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COVID -19: A GLOBAL PANDEMIC GIVING RISE TO THE DOMESTIC RESPONSIBILITY



COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease-2019) Pandemic is a novel disease which has forced people to quarantine (physical distancing) themselves to control its spread as per advisory of medical experts/WHO. This is giving rise to increase in domestic abuses, particularly against women & children, necessitating more women help groups to be ready to tack the same in anticipation of it during the lockdown period. Lockdown is imposed to control the spread of corona but instantly it gave rise to another epidemic domestic violence across the country.

Domestic violence is the one of the most common forms of gender based violence that might be caused by the family or by intimate partners .This situation is called family violence or intimate partner violence.


According to Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 Domestic violence means, "Causing hurt, injury or danger to life, limb, health, safety or well-being, whether mental or physical. Causing harm, injury or danger to the women with an intention to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any demand for dowry."[1] UNSEEN VICTIMS:- Nearly one third of women are suffering in silence trap themselves in a situation where they are not in a position to contact such helping organizations or due to no being unaware of any helpline numbers. Such victims are large in number and at huge loss. Less than 1% of victims sought the help from the police. According to the National Family Health Survey 52% of women and 42% of men believe that husband is justified in abusing his wife during the lockdown period.[2]

A day before lockdown, which was imposed in India from March 25, a young lady rushed to her mother's house which is in Delhi to save herself from the physical and verbal tortures. Now, due to income in the middle class family got squeezed, so her brother felt that she was additional burden to the family and beaten her up. The said lockdown from March 25 was extended till May 17 in parts.[3]

Several women during this lock downs are facing the worst situation ever like verbal abuse and physical abuse and the best way to protect them is to move them from those unsafe place and shift them to the safest places like Municipality, Panchayat Union, Schools, Colleges, Other Governmental Organizations and there too physical abuse, sexual harassment etc.. to be taken care of.[4]

CORRELATION BETWEEN COVID-19 AND VIOLENCES:- One day COVID-19 will come to an end but for the domestic violence and for verbal abuses, there is no end visible. For corona virus, we have preventive measures like lockdown; self-quarantine etc. but there is no lockdown for the domestic violence. Several women and children are facing lots of problems mentally and physically by the father, husband, brother, relatives etc. regularly. Whether pandemics are getting worse or not but the situation of women is only getting worse day by day.[5]


In New Delhi a complaint was registered that a girl is being physically abused and being beaten up by her parents and forcing her to marry. Soon after the complaint the girl was shifted to the safest shelter home. [6]

In Tripura there was a complaint by a brother that sister was forced and in her -in- laws home and she can't even come out from that home due to the lock down. India's National Commission for Women (NCW) has reported that nearly 587 cases where registered under domestic violence & crimes against women from March 23 and April 16. Nearly 800 complaints registered by the National Commission of Women under crimes committed against women. The cases have been doubled when compared to the cases that are filed before the lockdown.[7]


"Every time there will be gender violence but this crisis made it all worse." "The dynamic of violence in the house is getting very serious day by day." "The fear is that legal measures to protect women won't be put in place" (the working of court procedures is slower than before because the employees are staying in home).[8]

The apex court in D. Veluswamy v. D.Patchaiammal in this case stated that Section 2(a) of the Domestic Violence Act was considered by the Supreme Court, where in court enumerated five ingredients of a live in a relationship as follows:

Both the parties must behave as husband and wife and are recognized as husband and wife In front of the society. They must be a valid legal age of marriage. They should qualify to enter into marriage. They must have voluntarily cohabited for a significant period of time. They must have lived together in a shared household.[9]

India's Domestic Violence Act 2005 says that "let the women stay in her home with her sons or daughters". Let the husband be sent to the shelter home if he behaves arrogantly or behave violently to his spouse in the midst of the pandemic. To make women free and comfortable to register the complaint many helpline numbers have been launched to address the problems of the women that they are facing during this curfew.[10]

High court of Delhi, A bench of justice J.R.Midha and Jyoti Singh, on April 18 had abused the Aam- Aadami Party and the center to hold the meeting, and that meeting was about the measures that should be taken to curb the domestic violence during these pandemic days. There will be 24 x 7 helpline to help the women and address their problems. The National commission for women has said that before lock down they used to get 900 to 1000 phone calls regarding the harassment, violence, molestation but after lockdown they were getting more than 1000 to 1200 calls per day.[11]

PANDEMIC ON VIOLENCE OVER THE WORLD:- Whenever the family spend their time together it may be any festivals, family gatherings, disasters or crisis, there will be the risk in increase of abuses or violence. There should not be any gender discrimination between the men and women. Not only Indians are facing these problems even many worlds too are affected by two major crises they are spread of corona virus and domestic violence. To overcome this Central Government and state government has taken many steps[12].

There were widespread of violence but only the few incidences are being reported. Even men may experience a domestic violence but majority of victims are women. Not only for the men & women even LGBTQ individuals also face the domestic violence. Probably one of three women was being abused physically, mentally or by verbal abuse at least once in a lifetime. When a whole country is in lockdown nearly one fourth of the population is being home quarantined and another set of peoples were under danger inside the closed doors. The warnings were first shown in China the domestic violence cases where doubled and tripled. Later followed by Singapore (33%), Australia (40%), Brazil (40%) etc.[13].

