Is the Coronavirus Lockdown Encouraging a Spike in Domestic Violence Numbers?
Who had imagined living life under a lockdown only months ago? India has spent 44 days in their homes. Everything that we knew about life has changed except the condition or the status of women in our society. Regardless of where you come from, women are still not seen as an equal part of our very profoundly educated society. And the coronavirus has only made the situation worse.
While a lockdown due to coronavirus across the globe was being announced, organizations like the WHO was trying to estimate the number of domestic violence cases that the world would receive during the lockdown. I remember reading somewhere that the domestic violence helplines received 92,000 calls in the span of just 11 days and this is not the global data. Now, I am not saying that all the calls must have been made by distressed women but it is safe to say that it is mostly women who have always been subjected to domestic violence, abuse, and exploitation.
According to a survey, there has been a spike of almost 60 percent in such cases overall. While a spike of 32% of domestic violence cases was registered in France, the number of such cases doubled in countries like Lebanon and Malaysia and the condition isn’t any better in countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, China, or India.
According to a reliable source, two in every three women are getting abused during the lockdown. It is the stress that’s leading to violence especially after the lockdown. But women get stressed too. Are they allowed to beat or abuse people when they get stressed?
Domesticated is the word that often is used to best explain the finest features of a woman. For centuries, women have fought a difficult battle to acquire basic rights. Men still believe that women need their permission to do anything. They even say that we have given women the permission to study, to drive, to work, to dance, or to do anything for that matter. The dreadful fact is that women in many countries live at the mercy of the men in their own house. It can be a father, a brother, a husband, or even a son. Women are not supposed to have their say in anything, they are not even considered before making any decisions and in some countries, animals have more status than the women in the house.
I just saw a movie based on women’s issues. No, I won’t name the movie but it was released recently where a woman had to justify the reason for seeking a divorce from her husband. Some in our society believed that she didn’t have enough reason to ruin her home. The question is, would anyone want to ruin their own home? Everyone other than her was entitled to an opinion and perspective but she wasn’t. why? Because she was standing up for what she believed in. But, hey, hang-on, women are not supposed to have a stand on anything, right? It isn’t enough for a woman to say that she is unhappy in her marriage to seek divorce.
The most disappointing fact is that it is women who judge women for taking the right steps. If a woman complains against domestic violence, the other women in the family tell her she is being overdramatic. They say that women have been subjected to such atrocities since forever and it is okay for a man to hit his woman. Girls are told by their own mothers that they should never raise their voice against anything and that is the reason why men, not just in Indian but around the world, act like they are the emperors and treat women as the servers.
It compels you to think that why is it okay for a woman to get beaten-up, to get abused, to work like a servant in the house, but not raise her voice against anything wrong? Why is it believed that her only job is to keep the man of the house happy, to give a good upbringing to the kids, to sleep with her husband as and when he wants? And when she declines to do any of the above mentioned, the man gets the right to beat her.
The coronavirus pandemic has made it amply clear that life will change after all this is over but sadly, the situation for women might get worse. The world is on the verge of a breakdown, where recession and inflation will do a dirty dance, and in the middle of all this are women who will get beaten-up if the man in the house is angry or stressed, which needless to say many of us will be.
What is the solution for women or the vulnerable? Now that we have plenty of time to make cooking videos or flaunt our workout videos, why not contemplate how we can start working towards changing this vile mindset that makes it okay for anyone to beat or abuse anyone? Let’s unite and spend some time thinking about how we can make our society a safe society for each of its members.