In this essay, you will learn about:-
- General Description of Violence against Women
- Domestic Violence
- Criminal Violence
- Social Violence
- Causes and Prevention of Violence against Women
- Reduction and Prevention of Violence through Empowerment of Women.
List of Essays on Violence against Women in India
- Essay on the General Description of Violence against Women
- Essay on Domestic Violence
- Essay on Criminal Violence
- Essay on Social Violence
- Essay on the Causes and Prevention of Violence against Women
- Essay on the Reduction and Prevention of Violence through Empowerment of Women
Essay on the General Description of Violence against Women:Women around the world including India constitute about fifty percent of the total population. Everyone including the males know that women have been subjected to discrimination, atrocities, violence and crime long-long ago and it still continues in-spite of improvement in socio economic conditions and educational standards of people in the society.
Since independence social scientists, social activists, lawyers, government reformers and feminine activists all have been very conscious to improve the status of women in India and elsewhere in the world. Women have been suppressed and oppressed since long.
They have been debarred from getting education and health facilities. They have not got the opportunity for economic independence, to express their innate potentialities, to express their original thinkingâ€™s, to speak about their problems, to share the decisions on family matters with males, to be assertive and speak about their own rights.
They have been brain washed by the male dominated society so that they think that tolerance and sacrifice are the two most important qualities of the woman folk and they should stay at home and tolerate the atrocities of their husbands, insult and negligence of their in laws, inferior attitude and torture of the society, that they should depend on some male members of the family throughout their life starting from the childhood to old age.
The common violence against women is rape, beating, torture, humiliation, cruelty, perverted sexual attacks.
With this background about the status of women throughout the world (though in developed countries women enjoy more independence, autonomy and respect, mostly because they are economically independent and educationally qualified) has not improved much. However in a civilized world of to-day the various problems of would have drawn the attention of the agents and organisations mentioned above.
But the problem of violence against women was a neglected issue until recently and to be more accurate it was ignored probably because it is not worth discussing they thought. To understand violence against women it is desirable to understand the contemporary beliefs and ideologies against women in the past.
The problem of violence against women is not of a recent origin. Women were subjected to humiliation, physical assault, exploitation, torture and marital violence and still they are the victims of these atrocities and gender discrimination in-spite of improvement in education, development in objective and scientific attitude of people.
In most of the families both educated and uneducated, rural and urban women are the victims of negligence and careless attitude. Of course in families where women are educated and have economic independence violence against them is found in a lesser degree.
The age old prejudices and social stereotypes against women that they are inferior, weak both physically and mentally, less intelligent, incapable, that women are born only to give birth to children and rear them, take care of the family and stay within the four walls of their house, that they are equal to unpaid maid servants, all these stereotypes encourage violence against women.
Even women are so much brain washed by our culture, society and tradition, by our psychosocial thinking that they even consider themselves what men tell them they are. The low self concept of women force them not to utter their mouth against injustice, not to revolt, protest and assert themselves against injustice, in-humanity and torture.
They only know to tolerate injustice and by that they are praised and reinforced by the society. If a woman protests, asserts and revolts against violence and discrimination made against her, she is punished by the family and society for going against the existing norms of the society made for women.
In a society and social structure where violence against women is reinforced through social sanctions, the woman accepts it passively. She thinks how can she go against the social standard? What the society would consider her if she opens her mouth against injustice?
She is scared of the family members, scared of the culture and tradition, scared of the society where she livesâ€™. Where she will go, where she will stay if she is driven away by her husband and in laws? Will her parents accept her? Will the society reinforce and praise her for what she has done? These questions perturb her.
The answer she derives to these questions is a big No. So she simply tolerates violence and injustice and stays in the family in nightmare till her death. She stays in shame and fear. The lack of physical power and economic insecurity leads to a general timidity in women. She has no faith in her power and ability unless she is given this opportunity from childhood.
Women are generally trained to have lower self concepts and lower images compared to men. From the early childhood they are told “No you will not be able to do this, give to your brother, you can’t go out alone, take your brother with you (though the brother may be younger in age), you will get married, one day so what is the need of education, don’t argue, don’t speak loudly” they would be advised.
Girls who speak loudly or argue are rarely liked by the society. So they are restrained to act aggressively and assert their rights. A woman does not dare to be enterprising, to revolt, to have higher aspirations in life or to invent something.
They are appreciated if they are docile, submissive, if they walk slowly, talk slowly and speak with humility. She only lives in a place the society has reserved for him. She does not have a separate identity.
In fact, women rarely had any identity except from that given to them as wives, mothers and daughters, as daughter in laws and sisters Any departure from these identity was disliked, discouraged and punished. In most of the religious and historical writings women rarely have been given any identity or credit except for their duties done as a wife, a mother or a daughter.
So they had always been seen as somebody’s wife, somebody’s daughter and somebody’s mother without having any independent existence or identity of their own. Even though women did something memorable, they were rarely given any credit by most of the authors and writers. They were nameless being called as Hari’s mother or Radha’s mother (Hari and Radha are sons and daughters of the woman).
