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Trending: Call for Papers Volume 3 | Issue 2: International Journal of Advanced Legal Research [ISSN: 2582-7340]

Domestic Violence: An Analysis on the Issue Amidst Lockdown

                                                                                                                       – Ankur Mukherjee

 

  

 

Since the outbreak of the deadly pandemic Covid-19, human societal life as we know it, has come to an abrupt halt with a state of lockdown having been confirmed by countries worldwide in order to stop the reach of the deadly virus. At the facade, it seems as if a public health crisis and an awaiting economic crisis are the only evils that countries world wide would have to face. However, if you pry deeper into the state you may find a mass of micro-problems vacant in this state of lockdown. Thus, we come to the key crux of this article which is to emphasize one such micro problem, that is, the rising domestic  abuse being faced by women worldwide, in the corona virus lockdown.

According to the World Health Organization, domestic violence against women is a stern human rights violation and includes any act of gender-based violence to results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, counting threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary denial of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life[1]. As stated these acts of hostility may not inevitably one be physical and can embrace sexual, mental or any other manners which may be done with the rationale of gaining the upper hand on a spouse or partner. While the acts of domestic violence or abuse may be gender biased, but still, a major segment of such incidents is targeted towards women which the World Health Organization reporting that nearly one in every 3 women worldwide contain suffered from domestic abuse at least formerly in their lives. Instances of domestic violence among men essentially stem from reasons such as poor education, alcohol and substance abuse, male dispensation, women’s rebellious status, etc.[2] In India, domestic violence has been a gloomy reality in many cases, moderately because of the strong patriarchal simmer that the Indian society has been bounded in and partially due to the high level of desensitization and normalcy that has been shaped in Indian homes, regarding the concern of domestic violence. Therefore, the prologue of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 in this patriarchal system of the Indian society becomes a crucial step towards the fortification of women against domestic abuse. The act provides for a very expansive description of domestic abuse to contain any physical, mental, sexual, verbal or economic abuse being committed on a victim[3].

 THE NEXUS BETWEEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND THE LOCKDOWN

As governments across the world compel a hasty and compulsory lockdown over its civilians, in order to thwart the spread of the corona virus through ‘social distancing’ norms, they also unwillingly compel the victim as well as their abuser to be curbed under the locality of four walls. This has led to a colossal problem in both residential and emergent countries as in the state of lockdown, the victim is now caring with the abuser in the restrictions of her own home, with no immediate relief available and the choice of any future respite being second to none. In a situation of lockdown, the victim’s access to a phone or other communication methods to account on the brutality may be guarded by the abuser himself[4].The link amid domestic abuse and the lockdown lies in the clear monetary strain that is being capable by people worldwide. With the lockdown in effect, in most of the countries worldwide, global wealth is poised, and businesses are trailing money by the minute. With no source of income and the savings being tired little by little, the laypeople is feeling the economic chew. And this economic damage is what is fundamental to the increase in domestic violence cases worldwide. A study conducted in the times of the great gloominess concluded[5]that there is surely an increase in acts of domestic abuse, devious behaviour and other such opposed actions being done towards a spouse or a romantic partner through the times of economic sprain or hardship. With the loss in income, diminution of savings and lack of employment opportunities[6], a lot of irritation is build up inside a person. India is the most hazardous country for women in the world[7]and even in the Indian scenario, the problem of domestic violence is further more bothersome. Harassment owed to dowry concerns, insolence of sexual advances[8]or the fear inducing, patriarchal mind-set of the Indian society are also some of the reasons which donate to instances of domestic violence touching females in India. It is also considerably important and noteworthy to cite that even though men are also the fatalities of domestic and sexual abuse; their cases go highly unreported due to toxic masculinity and embarrassment related to exposure such cases.[9]

