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OPINION: The impact of domestic violence in Covid19 Pandemic has flared up

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“Violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women” and “violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men”, UN Declaration

By Zakir Khan
Reported by Team RK
29 July 2020

Women is considered a divinely deity, a respectable figure in all cultures & religions, but despite all that, she still struggles to get even her basic rights! Some historical traditions and present unequal balance of power between men and women has paved a way for constant & unique
type of violence towards women.


To understand and work on resolution of such issues, Kashmir Dialogues, a think-tank based, Valley, organized a webinar cum discussion program on “Prevention of Atrocities on Women” on 23 rd July. Er. Mehraj Khurshid, the host of the show, took up this initiative to address the growing instances of crime against women and got together multiple stakeholder from the civil
society to work towards such issues. There is a UN Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women that states, “violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women” and “violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with
men.”


All the guest speakers spoke on various kinds of discriminations & violence faced by women across different sections of society. Nagina Qadri, Placement head of Orion Edu. Tech, spoke on how the prejudiced behavior of males is responsible for lesser and lesser growth of women,
how the incomplete moral education of male children until their very adulthood is responsible for the bullying of girls & an overall superiority complex amongst the males.

Nadiya Rashid, Spokesperson Central University Youth Federation, spoke about the need for improving the institution of marriages; she explained, even in 21 st century girls tend to get married by an
indirect force i.e. the family pressure by which they cannot be open about their choices and consent for marriage. Even after the marriage, in a lot of places women are treated as new servants and are abused by the in-laws in different ways.

She said the women need to wake and fight for their own rights in order to live a happy and satisfied life. Adnan Masood, a soft skill trainer, spoke on how women face discrimination in other sectors of economy; he
explained that in many places women are paid less than their male counterparts for doing the same amount of work irrespective of their dedication and efficiency. Other speakers namely, Irfana Zargar, Zarqa Manzoor, Sajaad Farooq Rather threw some light on the violence faced by
women in the Kashmiri society at large, Certain instances where the women were beaten up by their in-laws, and threatened by husbands were discussed in the meeting and then ways to overcome such issues were talked up.


Despite women being the victim, it is extremely worrying that they remain the ones on whose character the fingers are raised, they remain the one who suffers from mental traumas. Though all cultures including Islamic texts are very clear on the rights of women, Constitution of India
has clear guidelines of rights of women, reservation as well as gender equality but the execution of such traditions & laws remains a mystery. Women are the victims even during the COVID-19 pandemic, as different areas have reported multiple instances of increasing crimes and violence against women by their husbands or in-laws. Taking a suo-moto note of bad
impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on women and girls, a quorum consisting of Chief Justice,

Justice Geeta Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal issued notices to J&K government and asked it to submit a report on status & steps taken against of domestic or any kind of violence against
women.


The crime against women exist in multiple forms, ranging from Murders, Dowry deaths, Honor killings, Witchcraft-related murders, Female infanticide and sex-selective abortion, sexual crimes, Rape, Marital rape, Insult to modesty, Human trafficking and forced prostitution,
Domestic violence, Forced and child marriage, Acid throwing, Abduction, Mental tortures etc.etc. and etc. Having seen on ground the devastating effects of violence on women, policies & efforts have mainly focused on responses and services for survivors; but, the best way to end this and prevent it from happening is by addressing its root and structural causes.

Prevention needs to start early life of individuals, by educating and engaging with young boys and girls by teaching them respectful relationships and gender equality. This can be the most productive
way for faster, most productive progress in eradicating gender-based discriminations.

Usually the executive’s policies and interventions often overlook this stage of life but in reality it is the critical juncture when moral values and ideas around gender equality can forged in the young minds. Additionally, curriculum needs to be more enhanced and conceptually clear on this topic
so that children understand these things at a young age. Additionally, the religious scholars/Imams need to engage with the grown men so that the adults can actually realize their mistakes and take steps for not to repeat such things as it goes against the moral, humane as well as religious principles.

With respect to the matrimonial issues, the decisions pending in
courts must be resolved in a quick manner so that the women doesn’t have to suffer from mental trauma or the vilification of the society. Govt must promote the peaceful resolution of disputes by including the perspectives of women and girls. As a suggestion, Govt. in coordination with the local administration, NGO’s, and the civil society needs to raise public
awareness of the poor conditions some women face, particularly in rural areas.


Just like COVID-19 is a pandemic today, the crimes against women are a global pandemic whose magnitude is thousand times greater than this. It needs awareness, strict policies, quick redresses to overcome this issue which has been prevalent in our societies since time immemorial. Everyone of us plays a key role in stopping this problem by educating our children
right from our homes. Be it Islam or any other culture, everyone speaks about respecting and treating women with the right way, with kindness, and with equality, but the problem lies with us in executing those principles in our lives.

The 21 st Century educated class needs to take this responsibility on their shoulders and as a duty spread awareness about this grave issue. If only
all of us realize this at the right times, only then we can end this crime against women.

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