The covid-19 pandemic led to substantial changes in the daily activities of people. Many businesses were badly impacted, so were the education of students. However there has been substantial increase in the cases of violence against women.
As per the National Commission for Women (NCW), there was a 46 per cent rise in complaints of crimes against women in 2021.
The highest number of complaints were recorded under the right to live with dignity clause, followed by domestic violence and harassment of married women or dowry harassment.
The NCW says it has received a total of 19,953 complaints of crimes against women from January to August this year, up from 13,618 in the corresponding period last year.
In July, as many as 3,248 complaints were received by the NCW which is the highest in a month since June 2015, it added.
Ever since the covid-19 pandemic confined people to their homes, there has been an increase in the violence against the fearer gender which to a certain degree has been reflected in the complaints received by the National Commission for Women. One can say, looking in the society and news which we come across, the incidences have been far higher.
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 which came into effect in October 2006 defines domestic violence as any act, omission or commission that causes injury to a woman’s physical or mental health and includes specific forms of violence such as physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse. The Act seeks to provide relief to women in the form of protection order, residence order, monetary relief, custody order and compensation orders. Breach of any protection order is a criminal offence. Authorities needed to act fast. While data is lacking regarding it, there are not means for registering the complaints at the first place either.
It is also not just confined to domestic violence but there have been increased incidents of rape, harassment and other such undesirable acts against women.
It is not the case that anticipation or forewarning against the rise were not there. Most rapes are perpetrated by people known to the victim but there are hardly befitting punishments. Most of the rapes are not reported for the reasons well known and also specifically documented. One does not know exactly how many women were raped or trafficked? One does not know how many were married forcibly and under-aged in desperation to see them safe and fed.
Systematic creation of a support infrastructure like easy access helplines, secure shelter services with enabling cultures and sensitisation of people against violence needed to be created.