There was a huge increase in domestic violence cases in Punjab over 21% of crimes where increased against women. More than 700 cases of violence reported since the Janata curfew. Women call it as distress because they are pushed in a situation where they cannot come out of it and they're forcibly being abused no matter what the age is. The violence is not that it must have physical abuse it may be even by verbal abuse or mental abuse. The Janata curfew provides a great and perfect opportunity for the abusers to practice the "intimate terrorism" to control their actions and their wishes and restrict them from their opinions to take any decisions related to the future.[14]

REASONS BEHIND VIOLENCES:-

Violence are being increased not only due to lockdown but also due to mental stress, economic distraction, closed business, fear of losing job, threat of hunger and poverty etc. In India person who consumes alcohol are relative higher when compared to another country. Due to the close of alcohol shop e.g. Tasmac etc. [15]The alcohol consumers has affected mentally so even this causes the rise of domestic violence. Another reason for the increase of domestic violence is due to the confinement in the home. So they are no options to mingle with outsiders, even this causes the mental depression for the men and women in the home. Many government organization request/ appeal that if any women face violence during this period, please reach out for help and don't shut yourself indoors. Women who are brave enough to complain about domestic violence repression in India are like the tip of the iceberg only.[16]

Spain has reported that a woman was murdered by her partner in front of their children in the coastal provinces of Valencia. In Italy, Courts said that abusers should leave their family and not the victim. Domestic violence is kept on increasing in the northern parts of the state. According to the National crimes records bureau 2018 one third of crime against women are registered under the "cruelty by husband or by his relatives".[17] NOVEL IDEA OF USING CODE WORD:-

In France, a woman went to a pharmacy, but other woman was not there for medicine; but she informed in code language that a partner had abused her and soon after, the partner was arrested by the police. France was inspired by the similar scheme in Spain. If they are not in a position to openly talk in a store then they may use the code "Mask 19" to explain the situation indirectly that they are being abused.[18] SUGGESTIONS AND CONCLUSIONS:- COVID-19 Pandemic formula, "Stay Home, Stay Safe" is recommended all over the world but for several women staying home is not safe and many are unfortunately trapped with abusers to make their life miserable and nowhere to go.[19] To overcome the current situation, several steps can be taken in following key areas:

Rescue the women and children from unsafe environment and making them stay in the safe temporary shelters.

Explaining rights and extending help to initiate for judicial process/ legal help to attain justice.

Providing women with some teachings e.g. hand crafts, tailoring, flower knitting etc. to make independent.

Providing financial support to the vulnerable women.

Providing for psychological counseling for both the husband as well as wife.

‘IF YOU THINK DEALING WITH THE LOCKDOWN IS PRETTY STRESSFUL. THEN IMAGINE THESE COUNTLESS WOMEN WHO ARE DEALING WITH THE ADDITIONAL WORRY OF SURVIVING’!

REFRENCES

[1] Section 3. [2] NCW receives 315 DV complaints in April, The Hindu, September 4, 2020 at 3 pm. [3] Domestic violence and abuse ( September 7, 2020, 12:40 PM) helpguide.org. [4] National domestic violence hotline (September 7, 2020, 7:20 PM) https://www.thehotline.org. [5] This is so wrong: Hollande highlights domestic violence in French lockdown (September 9, 2020, 4:30 PM) https://amp-theguardian-com. [6] Women raise belans against Domestic violence, Times of India, September 5 2020 at 1 pm. [7] National commission for women (September 5, 2020, 10:30 AM) http://ncw.nic.inmay . [8] Mayo, Domestic violence against women (September, 7, 2020, 5:30 PM) https://www.mayoclinic.org. [9]D.Velusamy_vs_D.Patchaiammal_on_21_October, _2010 Crl.Nos. 2028-2029/10 ( September, 4, 2020,1:20 PM)www.ijtr.nic.in. [10]The protection of women from domestic violence Act,2005 (September 4,2020, 1:35 PM) https://www.cnn.com. [11]Delhi-high-court issues directions to check domestic violence during covid-19 (September. 5, 2020, 5:25 pm) https://theleaflet.in. [12]Theresa puhr, Corona virus is driving a domestic violence pandemic ( September. 8,2020, 3:15 pm) https://www-devex-com.cdn. [13] Durgesh Nandan Jha,7 more deaths take toll to 20 cases cross 700 in India, Times of India, September 7,2020 at 8 pm. [14]Domestic violence and what you can do about it ( September. 5,2020 ,3:55 pm ) https://au.reachout.com. [15]Opening liquor shop will increase crimes against women, India Times, September 7,2020 at 6 pm. [16]Domestic violence facts, types & effects ( September. 6,2020, 2:45 pm)https://www.medicinenet.com. [17]National crimes bureau ( September. 2, 2020, 8:30 pm) https://ncrb.gov.in. [18]Women are using code at pharmacy (September. 3, 2020, 3:50 pm )https://www.cnn.com. [19]Stay home don't stay safe (September 9, 2020, 4:45pm) https://www-bridgemi-com. Authored by: Deva Dharshini k (Chennai Dr Ambedkar Govt Law College Pudupakkam)

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