Women were ignored as individuals, but they were described always in relation to some family. Women could never be disobedient. That was or is never tolerated by the male dominated society. When a son sees his father behaving with his mother in this manner, he also behaves with his mother, sister and wife in the similar way because of imitation learning.
Such contradictory and prejudiced, biased picture of women depicted in mythology, history and literature has added to the prejudice and discrimination against women.
I am a woman and I’m unable to understand in what way I am inferior to the male members of the society and then why should I be humiliated and considered inferior to them if inferiority does not lie in the sex? Because one is born as a female, it does not mean that she is born inferior.
If she is inferior, she is made inferior by the male dominated society. Violence against women starts when they assert their rights or become disobedient. But why should they obey illegal, unwanted and unjust activities? No one pays attention to it.
In the past, even to-day it was the legal right of a man to demand obedience from a woman. Take my case. I am a highly qualified lady coming from a very renowned family of Dhenkanal, Orissa. My parents, particularly my father taught all his 5 sons and 5 daughters including me not to tolerate injustice and not to do injustice.
We all brothers and sisters were given equal treatment and equal opportunity to foster our innate qualities and abilities. When I was a lecturer I got married and came to a family who were equally educated and cultured. But so far as obedience was concerned, no male member of the family compromised with it as if it is a man’s birth right. Obedience is alright when one is asked to obey correct and judicious points.
But asking a woman to obey wrong, illegal and unjust matters is equal to torture her mentally. Further if the woman disobeys the male ego, violence against the woman starts. First there is mild exchange of words, then there is heated arguments, then there is physical assault like pulling, pushing, tearing the hair, hitting at the belly, back, face, then there may strangling, and finally murder.
This is the physical violence against a woman who disobeys her husband and in laws on different issues like bringing more dowry, giving birth only to male children, doing all household work, fulfilling the sexual desire of the husband as and when he requires so, going out for seeking a job, joining a good respectable job for which she has qualified, and hosts of other matters.
The violence may culminate in murder, divorce or separation. The woman may not be allowed to share her sorrows with her friends, she may be scolded and beaten if she goes to her parents house and so on.
A woman gives birth to girls only and she is blamed and tortured for it though medical science has proved that male sperm is responsible for the sex of a child. She is asked and pressurized to conceive till a son is born. She is forced to go to a clinic or hospital for infanticide if the fetus is a female. If she objects she faces violence of man and in-laws.
In the past the laws were always found to be directed at protecting the rights and authority of men (probably because men were the makers of law) and oppressing women. Men used to get sadistic pleasure in doing this.
But currently the situation has slightly changed with the change in the attitude of parents towards the education of girls. More and more girls are going for higher education and in many cases they are doing better than men in education, job and career. Men are now slowly understanding that given equal opportunity girls can be seen parallel with men.
But this change in attitude is just like a drop of water in an ocean. To remove violence against women in the 21st century a lot is to be done. Before discussing that let us examine the other aspects of exploitation and violence against women.
- Essay on Domestic Violence:
Dowry system in our society is a great social evil existing in all social classes to a greater or lesser of degree. Domestic violence has been discussed earlier in the text under “areas of violence”. Domestic violence may also be called marital violence or family violence. For all marital or domestic problems it is the woman who is criticized.
In some families though the woman is given equal status like the man, in most families in India and many under developed countries particularly in low and middle income groups, the illiterate, less educated and economically dependent wives are made to feel inferior and dependent on man.
In power relations the man or the husband takes an upper-hand. So the husband becomes aggressive and starts the violence first. Even if the wife gets the chance to counter aggress is on and retaliate, she prefers to tolerate the torture and victimization.
Domestic violence includes:
(a) Dowry deaths
(b) Wife battering
(c) Sexual abuse,
(d) Maltreatment of widows and elderly women.
Either by means of suicide due to harassment and physical torture or murder by the in-laws and husband dowry deaths has become a matter of great concern, for the parents of the woman, legal authorities and society by and large.
Now not a day passes when one does not find either in the television or in the news paper that a woman recently married has been tortured or burnt to death for dowry. Burnt cases are increasing day by day.
Sometimes, she is also driven to suicide because of want of sufficient dowry. E.T.V. Oriya (an Oriya channel in T.V.) daily shows under “CRIME FILE” such cases. Cases of bride burning, physical assault of women and victimization are rampant in the society to-day.
But most of the accused go free because of want of proof. Some are arrested, a few are prosecuted and finally very few cases are sentenced. Though there is a law called “Dowry prohibition Act 1961” it appears it has no effect on the greedy persons who want to sell their sons in marriage. In-spite of the law the problem very much exists.
The side of the bride gives and the side of the bride groom takes. Nobody complains to the police and even if a father of a bride complains about demand of dowry no action is taken or action taken is delayed and justice is denied. Dowry deaths may be more than 6000 to 7000 a year in India.
Data shows (crimes of India 1994) that while in 1987 there were 1912 cases of dowry deaths, it increased to 4215 in 1989, 4236 in 1990, 5157 in 1991, 4962 in 1992, and 5817 in 1994. Besides these, many cases of dowry deaths go unrecorded.
