Gender-Based Violence in India: A Dark and Bitter Reality
Gender-based violence in India is defined as physical, sexual, and psychological harm, which is still a major public health problem despite numerous policies and programs. It is also a fact that human rights violations are committed against men as well as women. Over the past few decades, gender-based violence has increasingly come to be recognized as the serious problem at the international level, not only for women but also for the attainment of equality, development, and peace. The issue has become a priority for women’s organizations in various part of states and a subject for a feminist. In recent years government have also begun to devote attention to this issue.
Gender-based violence is a global problem, but to better understand the patterns of violence and its causes and, hence, eliminate them, the starting point must be knowledge of the particular historical and socio-cultural factors at work in each specific context. The specific nature of gender-based violence in India is that other, apparently serious forms of behavior may also be identified as acts of violence; these types of conduct include verbal and coercion, the infliction of physical injuries, serious bodily harm, and sexual abuse that constitute rape or ravishment.
Gender Based Violence against People with Disabilities
Social discriminations based on gender and disability increase the vulnerability to gender based violence for both men and women with disabilities. However, women and girls with disabilities are at an increased risk because of emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. It was determined that the earlier instruments did not give due consideration to gender-based violence in India and that a specific definition of this crime was lacking.
The social model defined disability as a social construct that arises as society disables people with impairments by denying them full participation. Moreover, evaluating services and interventions that address gender based violence among PWDs is almost inexistent. This eminent lack of data concerning PWDs obscures the state of gender based violence in this population, deterring political commitment, and comprehensive public health engagement. There are multiple forms of violence during their lifetime, by multiple perpetrators for longer periods, as compared to people without disabilities. PWDs are vulnerable to violence from the family members and well-known acquaintances.
- Gender Equality in India – Empowering Women, Empowering India
- National Policy for Women Empowerment for Socio-economic Development
Gender-Based Violence in India against Transgender
Factors that increase the vulnerability of transgender are multifaceted. Gender role attitudes are one of the key determinants that increase gender based violence vulnerability among the transgender. Several societies control people’s sexuality through practices such as institutionalization, forced sterilization, and marriage restriction. Additionally, transgender is socialized to be agreeable in order to receive care. Such socialization creates internalized oppression and compliance, hindering them from reporting abuse and encouraging them to remain in abusive situations. Such social norms that promote societal devaluation of transgender increase their vulnerability to gender based violence in India.
Gender Based Violence against Women
Gender-based violence is the human rights violation and a public health problem affecting many out of every three women. It is also an extreme manifestation of gender inequity, targeting women and girls because of their subordinate social status in the society. It can take forms of psychological, physical, or sexual abuse, and in all of its manifestations, it can have serious implications for a woman’s sexual and reproductive health.
Violence and violence threats can be experienced by every woman-irrespective of age, skin color, religion, and economic or social status. Violence can occur everywhere, for example, on the streets, at the workplace in terms of sexual harassment; at home,, a woman may not be safe, which is often targeted at women because she can also be battered and abused by her spouse incestuous rape.
What can be said as Violence against Women?
Violence against women is an act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women. It also includes threats, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life. The violence against women can be understood by following, but not be limited to only these as mentioned below:
(a) Physical, or sexual or psychological violence occurring in the family which includes battering, sexual abuse of girl child in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices that are harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to the exploitation.
(b) Physical or sexual or psychological violence occurring within the general community which includes rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women, and forced prostitution.
Common Gender-Based Violence in India Faced by Women
Gender-Based Abuse of Infants and Girl Child
In country like India, there is a social preference for boys, leading to girls’ neglect in response to longstanding cultural traditions favoring males. This gives rise to sex-selective abortions of females where the sex of the fetus is identified through the use of ultrasound technique, malnourishment of girls, or even infanticide, which leads to the deliberate killing of female infants soon after birth. Therefore, the female to male ratio is lower than expected, pointing to a violation of the natural course of events.
