Domestic Violence – The Abuse Virus in Pandemic

The COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in the surge of domestic violence cases all across the globe, according to NCW data 315 complaints of domestic violence were received online and on WhatsApp and were highest since August last year. One of the most crucial underlying factors for this rapid rise in the number of DV cases is isolation, stressed household, loss of jobs and deduction in salaries.

In the broadest sense, Domestic violence is aggressive behaviour against kids, guardians, or the old. This kind of abuse can be in various forms like verbal, physical emotional economic, religious reproductive and sexual maltreatment. This can be more elaborated as violent physical abuse like beating, female circumcision, acid attack, burning the bride, honour killing, dowry death and other heinous crimes which leads to disfigurement or death of the victim.

Domestic Violence (DV) has a critical effect on relatives, companions, and the individuals inside the interpersonal organizations of both the abuser and Victim. It has a significant effect not just for women and youngsters, but also for the broader family in terms of economic, social and health consequences. It is an acute problem in India.

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data has indicated that in India over 30% of women are physically, sexually or emotionally abused by their husbands at some point in their lives. Coronavirus has presented us to our reliance on house help. Most families don’t have live-in help and with the lockdown, part-clocks are inaccessible since numerous men are not used to getting their hands grimy, they are battling to adapt to the sudden change.

They believe they are being bossed around, to do the dishes, wash their garments and some very pity household chores which were a sometimes kind of a job in case of some emergencies at home. Their conscience is getting incapacitated as men can’t stand being advised to help. Cliché belief systems exist – it’s the lady’s business to cook, clean, wash and it’s the man’s business to earn. So, although we appear to be liberal and talk about women empowerment yet we still have the mindset of treating women not equal to a man saying things and bringing them into existence are completely different.

The recent #MeToo movement in India has uncovered that numerous Indian ladies have encountered inappropriate behaviour, sexual assault and sexual harassment at the work environment but they had kept quiet and could not gather the courage to expose the culprits whatsoever the reason might have been. We watch comparable examples among ladies who have been manhandled by their spouses but still wish to keep silent due to one or the other reason and continue to be a prey of the maltreatment. The Domestic Violence abuse can be seen at its worst in the poor section of society as most of the abusers are string addict to alcohol and hence living without alcohol and confined in a small room the abuser tends to get more violent.

According to the ethnographic data of Mumbai slum it was observed that the majority of Indian women who fall prey to domestic violence did not disclose the same or seek help from anyone. Awareness concerning Domestic Violence is significant because Domestic Violence is a genuine social issue and perilous crimes that influences a large number of people over India, notwithstanding age, financial status, race, religion or education. It is a prominent fact that only high-profile cases of domestic violence mostly attract big headlines and thousands of cases of domestic violence remain unnoticed.

Statistically, it is observed that one in four women will be the victim of domestic violence at some point in her lifetime, and, on average, three women are killed every day at the hands of a current or former spouse. These details are awful and henceforth it is essential to teach the general population to revolt against abusive behaviour at home because the issue will proceed until society faces oppressive conduct.

Communities should teach their kids that brutality or violence isn’t acceptable in any form and people need to display what healthy relationship looks like. Reporting the cases concerning domestic abuse is the initial move towards consummation the silence around such abusive behaviour. It is additionally a demonstration of opposition and an effort of the female organization.

In any case, this isn’t without its dangers going from an absence of acknowledgement by families, mortification by the police, to the retaliatory heightening of brutality. The degree and kind of help that a survivor of abuse gets, including pragmatic help and managing feelings, impacts adapting to and recuperation from mental any physical injury. India lacks a compulsory reporting mechanism of routine screening by hospitals when ladies visit with dubious wounds.

Further, because of dug in man-centric practices inside legitimate foundations, Domestic Violence is treated as a private family matter. Dynamic laws exist like Section 498(A) of the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA)), however, with use of power and money many times the voices of the victim are suppressed.

The Supreme Court of India in July 2017 passed a verdict that banned immediate arrest of alleged abuser unless “visible signs of injuries are present” in case of dowry harassment under Section 498A to prevent women from misusing this law. However, there is little empirical evidence to suggest widespread misuse.

The victim does not need to be physically battered and suffer visible injuries. In case of emotional abuse, the victim does not suffer any kind physical injuries and in case of marital rape or other sexual violence, women do not feel comfortable in revealing the facts to the police officer. It is recommended that institutional instruments for revealing Domestic Violence should be fortified and made progressively receptive to the requirements of casualties.

Taking everything into account, how damaging Domestic Violence is tended to is an essential measure of India’s guarantee to gender equity. This is a well-understood fact that the shocking cost won’t be backed out until family, government, foundations, and common society associations address the issue.

These outcomes give fundamental data to evaluate the circumstance to create mediations just as strategies and projects toward forestalling viciousness against the ladies. Russell Wilson has rightly said, “The more that we choose not to talk about domestic violence, the more we shy away from the issue, the more we lose.” (If you read this and know someone who has fallen prey to such kind of abuse feel free to seek help for any suggestions or queries, Join Hands in Stopping Violence Against Women)


Kinjal Shrivastava
Advocate, Delhi High Court & District Court