Similarly, according to National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs the number of cases of cruelty against women by their husband and in laws was reported to be 25946 in 1994 as against 11603 in 1983. Thus though Dowry prevention acts are there in most states and in the centre it is on the rising side day by day. According to the dowry prevention acts giving or taking dowry is an offence.
To make the provisions of law more strict these acts were amended in 1984 and 1986 and a new section of dowry murder was introduced in the Indian Penal code. The offense has been made cognizable. But unless a party complains nothing can be done.
The Indian evidence act has also been amended to shift the burden of proof to the husband and his family where dowry is demanded and where the wife dies within 7 years of marriage under doubtful circumstances. As per the study of Desai, Neera and Krishnaji, Maithreyi-published in Women and Society in India (1987) States of Punjab and Haryana occupy the top position in dowry deaths followed by Delhi.
The minimum dowry deaths are in Assam and Tamil Nadu. In the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Assam dowry deaths are very less. May be dowry deaths in these places have not been recorded and hence the number appears to be very less.
For many married girls their inability to fulfill the increased greed for money and luxurious articles like T.V., Fridge, A.C., Scooter, and Car of their husband and in laws makes their married life hell and miserable and hence they are left with the option of ending their life by committing suicide. Subsequent data show that dowry deaths are maximum in Delhi followed by Mumbai and Bangalore.
The data by the Statesman New Delhi further shows that the minimum deaths are found in Chennai and dowry deaths by and large are increasing day by day particularly in the northern part of the country compared to the southern part.
Many dowry deaths however go unnoticed because of the callousness of the police and also nexus between the police and the offenders. Sometimes the police conduct the investigation in such a manner that even the court questions their efficiency and integrity.
Characteristics of Dowry Deaths:
The major characteristics of dowry death are as follows:
(1) Middle social class women suffer from more victimization and torture compared to upper and lowers social class women.
(2) About 70 to 75 percent of the victims of dowry death come under the age range of 21-24 years i.e., young women in the beginning of their married life suffer from such violence.
(3) Dowry deaths are more found in upper caste women than lower caste women.
(4) Dowry deaths do not occur all of a sudden. Before an actual murder takes place, several kinds of violence like harassment, humiliation, victimization, minor assaults take place. Such assaults even continue for years together and one day it culminates in murder.
(5) The psychosocial factors involved in the causation of dowry deaths are anxiety and environmental stress of the in-laws due to not so good financial condition and position in the society, un-favourable familial relation and the desire to be rich overnight and earn a status in the society through easy money.
However, the psychological factors are more dangerous. Aggressive and authoritarian personality, maladjusted personality, conduct disorder, incapacity to adjust with the wife, dominant and rigid nature, prejudice towards women in general, childhood frustration’s etc. play important role in causing dowry deaths.
(6) The structure of the family also plays a vital role in homicide cases like burning the bride or killing her, unless all members of the family co-operate with each other and make a conspiracy to kill the bride, bride killing does not become easy.
It refers to beating of the wife by the husband. Wife battering is a social evil. It is even found in higher class families. Husbands of high status under the influence of alcohol beat their wives. Sometimes out of suspicion on faithfulness they also beat.
The suspicion may be imaginary or real. Husbands may commit as may adultery as possible, but they cannot tolerate wives committing a single adultery. So it is said by psychologists that man is polygamous by nature.
But nobody even the society raises a finger towards them and if the wave gathers some courage to ask him about this, the man becomes violent and attacks the wife. Society has given enough freedom to men compared to women because our society is male dominated even in the twenty first century.
Perhaps in very rare families in India violence against women is not seen. Many highly qualified people with enough prestige, dignity and bank balance, having name and fame in the society are wife batterers.
Studies and surveys show that women of all age groups, illiterate and highly educated wives, suffer from husband beating. Rather educated women are greater victims of husband beating than the illiterate and less educated wives probably because educated women protest, and challenge the injustice meted to them.
Their assertion and disobedience of the order of the husband lead to more beating. Variables like age, education, family background, family structure and socio economic status has not much correlation with wife beating. It occurs irrespective of all these factors in almost 99.9 percent families.
However younger wives are subjected to more beatings. But findings also show that the frequency of beating is more in case of illiterate and less educated women in comparison to highly educated or middle and upper class women.
Data also show while the nature of violence is minor in 10 to 12 percent of the cases, it is serious in about 85 to 88 percent of cases. The violence can range from slaps, kicks, broken backs, torture, attempted murder or even murder.
Usually Indian wives because of their cultural norm do not complain against their savage husbands as they are told and taught from early childhood that a husband is a god for her or “PATI PARAMAGURU”.
Even she reads in books where it is said that if you disobey your husband’s orders and disrespect him after life you go to hell and if you obey him, take care of him, fulfill all his needs (good and bad) you get a place in the heaven. These beliefs make them not to protest against the violence of the husband.
