Violence against women

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At a time when women rights are being talked in every forum and new constitutional amendments are made to protect the “fair sex”, yet, women get discriminated at every place and the statistics suggest violence against women is on rise. According to National Crimes Report Bureau, 1.5 lakh reports of violence against women are registered annually out of which nearly 50,000 are related to domestic violence. It is believed that close to 5 crore women suffer from violence in their homes in India. However only mere 0.1% are courageous enough to report. Violence against women is a manifestation of the historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of women’s full development. Crimes perpetrated against women are to be denounced wherever they are committed. Women’s lack of access to legal information, aid or protection, the lack of laws that effectively prohibit violence against women, failure to reform existing laws, inadequate efforts on the part of public authorities to promote awareness of and enforce existing laws, and the absence of educational and other means to address the causes and consequences of violence – all these issues are of a great importance which are to be taken according to the merit and scope. Unless violence against women is checked, achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace are impossible. It both violates and impairs the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The long-standing failure to protect and promote those rights and freedoms in the case of violence against women is a matter of concern for all and should be addressed. There is a need to understand that violence against women in any form is a crime, whether the abuser is a family member, a current or past spouse, an acquaintance, or a stranger. Today the fear of violence, including harassment, is a permanent constraint on the mobility of women and limits their access to resources and basic activities. In all societies, to a greater or lesser degree, women and girls are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse cutting across lines of income, class and culture. The low social and economic status of women can be both a cause and a consequence of violence against women. The need to provide redress to abused women is urgent. Newspapers mirror the society. The reports and cases reported are nothing but the reflection of what goes on in the society. If we talk about our State, the harassment and discrimination against women is as good as in other states of India although it is invisible here. While the exact number of incidents of women suffering cannot be ascertained, majority of them are not reported. The Parliament has passed the Protection from Domestic Violence Act, which is a welcome step. It is a significant step forward in recognizing the problems of women. It can provide protection against domestic violence by obtaining protection, residence and monetary relief orders. There is need that the Act should be implemented in our State as well with letter and spirit. It is a fact that women are vulnerable to violence perpetrated by persons in positions of authority in both conflict and non-conflict situations. There is need to train all officials in humanitarian and human rights law and the punishment of perpetrators of violent acts against women would help to ensure that such violence does not take place at the hands of public officials in whom women should be able to place trust. Also there is need to develop a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to the task of promoting families, communities and states that are free of violence against women. Equality, partnership between women and men and respect for human dignity must permeate all stages of the socialization process. Educational systems should promote self-respect, mutual respect, and cooperation between women and men.