When 'Stay Home' Doesn't Mean 'Stay Safe' - These Indian Women Are Begging For End Of Lockdown

Bhavna Acharya |May 19, 2020

No matter how serious the situation is, all the government has done at the moment is to revise Ramayan on the TV and extend the lockdown for a few more weeks until the end of May.

Just like many other poor migrant workers in her slums, Fatima has to suffer from an abusive husband. Every time when he starts to beat her, she will run out of their house to the crowded lane outside their slums and cry for help. But things were different after the lockdown rule took place on March 25th.

The entrance of the road is locked with a police barricade, there is no one out there to save her. Her neighbor just asked her from inside their houses to come back home but coming back home means she will be beaten to death by the aggressive alcoholic husband. The desperate Fatima takes courage to surpass the barricade and walks to the police station to ask for help. 

‘Go home and handle it on your own, the courts are shut for two more weeks,’ that is the only answer she got. 

Indian Women Domestic Violence 2
More Indian women are suffering from domestic violence amid coronavirus lockdown

India sees a horrifying surge in domestic violence during lockdown

While the impact of coronavirus lockdown on migrant workers is visible, the way it affects migrant women is way devastating. Poor women, whose life was difficult to even under the normal state, are now literally struggling to survive the lockdown. It’s not about having no job, money, or food to eat, it’s about saving their life from the one they’re getting stuck into - their husband.

In fact, the figure shows that the rate of domestic violence increased during the lockdown. According to the India National Commission for Women (NCW), the number of domestic violence complaints in April is 587 cases which rose by 30% in comparison to the previous month with 396 recorded complaints. 

Indian Women Domestic Violence
It's not coronavirus but the abusive husband is what Indian women are afraid of

One-third of Indian women experienced domestic violence

Along with the jump of domestic violence in India are the minor growth of rape and sexual assault. In 2016, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) indicated that about 1 in 3 Indian women suffers from domestic violence but only a few of them ask for help from the police. It was because the police departments, the authority, or government paid no concern to protect women, no matter what is a lockdown or not!

Indian Women Domestic Violence 3
India is one of the countries which have the highest rate of domestic violence

The government failure in supporting victims

In fact, apart from India, so many other countries around the world are witnessing the "horrifying global surge in domestic violence", according to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. However, most of them are taking actions and setting mechanisms to save women's rights. For example, the Italian government launched an app that connects domestic violence victims with police and authority without making phone calls.

According to Indian feminist lawyer Vrinda Grover, Indian government merely pay any attention or take actions to the situation, they sent women who suffer from domestic violence to overcrowded shelter where the threat of catching coronavirus is very high. Why not men but the women who have to be sent away?

Also read: Minister Files Complaints As Her Daughter Run Into Hard Porn During Online Class

Indian Women Domestic Violence 4
The government is ignoring the situation no matter how serious it is

"India's Domestic Violence Act gives the woman a right to shelter. Let her stay home in her house, with her kids, and let the man be sent to a shelter home if he is going to abuse the woman in the middle of a pandemic," said the activist.

However, all the government has done at the moment is revising Ramayan on the TV and extend the lockdown for a few more weeks until the end of May. Once the lockdown is continued, Indian women's dark days are yet to be over.

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