Some tolerate the daily beating either due to the fear of the society or because their own parents do usually refuse to give them shelter in their house permanently. In oriya there is a saying “DELI NARI-HELI PARI” i.e., once the girl is married off the father becomes free from all burdens and responsibilities. So they usually wish that even if the daughter is tortured let her adjust, tolerate and stay there.
This is an important reason the woman suffers humiliation and insult in silence and leaves it to her destiny. It is quite difficult for a woman to stay alone in the society where even violence against women is more frequent outside his home. So she prefers the first.
Though alcoholic husbands victimize their wives in a higher degree, it has been observed that most of the husbands beat their wives not in a state of drunkenness but while they are sober. The methods used in beating wives are mainly pushing, punching, hitting and kicking.
The severity of beating cannot be assessed in a society like India as there are not much arrests, hospitalization or convictions or divorce cases because of beating. However violent the beating may be the wives generally suffer it in silence. Of course the rate of divorce is increasing day by day because of violence in addition to other factors.
The important causes of wife battering are inflated ego of the husband, his inferiority complex, jealousy, suspicion of extra marital relationship, sexual maladjustment, emotional disturbances, alcoholism of husband, no protest by the wives, and their timidity. Exposure to childhood violence and assault also leads to wife beating and violation.
In a study conducted on 133 victims of battering, almost all husbands who were interviewed accepted battering their wives. Aggressiveness and lack of emotional intelligence also contribute to wife beating.
Suspiciousness, violent prone personality, suggestibility, sexually hyperactive, irrational, immoral, emotionally disturbed, jealous, possessive and unjust husbands beat their wives more frequently and without obvious reasons.
Those who are abused during childhood and suffered a lot of frustration, did not get a chance to express their reactions to frustration, so suppressed them, are more prone to wife l)eating and showing violence against wife in adulthood. Thus a person who grows up in a violent home during childhood, imitate aggressive models, see parents quarrelling often show violence behaviour as adults.
The studies of Bandura have been earlier discussed in this regard. Further studies by Scrrels (1977), Alfaro (1978), Patto, Herzberger and Holland (1979) and Fagan Steward and Honsen (1981) have pointed similar correlation between violent men and the childhood of their children. Witness of parental violence in a major cause of wife beating, 55.6 percent wife beaters were victims of childhood violence, the study showed.
Lack of attachment and want of partnership feeling leads to ill-treating and even beating one’s wife. Further long standing misunderstanding and cold war between husbands and wives, lack confidence and understanding between each other also lead to violent quarrelling and ultimately beating.
Now a day of course some percentage of women in the society have changed their old out dated out looks and started challenging the acts of evil husbands. But more and more women should come forward and protest violently against being beaten by husband. This can make men realize that women are ‘Power’.
Maa Durga and Maa Kali were after all women who saved the world from the clutches of evil demons through their power or ‘Sakti’ against men. This example should encourage women in their mission. Empowerment of women can also stop these ugly victimization and physical violence against women which is most uncivilized, barbaric and in-human. If some women start this, others will follow them.
Violence against Widows:
Earlier widows in our society were being victimized in the name of social customs and traditions. Particularly young widows without any issues were not allowed to marry and this was considered as a social taboo. Widow’s were being asked to become SATI. But now with social revolution things have changed for the better.
However, widows in the society still face several social, personal, economic and psychological problems. A widow’s economic dependence is a severe threat to his security and self image, selfesteem and sense of identity. Even old widows are pressurized to work as good as maid servants and very low status is accorded to them.
Particularly when the daughter in-laws are working women the widowed mother in-spite of her old age has to take the entire responsibility of the house starting from cooking to dropping the grand son or grand daughter in school. Widows suffer violence in silence first from their husbands and then from their sons and daughter in laws.
Violence against widows include physical torture, beating, abuse, emotional neglect, verbal abuse, backbiting, sexual abuse, deprivation of legitimate share in property and neglect of their children. More particularly young widows suffer these violence.
Many T.V. serials and Movies are found depicting the sufferings of such widows in the society. Age, education and class appear to be significantly related to the exploitation of widows.
It is observed that ancestral property is a major factor in victimization of middle class widows. Sometimes strict and aggressive mother in laws with their authoritarian personality make the life of young widows a hell by constantly and continuously showering physical and mental abuses on them.
These mother in laws probably think that their daughter in laws are responsible for the untimely death of their sons. So they start torturing them more and more.
Sexual Abuse of Women:
This will be separately discussed under criminal violence. However, sexual abuse of women under domestic violence may be said to be an important type of domestic violence.
Husbands who want to get sexual pleasure from their wives through illegal and perverted sexual activity, a husband who wants to have physical relationship with his wife as and when he desires without caring for the consent and desire of his wife, men in the family like brother in law, father in law, uncle etc. who violate the dignity of the women by trying to have illicit relationship with her, all these evils are called sexual abuse inside the family by the family members.
Even small girl children are victims of sexual abuse in a family by the relations as studies show.
- Essay on Criminal Violence:
Under criminal violence we shall discuss (a) Rape (b) Abduction and (c) Murder.
