Sangita Singh is an HR Professional working with a Consulting firm in Delhi. Edgy and a creative soul evolving constantly, she is an ardent writer, blogger, traveller, singer and photographer.. to mention few! Hailing from Bihar, she has carved her space in Delhi since her school days & soon came in touch with this prolific side of hers.
Gender-Based Violence in India.
Female infanticide, a lady too scared to walk out of the house alone, girl child abuse, a women terrified to voice her opinion, molestation at workplace, a girl committing suicide post dowry harassment, females reluctant to travel by public transport, women scared to travel alone at night… all these instances have a common undertone.
We are discussing ‘Gender Violence’ here which is not just a term but has facets of agony hidden beneath it. We see instances of gender-based violence all around us, whether it be at home or outside.
BBC quoted a year ago ‘About once every five minutes an incident of domestic violence is reported in India.’ This is a matter of an utter dismay! On one hand we say womanhood is to be respected and on other hand few elements in our society are tearing that beauty and the soul apart.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a barrier to socio-economic growth. In a developing country like India where the only criteria for development are GDP and welfare, it is sad to see that we are not giving women that equal power and liberty to be financially independent and contribute towards civic development.
Women in our society are bearing the burnt in some or the other form such as:
Physical Violence – Leading to injury, impairment, damage.
Sexual Violence – Rape, molestation, forced marriage, abortion etc.
Emotional Violence– Threats, harassment, acid attacks..
Economic Violence – Limiting the access to basic needs, lack of health facility, withholding monetary supply to name a few..
There are stratums where women are deprived of basic necessities, they are financially dependent on their family and in few cases even their health and well-being is ignored. According to WHO estimates, nearly 30% of all women who have ever lived in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner which further resulted in violence from family
Twenty-four per cent of Indian men have committed sexual violence at some point in their lives, 20% forced their partners to have sex with them, and only 17% of Indian men could be considered ‘highly equitable’, reveals a survey of six developing countries.
Spousal abuse is so well accepted and normalised in India that a majority of men feel wife-beating is okay. Low levels of education clearly play a major role in this horrifying trend.
G.C.Chaturvedi, director, National Rural Health Mission, says: “In India, the worst problem we face is that victims in almost all states don’t feel victimized, both in case of dowry or spousal violence. They feel being beaten up or tortured by their husbands is alright. They have been groomed to believe that. We are trying to change this mindset by educating and empowering more women, making them aware of their rights. It will take some time to change people.”
The big question here is how can we curb this ratio and the situation?
For this ‘We Must Empower Women and Not Just Womanhood’.
We have heard of the saying “God helps those who help themselves.” Similarly, a little perseverance, will-power, realization of self-worth can help women across stratas to rebuke the ferocity. It is also important to have open and thoughtful conversation within the family so that any misuse or miscreants are not ignored and are corrected in their formative years.
Education has to enter at all layers because only then can females be independent and have the liberty to choose their career, have a say in marriage and other lifestyle changes.
Though there are numerous ways and possibilities to restrain and put a check on GBV, some of them which can be implemented by the Government and us, as citizens are:
Controlling infanticide, ensuring better education for girls, good sanitation facilities in schools, financial aid for education, aid for household business, security at local level, law abiding officials to oversee welfare programmes in small town and villages. Awareness programmes for women at all levels, check on workplace dominance, better and safe transport and health facilities, easy availability of resources, quick and respected trials for victims, increase in funding and support services, better law enforcement, assistance to foundations and social organizations to work effectively.
If we all come together and decide to be more alert and sensitive towards our surroundings, we can make a difference. The women in our society just need a push and assurance and they can perform extraordinarily in every field. Our commitment to change the scenario is important. We need to have the empathy and drive to voice our opinion if we observe any barbarity in society.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a human rights violation. A cumulative effort is all that we need to eradicate this phenomenon.