Srinagar, Feb 3: Around 6.5 percent women in Srinagar started experiencing domestic violence during Covid-19 lockdown, a new study has revealed.
The study conducted by the Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Srinagar has revealed that the effects of preventing a COVID-19 health crisis have had unintended consequences on domestic abuse (DA) victimization, Social distancing measures inherently change micro level human interactions, as they force people to spend more time at home.
The online study using Google forms was conducted by Sabira Aalia Dkhar, Ruqia Quansar, and S.M. Salim Khan of the Department of Community Medicine and the study was published in the International Journal of Advanced Research (IJAR).
The members of the survey said that there is need to implement strict laws and policies to counter this and help the victim rather than criminalizing the victim and to reduce the frequency of the issue, it is central to acknowledge the extent of gender-based violence, create awareness and upkeep networks to make it easier for the victims to access them.
The study was done to assess the increase in domestic violence experienced by women especially during Covid-19. A total of 92 women participated in the survey, they said.
About 63.1% participants belonged to the age group of 30 years, 33.7% belonged to the age group of 31-40 years and only 3.2% belonged to the age group of >40 years and the importance of age in experiencing domestic violence is decreasing as in recent times; the prevalence of domestic violence has been seen across all age groups – children, adolescents and even elderly, they said.
The reason can be attributed to the fact that the perpetuator vents the anger on anyone and without any hesitation as any age group is vulnerable especially when confided at home during lockdown, said a doctor part of the study.
Approximately 65.2% participants were postgraduates. 17.4% were graduates, 13.1% had studied till 12th standard and only 4.3% were those who had studied up to 10″ standard. The education level of a woman determines the extent of domestic violence one experiences as literate women are aware of their rights and may at times revolt back whereas the women who are illiterate or less educated don’t have this advantage, he said.
“Almost 91.3% women were housewives and only 8, 7% women were working. The women at home are at more risk of domestic violence as they are confined to their homes and the time of interaction with the abuser is more. The women who are not working have more stress at home during lockdown because there are restrictions for moving out and it causes more conflict and more chances of domestic violence,” he said.
“About 54:3% women were unmarried and 45.7% women were married. The women folk at home are at risk of violence irrespective of marital status. Some young girls are even abused as the family members are more in favour of a male child and thus risking them at the hands of their family members as they are cursed and at times beaten up. There are always chances of more gender-based violence which can be seen across the age spectrum. The women are considered a weaker gender and thus male gender tried to dominate and thus making women more prone to violence at the hands of their own family members or relatives. (7) Women are vulnerable irrespective of their class. Socio-economic status and age. Approximately 17.4% women reported to have experienced domestic violence at any point of their lifetime and 82.6% women nullified the reports of experiencing it. Women are abused since history as they are always considered a weaker gender with no voice of their own. The abuser usually abuses as they try to vent their frustration on their women at home,” he added.
“About 10.9% women reported to have experienced domestic violence every time and 6.5% women reported to have experienced violence especially during Covid-19 times,” he said.
“The Covid 19 times have led to lockdowns and restrictions all across the globe. The lockdowns have placed more chances of staying at the home of the abuser and thus increasing the interaction, conflicts and this more abuse. Lockdowns have led to clustering of family members in homes, more work load and more stress on the women folk of the families. The lockdowns have led to economic instability, economic insecurities and loss of jobs which have led to frustration and anger issues and thus more abuse. The loss of income also has led to more stress and thus conflicts and more abuse,” he said.
“About 17.4% of women (all of those who experienced violence) confided to their family or friends about their condition on the pretext of feeling better and thus relieving them of their pain. Many women resorted to talking about it to take validation that they are not at any fault of getting beaten up or to take validation that this is normal. The women usually think that they experience violence because they are at fault or they are supposed to be silent and they are weak and don’t have to raise a voice. Almost 6.5% women who experienced violence looked for help to save themselves from this abuse and exactly 6.5% of women even received help, especially from their family or close friends. 10.9% women never asked for help as they consider that this is their fate and this is normal. The society will blame their women for their abuse and thus the image will be ruined. These women usually propagate male supremacy in families and thus indirectly increase the opportunities for the abusers to feel superior or right,” he said. “Almost 17.4% of women reported that they are worried about their future and they may have to continue to face the abuse.”
He said: “When asked about various reasons for not leaving their abusers or moving to a safer place, children at home was the common reason. Women usually have self-blame, confusion, hopelessness, guilt and shame on being abused and still they want to be with their abuser to save the child from being deprived of the family love and care Women usually consider themselves to be weak and always at fault for being abused. Society also has made an illusion of male supremacy leading to propagation of false sense of dependence on men. If a woman leaves the abuser, society norms will always find faults with the women only rather than supporting them.”
He said that the domestic violence at any level and in any form can’t be justified and Covid-19 pandemic has led to another hidden pandemic—domestic violence.
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