Latasinha's Weblog

Social and political Values and Systems in India.

How to combat violence against women


“Respect for women and their rights flow from the ancient traditions of Indian civilization and are now enshrined into the Constitution and laws of modern India.” Dina Nath Batra, A famous historian of Ancient India.
“Violence against women remains one of the invisible and under-recognized pandemics of our time.’ (Nicole Kidman)

“The idea that a woman loses her dignity if she is sexually assaulted is instilled in our mindset. The shame should be on the perpetrators instead of the survivor.” Amitabh Bachchan


Today Indian society has earned a bad name allover the world because of some stray cases like that of Jessica Lal, Arushi Talwar, Nirbhaya , Aruna Shaunbaug or murder of Sheena d/o Indrani Mukherji. Violence against women, rape or gender discrimination is not a unique feature of Indian society only, it is a universal/global phenomenon. Apartheid of gender exists almost in all societies – ‘East’ or ‘West’, ‘Developed’ or ‘Developing’ – irrespective of religious faith and economic system. Women suffer deprivation, humiliation and denial of basic human rights in almost all walks of life, everywhere, at every stage, in varying degrees.

Issues – Recently there has been an alarming rise in the number of cases regarding harassment/inhuman treatment to women in India. Why it is so? Why always woman loses her dignity if she is sexually assaulted? Why not shame should be on the perpetrators of crimes instead of victim? Does it needs to change the mindset of society?  What are the reasons behind the alarming rise of crimes against women?  If women are not feeling safe in her surroundings, can the police force be blamed for it? If people are disciplined, they feel responsible for their own conduct, the systems can work in a better way. Some people take pleasure in breaking laws.  Instead of criticizing others, people will have to improve themselves. It means society as a whole needs improvement for making the nation a better place to live in for women. Only after understanding and analyzing the women issues rationally, the solutions could be found out.

Amitabh Bachchan, the famous film star says, “The idea that a woman loses her dignity, if she is sexually assaulted is instilled strongly in our cultural mindset. The shame should be on the perpetrators instead of survivor. We need to foster a safe, secure and supportive environment, where survivor can seek refuge from … authority figures, family and society.”  (Quoted from Delhi TOI, P.1, 13th April 2017)

  • Reasons behind alarming rise of crimes against women – The Beijing Conference in September 1995 identified the following reasons: –
  • Persistent and increasing burden of poverty on woman
    • Unequal access to education;
    • Inequalities in health care services;
    • Domestic as well as well as outside the four-walls of the house, assaults on women;
    • Effects of armed conflict on women;
    • Inadequate access to direct participation in the economy and policy making processes in a country;
    • Inequality in sharing power and decision making;
    • In-sufficient mechanism to promote the advancement of women;
    • Lack of commitment to women’s human rights;
    • In-sufficient mobilization of mass-media;
    • Lack of support for women’s contribution to manage the environment;

Other reasons – Other reasons behind the violence against women in India are –
Broken families – Increasing number of broken families, growing uncompromising disputes/differences/disharmony among family members.
Alcoholism – When drunk, men vent out their frustrations on their women – beating their spouses mercilessly, create unwanted scenes, neglect their families, snatch money, and sell household items to satisfy their craving for liquor.
Weak character – Weak personalities has led to alarming rise in acts of perverted behavior – like rape of daughter by father, rape of little girls, passing lewd remarks on girls in public places, etc.
Bad Influence of movies on weak minds
Deteriorating law and order situation – Ineffective implementation of existing rules and regulations made to protect women from violence,
• Fall of moral values –
• Intolerance amongst youth – Cut-throat competition, chase material gains, modern consumerist culture and other complexities of modern life-style have tended the youth to become quite intolerant. Most of the times, vulnerable women become the victims of this intolrence.
• Inadequate security infra-structure – There are inadequate arrangements for safety and security of women because of ill-equipped, insensitive, understaffed police and investigative machinery, which are responsible for it.
• Women’s organizations without teeth – A number of government mandated commissions including the National Commission of Women (NCW) and Law Commission existing without teeth,
• Lack of political will – Lack of political will to overhaul Indian Penal Code (section 354), Indian Evidence Act and Code of Criminal Procedure.

Will more stringent laws? – Some people demand new stringent laws, legislative reforms and some demand amendment in existing laws relating to gender issues. Others fear that strong laws are more prone to be misused. There will be surge in filing false cases. Falsely implicated person loses his honor, dignity and status in society, which cannot be restored. It is a matter of intense regret that innocent and upright persons fall victim of false cases and culprits are smart enough to save their skin from the clutches of laws.

Mere enactment of stringent laws would not suffice to protect women from social discrimination. More than enacting new stringent laws or legislative reforms or amendment in laws, the country needs to stop half-hearted enforcement of already existent laws and implement them sincerely, honestly and effectively. Accountability of law enforcement agencies would curb gender-violence to a great extent.

How much education or financial Independence can help? – Question arises – Will education or financial independence of women curb gender oppression? May be! However, real life experiences do not support it.

Education alone, not enoughEducation alone is not good enough for sustainable development of women-folk. Education raises intellectual level, but it does not necessarily make women more comfortable responsible, cultured and civilized. Restraint, self-discipline and rational thinking are also required. Only quality of education right from the childhood could cultivate much-needed human values and spirit of civility.
• Financial Independence – Employment makes women economically strong, but socially and emotionally broken, especially, when children become irritant or in-disciplined. After long hours in offices, working women hardly get enough time to deal with domestic chores and attend to handle children properly during their tender age.
• Modern life full of tensions – With dual income, working women shoulder dual responsibilities – at home and at workplace. Employment increases their workload and makes life tougher/stressful/tense than home-makers. Ambition, tough competition at work-place and fewer opportunities for career progression adds fuel into fire. Saving remains zero after spending on necessary arrangements and domestic helps.
Equal status to women? – Communists give equal position to women in every walk of life. But does it make women’s life better? No. In advanced nations of the West, where institution of marriage is in decline and women are free to live their own way, domestic violence is common and is a worst kept secret. It may appear very liberal and emancipating but it weakens women’s position.

What can be done?

Remove internal contradictions – India has to get rid of its internal contradictions – between prosperity and poverty, between plenty of resource endowments and scarcity of their management, between its culture of peace and tolerance and its conduct sliding towards violence, intolerance and discrimination. Its inputs can be kept at international levels, only if government can address to real basic issues, not the abstract ones. Half-hearted measures taken by state authority touches only the periphery of gender-issues.

Social Media – Today social media has become quite strong and alert. Media is doing a great service to humanity by bringing women issues to public domain in a forceful manner. They are playing an important role in spreading awareness.
Women NGOs – There are numerous NGOs working day in and day out for the welfare of women-folk. They can provide a platform to speakers and panelists from different fields, eminent personalities responsible for decision-making to share their views and conduct an in-depth study on various gender issues, and view it holistically touching various aspects of the problem. Views of some of the victims of atrocities should also be taken to understand their unpleasant experiences and the manner in which they came over the agonies they suffered because of inhuman acts.

Winding up
Together policy-makers, civil-society, media, influential personalities belonging to different religions and NGOs should evolve a national perspective on women’s issues. They should jointly work-out awareness programs, effective preventive measures, need-based solutions to the problems of gender issues of different areas and measures to provide relief to the victims.

In the end it can be said that “An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises. (Mae West)


April 19, 2014 - Posted by | Women's issues |

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