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    Eliminating violence against women By JK Latest News

     Eliminating violence against women



    By MUNEEB RASHID MALIK

    muneebrashidmalik@gmail.com

    The pandemic has brought various challenges before us and one of the most infelicitous challenges is the problem of violence

    Honesty, pride andself-esteem 

    are crucial to the personal 

    freedom of a woman. Social 

    progress depends on the prog-

    ress of everyone. Following 

    words of the father of our nation 

    must be noted at all times: To call 

    woman the weaker sex is a libel; it 

    is man’s injustice to woman. If by 

    strength is meant moral power, then 

    woman is immeasurably man’s supe-

    rior. Has she not greater intuition, 

    is she not more self-sacrifi cing, has 

    she not greater powers of endurance, 

    has she not greater courage? Without 

    her, man could not be. If non-violence 

    is the law of our being, the future is 

    with woman. Who can make a more 

    effective appeal to the heart than 

    woman?” - Mukesh v. State (NCT of 

    Delhi), (2017) 6 SCC 1.

    The International Day for the 

    Elimination of Violence against 

    Women is observed every year on 25th

    November. 


    This day was fi rst com-

    memorated in the year 1999 follow-

    ing a proclamation from the United 

    Nations General Assembly. This 

    year’s theme for the International 

    Day for the Elimination of Violence 

    against Women is “Orange the World: 

    Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect.” 

    This year’s International Day for 

    the Elimination of Violence against 

    Women will mark the launch of 16 

    days of activism that will conclude on 

    10th December, 2020, which is Interna-

    tional Human Rights Day. The World 

    Human Rights Conference in Vienna, 

    fi rst recognised gender-based vio-

    lence as a human rights violation in 

    1993. The Declaration on the Elimi-

    nation of Violence Against Women, 

    adopted by the United Nations Gener-

    al Assembly in 1993, defi nes 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 depriva-

    tion of liberty, whether occurring in 

    public or private life.


     It encompasses, 

    but is not limited to physical, sexual 

    and psychological violence occurring 

    in the family, including battering, 

    sexual abuse of female children in the 

    household, dowry related violence, 

    marital rape, female genital mutila-

    tion and other traditional practices 

    harmful to women, non-spousal vio-

    lence and violence related to exploi-

    tation; physical, sexual and psycho-

    logical violence occurring within the 

    general community, including rape, 

    sexual harassment and intimida-

    tion at work, in educational institu-

    tions and elsewhere; traffi cking in 

    women and forced prostitution; and 

    physical, sexual and psychological 

    violence perpetrated or condoned by 

    the state, wherever it occurs. 



    The COVID-19 pandemic has 

    spread like wildfi re in the entire 

    world and is hardly showing any 

    signs of disappearing anytime soon. 

    Mental health problems are becom-

    ing more numerous, with the effl ux 

    of time, and lucid panaceas look like 

    a distant dream. 

    We have to become 

    profi cient in living with this deadly 

    virus until a fruitful vaccination for 

    COVID-19 springs up. The pandem-

    ic has brought various challenges 

    before us and one of the most infe-

    licitous challenges is the problem 

    of violence against women which 

    has affected their physical, mental, 

    and social well-being during these 

    unprecedented times. Between 1st

    March, 2020 and 18th September, 2020, 

    the National Commission for Women 

    has received over 4,300 complaints 

    of domestic violence which means 

    the commission has received a large 

    number of complaints during this 

    pandemic and this worrying rise in 

    the number of complaints of domestic 

    violence is a matter of grave concern. 

    The increase in the number of cases 

    of domestic violence during the lock-

    down is not only due to the corralling 

    of people in their abodes but it is also 

    due to various other factors such as 

    mental sufferings, loss of jobs, frus-

    tration, reduction in income, alcohol 

    abuse and restricted social support. 

    According to the World Health Orga-

    nization, one in every three women 

    across the globe experience physical 

    or sexual violence in their lifetime.



    In India, before the advent of the 

    Protection of Women from Domes-

    tic Violence Act, 2005, the victims 

    of domestic violence were able to 

    approach the court under Section 

    498-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, 

    which provides for husband or rela-

    tive of husband of a woman subject-

    ing her to cruelty. Therefore, the 

    Protection of Women from Domestic 

    Violence Act, 2005, was enacted to 

    protect women from domestic vio-

    lence. The Act aims to provide for 

    effective protection of the rights of 

    women guaranteed under the Con-

    stitution of India who are victims 

    of violence of any kind occurring 

    within the family and for matters 

    connected therewith. The Act’s pri-

    mary objective is to protect a woman 

    from cruelty or any kind of violence 

    committed on her by her in-laws or 

    husband at her matrimonial home.

    Under the Protection of Women 

    from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, 

    the Central Government and every 

    State Government, have to take all 

    measures to ensure that the provi-

    sions of the Act are given wide pub-

    licity through public media includ-

    ing the television, radio, and the 

    print media at regular intervals. The 

    offi cers of the Central Government 

    and State Governments including the 

    police offi cers and the members of 

    the judicial services have to be given 

    periodic sensitization and awareness 

    training on the issues addressed by 

    the Act. There has to be effective 

    coordination between the services 

    provided by concerned Ministries 

    and Departments dealing with law, 

    home affairs including law and 

    order, health and human resources to 

    address issues of domestic violence. 

    Therefore, the Central Government 

    and State Governments have signifi -

    cant duties under the Protection of 

    Women from Domestic Violence Act, 

    2005, for the protection of the rights 

    of women guaranteed under the Con-

    stitution who are victims of violence 

    of any kind occurring within the 

    family. In Shyamlal Devda v. Pari-

    mala, (2020) 3 SCC 14, it was held by 

    the Supreme Court that a petition 

    under the Protection of Women from 

    Domestic Violence Act, 2005, can be 

    fi led in a court where an aggrieved 

    person, permanently or temporarily 

    resides or carries on business or is 

    employed.

