Still a nightmare for domestic violence survivors

Source– The post is based on the article “Still a nightmare for domestic violence survivors” published in The Hindu on 29th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS1- Society

Relevance: Women related issues

News- The article explains the challenges associated with accessing services with respect to domestic violence.

What are the facts associated with Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a punishable offence under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA). It is a violation of human rights.

The latest round of the National Family Health Survey-52019-21reveals that 32% of ever-married women aged 18-49 years have ever experienced emotional, physical, or sexual violence committed by their husbands.

Despite almost a third of women being subject to domestic violence, the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-21) reports that only 14% of women have ever sought help.

What are the issues related with Domestic Violence faced by Women?

Despite the law existing on paper, women are still largely unable to access the law in practice. Its promise and provisions are unevenly implemented, unavailable and out of reach for most Indian women.

The research in Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu reveals that Women were hopeful that things would change, that they could change their husband’s behaviour.

Women believed that they would become ‘a problem’ or a source of ‘tension’ for their families, and bringing them shame and dishonour, irrespective of the survivor’s level of education, caste, or class.

For migrant women, transpeople or those with several sisters, or ill, older or deceased parents, it was felt even more acutely that the perpetrator’s violence was their individual responsibility to manage.

Parents,in a majority of cases, insisted on their daughter preserving the family environment which they should do by adjusting to their husband’s and his family’s needs better.In a minority of cases, the daughter’s welfare was prioritised over the well-being of the ‘the family’ and steps were taken to help mediate or exit the relationship.

NFHS-5 data reports that women are more likely than men to justify a scenario in which it is acceptable for a husband to beat or hit his wife.

With few safe houses across India, Many women have nowhere else to go.

Access to legal justice through the courts was a material possibility only for women with independent wealth and connections or those supported by specialist non-governmental organisations.

What are the issues regarding role of state?

Across the States, we heard that the police were more likely to send women back to violent households to reconcile with the perpetrator.

Several States are yet to implement Protection officers. And where they are in post, they are under resourced, under-skilled and overworked.

Women know all too well that the state serves patriarchal and heteronormative interests first. The state is failing women.

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