The 21-day-long lockdown may keep women safe from coronavirus, but it has pushed a lot of them towards something equally grievous- domestic violence and sexual harassment. In the past ten days of lockdown i.e., between 23 March to 1 April, a total of 257 cases of crime against women were registered online, according to the data by the National Commission for Women. To get a context, between the period 02 March and 08 March, a total of 116 cases of crimes against women were registered.
- A total of 257 cases of crime against women were registered in the first ten days of lockdown. The data has been recorded for the duration between 23 March to 1 April.
- 77 Cases were registered under the right to live with dignity.
- 69 cases have been registered under 'Protection Of Women From Domestic Violence.'
- 16 cases of police apathy against women have also come to light, while 20 cases haven't been categorized yet.
Being 24-hours together makes women an easy target. And the other factor is, that today she cannot go out and get any kind of remedy.- Mariam Dhawale
Why A Rise In Violence Against Women?
According to the data by National Commission For Women, a staggering 257 cases of crime against women for a duration of 10 days (23 March to 1 April) of lockdown were recorded as compared to 116 cases that were recorded for a duration of seven normal days (2 March to 8 March). 13 cases have been registered under Rape/Attempt to Rape as compared to the average of two cases during the normal days. The ten days of the lockdown also saw an increase in domestic violence cases which rose to 69 as of 1 April, as compared to 30 cases between 2 March to 8 March.
Mariam Dhawale, General Secretary, All India Democratic Women's Association, opines that men who are unemployed are basically abusive in nature. "Being 24-hours together makes women an easy target. And the other factor is, that today she cannot go out and get any kind of remedy. Earlier, for people who use to be abusive or violent, there was some kind of pressure because the woman could always walk out and go to the police. But now, she cannot, and the abusive person knows this. And so, this encourages him, to be violent without any consequences. The nonavailability of liquor also plays a role as the addicts become more abusive. Women today are in the most vulnerable situation," says she.
Because of the lockdown, women are not able to go to the police and they don't want to, because they're afraid that if their husband comes out after a day or two, he will again beat them and they cannot move out.- Rekha Sharma
On the increasing number of domestic violence cases during the lockdown, Rekha Sharma, Chairperson National Commission for Women, says, "I am receiving one or two complaints of domestic violence every day, directly on my email ID. Today itself I received a complaint from a woman in Nainital that her husband is beating her, abusing her, but she cannot go to her home in Delhi. She doesn't even want to go to the police, because she says, if the police take her husband, her in-laws will be torturing her. Because of the lockdown, women are not able to go to the police and they don't want to, because they're afraid that if their husband comes out after a day or two, he will again beat them and they cannot move out."
Gender Aspect Not Kept In Mind For Lockdown Policies
The government of France has said that during the lockdown duration, it would pay for hotel rooms for victims of domestic violence and open pop-up counseling centers as well. Considering the increasing number of domestic violence cases in India, its high time that gender-specific policies be rolled out for crises. "Indian government should also do something like France has done. On the gender aspect, nothing has been brought out by the government. Within the policies, and the speech of our concerned Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the gender aspect should have been kept in mind, should have been noticed, but it isn't," adds Mariam.