    It is a distant dream for the eco-

    nomically weaker sections of the 

    society to lodge a complaint online 

    or call a helpline number for report-

    ing a case of domestic violence 

    which adds more troubles to their 

    already existing problems. Mental 

    health effects of domestic violence 

    are also on the rise along with the 

    physical effects. Women are falling 

    prey to depression, anxiety, and 

    other problems which are affecting 

    their psychological well-being. 


    The 

    government needs to take concerted 

    steps so that effectual protection of 

    women is encouraged, even in times 

    of a pandemic, when women are not 

    able to resort to courts or police sta-

    tions. In Santosh Bakshi v. State of 

    Punjab, (2014) 13 SCC 25, it was held 

    by the Supreme Court that the com-

    plaint made by any woman alleg-

    ing offence under the Protection of 

    Women from Domestic Violence Act, 

    2005 committed by any member of 

    the family, is to be looked upon seri-

    ously. It was further held that the 

    police without proper verifi cation 

    and investigation cannot submit a 

    report that no case is made out. 


    The 

    investigating agency is required to 

    make proper enquiry not only from 

    the members of the family but also 

    from neighbours, friends, and others. 

    After such enquiry, the investigating 

    agency may form a defi nite opinion 

    and fi le report but it is for the court 

    to decide fi nally whether to take cog-

    nizance for any offence under any 

    of the provisions of the Protection 

    of Women from Domestic Violence 

    Act, 2005.

    As the cases of domestic violence 

    affecting the mental, psychological, 

    physical, and social well-being of 

    women are on the rise all over the 

    world and in India as well, signifi -

    cant measures need to be taken to 

    eliminate such a peril. Concerted 

    steps have to be taken by the Central 

    Government and State Governments 

    to appoint such protection offi cers 

    who are available at all times and 

    can address the problems of the 

    aggrieved victims constructively. 

    Helplines have to made available at 

    all times for the victims so that they 

    are in a position to report complaints 

    to the authorities for the redressal of 

    their grievances. Numerous coun-

    tries have taken important steps to 

    curb the menace of domestic violence 

    and cruelty in times of a pandemic 

    but more such efforts are required, to 

    make the world a better place to live 

    which is free from domestic violence, 

    cruelty, and abuse against women. 



    The Government needs to designate 

    places for reporting of domestic vio-

    lence which may be formal or infor-

    mal because the world is still under 

    a strict lockdown and such places 

    or shelters also need to be identifi ed 

    where women can stay when forced 

    to leave their connubial homes. Pub-

    licity has to be given, highlighting 

    the ill-effects of domestic violence 

    and abuse, on the physical, mental, 

    and social well-being of women and 

    awareness needs to be the order of 

    the day. In such a situation, media-

    tors can play a vital role in curbing 

    the hazardous effects of domestic 

    violence. Mediators, through online 

    mediation and their expertise, can 

    use signifi cant methods to teach the 

    aggrieved victims such skills which 

    are required to tackle the ill-effects 

    of domestic violence on mental and 

    physical well-being. 


    Women without 

    access to phones can be helped by 

    the Government by employing such 

    people in a region who can address 

    the problems of the victims more 

    lucidly. Online counselling sessions 

    on mental health must be organized 

    by non-governmental organizations, 

    governmental organizations, etc., so 

    that people are encouraged and moti-

    vated to lead a peaceful life at this 

    disturbing juncture. These sessions 

    have to be encouraged for women and 

    girls to enable them to think positive-

    ly at all times. Thus, we are all duty-

    bound to rise to the occasion and take 

    sincere steps to curb the menace of 

    domestic violence and its harmful 

    effects so that another pandemic does 

    not emerge in the words of Justice R. 

    Banumathi, Former Judge, Supreme 

    Court of India: - 

    “Stringent legislation and punish-

    ments alone may not be suffi cient for 

    fi ghting increasing crimes against 

    women. In our tradition bound soci-

    ety, certain attitudinal change and 

    change in the mindset is needed to 

    respect women and to ensure gender 

    justice. Right from childhood years 

    children ought to be sensitised to 

    respect women. 


    A child should be 

    taught to respect women in the soci-

    ety in the same way as he is taught 

    to respect men. Gender equality 

    should be made a part of the school 

    curriculum. The school teachers 

    and parents should be trained, not 

    only to conduct regular personality 

    building and skill enhancing exer-

    cise, but also to keep a watch on the 

    actual behavioural pattern of the 

    children so as to make them gender 

    sensitised. The educational institu-

    tions, government institutions, the 

    employers and all concerned must 

    take steps to create awareness with 

    regard to gender sensitisation and 

    to respect women. Sensitisation of 

    the public on gender justice through 

    TV, media and press should be wel-

    comed…Banners and placards in 

    the public transport vehicles like 

    autos, taxis and buses, etc. must be 

    ensured. Use of streetlights, illu-

    minated bus-stops and extra police 

    patrol during odd hours must be 

    ensured. Police/Security guards 

    must be posted at dark and lonely 

    places like parks, streets, etc.


     Mobile 

    apps for immediate assistance of 

    women should be introduced and 

    effectively maintained. Apart from 

    effective implementation of the vari-

    ous legislation protecting women, 

    change in the mindset of the society 

    at large and creating awareness in 

    the public on gender justice, would 

    go a long way to combat violence 

    against women.”

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