Arushi Mehta is a student of B.Sc Life Science. Apart from biology she has a strong inclination towards writing. She write fictions, poems and much more. She wants her voice to be heard and writing provides her that platform. She writes about inhuman acts as well and she scrutinizes the internet and newspapers to make her articles strong and justifiable.
Speak up Against Gender-Based Violence
Skim through a newspaper or any other news source. Most of it will be filled with gender based violence (GBV) or sexual harassment. Gender violence or sexual harassment has become common news these days. People listen, even react for few days, and finally forget. We won’t say women are the only ones who encounters this evil as even men are victims of sexual harassment but their proportion is less. In the following paragraphs you will read some startling and shocking statistics about women suffering horrendous events in their lives.
The more we scrutinise the internet, the more startling are the facts and figures that we come across based on gender based violence against women. Some of the data has been summarized here just to give you the crux about what women in India are going through. According to National Family and Health Survey in 2005, total lifetime prevalence of domestic violence was 35.5% and 8.5% for sexual violence among women aged 15-49. Renuka Chowdhury, former Union minster for Women and Child Development, stated in 2006, that around 70% of women in India are victims of GBV. According to the last exhaustive family survey (2005-2006) done by the government , more than 54% of men and 51% of women said it was okay for a man to beat his wife if she disrespects her in-laws, neglects her home or children, or even over something as trivial as putting less-or more- salt in the food.
According to Indian National Crime Report Bureau, the ten worst-affected cities for GBV are
- Vijayawada (82.3%)
- Kota (51.2%)
- Asansol (37.6%)
- Jaipur (36.2%)
- Jodhpur (32.8%)
- Gwalior (31.9%)
- Vishakhapatnam (31.7%)
- Lucknow (27.7%)
- Ahemdabad (27.6%)
- Kollam (27.4%)
Though there is other startling data about GBV against women, when it comes to crimes against women, Sexual harassment is also not lagging behind. Nearly four out of five women (79%) in India have experienced some form of sexual harassment in public, according to the latest survey by ActionAid UK. It revealed that every three out of four women in western states of the country, including Rajasthan, have experienced some form of harassment. The survey found that 84% of women who experienced harassment were in age group of 25-35, 82% of them were full-time workers and 68% were students. Among different age groups, women of age group 18-24 reported highest harassment while leaving house or returning home after dark (64%). Walking the streets (74%), in park/outdoor leisure (55%). As many as 92% women in this age group responded with YES when asked if they have felt at risk of harassment in their city.
Being a girl you have to ask yourself several questions like:
- Why can’t I go for night out parties?
- Why can’t I wear what I like?
- Why can’t I speak loudly?
- What will happen to me if I say NO when a guy proposes to me?
- Why can’t I do night shifts in my office?
- Why can’t I walk in public without any fear of getting harnessed?
- Why can’t I do something according to my choice?
- Why do I have to keep quiet and endure pain or injustice against me?
- Why do I always have to think about society?
- Why can’t I stand with a bunch of guys?
- Is this dress too short or vulgar?
- Why can’t I live the life I want?
There are several other questions girls ask themselves. Am I destined to face issues like acid attacks, sexual harassment, gender violence, emotional abuse, honour killings, dowry-related abuse? A woman used to be equated with a goddess in India. But today this analogy taken a complete turn. Today, being a woman in India is not considered equal to being a goddess. Instead she is treated as sexual toy, recessive specie, a weak body, a punching bag etc.
Why can’t we build a better future for women? Where are we lacking? There is a lot of information which could be included in the data given above but what will the impact be? The Government, police and other organisations are working towards eradicating the evil of GBV but we still are a long way away. People talk about it more openly than before and this has lead to an increase in reports. But awareness about one’s rights and bystander intervention still needs to increase. It is not sufficient to have just a few communities working on the issue. We all have to wake up, we all have to get up, we all have to UNITE, and we all have to speak.
We have to eradicate this parasite before it is too late. We have to take relevant action to improve the lives of women in India. There are several solutions which could be taken into account to help women fight this evil. The foremost is women should know how to protect themselves. Regular free self-defence training camps should be arranged in schools, colleges, offices for women where they can be taught ways and tricks of protecting themselves if someone tries to attack them. Education is a MUST for people; there are numerous horrifying cases that have taken place due to lack of awareness or education about one’s rights. Even children at schools should be taught how to respect or how to behave in front of the opposite sex. Besides this, we need stronger laws against criminals, an efficient and accountable law enforcement machinery at all levels i.e. administration, government, police and judiciary is needed. Anger has been one of the major causes behind these shocking incidents against women. People should be encouraged to take anger management classes which will help them stay calm so that they can differentiate between right and wrong.
The most important point to remember is that WOMEN NEED TO BE AWARE, BOLD and EDUCATED enough so that they could stand for their rights.