When Her Heaven Turns Into Hell
Women, ironically, are often in great peril in the place where they should be safest: Home. Despite all the progress and modernization that we claim to have acquired, India continues to ill-treat her women and keep her deprived and suppressed. Almost always viewed as physically feeble, and emotionally fragile, she is subjected to inhuman tortures behind the closed doors almost every day, in alarming numbers. What is even more shocking is that such distressing incidents are not confined to rural areas or amongst certain communities, but are crossing all social classes, religions, areas and age groups.
The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) states that “violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which has led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men.” According to a latest report prepared by India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a crime is committed against women in every 3 minutes in India. It has various forms such as physical aggression, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, domineering, intimidation, economic deprivation, passive/covert abuse (such as neglect) and so on.
It is undoubtedly a human right issue. Such incidents not only harm her physically, but leave invisible yet indelible bruises on her psyche too. Any form of domestic violence agonizes her to such an extent that it may lead to emotional disturbances, decreased productivity at work, depression, withdrawal from the general activities of life and so on. It was first recognized as a criminal offence in 1983 by the introduction of section 498-A into the Indian Penal Code. The Government of India also passed a Domestic Violence Bill in 2001, “to protect the rights of women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”To prevent women from such trauma, and to protect her rights, the legislation “The protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005’ was passed by the Parliament, and brought into force by the Indian Government from October 26, 2006. According to it, every aggrieved woman, who has suffered from domestic violence, can file a complaint to protection officer, police officer or magistrate in the form of ‘Domestic Incident Report’ (similar to FIR). Complaints can also be filed by the victim’s relative, it is considered to be prima-facie evidence of the incident.
Non-governmental organizations, police, health care centres, women’s rights bodies etc. can also contribute majorly in spreading awareness and lending assistance to battered women. Such cases should be brought to light and not simply buried within the household, so that the culprits are rightfully punished for such atrocity. The different sociological and psychological factors associated with domestic violence, as well as its causes, forms and effects should be clearly propagated to our women, so that they do not put up with such terrible treatment and raise their voices. When wronged, they should know to how to speak up, to whom to approach and where to expect justice. It is only when women decide to shed their cocoons and fight to safeguard their rights can such crimes be eradicated.