Criminal violence against women comes to our notice daily when we turn the pages of news-papers or open the T.V. The cases of criminal violence against women can be available from the records of Police Deptt. at the state level, Police Research Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs and National Institute of Social Defence at the central level. Besides this can be obtained from the National and State womens commission and Deptt. of Child and Women Welfare at centre and states.
Reports given by these agencies suggest that crimes against women are constantly increasing inspite of stringent laws to uproot such crimes. Data from crimes in India (1994) indicate that every year about 11,000 rapes, 21,000 molestations, 12,000 kidnappings, 20,000 cases of torture, 10,000 cases of Eve teasing and 5,000 cases of dowry deaths take place. This was the data of 1994.
After 10 years the number must have increased remarkably as day to day observations show. Now the total number of crimes against women in India must have crossed 1.5-2 lakhs according to my guess. Besides these recorded cases, large number of unrecorded cases on criminal violence against women is there which are not counted under the above data. People out of fear for their lives, out of loss of prestige and dignity in the society do not report many cases of violence to police.
It may be said that to-day a rape takes place in every fifteen minutes, a molestation takes place in every 10 minutes, an eve teasing takes place in every 20 minutes and a kidnapping takes place in every fifty five minutes. These are my guess made out of my daily study of reports on such violence and also my day to day observation of crime against women.
Due to the increase of crime against women government at different levels have set up Women Police stations, Mahilla Courts and Family Courts. Many Non Govt. Organisations (NGOS) are also working for the women.
Increasing awareness of people about gender parity, rights of women and increase in the assertiveness of women have probably led to more reporting to fight for justice. But till many more incidents remain unreported in the fear of social stigma and other socio-psychological factors.
Though in comparison to India rape is more serious in western countries as statistics shows rape is a serious and most heinous crime committed against women by men. When without the consent of the woman sex is imposed upon her and sexual intercourse is undertaken by force it is called rape.
Studies show that rape cases are maximum in U.S.A. followed by Canada and U.K. In comparison to this in India, the rape cases are about .05 to .07 per one lakh population. The recorded rape cases in India between 1990-1994 is about 30 rapes a day. This rate must have increased during the last 10 years as reports in news papers and television show.
Younger women are more subjected to rape than middle aged and older women. Rape is said to be highest (64%) in the age group of 16-30 years, victims between 10 to 16 years account for 20 percent of rape and victims below 10 years account for about 3 percent rape. The offenders are mostly in the age groups of 23- 30 years (crimes of India 1992).
Thus youth is the most important consideration of rape. Between these 14-15 years the case of rape victims has increased probably due to the greater exposure of women to outside world and because of suppression of sexual urges due to the restrictions of the society and lake marriage.
It is found that in tribal areas rape is rarely found because sex is not inhibited there. People of the civilized society restrict their sex desire due to social restrictions. But due to repression and suppression of .sexual urges and no canalization of the same in socially acceptable ways sex perversion increases.
Some psychologists say that rape is the action of a diseased mind which is tensed, anxious, depressed and mentally ill. A socialized normal person will not be involved in such violence against women called rape.
Kidnapping and Abduction:
Kidnapping refers to taking away of a minor (less than 18 years in case of a girl and less than 16 years in case of a boy) without the consent and knowledge of his/her lawful guardian.
Abduction means taking away a woman “forcibly or fraudulently” with the intention to seduce her to illicit sex or compelling her to marry a person against her will. In kidnapping even if the victim gives his consent it does not reduce the crime as per law. But in abduction the victim’s voluntary consent condones the crime.
Of late, abduction and kidnapping have become very frequent in India as observation and media reports show. Girl children are kidnapped either with the motive to rape them or to earn heavy ransom from their parents. Analyzing the average report of data between 1990-1994 (Crimes of India-1993) it is found that about 33 girls and women are kidnapped and abducted respectively in a day.
Due to the influence of violence and crime shown in television and movies during the last decade it is expected in the absence of concrete statistical data that the rate of kidnapping and abduction must have increased in India.
The volume of abduction in India is 2 per one lakh population as reported by crimes of India (1993). Further out of the total number of victims abducted every year only 13 per cent are male and the remaining 87 percent are females. Females are abducted mainly for the purpose of mass rape and forced marriage. Sometimes abductions are made by terrorists to serve political purposes.
Some years back when the present Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir was India’s home Minister, his daughter was abducted by terrorists and their demand was release of some violent militants who were jailed due to terrorist activities.
Only when the terrorists were released the abducted lady was released. Most of the persons arrested for kidnapping are male. The percentage of female abductors is as low as only. 04 percent. Reports also show that majority of the abductors are between the age of 18 and 30 years and only 5 percent above fifty years.
According to Ahuja (1996), the most important characteristics of kidnapping and abduction are:
(1) Unmarried girls are more likely to be the victims of abduction than the married women.
(2) Abductors and victims are acquainted with each other previously in a large number of cases.
(3) The two most important motives of abduction are sex and marriage.
