Staying at home can be the safest thing for most of us during a pandemic, but not for all. It’s like a torture cage for countless humans, who are stuck with their abusive family members with nowhere to go for help. While women are not alone as domestic violence victims, there are men too who suffer but the violence on women has a higher hit. The National Commission for Women (NCW) has raised an urgent alert about the increased number of cases since lockdown began, they’re getting cases by either email or dropping letters at the panel’s mailbox. They have seen a surge in cases by 1,208 in 2020 and 315 cases in April alone.
Why has Domestic Violence hit the highest spike in lockdown?
Potential abusers are frustrated sitting at home which tends to take out all their frustration on their family members, especially women. Even if there are petty issues over house-hold chores, job insecurity (How will I earn or What about my future plans), or drinking problems, all the aggression and fear are thrown on the woman or children of the house. Basically, such violence involves mental, physical, emotional, financial, and sexual torture.
It can be a financial or physical threat, humiliation, emotional abuse against the victim. Some courageous women manage to complain, but on the other hand, many fear to file a complaint. They’re unable to leave the house, earlier they would at least go to their parent’s or friend’s house. With children also being vulnerable domestic violence victims it has become very difficult to stay safe at their own home.
Initially, the concern was raised for migrant workers and now it’s domestic violence victims who are unsafe due to the lockdown.
What are the health risks of Domestic Violence?
The health risks of victims are severe. If they’re physically abused, severe injuries, chronic pain, or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is suffered by the victim. It can also lead to eating disorders, anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. Women who are abused sexually have a high risk of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Sometimes, they suffer painful miscarriages. They can try to flee from the house, but due to lockdown, it’s impossible to go elsewhere.
If you’re one of the victims or someone you know is the victim, what measures can be taken?
Violence is unacceptable and if you accept that it’s going to be a vicious cycle of abuse. If you know someone is the victim, don’t be ignorant.
It’s never too late to report the complaint to the civil society organizations or police, they are always available. However, if it’s difficult for the victim to report the case by fear of the perpetrators they can use the safe word to alert people.
Citizens must be aware of domestic violence cases around them, so whenever anyone urges for help like your neighbors, bystanders, or family members, please help them.
There are a number of helplines for domestic violence and free online counseling sessions that can be used for your mental health.
http://www.ncw.nic.in/helplines, NCW has also launched a Whatsapp no. 7217735372.
Jagori: (011) 26692700
Saheli: (011) 24616485
Joint Women’s Programme: (011) 24619821
Sneha: (+91) 98330392463
All India Women’s Conference: (011) 43389101/02/03
Red Dot: firstname.lastname@example.org
Domestic abuse: 181
Children abuse: 1098
Many nonprofits are working to offer medical assistance, legal aids, 24*7 shelter needs, and counseling.
You’re not alone, be alert, and stay safe!