GENDER DISCRIMINATION AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

GENDER DISCRIMINATION AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Akshaya Chintala,
Student, 
Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, 
Year – 2019-2024 (1st year student). 


ABSTRACT
This Article aims to delve into the various types of violence against women in India and it tries to examine how various societies address violence prevention. The article is focused on how the societies perceive violence and other issues involving development and empowerment of women in India. It critically analyses the PWDVA 2005 stating the main causes and implications of the domestic violence in India. acceptance of unequal gender norms by women are still prevailing in the society. In our society as women are often subjected to silence and are always under the hands or authority of their male counterparts, the article tries to throw light upon the Unreported cases of domestic violence against women where it moves towards a concept of social silence, tolerance, and inhibition.The article concludes by an analysing the challenges faced by women in various fields such as access to Education, Employment opportunities and Change in Social attitudes towards women which are hindrances for their Empowerment.
Key Words: Women Empowerment, Domestic Violence, Education, Health, Socio-Economic Status, Crime and violence against women, Policy implications

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Violence against women is an issue which is spread across the board with alarming sexual, psychological and emotional, aftereffects for women[1]. Woman from every society and different socio-economic groups are affected and are victimised by this, domestic violence against women is considered to be a very serious health problem[2].  A total of 2,44,273 incidents of Crime reports were filed during the year 2016 and now it has an increase of 6.7%. Even in the 21st century, women are trying to be equal to their male counterparts. According to the UNDP’s report on Human Development indicators, there is a high prevalence of Domestic violence against women[3].The main statement of problem is that most of the cases filed of domestic violence are very less in number and there are many other cases which are still unreported which is leading the nation towards an epidemiology of social silence, tolerance, and inhibition[4]. There are still few studies which are trying to analyse those factors which either motivate or inhibit the women who are affected by domestic violence to find a way out of this maze and the aftereffects of taking up an action[5]. This is because the present reported cases of domestic violence against women represent only a very small part of the population when compared with prevailing problem. This paper attempts to analyse the status of woman’s empowerment in the Indian society. Violence against woman has a very firm root in India and today living in th
e 21st century empowerment of woman has become a primary concern and would adversely affect the achievement of the country’s development.  Moreover, coming onto the topic of gender discrimination, it is 
It means to stereotype a person based on his/her gender and sex and providing them with an unfair treatment which more often is portrayed towards a women or females in general and the main causes behind this discrimination is because of the male dominating society and mindset, the various kinds of religious and social beliefs, including lack of voices raised by women,  and the existence of physical factor where women are treated weaker to men
INTRODUCTION
Indian society has always admired women as an identity. According to ancient Hindu texts, man and woman Represent two halves of the divine body, so this doesn’t raise any question of superiority or inferiority complex between them. Our ancient Hindu cultural practices witness women as strong and powerful deities like Saraswathi, Durga and Laxmi who are worshipped for prosperity, growth and knowledge. Yet, on the contrary to the recognition given to the woman, the patriarchal system has its authority and power since the time of Rigveda. Woman and girls in India from the very beginning are born into a cultural & social system that is deeply rooted within inequality and discrimination[6]. Among this, one of the most provoking and life-threatening demonstration of gender-based inequality is violence against women. Violence against women is a fundamental violation of a woman’s human right and is a barrier which stops them from participating in all spheres of life. Violence against women is both a cause and also a consequence of gender inequality where it leads to an abuse of power and causes imbalance between a man and a woman. Violence is basically used to enforce gender rules and norms, assuming that women are inferior to men and men have the right to control women[7].

Violence against women is formally defined 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 deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.[8]

Violence against Women is a precise demonstration of the inferior social status occupied by women and girls of India. Especially in India, the society is organised with severe gender roles which determine what women and men can or cannot do. Assault against women is used as a tool to keep reinforcing and maintaining these gender roles and maintain authority over women and punish those who violate them. Thus, even when woman try & seek justice, they are often encountered with further discrimination.