In a few cases it may be ransom and economic motive Kidnapping and abduction also takes place for political reasons. In majority of cases sexual assaults may be the reason for abduction. Sometimes girls run away from home because of family torture or marriage without their consent.
Sometimes the abductors gang rape the woman and then leave her in unconscious state on the road or throw her in the jungle. Some other times the abductors do not hesitate to murder the woman after repeated rapes by several culprits.
Abduction may be made by one or two persons as involvement of more persons may be dangerous. There is usually some one behind the scene who masterminds the abduction and gives huge money to professional gangâ€™s expert in the job of abduction. Findings also show that the number of rape victims is more in scheduled caste women.
Most of the murders of women occur due to homicide i.e., the family members of the victim commit the murder. Ahuja’s study shows that in India out of about 38,000 murders committed every year about 10 to 15 percent women are murdered. Similarly out of the total persons arrested every year for committing murders of about 89,000 persons only, 3 percent are females and the rest 97 percent are males.
This data also indicates females are less aggressive and less violent than males which are also supported by general observation and empirical findings. Murderers mainly belong to low socio economic status and low income groups. Most of the murders of women are cases of homicide may be due to less dowry, extra marital relationship of the husband or the wife, property disputes, bank balance.
Insurance or any other personal gain besides rape and sexual assault. Most of the homicides are found to take place unplanned and at the spur of the moment due to high emotion or anger. Some percent of the murder are planned and usually committed by the family members.
When a wife is ill for several years and unable to fulfill the sexual desire of her husband, the husband may kill the ailing wife to marry someone else. Some such cases have also been reported in the media.
- Essay on Social Violence:
The more people call themselves civilized, educated and sensible the more sins they commit either intentionally or accidentally. In order to be civilized and socialized one has to check his wishes, desires and impulses. But these desires remain very dynamic in the unconscious level of man and always try to come out.
Thus, civilized people have more inhibition than uneducated, illiterate and poor people. Civilized people consider themselves to be very clever and cautions and engage themselves in many illegal acts to serve their own interest. Thus they commit social evils against women like forcing their wife or daughter for abortion of female fetus which is well known as female feticide.
The decrease in the number of women in the last census proves this point. Hence killing of the unborn female fetus is a most dangerous crime. Though this has been abolished by law the practice still continues behind the scenes.
Similarly eve teasing has become a common social violence. Many devils and sexual perverts wait in front of colleges and schools and mostly Women’s college and girls schools and take recourse to eve teasing.
This has become a common habit with road side Romeos. On receipt of complaints from guardians and girls themselves police use to arrest these eve teaser. Sometimes when the eve teasers are slapped by the girl or punished by law, they start taking revenge against the girl or his family members. Recently one such case occurred in Orissa.
A woman college student who slapped a college male for continuous eve teasing and harassment was murdered as a revenge. Now a days women are permitted by law to share the properties his parents and husbands. But still the male members of the family do not like to give the due to the woman and sometimes for this conflict they do not hesitate to kill the woman.
Earlier, young widows were pressed to commit Sati. This social evil has more or less extinguished due to stringent law and social revolution. But still in some remote villages in some states it still persists. Forcing to commit Sati is definitely a social violence against women.
Daughter in laws are harassed to bring more dowry from their parents and in laws take upper hand in this violence. This is undoubtedly a social violence and can only be curbed through education and awareness of women and social consciousness.
Law alone cannot prevent the dowry system. Thus social violence includes female feticide, eve teasing, no share in property to women for which they are legally entitled, harassing a daughter in law to bring more and more dowry from parents even if they are incapable to give and forcing a young widow to commit Sati.
- Essay on the Causes and Prevention of Violence against Women:
Violence is mainly a social problem and can be eradicated by reducing discrimination and prejudice against women which is again a social evil. Men and women must work together to eradicate sexual, social and domestic violence. Various data, survey reports and observation of day to day incidents support social Learning theory of violence.
The social Learning theory of violence suggests that early socialization to violence teaches the child as a technique of conflict resolution. This learning reinforces, instigates and finally motivates the child to use violence to resolve his conflicts.
Subsequently in later stages this technique of conflict resolution is used in domestic and other social violence against women and other weaker sections of the society like children, minority groups, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and backward classes. Wives are so scared of their husbands and society that they are too terrified to complain, revolt and defend themselves. Early socialization of girl children make them timid, submissive and tolerant to all social and familial evils.
Causes of Violence against Women:
Causes of violence against women may be broadly divided, may be broadly classified in to the following factors:
1. Environmental and Situational Factors:
A lot of discussions have been made earlier on situational factors as the cause of violence against women. Violent quarrel between the husband and wife, mother in law and daughter in law, brother in law and sister in law all of a sudden may take the shape of violence.
One day the husband returned from work hungry and tired and found that the wife instead of cooking food for her is sitting infront of the T.V. and viewing a movie. First there were’ some exchange of heated words after which the hungry, tired husband took away a kitchen knife and killed his wife within seconds. Change factors create such situation which leads to violence.
