicing out the mental agony they go through? This is due to the accepted social norms and stigma in this society. They dread to voice it out and also feel unsafe to approach the police as they worry that the abuse would be escalated by their in-laws too. What's worse in this pandemic is that the women have no place for sustenance other than their homes, they cannot travel anywhere to feel safe or contact people for help. Additionally, Most of the women now will undergo financial distress due to which they hardly have any savings left to move away from their houses. The effects of domestic violence on the survivors are plenty, they experience high depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, chronic pain, and unwanted pregnancies.
Though COVID- 19 pandemic has made the houses the safest place for the people, the victims of domestic violence have found their homes to be the most dangerous place of all. The violence that women go through in this society is all because of the old age patriarchal structure still prevailing in many places in India. Many women do not recognize them as victims of domestic violence as they consider this violence as part of their family conflicts. It's high time women fight back and break the cycle and demand for a change. Reporting is the first step towards ending the silence around domestic violence. The stigma ought to be broken, mental and moral support should be given for the victims and educate the women about how they should raise their voice against abusers and not stay in an abusive relationship. The women should seek support immediately and approach the court for justice. The domestic violence act 2005, grants compensation and damages for the injuries, including mental torture and emotional distress, caused by the acts of domestic violence. Remember no one deserves to be abused.