Author: Gowri Shankar
Designation: Law Student, Presidency University
Email ID: 1408SHANKAR@GMAIL.COM
The whole world is in massive shock and it is ripping apart due to COVID – 19. The health care system is struggling hard to provide its best for protecting the lives of people. The streets are filled with sorrow. The threat to life due to the pandemic is indulging the sense of fear in every Individual. As there is no cure or even a vaccine, people have no choice other than staying home.
While the world is combating the pandemic by staying home, another set of people are encountering violence within their home. Many women are vulnerable to mental, physical, and sexual abuse from intimidating partner and from their family members in a few cases. Even in the middle of this deadly crisis, people are so cruel to do such gender-based violence. Domestic violence is a widespread threat to humanity as well as to gender-based discrimination. As per the recent report given by the National Commission for Women (NCW), there has been a huge uplift in domestic violence cases. In this specific period, the entire country is staying home but women in many cases are tortured by their intimidating partner.
Recession studies state that women tortured by husband often seek help from friends and family. But during this lockdown period, it’s difficult to ask for help as well as to reach the place of acquaintance. Thus, they end up homeless. This is because the one causing the violence isn’t afraid of the law, especially during this lockdown. Also, it shows us that the relevant sanctions are not enough to bring it under control. These crimes would have never happened if we had a strong set of laws. A few weeks ago, during National lockdown, 42- Year old man purportedly killed his wife in front of his daughter. This act was done due to rage and suspicion of wife committing adultery. It is allegedly stated that the daughter and mother had no option to contact or to get help from family and friends as it was a complete lockdown. Lockdown is necessary but it is adding fuel to domestic violence. Annie Raja of the National Federation of Indian Women has stated that the government did not consider the situation of women during the lockdown. Our Society functions in a patriarchal way where the work done by women within families is not considered in monetary terms.
The situation of women in rural areas is even worse. Their option to report is very less and in many Indian villages, the neighbor family does not question such violence as they think such fights are common in a relationship. This impacts the health of women physically as well as mentally. It is also noted that due to lockdown, there is a threat of seven million unwanted pregnancies globally. In these seven Million, there could be thousands of women being victims of domestic violence who could have been forced to have sex with their intimidate partner.
To counterstrike these threats, the government must come up with various protective measures. In France, victims of domestic violence can report it in the pharmacies by a secret code instead of a police station if they are forcibly accompanied by abusers. The pharmacy will report it to the police station. This is one of the effective strategies that should be taken into consideration. Another strategy is drawing a red circle on their hand to give a sign of domestic violence to neighbors. We should also consider enabling unique emergency lines for domestic violence and it should be conveyed to all the people through Social networks, television, advertisements or any other effective strategy. Domestic Violence cannot be stopped unless every individual comes forward to support the initiative. It is our responsibility to protect our mothers and sisters from harm.
STAY HOME, STAY SAFE.
 Girija Shivakumar, While Battling COVID-19, We Can't Let the Pandemic of Domestic Violence Continue, the wire, (Apr. 16, 2020), https://thewire.in/women/covid-19-lockdown-domestic-violence Shemin Joy, Corona Virus crisis: No lockdown for Domestic Violence, Deccan herald, (Apr. 26, 2020, 7.06 IST), https://www.deccanherald.com/specials/insight/bleak-forecasts-cost-cutting-mark-covid-19-recession-832905.html  Times of India, Extended lockdown can lead to seven million unwanted pregnancies, says UN body, Timesofindia, (May. 01, 2020, 17.00 IST), https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/parenting/pregnancy/extended-lockdown-can-lead-to-seven-million-unwanted-pregnancies-says-un-body/articleshow/75488982.cms