2. Characteristics of the Victim:
Like anger, back-biting, use of full language against the victimizer, sudden out bursts, disobedience, aggressiveness etc. may lead to violence against the victim. Sexual violence may be caused when the woman is thinly dressed.
3. Provocation, Intoxication and Hostility:
Besides victims provocation, intoxication, hostility towards women and situational urge may be important causes of violence against women. Situational urge may refer to an urge for violence due to sudden situational factors. Sudden quarrels, arousal of a sudden sexual desire at the sight of a good looking young woman in case of sexual pervert males may lead to violence.
Victimâ€™s provocation may be explained through direct invitation for sexual relations, provoking the victimizer by insulting her, by name calling, repeatedly nagging for fulfillment of some demands etc. Disobedience and argument are also direct provocations.
Besides personality factor and early childhood experiences cause violence which has been discussed earlier in the text.
More than two decades back (1980) two new approaches have been developed to explain violence against women.
Approaches to Explain Violence against Women:
1. Feminist Approach:
The first one is the Feminist approach used by Dobash and Dobash (1980) and the second one is Balance of Power approach used by Straus, Gelles and Steinmetz (1980). The feminist approach attempts to establish a link between patriarchy as a social system and violence against women.
The main argument of Feminist approach is the brutalization of individual woman in the family by an individual man is not an individual or family problem. Rather it is the manifestation of system of male domination and male chauhanistic attitude which has existed historically for generation to generation since the creation of society. It is also a cross cultural attitude.
Male dominance is exhibited in marriage, in family decisions, in wife beating, in showing power over them. Thus it is the attitude and prejudice against women and dominance of men that lead to violence against women. Women are mal treated because of time honored traditions and cultural superstitions, fixed stereotypes which are not genuine and just.
In this regard Dobash and Dobash argue that men who assault and torture women are living up to cultural and traditional prescriptions i.e., as norms of and traditions of a society.
Thus there is according to this approach high correlation between a patriarchy culture and violence against women. Kerala which is said to have been guided by. Matriarch influence violence against women is very less there compared to other states.
In Kerala 99 percent of the women are literate, more than 50 percent are economically independent and these women have right to property, they have an important say in decision making of the family and society.
Males in the patriarch culture argue that this facility to dominate women has been vested upon them by the society and culture and that they are only enforcing the cultural value of male dominance through violence against women.
Thus, this approach argues that the problem of violence against women lies in the domination of women and the solution lies in the struggle for it. In short, if male dominance can be discarded violence against women can be up rooted.
2. The Balance of Power Approach:
The balance of power approach otherwise called as the Marital Power Approach is based on marital relationship and marital interaction. It focuses on the power relations between husband and wife and the husband’s dominance responsible for violence and atrocity against wife.
Contrary to the first approach where inequality between men and women is described to be decided at the society level, in the present approach the inequality and balance of power is decided within the family.
Straus (1980) observed from his study that couples who fooled a pattern of egalitarian decision making show lowest violence against their wives while violence of husband is associated with Non-egalitarian decision making.
This approach is criticized to provide limited explanation of the violence against women since it is focused only on violence and inequality within the family only. Hence more general explanations are necessary to explain the causes of violence against women.
3. Social Bond Approach:
Ahuja (1986) has made an attempt to explain the causes of all kinds of violence against women under the one umbrella, “Social Bond Approach”.
It is a theoretical model or middle range theoretical proposition which explains both the causes of violence against women and the recurring pattern “in which particular types of people are found to commit a particular type of crime or violence against particular types of individuals in particular types of circumstances.”
According to Laxmi Devietal (1996) this model assumes the role of four factors:
(Ð°) Social norms and social organisations which socialize the individual. It is the structural view.
(b) Personal characteristics of the victimizers and the victims. It is the psychiatric view, which refers to emotional disturbances, aggressive impulses, a tendency to be rigid and domineering, a history of having been neglected and abused as a child, low self esteem etc.
(c) Interpersonal characteristics of the victimizers (Socio- Psychological view) like failure to get praise, appreciation, words of affection and polite modes of address from others, verbal threats from others and words of dislike and disapproval and frequencies of overall family interaction and lack of outside social associations etc.
(d) The ecological factors within which personal dispositions to commit violence are developed and violent situations arise. While the earlier approach of straus was very limited, this approach of Ahuja is said to very broad involving so many factors of violence. Further research in this area is necessary to adequately support this approach.
However, in addition to the above factors socio-economic and psychological dependence of women on men, illiteracy and lack of basic education, lack of education in technical subjects, indecisiveness, lack of leadership quality, docility, lack of motive to take up the issue of violence against women to police, judiciary and society, withdrawal nature all are either separately or independently responsible for targeting violence against women.
The economic, social, political, legal and traditional status of women along with their low physical condition and timid, docile and week personality, and low self concept, developed due to traditional process of socialization, make women responsible to become victims of male dominance in different situations.
Prevention of Violence against Women:
On the whole in marital violence the attitude of the husband towards the wife usually determine the course of violence. Good husband wife relationship and proper understanding between them can reduce a lot of family violence. If the husband stands along with the wife in all her adversities, he can protect her from the violence of other family members and in laws.