THE EFFECTS OF THE LOCKDOWN

The World Health Organization described the rush in domestic violence cases as horrifying[10]Likewise, The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has flagged that for every three months that the lockdown continues, an extra 15 million cases are to be expected[11]Members of European Union also reported a climb of domestic violence cases by almost 33% within the first week of burden of the lockdown[12]. The French Government has reported a one-third augment in domestic sadism cases and the United Kingdom’s National cruelty helpline has reported almost 25% augment in requests for assist[13]. The situation in India is also harsh with a 21% increase in domestic violence cases while the lockdown has been forced. A growth incyber-crimes has also been reported. The form is particularly terrible in the state of Punjab which has seen a 50% rise in the rumor of domestic violence beside women. A bulk of the complaints were reported during online methods of communication like WhatsApp and emails, thereby hinting towards the truth the abuser might be preventing the prey since using a mobile phone or any other basis of verbal communication. Yet, like every cloud, the lockdown also has silver lining in it, as there has also been a substantial decrease in cases of rape, eve teasing, and other crimes of sexual nature owing to fewer people stepping absent of their homes and stronger police presence in states recognized.

CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS

The detail cannot be denied that the nuisance of a shape wide lockdown by the government was essential to battle the corona virus pandemic and thus flatten the curve. However, it gave way for another “pandemic” to lift and wreak chaos. In suggestions, governments athwart the world require to break down harder on domestic violence responses and need to bestow more subsidy towards domestic violence shelters, increasing the number help outline, generating social alertness and ensuring institution of safe environments where the wounded of abuse can account against it. The Indian government too needs to ensure the interests of victims of domestic abuse and show them that they are not alone in this brawl. As the indistinctness of the covid-19 lockdown continues, we need to own up to the survival of this “shadow pandemic” which is gradually creeping into our homes. We need to fit faith and raise consciousness about the condition and put the word out that the fatalities of domestic abuse are not alone in their fight and to the government is with them. And most prominently we need to appreciate the fact that if the situation continues, the words ‘stay home’ and ‘stay safe’ might not be as identical as they seem in this public health disaster right now.

 

 [1] United Nations. Declaration on the elimination of violence against women. New York: UN, 1993, (Aug 03, 5:22 PM), https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women. 

[2] Supra 1

[3] Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Act No. 43 of 2006, Section 3.

[4] Girija Shiv Kumar, While Battling COVID-19, We Can’t Let the Pandemic of Domestic Violence Continue, The Wire (Aug 04, 2020, 12:28 PM), https://thewire.in/women/covid-19-lockdown-domestic-violence.

[5] Daniel Schneider, Kristen Harknett, Sara Mc Lanahan, Intimate Partner Violence in the Great Recession, National Centre for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, NCBI (Aug 04, 2020, 12:39 PM), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4860387/.

[6] Claire M. Renzetti, Vivian M. Larkin, Economic Stress and Domestic Violence, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (Aug 04, 2020, 12:49 PM), https://vawnet.org/material/economic-stress-and-domesticviolence.

[7] Thompson Reuters Foundation, 2018 (Aug 05, 2020, 10:12 AM), https://poll2018.trust.org/.

[8] National Family Health Survey, International Institute of Population Sciences, (2019), https://hetv.org/india/ nfhs/nfhs3/NFHS-3-Domestic-Violence.pdf.

[9] Sexual violence: prevalence, dynamics and consequences, WHO, https://www.who.int/ violence_injury_prevention/resources/publications/en/guidelines_chap2.pdf.

[10] News Wires, UN chief decries ‘horrifying’ rise in domestic violence amid virus lockdown, France 24, (5th Aug 2020, 10:44 AM), https://www.france24.com/en/20200406-un-chief-decries-horrifying-rise-in-domesticviolence-amid-virus-lockdown.

[11] UNFPA, Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Family Planning and Ending Gender-based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage, (2020), https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/resource pdf/COVID19_impact_brief_for_UNFPA_24_April_2020_1.pdf.

[12] Press Release, COVID-19: Stopping the rise in domestic violence during lockdown, European Parliament News, (5th Aug 2020, 2:22 PM), https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20200406IPR76610/ covid-19-stopping-the-rise-in-domestic-violence-during-lockdown.

[13] Explained Desk, COVID-19 lockdown: How countries are dealing with the surge in domestic violence, The Indian Express, (5th Aug 2020, 2:34 PM), https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/how-countries-aredealing- with-the-surge-in-domestic-violence-under-covid-19-lockdown-6350186/.

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