• Kakoli Nath

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Introduction

Women are the integral part of the human society and the mother of mankind despite holding this important and valuable position role of women have been defined by men’s from years. Our Vedas also tell us that women holds and important position in the ancient culture no rituals were completed without the presence of women and in the Hindu culture women’s and girls are worshiped as goddess Lakshmi and Durga and all bow their heads to them.

But in today’s era women’s are considered as second class citizens. Women rights movement gained support in 20th century when the problems like discrimination, inequality and limited opportunities continued to confront women in all spheres of life.

As Swami Vivekananda had said, “That country and that nation that does not respect women have never become great, nor ever be in future”. Women are considered as weaker sex not only from a physical point of view but also from the sociological aspect also. When we refer to Smritis, we notice that the woman has always been dependent on the man. During childhood, on her father, after marriage on her husband, and during her old age on her son. However, in olden times we find say “Where women are respected there Gods reside” Mahatma Gandhi once observed.

Meaning and concept

The term violence against women encompasses a multitude of abuses directed at women and girls over their life span. It is a kind of abuse that a women or girl experiences. The United Nations defines violence against women 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 deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life” (General Assembly Resolution 48/104 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993)

Violence against women and girls is a major health and human rights issue. At least one in five of the world’s female population has been physically or sexually abused by a man or men at some time in their life. Many, including pregnant).omen and young girls, are subject to severe, sustained or repeated attacks


The most common type of violence that is experienced by a women is intimate partner violence other types of violence include sexual violence, forced and early age marriage, trafficking, female gentile mutilation, honor killing etc.


Classification of violence


Physical violence can include slaps, shoves, hits, punches, pushes, being thrown down stairs or across the room, kicking, twisting of arms, choking, and being burnt or stabbed.

Psychological and emotional abuse can include a range of controlling behaviors such as control of finances, isolation from family and friends, continual humiliation, threats against children or being threatened with injury or death.


Financial or economic abuse includes forcibly controlling another person’s money or other assets. It can also involve stealing cash, not allowing a victim to take part in any financial decisions or preventing a victim from having a job.


For the sake of brevity, this paper focuses primarily on the issue of violence against women by their intimate partners. Gender-based violence assumes many forms, including rape, sexual assault and coercion, stalking, incest, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation, and trafficking in women. Although many of the insights presented herein will apply to these other types of violence, no single manual could exhaustively address all forms of abuse.

Health issues and a human rights violation

Violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has asserted that violence against women is “violence directed against a woman because she is a woman or affects women disproportionately.” This violence seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men. Vulnerability to violence is understood as a condition created by the absence or denial of rights. the violence not only effects the physical condition of the women but also destroys her in her integral life.

Violence against women affects women everywhere. It impacts women’s health, hampers their ability to participate fully in society, affects their enjoyment of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and is a source of tremendous physical and psychological suffering for both women and their families. Recent research has shown that women who have been subjected to violence by their partners have greater chances of having a low birth weight baby, are at much greater risk of depression, and more likely to have an induced abortions. They are also more likely to be living with HIV. Violence against women has serious health consequences like death, physical injuries, unintended pregnancies, induced abortions, sexually transmitted infections, depression etc.

MORE THAN ONE IN THREE WOMEN (35.6%) GLOBALLY REPORT HAVING EXPERIENCED PHYSICAL AND/OR SEXUAL PARTNER VIOLENCE, OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE BY A NON-PARTNER GLOBALLY, 38% OF ALL MURDERS OF WOMEN ARE COMMITTED BY THEIR INTIMATE PARTNERS 42% OF WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN PHYSICALLY AND/OR SEXUALLY ABUSED BY A PARTNER HAVE EXPERIENCED INJURIES AS A RESULT OF THAT VIOLENCE

7.2% OF ADULT WOMEN HAVE EXPERIENCED SEXUAL VIOLENCE BY A NON- PARTNER

Effects of violence against women


Violence against women can cause long-term physical and mental health problems. 

Violence and abuse affect not just the women involved but also their children, families, and communities. These effects include harm to an individual’s health, possibly long-term harm to children, and harm to communities such as lost work and homelessness.

The short-term physical effects of violence can include minor injuries or serious conditions. They can include bruises, cuts, broken bones, or injuries to organs and other parts inside of your body. Some physical injuries are difficult or impossible to see without scans, x-rays, or other tests done by a doctor or nurse.


