What do women do and whom do they trust, when their own homes are not safe havens? As per a study, home is the most unsafe place for a woman. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) study says that 58 per cent of female homicides in 2017 across the world were committed by victims’ intimate partners or family members. Of these, intimate partners alone are responsible for 34 per cent incidences. “Some six women being killed every hour by people they know,” says the study, according to excerpts published in The Indian Express.
These global figures are quite an eye-opener. For long we have demonised the outside world and told women to never trust strangers but this study proves that their lives are at bigger risk in their very own homes. We always keep addressing and analysing the threats to women’s safety outside of their premise. But in that process, we have completely overlooked the factors which put them at risk within it. So it is about time that we begin taking care of ourselves.
By tempering men into being women’s protectors the society has turned them into our worst enemies.
Women are conditioned to put their lives and safety in the hands of their partners and male family members on all occasions. On the other hand, men are told that it is their duty to protect their wives, mothers, sisters, and so on because they are the physically stronger gender. This has led to accumulation of aggression and arrogance in men. Since they are the protectors, it is they who must call all the shots in any relationship. Similarly, the society tells women that in order to stay safe, they must obey the orders and rules laid down by their protectors.
- According to a study 58 per cent of female homicides in 2017 across the world were committed by victims’ intimate partners or family members.
- Some six women get killed every hour by people they know.
- Women are conditioned to put their lives and safety in the hands of their partners and male family members.
- Years of patriarchal oppression, objectification and skewered gender dynamics have left women with no place to call a safe haven.
Gradually the sense of duty has given away to a sense of entitlement among men and the protective instinct coerces them into expecting obedience from women.
Most women face violence at home when they challenge male authority. Whether it by having an interfaith/interracial relationship, disobeying direct commands and wishes, or trying to emerge out of their shadows by seeking financial, emotional, or cultural independence.
Unless we rework the gender dynamics inside our homes, women will never be safe inside them.
Stop treating women as possessions. Don’t tell men that it is their duty to protect women and familial honour. Instead, encourage women to be independent and self-sufficient. Men and women are equal members of the society, which would cease to exist without either one of them. But unless women gain equality, their life remains under threat. For that to happen, will have to reverse-condition men into accepting women as equals and begin valuing their existence and individuality. That just because they are physically stronger, it doesn’t mean that women should obey their commands.
Years of patriarchal oppression, objectification and skewered gender dynamics have left women with no place to call a safe haven. But what we have learnt from this study is that factors which make the outside world unsafe for us, exist within our close vicinity and even cause grave damage. The cure for safety in both realms is to stop projecting women as the weaker and inferior gender.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.