Female Genital Mutilation
Female genital mutilation is defined as the partial or total removal of the external genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs, whether for cultural, religious, or other non-therapeutic reasons. The terms female genital cutting and female circumcision have also been used to describe this. FGM is performed at times in a girl’s life, depending on the setting. WHO estimates that 100 to 140 million girls and women have undergone the same.
Intimate Partner Violence
This is the most common type of violence against women in all societies and among rich and poor women is violence by an intimate male partner or by former partner. The term intimate partner violence refers to an abuse taking place usually between husband and wife, or between present or former cohabiting partners, and some also include the boyfriends and girlfriends in this definition. Even though this is one of the most common forms of violence directed at women, the term intimate partner violence needs to be made specific by adding “against women” to exactly describe the phenomenon.
The term “domestic violence” is the most commonly employed to describe familial or intimate battering incidents. The specific nature of gender based violence in home is such that other, apparently less serious forms of behavior may also be identified as acts of violence; these types of conduct include verbal and emotional aggression, deprivation of liberty, coercion, the infliction of physical injuries or serious bodily injury.
Sexual harassment is the highly complex problem that distorts interpersonal relationships and is difficult to identify and delimit, and it is generally agreed that power relation between those involved is unequal and abused. Since women occupy lower-ranking positions in the employment structure, they are more vulnerable to this practice, although cases where women harass men also occur.
There are also cases of sexual harassment among colleagues or on the part of lower-ranking employees of women managers. In the cases, harassment is a mechanism used to debase their role in the workplace, their professional capabilities, and their leadership abilities and to draw attention to their sexuality, while at the same time undermining the exercise of a power of authority by women. Sexual harassment is not only arises out of objective differences in the amount of power held in at workplace but also out of cultural power which men exercise over women, in accordance with the predominant gender system which discriminates against women through the control, disposition, and use of their sexuality and bodies.
Rape is the most extreme form of sexual violence and is based essentially on the use of physical force and terror. It inflicts severe physical and emotional injuries on its victims. Some of its worst consequences are the transmission of the HIV virus and unwanted pregnancy since even in cases of rape, abortion is a punishable offense in a country like India. This is gender based violence, which is brutal in nature performed by a male to dominate women. It can be performed in aggression or to satisfy the physical need at the same time.
We as Hindrise
Our Organisation has always believed in equality and the value of human rights, especially women’s rights. We have always believed in women’s empowerment, and hence our volunteers are doing their best to uplift the unprivileged women of society.
Our organization and our volunteers are working on the issue of violence against women across the Delhi NCR, have written a letter to the National Commission of Women, India with collective recommendations to respond to the situation of women facing violence. The recommendations include making the helpline numbers more functional, publicizing the support services and resources available, utilizing funds to support the government’s activities and initiatives towards protecting the dignity and ensuring women’s safety in India.
We ourselves increase the availability of resources, offering legal aid, counseling, and shelter to women facing violence, developing special protocols to support trans women, disabled women, and migrant women who are even more marginalized and have negligible access to support. We are on the road ahead of forming a panel of lawyers offering legal information to women over the phone, among others. The Hindrise has built a temporary shelter in Delhi NCR to provide shelter to women and children who are homeless and provide them food and help earn their basic livelihood.
The outcome of gender-based violence in India is long-lasting for its victims and rampant for the often inadequate responses. Hence, it is crucial to maintain the sense of urgency in gender based violence cases, even during crisis situations. It is maintained that there is a need for a holistic response model to deal with the issue of gender-based violence during current and possible future pandemics. Health professionals, media, and community efforts must be combined to effectively deal with the issue of gender-based violence. Moreover, continuous and rigorous efforts are required to end the stigma associated with gender-based violence in India.
Gender-based violence in India includes eliminating the institutional hurdles facing women, which leads to secondary victimization. When women seek help, they are treated with hostility or negligent or discriminatory fashion by officials in charge of supporting them. The obvious progress made in the region in extending women’s formal rights has yet to lead to a practical application of those rights on a day-to-day basis, either within or outside the justice administration sphere. Therefore, it is essential for society’s response to the phenomenon to urge governments to deepen their reforms and pay attention to the different aspects of gender-based violence in India.