Gender-based violence against women is based on hierarchical and unequal structural power relations rooted in culture-related gender norms. It also reveals domination in the symbolic and cultural order, and often manifests itself in direct violence. In India, the discriminatory attitude towards men and women have existed throughout generations and affect the lives of both genders.  Although the constitution of India has provided women with ample amount of equal rights under the Fundamental Rights why does the Gender disparity among the society remains the same Ultimately violating their human rights? Gender-based violence against women is a form of discrimination and a violation of their fundamental freedoms and rights. It includes all acts of violence against women that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. Violence against women and girls constitutes a grave violation of human rights and remains one of the greatest challenges to achieving gender equality. Girls and young women and particularly vulnerable to various forms of violence, which leaves deep and long-term impacts on their lives, stifling their potential to grow, lead, prosper and thrive.
MAIN TEXT
  •  Is the Role of Woman in India Stumbling or Striving Ahead?
    For the women in India it has been a long way to make it a global agenda of domestic violence to grow and spread its wings towards development and empowerment of women across the world. Challenging the very concept of violence against women imposes a question on the very foundation of the male dominated society which is why it falls under one of the hardest issues of all the time. Especially in India the problem of domestic violence was always concealed for ages under the name of societal values and norms that justify a man’s power over women by physically and emotionally abusing and harming women as normal behaviour. Many feminist activities and efforts of these women-oriented movements had a result in making amendments like 498A and 304B in the IPC[9]. The society itself is more biased in favour of the male child in all aspects of education, nutrition, employment opportunities and the main cause for this existing difference in the society is because of the stereotypical beliefs Indian society holds and women always internalise the traditional idea of their role and allow others to levy harm on them. There are enormous challenges that are bothering the issues of woman’s rights in India, specially the empowerment of women has become one of the most critical concern of the 21st century, taking this into consideration government initiated over 34 schemes for women but these government initiatives alone would not be enough to achieve the proposed goal. Society in full capacity should itself take up responsibility in order to create an environment without gender discrimination and try to create a country where women have full opportunities of decision making and active participation in social, political and economic aspects of life[10]. Currently, there exists no country where women and men share equal rights in all spheres of life. Women and girls in all spheres of life are given inferior status and restricted access to benefits and this discrimination exists all stages of their life from birth to death being it as Abortion, female infanticide, right to education, Gender pay gap or dowry system and domestic violence. The true struggle never stops. Gender-based violence against women is based on hierarchical and unequal structural power relations rooted in culture-related gender norms. It also reveals domination in the symbolic and cultural order, and often manifests itself in direct violence. In India, the discriminatory attitude towards men and women have existed throughout generations and affect the lives of both genders.  Although the constitution of India has provided women with ample amount of equal rights under the Fundamental Rights why does the Gender disparity among the society remains the same Ultimately violating their human rights? Gender-based violence against women is a form of discrimination and a violation of their fundamental freedoms and rights. Girls and young women and particularly vulnerable to various forms of violence, which leaves deep and long-term impacts on their lives, stifling their potential to grow, lead, prosper and thrive.
    • What are the Causes and Consequences contributing domestic violence in India?
      Prevalence of domestic violence in India is rampant and it is also known as ‘silent crimes’ because woman is often quiet about the violence inflicted upon them due to fear, shame or any further future abuse on them or their children. Domestic violence against women is one the heinous crimes one can commit; it is very sad that even after independence women are caged. There are different kinds of violence used by the perpetrators in order to harm women. These include Foeticide, Physical assaults, rapes and molestations. According to official figures there are cases of one rape every 53 minutes and report for molestation every 26 minutes. Not only that but also the increasing number of dowry deaths occur once un every 40 minutes excluding the cases which are often unreported. The reason why these cases go unreported are because of both personal and societal factors, it is submerged within the four walls of the house and due to these societal factors it creates an acceptable climate for violence[11]. The silence and tolerance towards this violence is the contributing factor to create such an environment where they blame the victim itself for opening up, and it ultimately makes it more difficult for woman to speak up for their rights promoting social passivity[12]. There are various consequences of domestic violence mainly emotional, physical, psychological effect[13]. Some chronic health conditions can be linked to the victims specially if a woman is pregnant there exists a high risk of miscarriage, pre-term labour or death. Psychological effects include excessive amount of anxiety or stress symptoms, and the most common disorders viewed were depression and post-traumatic stress disorders. The effect of domestic violence or sexual abuse on children is much more serious as some crucial emotional and behavioural changes take place during that age which would ultimately affect the development and the functioning of the child’s cognitive functioning.
      • What are the Key features of PWDVA 2005? Has the Progress and implementation of the Domesti
        c Violence Act improved the life of Women in India since 2005?
        Domestic Violence has a long-lost history in India. During the late 1980s many women-oriented organisations started wide variety of movements to prevent violence against women which had a nation-wide impact. Some of these acts include Sati prevention act 1987, Protection of women from domestic violence act 2005 etc. Domestic violence is the outcome of the deeply rooted patriarchal mindset of the Indian society and the pre-established unequal relationships between women and men[14]. The causes and factors for domestic violence in India is due to the lack of social support and economic opportunities available for women which makes women vulnerable[15].

        Although, now there is a growing awareness of the domestic violence act as an act punishable by law. The PWDVA is the final outcome of several years of protests and militancy[16] to achieve what it has become today. This act tries to cover women from all domestic relationships which include mothers, sisters, widows, daughters etc. The act provides in detail definitions of domestic violence which include emotional and economic threats to life. The act also introduced a few tools like creating protection officers[17] to mediate between women and courts.

