Lockdown not for abusing her

Lockdown not for abusing her
While the humankind is fighting against the coronavirus disease and has so far, rightly, restricted movement of the people, the pandemic has had very adverse social and economic consequences for women and girls.
As the lockdown continues, societies as a whole are having reduced access to resources. There is an increase in stress due to the loss of jobs and strained finances. Lack of income, unemployment, insecurity about the future, or the fate of children creates tensions amongst the adults, leading to abuse of all kinds.
The lockdown has led to the creation of a situation of confinement of families in closed spaces and unfortunately, it has also led to abuses on various counts. Ironically it also kept women away from people and official machinery they could approach for help.
As per the report by the social welfare department, 81 cases of domestic violence stand registered in the J&K while 16 cases of rape, 64 cases of molestation and one case of eve-teasing have been reported during the lockdown.
Based on the high court’s direction, the government created some superficial mechanism of hearing them. As per official showing, a total of 1314 calls were received from the affected persons on the emergency number of 181 from 24 March to 24. 65 of these calls were re related to violence against women while the remaining 956 calls were reported by migrant labourers.
The court had also directed designation of informal safe spaces for women for reporting domestic violence and abuse without alerting the concerned perpetrators as is the case in some foreign countries. It had even cited the example of grocery stores and pharmacies in foreign countries being notified as such safe spaces for the reason that every family is accessing grocery stores and pharmacies even in the lockdown period.
However, as per the rationale of the Social Welfare Department, only Anganwadi Workers have been notified for the reason that women and complainants would not be comfortable in expressing their personal issues with the male members of society.
The SWD’s rationale belies logic and it may not be correct that the women as a rule would be uncomfortable in making a complaint against the violence to male members of the society only. It is essential for the government to consider ease of access of the women in distress as a basis for notifying the authority. There is a need to have wide-ranging facilities available for anybody to report in distress and there should be such a mechanism that her call is effectively answered and action is taken sans delay.