GLOBAL SURGE IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

Updated: Aug 15, 2020

Author: Muskaan Mandhyan NEW LAW COLLEGE , BHARATI VIDYAPEETH UNIVERSITY, PUNE.


The globalization era of 2020 that had been engrossed within invention, industrialization and possession of nuclear weapons, visioning for the Mars, stumbled into an unanticipated quagmire when a contagion outbreak known as COVID-19 or novel Corona virus started infecting more than a million people across the globe, the virus that created an alarming situation of life and death and was later declared as pandemic hence, the world has taken a pause ever since.


With 90 countries in lockdown, four billion people are now sheltering at home from the global contagion of COVID-19. However, being at home could be pernicious when home is a confinement with constant apprehension of being physically and emotionally abused behind the claustrophobic spaces, living life as that of a nightmare. Domestic violence has always been one of the major flaws in the rising status of women and the cases have taken a toll amid lockdown, according to statistical data provided by unwomen.org https://www.unwomen.org/en domestic violence cases have risen to 30% in France, 33% in Singapore, 25 % in Argentina, rise in cases is also reported in countries like Canada, Germany, Spain, U.K, U.S, and India.


The reasons for the upsurge in case of domestic abuse are psychological factors such as the reduced risk of being exposed to the society or police and increased opportunities of abusers as before the pandemic a victim could flee a violent situation by staying outside or seeking shelter. factors like reduced access to resources, increased stress due to job loss or strained finances can also be the reasons to foster violence. Though the COVID-19 has deployed all immediate plans of govt. directed towards controlling the pandemic, it is commendable how the govt. of various nations are working on the forefront to combat the issue of domestic violence simultaneously amid lockdown, in Canada, Quebec and Ontario domestic violence shelters are to remain open during the lockdown and France, South Africa, Australia have initiated funding to the organizations helping victims. Helpline numbers are being issued throughout various nations and so far all possible remedies are being taken.


The pandemic is an uphill battle in the context of both economic and social problems for countries like India. the feminist movement in the 21st century upholds for establishing equal rights and discouraging discrimination and harassment. whereas, the ground reality of majority Indian women is still different from what the movement is actually trends for, in the view of the fact that some women in India still struggle to afford or take basic life decisions and they’ve always been taught to undermine their dignity to protect the family image, their issues though addressed are nothing more than just facts recorded in a paper which hardly impacts their real life. This context stated therefore justifies the exact point about how, One-third of women in India's 2015-2016 National Family Health Survey (NFHS) said they had experienced domestic violence, but less than 1 percent of them sought help from the police.


Between the beginning of March and April 310 complaints had already been lodged for grievances of domestic violence and 885 complaints constituted for different but similar nature.

However, there is a strong probability about the majority of cases still unreported, the N.C.W has issued a special WhatsApp no. through which the victims can contact, women’s organizations and NGOs are working on the frontline to help the victims. With the emergence of social media as a platform for speech against the injustice, it is remarkable the atrocities against women do not only concern people along the same thread of victim and authorities but the society as a whole as hashtags like #enddoemsticviolence #antidomesticviolenceduringpandemic, are being promoted over social media.


As much as these laws build a foundation to fight against the battle of domestic abuse the question that remains unanswered is whether these laws are actually making an impact or just creating the fallacious hopes about the betterment of the situation because the primary revolt against the battle begins from the courage of victims to raise a voice against, without it the laws will merely be a deception of justice Thus, to wrap it all up, this pandemic has unlocked a greater level of inhumanity of the world, the goal isn’t only to survive the pandemic but to ensure the safety of ourselves and people near us. "Some are blessed to feel the warmth of living in a shelter for surviving the disaster the world is facing because for many amongst us it’s merely a survival and about protecting themselves from being physically dead whilst risking their lives to the emotional trauma around the four walls."

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