Short-term physical effects of sexual violence can include:

· Vaginal bleeding or pelvic pain

· Unwanted pregnancy

· Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV

· Trouble sleeping or nightmares


If you are pregnant, a physical injury can hurt you and the unborn child. This is also true in some cases of sexual assault.

Violence against women, including sexual or physical violence, is linked to many long-term health problems. These can include:

· Arthritis

· Asthma

· Chronic pain

· Digestive problems such as stomach ulcers

· Heart problems

· Irritable bowel syndrome

· Nightmares and problems sleeping

· Migraine headaches

· Sexual problems such as pain during sex

· Stress

· Problems with the immune system


Many women also have mental health problems after violence. To cope with the effects of the violence, some women start misusing alcohol or drugs or engage in risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex. Sexual violence can also affect someone’s perception of their own bodies, leading to unhealthy eating patterns or eating disorders. If you are experiencing these problems, know that you are not alone. There are resources that can help you cope with these challenges.

Prevalence of violence by an intimate partner


As this paper mainly focuses on the violence’s by the intimate partner’s International research consistently demonstrates that a woman is more likely to be assaulted, injured, raped, or killed by a current or former partner than by any other person. Although women can also be violent, and abuse exists in some same-sex relationships, the vast majority of partner abuse is perpetrated by men against their female partners.


The WHO VAW Study also provided a rare opportunity to examine the “patterning” of violence across settings. Does physical violence occur together with other types of violence? Do violent acts tend to escalate over time? Are women most at risk from partners or from others in their lives? The WHO VAW Study findings confirm that most women who suffer physical or sexual abuse by a partner generally experience multiple acts over time. Likewise, physical and sexual abuse tends to co-occur in many relationships.


Causes of crime against women in India


Crimes against women are not considered from only physical point of view but also sociological aspect also. There are records of women raped, beaten, abducted, and given humiliating treatment. Women have been subjected to socioeconomic and culture deprivations for such a long time that there are a general indifference and lack of awareness of crimes against them.


Over 32000 murders, 19,000 rapes, 7500 dowry deaths, and 36500 molestation cases are the violent crimes reported in India in 2006 against women. At least one out of three women has been beaten, forced into sex, or abused during her lifetime, according to a study based on 50 surveys from around the world. On most occasions, the abuser was a member of the woman’s family or someone known to her.


· One woman in four has been abused during pregnancy.

· More than 60 million women worldwide are considered ‘missing’ as a result of sex-selective abortions and female infanticide, according to an estimate by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.

· The World Health Organization has reported that up to 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners.

· 1 crime committed against women every three minutes;

· 1 molestation case every 15 minutes;

· 1 sexual harassment case every 53 minutes;

· 1 kidnapping and abduction case every 23 minutes;

· 1 rape case every 29 minutes;

· Four out of 10 women in India have experienced violence in the home;

· 45% of women have suffered at least one incident of physical or psychological violence in their life;

· 26% have experienced at least one moderate form of physical violence;

· More than 50% of pregnant women have experienced severe violent physical injuries.

· According to the NCRB, approximately 6,000 women are killed in India every year because of dowry. Unofficial estimates are as high as 15,000 deaths a year. In other words, between 16 and 40 women die every day because of dowry.


Existing law relating to violence

THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT 2005 (PWDVA)

It is a civil law for protection orders and not meant to penalize or punish .It recognizes the right to residence of woman, It recognizes the right of the woman to live in a violence-free home and that she should not be facing violence.It provides only temporary and emergency relief It is a law in response to the needs of the woman .It has certain crossovers from civil to criminal law—so when the protection order or Magistrate’s order is violated, criminal law will start.


Procedures involved under the PWDVA:

Step 1: Informing the Protection Officer: Any person who has reason to believe that such an act has taken place or is likely to take place can inform the Protection Officer.

 Step 2: Aggrieved woman should be informed of her rights under the law: A police officer, Protection Officer, Service Provider or Magistrate who has received a complaint shall inform her of:

 ■ Her right to make an application for obtaining relief by way of protection order, an order for monetary relief, a custody order, a residence order, a compensation order;

 ■ The availability of services of the Protection Officers, Service Providers, including shelter homes, medical facilities, etc.

 ■ Her right to free legal services under the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987; and her right to file a complaint under section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code. 222

Step 3: Making the Domestic Incident Report and other responsibilities of the Protection Officer: The Protection Officer makes a Domestic Incident Report to the Magistrate and forwards copies thereof to the Police Officer in charge. She/he ensures that:

 ■ The aggrieved person gets all the benefits mentioned.

