Violence against women in India is as rampant as ever now in 2011. A Thomson Reuters poll reveals that India is the 4th most dangerous place in the world for women.
This is abysmal, considering we have a woman President of the nation, women Chief Ministers in four states, a woman who is the chief of the ruling party, and powerful women CEO’s in the country. It is also seen that 90% of trafficking that happens is within the country, and around 40% of the prostitutes are children.
What Really Constitutes Violence Against Women?
Any form of physical, sexual or emotional harm that is caused to a woman, whether at home or out in the open, whether a threat or depriving her of her rights, is considered to be violence. Whether a woman is beaten by her husband, or other members of the family, or she is raped by an unknown individual, it is an act of violence.
Acid attacks, dowry deaths, female foeticide and infanticide, rape, emotional torture, child marriage, and forced marriage are all common acts of violence seen among women in India. A young school girl being touched by a teacher on her breasts, or her rear is also an act of violence.
What Are The Causes Of Violence Against Women in India?
Lack of education and awareness are the most common reasons for violence against women. Children who are subjected to abuse are likely to behave similarly as adults. Socio-economic status, substance and alcohol abuse also leads to violence against women in India. Sometimes children who witness one parent abusing the other tend to abuse later in life.
Trafficking is rampant among women from lower economic backgrounds who are forced into prostitution to make a living. An article in the Indian Express says “Around 100 million people mostly women and girls are involved in trafficking in one way or another, according to former Indian Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta”. The same article states that 44.5% of girls are married off before the age of 18.
Physical effects – injury, loss of speech, aches and pain, burns , substance abuse, gynaecological issues, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy resulting in abortion, and the list just goes on. Mental and emotional health problems – withdrawal, unsocial behavior, multiple sexual partners, insomnia, depression and several others can also result.
Apart from this, when the knowledge of abuse reaches others in the community, abused women are often shunned and forced to live in isolation. In many cases, women suffer silently for this very reason. They tolerate violence simply because of the fear of the consequences if they reported it and left. They don’t realize the consequences of putting up with it and carry on like that.
How Can We End Violence Against Women?
Education of the girl child is the first step towards a better society with fewer incidents of violence. Campaigns aimed at men and boys to increase awareness and change attitudes about gender inequality are also effective tools. As individuals and responsible citizens, we need to spread awareness and report any act of violence against women around us.