Violence Against Women
By – Supriya
Women have always been the most vulnerable and off – exploited section of the society in any age, time, place and society. They have been, since ages, victims of humiliation, torture, exploitation and violence. Violence does not merely mean application of physical force,it can be mental, psychological and emotional as well. Violence, in its broadest sense, has been described as ” an act of a person which encroaches upon the freedom of another”. Violence can be an overt threat or an overt application of force which aims at harming or destroying a person or his reputation. Even the intent of causing harm and injury to someone is considered as an act of violence. Violence against women can be categorised under three broad categories of (1) Criminal Violence as rape , abduction or murder;(2) Domestic Violence which includes dowry-deaths,wife battering, sexual abuse, maltreatment of widows or elderly women, and lastly (3) Social Violence which includes forcing a wife or daughter-in-law to go for female foeticide , eve- teasing , refusing to give a share to women in property, forcing a woman to commit sati, forcing her into marriage for business interests or family honour or harassing a woman for any other reason. The Police Research Bureau, Delhi divides crime against women under two categories – crimes under the Indian Penal Code(IPC) , seven crimes such as rape , kidnapping , abduction, homicide for dowry , physical as well as mental torture, molestation and eve – teasing are covered. Forcing sati, harassment for dowry, immoral trafficking and indecent representation of women fall under local and special laws.
Considering the cases of violence against women we see that most of the time the women who feel helpless and depressed and suffer from poor self- image, and those who are emotionally vulnerable, or live in stressful family situations, or sociologically abnormal families, who lack social maturity or social interaction skills or whose husbands are alcoholic etc are the ones susceptible to violence and easy victimization. In fact, women are abused and victimized mostly by men they know. According to a recent survey, India is the fourth – most dangerous place for women in the world, primarily due to high number of female foeticide, infanticide and human trafficking cases in India.As per the UN population Fund, up to 50 million girls were thought to be ‘missing’ from the country over the past century due to female infanticide and foeticide. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (India) statistics on crime against women in india , a total of 185312 incidents of crime against women (both under IPC and other laws) were reported in the country during 2007 as compared to 164765 during 2006, recording an increase of 12.5%. Out of 20737 reported rape cases in the country ,9.5%( 1972) of the total victims were girls under 15 years of age, while 15.2%(3152) were teenaged girls (15-18 years). Nearly two-third (11984) (57.7%) were women in the age – group 18 – 30 years, 3530 victims (17.0%) were in the age – group of 30-50 years while 0.6% (133) were over 50 years of age. Offenders were known to the victims in as many as 19188 (92.5%) cases. The number of sexual harassment cases has increased by 9.9% over the previous year’s 10950 cases and the number of dowry death cases soared high by 6.2% over the previous year’s 7618 cases.
Indian women are equally vulnerable to domestic violence. While a total of 75930 cases were reported in the country in 2007 with an increase of 20.3% over 2006, the world statistics of domestic violence reveals around 960000 incidents of violence, against current or former partners every year. The statistics are alarming and smoking . One must remember that these are the reported cases. There are a host of other instances of violence which go unreported due to fear of further violence, social stigma or even death. Violent crimes against women have been on an increase especially in the capital city – Delhi.
With passage of time, the society is now awakening to its responsibility towards women. It is ionical that in a land where goddesses are worshipped , the crime rate against women is so high. Thus various agencies and organisations have come up to raise the issue of women’s dignity , protection and rights.Mahila Courts, Family Courts and various NGOs are now supporting the women’s cause and are working for women. Cases of domestic of women. Most of the victimized women don’t even know that they are victims of violence and they are oblivious to their rights. Thus, if we want to stop crimes against women , we must first educate women. The age old concept of a ‘ women’s destiny’ or ‘ naseeb apna apna’ has to be changed. This can be done only by educating women and giving them their sense of dignity which they have lost over the ages by making them aware of their rights. It is only by creating awareness among women and society at large that the growing rate of violence against women can be stopped.