Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Domestic Violence a Curse in the Society - A Global Epidemic by Anushtha Saxena

Women is a unique creation of God understanding, hardworking, full of compassion holding high level of initiative and a trend setter for progeny inspite of these qualities the women have never been treated at par with the men . She has faced and is facing discrimination, exploitation and violence from time immemorial. Violence against women and girls continues to be a global epidemic that kills, tortures, and maims – physically, psychologically, sexually and economically. It is one of the most pervasive of human rights violations, denying women and girls’ equality, security, dignity, self-worth, and their right to enjoy fundamental freedoms.

After independence have seen tremendous changes in the status and the position of the women in the Indian society. The constitution of India has laid down as a fundamental right- the equality of the sexes. But the change from a position of utter degradation of women in the nineteenth century to a position of equality in the middle of the twentieth century is not a simple case of the progress of men in the modern era. The position of women in the Indian society has been a very complicated one. In fact, it could not be an exaggeration to say that the recent changes in the status of women in India is not a sign of progress but it is really a recapturing of the position that they held in the early Vedic period. The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines Violence Against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm, or suffering to women including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty; whether occurring in public or private life”. It could be seen that despite the total literacy and global model of development, Kerala tops the list in Domestic Violence, according to the survey conducted by ICRW. Domestic violence is to be perceived not as a law and order problem alone. Primarily it is a socio cultural problem. Its impact has far reaching effects on the family life, health of woman, life of children etc. Studies such as these which examine the causes, its nature and manifestations and consequences would assist the general society to understand the magnitude as well as its implications on the lives as well as the institution of family. According to the National Victims Centre, one woman is raped every minute, and 30% of all women murdered in this country are murdered by their boyfriends or husbands.

Article 2 of the UN draft Declaration of Violence against women identifies three areas in which violence commonly takes place. They are a) violence occurring within the family b) violence occurring in the general community and c) violence perpetrated or condoned by the state. Earlier victims of domestic violence did not lodge complaints, as they feared that such complaints might create a hostile home environment. Very often, women used to endure the violence towards them in silence for fear of repercussions. In spite of the extreme physical and psychological violence meted out on many women, they do not seek divorce, as they feel their trauma and that of their children is too great a price to be paid instead. Thus to a great extent she accepts domestic violence as part of her family life. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2) findings released at the end of the year 2000 points out this fact. Although no direct link has been established, the survey reveals the extent to which women lack autonomy, even as more than 50percent justify, or accept violence within the home.

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