Women in India continue to face violence from womb to the tomb.
While in womb they face the ever looming threat of feticide and after birth, they are subject to various forms of violence and harassment at different points of their lives, at the hands of different actors, ranging from their parents to their husbands to the members of general public to their employers..
There is an unspoken war on the streets. Young school and college going girls use books to shield themselves, other women wear full-covered attire to protect their bodies, and others avoid the mere glance of the roving gaze
1] Domestic violence or intimate partner violence (IPV)
Cultural and household stress factors contribute to the prevalence of domestic violence
Forms of Domestic Violence:
- Physical injury: It is the most visible form of domestic violence. It includes slapping, pushing, kicking, biting, hitting, throwing objects, strangling, beating, threatening with any form of weapon, or using a weapon. Physical injuries as a result of domestic violence against women are more obvious than psychological ones
- Emotional abuse: It includes harassment; threats; verbal abuse such as name-calling, degradation and blaming; stalking; and isolation. Psychological abuse can erode a woman’s sense of self worth and can be incredibly harmful to overall mental and physical wellbeing
- Sexual assault: include a range of forceful and non-forceful acts including unwanted kissing, touching, or fondling; sexual/reproductive coercion; rape; and marital rape. Abuse is found to be most common among men who also had extramarital affairs, and among those who had STD symptoms. Abusive sexual behaviors were also found to be correlated with an elevated rate of unplanned pregnancies. In 2013, a court in Mumbai ruled that depriving a woman of sex is a form of cruelty
- as a result of dowry demands
- patriarchal household structure
- hesitancy to report cases of domestic violence
Effects of Domestic violence
- emotional distress, as well as disturbingly high occurrences of suicidal thoughts and attempt
- Serious health problems often result from physical, emotional, and sexual forms of domestic violence.
- Negative public health consequences
Measures to overcome domestic violence
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005
2] Dowry demand and dowry death:
dowry is the payment in cash or some kind of gifts given to a bridegroom’s family along with the bride. The dowry system is thought to put great financial burden on the bride’s family
Effects of Dowry
- Prevalence of domestic violence, which is a crime against humanity
- The continuously decreasing sex-ratio is also attributed to dowry system, because daughters come to be seen as financial burden on the families. As a result, the daughters are killed just after they are born (infanticide) or they are killed even before they come into this world (feticide).
- The widespread prevalence of mental disorders, especially among women, has been attributed to the tortures they have to face from their in-laws and husband.
- The persistent conflict and squabble between parents over the issue of dowry may be detrimental to the upbringing and personality development of their children.
- The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA),
- UN Influences : Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted in 1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (adopted in 1966), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (also adopted in 1966) (these three documents are known collectively as the ‘International Bill of Rights’) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (2012)..
3]Problems faced by women at workplace
Over the past three decades, workplace has become a much more diverse environment. With women representing 24.4 per cent of the total workforce in India, personal security has become central to their physical, intellectual, emotional, economic and spiritual well-being
Forms of problems at workplace
- Physical assault, threatening behavior, bullying, verbal abuse, and various forms of harassment.
- Violence may be perpetrated by a colleague or supervisor, a client or customer
- Workplace violence usually occurs in a workplace setting; however it may also occur outside of the work setting.
- Women are over-represented in low paid, low status and precarious jobs
- The sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and redressal) Act, 2013
However, it was reported by the International Labour Organization in a study (conducted by ILO in early 2014) that, very few Indian employers were compliant to this statute. In specific terms, over 90% of Indian businesses are unable to comply with the new law. Even as employee awareness campaigns and training workshops are under way in companies both big and small, the number of reported harassment cases has gone up. Thus, there are implementation gaps with must be overcome.
4]Issues faced in public transport
India was ranked as the fourth most dangerous place for a woman to take public transport in a poll published in October by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. It polled second-worst on safety at night and for verbal harassment
Women commuting by public transport are vulnerable to harassment and abuse by mischievous troublemakers. There have been some cases of rape and abductions in the city where the auto drivers were involved.
Measures for making public transport safer
- Every access should be checked and improved
- Lighting, good design, visibility at stops and stations
- Instead of trend projections from the past, we have to depend on scenario building techniques– for instance, transport planners need to have a city vision; they need to think about how the quality of life in a city would be affected by a particular choice in transport.
Model for public transport by certain state governments
- G-Auto model of Ahmedabad: Under this model auto-rickshaws are managed through a common control centre to offer safe and reliable service to commuters.
- Pink Auto initiative of Odisha: The pink autos have drivers who have undergone a strict psychological test, criminal background check and training.