        Since 2005, till date the implementation of the PWDVA has largely remained undone. Regardless of the fact that this act was applauded by many women activists the act has various issues and loopholes and the targets promised are yet to be accomplished. There exists a lack of clarity on duties and responsibilities and due to this poor coordination at the local level continues between union and state governments with which the reporting formats issued by the centre do not fit within the state model of implementation[18]. There exists absence of effective outreach programmes and availability of service provisions remedies, and legal relief are extremely low this is because of lack of sufficient attention provided to monitor the effective implementation of the act[19]. One of the key features of the act was to provide immediate compensation to the victims which still continues to be a challenge. Police officers themselves are not well guided about the service providers who can provide immediate compensations for the damages caused to the victims. Thus, the immediate compensation as promised in the act certainly cripples a woman’s access to her legal remedy. In conclusion, for any legislation to have an effective result it has to undergo a long procedure of democratic processes. It needs a backup plan in order to workout effectively but in this domestic violence act, it did not happen in this similar manner because of Lack of evaluation and monitoring analysis of success and failure of previous ‘Pro-Woman’ social legislations.
        CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS
        The acts and incidents of Violence against women and girls in India is one of the most shameful representation of the country. In spite of such technological advancement and progress in the literacy rate of women, the crime rate against women is increasing day-by-day. Thus, its high time that one should try to identify the loopholes and limitations due to which the welfare ops the nation is yet to take place and important initiatives must be taken up by the state and societies in order to realise their responsibilities and make it a gender neutral nation. Violence against women should be considered as a serious violation as it talks about infringement of one’s right to life and is a great concern of public health. A few ways to prevent much more serious problems to arise in future initiatives such as Comprehensive and Extensive premarital counselling should be given to couples on how to manage their marital relationship. Punishment given to grievously offending husbands under violence against women should be publicised, so that It can serve as deterrence to others from performing the same. As Indian citizens belief in religion and god so much Religious leaders should also vigorously teach against marital violence in their places of worship and spread awareness. Media should play a proactive role in exposing crimes and reports of violence against women and creating awareness. There should be public enlightenment awareness programs with the help of mass media on the negative effects of domestic violence against women, especially wife battering. Self-defence, training, public awareness and sincere efforts of the state officers as well as strict implementation of the laws are necessary.


        [1]  Aisha Gill, and Gulshun Rehman. “Empowerment through Activism: Responding to Domestic Violence in the South Asian Community in London.” Gender and Development 12, no. 1 (2004): 75-82. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4030604.


        [2]  Krantz G. Violence against women: a global public health issue. J Epidemiol Community Health 2002;56:242–3.


        [3] World Health Organisation. World report on violence and health. Geneva: World Health Organisation, 2002.


        [4] American Medical Association. Diagnostic and treatment guidelines on domestic violence. Chicago, IL:

        American Medical Association, 1994.


        [5] Shrader E, Sagot M. Domestic violence: women’s way out. Washington, DC: Pan American Health Organization, 2000, http://www1.paho.org/%20english/hdp/hdw/womenswayout.pdf;%20http://%20www.paho.org/spanish/hdp/hdw/%20rutacritica.pdf 


        [6] Justice A.S .Anand, “Justice for Women: Concerns and Expressions, “Universal Law Pub. Co. Delhi (2004) p. VII 18

        [7] Secretary-General’s in-depth study on all forms of violence against women. (A/61/122/Add.1) 2006

        [8] art. 1, Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women,    https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/documents/atrocity-crimes/Doc.21_declaration%20elimination%20vaw.pdf 

        [9] 498A- Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.—Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be pun­ished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

        304B- Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprison­ment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.


        [10] Nagaraja, B. (2013). Empowerment of Women in India: A Critical Analysis. Journal of Humanities and Social Science (IOSR- JHSS), 9(2), 45-52 www.Iosrjournals.Org/empowerment.html.

        [11] Klein E, Campbell J, Soler E, et al. Ending domestic violence: changing public perceptions/ halting the epidemic. London: Sage, 1997.


        [12] Shrader E, Sagot M. Domestic violence: women’s way out. Washington, DC: Pan American Health Organization, 2000, http://www.paho.org/english/hdp/hdw/womenswayout.pdf; http:// www.paho.org/spanish/hdp/hdw/rutacritica.pdf


        [13] UNICEF.2000.DomesticViolenceAgainstWomenAndGirls.UNICEFInnocentDigest.6:1-29.


        [14] Innocenti Digest, No. 6, June 2000, UNICEF, https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/digest6e.pdf


        [15] Abigail Weitzman, Women’s and men’s relative status and intimate partner violence in India, Population and Development Review 40(1): 55-75, Published March 2014.


        [16] Oxfam India currently does considerable work on violence against women and girls, and has been involved in analysing and influencing the implementation of the PWDVA, but was not involved in pushing for or formulating the Act because Oxfam India did not exist at the time.


        [17] Sec.8 of the PWDVA 2005.


        [18] Rajini Menon, Regional Gender Coordinator, Oxfam India, Personal Communication dated 30 December 2015.


        [19] Flavia Agnes, Domestic Violence Act: A Portal of Hope, Vol 4 Issue 6 , November -December 2005
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