Increasing Cases of Gender based Violence in India (Specials)
26th Nov, 2022
With the recently highlighted case of the Murder, of a 27-year old girl in a live-in relationship by her partner, stunned the country and highlighted the increasing rate of Gender based violence (GBV), especially against the young women.
What is Gender based violence?
- Gender based Violence (GBV) means a harmful act directed at an individual based on their gender.
- It is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms.
- It is a serious violation of human rights and a life-threatening health and protection issue.
- This violence is not just limited to physical violence but encompasses everything from dowry deaths, honour killing, trafficking, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual and emotional abuse, online abuse, child abuse, and caste-based violence among others.
- The National Crime Records Bureau in its Crimes in India Report 2019 has recorded a 7.3% increase in crimes against women when compared to 2018.
- Under the report 30.9% cases recorded were of domestic violence and 7.9% were of rape.
- It indicates that amongst the crime rate per lakh of women population, 33.2% of women have faced by physical/sexual intimate and non-intimate partner violence.
- 1 in every 3 women is a victim of Gender-based violence (GBV).
- The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a two-fold increase in GBV cases across the country.
What are the Factors Contributing to GBV?
- Unequal status in Society
- Vulnerability of Women
- Gender Disparity
- Psychiatric Morbidity
- Sociodemographic factors
- Family factors
- Threatens the autonomy and dignity
- Great economic, social, physiological, psychological and behavioural consequences
- Loss of self-believe
- Creates a social stigma for women who are Raped or sexually exploited
- Increase in instances of early marriage due to fear of parents for young girls/women of GBV.
- Illiteracy amongst women
- Impact on mental health
On India as a country:
A Politically strong and diverse country like India cannot afford such issues to rise as it highlights the policy failures by the government.
As Women contribute to half of India's population, but are paralysed by these violence creates a loss in economic advantage of a country.
Social norms for women where there still exists a mind-set of purity and test for women’s character makes India resolve such issues to make a welfare environment for Women to live.
The Country like India where the Form of Women as a ‘mother’ is treated as ‘Goddess’, but else by those men treated as an object creates a question on the authenticity of culture.
What are the loopholes in approach to address the issues?
- Victimsation of Women: Gender-based violence in India includes eliminating the institutional hurdles facing women, which leads to secondary victimization.
- Socially baised officials/decision makers: When women seek help, they are treated with hostility or negligent or discriminatory fashion by officials in charge of supporting them.
- Patriarchal Norms: The obvious progress made in the region in extending women’s formal rights has yet to lead to a practical application of those rights on a day-to-day basis, either within or outside the justice administration sphere.
Constitutional provisions to curb violence (in India):
The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its:
- Fundamental Rights
- Fundamental Duties
- Directive Principles
The Constitution not only grants equality to women but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favor of women for neutralizing the cumulative socio-economic, education and political disadvantages faced by them.
- Article 14: It confers on men and women equal rights and opportunities in the political, economic and social sphere.
- Article 15: It prohibits discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, etc.
- Article 16: It provides for equality of opportunities matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the state.
- Article 39(a)(d): It mentions policy security of state equality for both men and women the right to a means of livelihood and equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
- Article 42: It directs the State to make provision for ensuring just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.
- Some Legal Provisions for Women:
- Indian Penal Code: Section 354 and 509 safeguards the interests of women.
- Factories Act 1948: Under this Act, a woman cannot be forced to work beyond 8 hours and it also prohibits employment of women except between 6 A.M. and 7 P.M.
- Maternity Benefit Act 1961: A Woman is entitled 12 weeks' maternity leave with full wages.
- The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961: Under this Act demand of dowry either before marriage, during marriage and or after the marriage is an offense.
- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971: It safeguards women from unnecessary and compulsory abortions.
- The Equal Remuneration Act of 1976: It provides equal wages for equal work to both men and women workers for the same work or work of similar nature. It also prohibits discrimination against women in the matter of recruitment.
- The Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1976: It raised the age for marriage of a girl to 18 years from 15 years and that of a boy to 21 years.
- 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act: These Constitutional Amendments Act reserved 1/3rd seats in Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies for women.
- The National Commission for Women Act, 1990: The Commission was set up in 1992 to review the Constitutional and legal safeguards for women.
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005: It is a legislation aimed at protecting women from violence in domestic relationships. It refers to harming or injuring a woman in a domestic relationship, be it physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal or emotional abuse, or economic abuse.
How can gender-based violence be stopped?
- Challenging social norms, creating awareness
- proactive media representation
- supporting the survivors of gender-based violence
- strengthening legislation to criminalise violence
- Society need to take accountability and comprehensively address GBV