In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, our lives and the world have come to a halt. Everybody has been locked in their homes abiding by the motto of ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’. But this motto doesn’t hold true for the women. Does it? Fueled by this lockdown and social distancing norms, the problem of domestic violence has gravely increased globally.
Actor and filmmaker Nandita Das has come out with a short film with a strong message on the same issue. Having gathered support from various UN agencies- UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and South Asia Foundation (Madanjeet Singh Foundation), she has released her short film Listen To Her. The seven-minute-long short film serves as an eye-opener for society. Through this film, she encourages the victims enduring the pain to speak up and us to not be a bystander and listen to their ordeals.
The short film revolves around the different realities of two women amid lockdown. One who is worn out by the double workload of office and home. And the other who is trapped in the house with an abuser and is subjected to violence. The film depicts how the survivor musters courage to reach out for help. The other woman listens to her and tries to help her. Listen To Her serves as a perfect example to address the broad idea of gender equality amid any crisis around the world.
The Real Pandemic
India is infamous for gender-based violence. According to the National Commission for Women (NCW) data a wobbling number of 257 cases of crime against women were registered within 10 days of lockdown (i.e. from March 23 to April 1). As compared to 116 cases for a duration of seven normal days (March 2 to March 8). Also, between the beginning of March and April 5, a total of 315 cases of domestic violence were reported. The ten-day lockdown saw a rise of cases from 30 between March 2 and March 8 to 69 as of April 1.
The film depicts how the survivor musters courage to reach out for help. The other woman listens to her and tries to help her.
The Chairperson of NCW, Rekha Sharma spoke in this regard. According to her, “The actual number of cases is much higher as there are women who don’t report such incidents. They are afraid that if they file a complaint against their husband then their in-laws will torture them or when their husbands will come out of jail then he will torture them again and this time mercilessly.”
The Way Out
The world of an abuse victim is characterized by loneliness, fear and alienation. In order to help them out, we ought to extend a helping hand towards them. Many organizations have set up helpline numbers to help the victims. Even United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has called for measures to address a “horrifying global surge in domestic violence” amid the lockdown implementations throughout the world. Our response as a co-citizen is really important to show that they are not alone. We should not hesitate to help them and encourage them to speak up. Finally, we should lend an ear to them to understand their situation.
Earlier actor Sandhya Mridul had come out with a video in which she urged people to speak up for the victims of domestic violence.
The NCW has now launched a WhatsApp number 7217735372 too.
Picture Credits: MumbaiMirror
Simran Dhawan is an intern with SheThePeople.TV
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