■ A list of all Service Providers is maintained and that the aggrieved person has access to counseling, shelter homes and medical facilities where required;

Step 4: Once the matter is with the Magistrate: The Magistrate shall fix the first date of the hearing, which shall not ordinarily be beyond three days from the receipt of the application by the Court, and shall Endeavour to dispose every application within a period of 60 days from the date of the first hearing.

Step 5: Informing the respondent of the date of hearing: A notice of the date of hearing shall be given by the Magistrate to the Protection Officer who shall serve it on the respondent and on any other person as directed by the Magistrate within a maximum period of two days.

Step 6: Other options with the Magistrate: The Magistrate may

■ Direct either of the parties, singly or jointly, to undergo counseling;

 ■ Seek assistance of a person, preferably a woman, engaged in promotion of family welfare, for assisting him/her in discharging his/her functions;

■ Conduct the proceedings in camera.

Step 7: Where does she stay in the meantime? Aggrieved person has the right to reside in a shared household, whether or not she has any right, title or beneficial interest in the house and shall not be evicted

Step 8: How is she protected in the interim? The Magistrate, after giving both parties an opportunity of being heard, and satisfied that domestic violence has taken place, can pass a protection order or a residence order, direct the respondent to pay the aggrieved person monetary relief and in addition, can pass compensation orders, custody orders and ex-parte orders.

 ■ The Magistrate shall ensure that a copy of any such order shall be given free-of-cost to the parties.

 Step 9: What if the protection order is breached? If the protection order has been breached, it shall be punished with either imprisonment or fine or both.

Step 10: Who will ensure that all this is done? The Central and the State Government shall take measures to ensure that:

 ■ Provisions of this Act are given wide publicity through media;

 ■ Central and State government officers including police officers, members of the judicial services, etc., are given periodic sensitization and awareness trainings on issues addressed by this Act;

■ There is effective coordination between the services provided by concerned Ministries and Departments dealing with law, home affairs, health and human resources, and that there is a periodic review of the same

Suggestions:

The basic objective of this study is to impart needed services for the women victims of domestic violence. If necessary changes are brought about in the socio-legal support systems, it will strengthen locally active social support system and networks.

1. Complainants of sexual assault and harassment, should be provided legal representative {lady} who will not only assist her but will also provide her guidance in her medical treatment

2. Legal assistance should be provided at the police station and in view of the distressed state of mind of the victim.

3. A criminal injuries compensation board should be set up. Compensation for the victim should be awarded by the court on the conviction of the offender and by the criminal injuries compensation board whether a conviction had taken place.

4.  Police should be under duty to inform the victim of the right to get representation before asking her questions and the police report should state that she was so informed.

5. The modern investigating technique should be adopted in crime investigation which would be of great help in determining the cases of sexual violence against women.

6. Appropriate training programmers should be conducted for the public prosecutors and the police officers who investigate rape cases, so that through proper coordination between them helps in receiving justice for the victim.

7. Setting up of special courts for hearing the cases of sexual assault is strongly recommended. In these special courts, women judges should be there so that the victim feels comfortable in narrating the details of the sexual assault perpetrated on her. Increasing number of fast track courts is an urgent need.

8. The court dealing with rape cases should be sensitive towards the conditions of rape victims. They should award punishments to rapists with great seriousness towards women conditions in the Indian society.

9. Rape Crisis Centers are set up in countries like Australia, Canada, America, United Kingdom, etc. These centers provide help through their telephonic help lines. These centers provide the rape victims with medical help, counseling, and financial help providing job opportunities etc. Such centers can be set up in India to provide medical aid and counseling to the rape victims.

10. Another very important aspect is to provide counseling for the family members of the victim. So that, the family can positively helps the victim to come out of trauma. Family is the best support in such situation. In times of distress and emotional trauma, best support can be provided by the family members.

Conclusion

Breaking the cycle of abuse will require concerted collaboration and action between governmental and non-governmental actors including educators, health-care authorities, legislators, the judiciary and the mass media. Education of both men and women will lead to change in attitudes and perceptions. It is not easy to eradicate deep seated cultural value or alter traditions that perpetuate discrimination. In the final analysis, we come to a perspective that gender violence is a violation of human rights that needs to be combated more strongly by both men and women who believe in justice for all citizens irrespective of their class, caste, and racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds. It is mammoth task. We are just doing bits and pieces. A way ahead is obscure but in our sphere with concrete and pronounced steps.

-SUBMITTED BY-

Shrijal Soni

ITM University, Raipur

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