Learned helplessness of the girl child can be reduced through strong social support and assertiveness training. Authors, poets, novelists and historians can contribute a lot to prevent violence against women. Gender discrimination should be eradicated through early social training.
Equality of women and their strengths and achievements should be highlighted by electronic media through television, radio, movies and news papers. International women’s year should be observed in right earnest, more seminars on problems of women should be conducted. Empowerment of women through various means should be done. Active steps should be taken for empowerment of women.
- Essay on the Reduction and Prevention of Violence through Empowerment of Women:
To-day empowerment of women is necessary not only for reduction of violence and discrimination against them, but also for a better society. Since women comprise 48 percent of the country’s population as per the 2001 census, by educating and empowering them a better society can be developed and aggression, atrocity, discrimination against them can be reduced to a considerable degree.
Empowerment of women does not mean setting women against men. It is making both men and women realize their changing roles and status in the society. It helps in developing a consensus for harmonious living in an egalitarian society. Thus through redistribution of work, responsibility, decision marking roles, and by reorienting values violence against women can be prevented.
Shift in attitude to end domestic violence has been emphasized recently by a leading voluntary organisation named Oxform which launched a nationwide programme from Aug. 2004 with the aim to bring about a fundamental shift in socio cultural attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that perpetuate gender based violence.
This nation-wide programme includes NGOs, business houses and Government agencies and media and allied partners to work for the prevention of violence against women. Counselling should also be provided to women to face violence strongly.
The main objective of this programme is to go deep in to the real cause and unearth the real reasons behind gender bias. The main thrust of the programme is to trace out why women are being subjected to harassments and tortures and how to impress the masses to put a full stop to this menace of women who contribute about forty eight percent of the population.
To begin with, youths school and college going students will be utilized to reduce social acceptance of violence against women, influence decision makers at the institutional level to strengthen polices that support survivors of violence, educate and empower women to judge and differentiate between right and wrongs will be some of the main objectives of the campaign.
Books containing more and more themes related to violence against women should be written to change the attitude of people towards women. Rinki Bhattacharya, the film maker, jealous activist, writer and daughter of famous film maker Bimal Roy has contributed recently in this regard.
Her book “Behind Closed Doorsâ€”Domestic violence in India” was launched recently. Rinki Bhattacharya, herself victim of domestic violence has created this title taking much pain for over two decades. She married the late film maker Basu Bhattacharya who had a physically and verbally abusive relationship with him. Wife and mother of three children she stayed trapped in the situation for 20 years.
However her young son rushed in to protect her mother from being victimized and brutalized which gave her some hope in life. From that moment the seeds of rebellion were planted in her mind.
She says “Most women justify domestic violence in their minds, seeing themselves as less than perfect wives. They remain in abusive relationships for decades without knowing how to cope or how to escape. There is also the question of family honour and the undeniable fact that wife beating in our country has social sanction.”
She further says “Women in situations like these desperately need protection from injury, food, shelter and advice. I was no different from these women.”
Nevertheless Rinki Bhattacharya was a fighter and she fought for the oppressed women through her columns. She is however sorry to find the society’s regressive attitude that leave women with so little choice.
Her book which has been dedicated to “women trapped in abusive relationships … and those of us who escaped” has 17 very chilling narratives based on a number of case studies about women linked by a common thread of suffering some of whom take positive action.
In one story she has described how the foetus of a woman was damaged by her husband sitting on her stomach and beating her up while in another inspiring story she has penned how the parents of a married woman tortured by her husband stood firmly by her side in her struggle for survival and helped her become independent.
Books of this type are very much in need for creating social awareness in the society regarding violence against women. More and more writers should come forward with such writings and more and more surveys and studies should be conducted to change the attitude of society towards women.
It is important to note that since male supremacy is the historical source of violence, total restructuring of the society is essential. A society that is feminist, antiracist and socialistic is essential. Though socialism will not stop male domination it may be a necessary step to stop it says Susan Schester.
Material preconditions must exist to end violence against women. They are basically shelter, adequate jobs, food, free health care, child care to allow women to be independent of violent men and to help them leading a decent and respectable life in the society. To start with the process education for the girl child is essential, but not mere literacy or writing ones name or count one to one hundred.
The conflict between men and women basically arises as women depend upon men for everything. There must be an end to the dehumanized social conditions under which particularly rural women live.
It is high time there must be an end to the torture, sexual harassment, rape and other forms of violence against women. Women must come out either individually or in groups or both to fight against gender discrimination, violence and crime against them.
Women must rise to the occasion in great numbers and show their strength and power against violence. Not that women are not doing anything in this regard. Antirape movement started in 1980 has been very active since the last 10 years. Dowry deaths, brutality by police and army, rape and violence of Dalit and tribal women are the main offenses which the antirape movement is looking after.
Various gang rapes, the rape and murder in Godhra of Gujarat all have drawn the attention of various social organisations and press. The various Courts of Justice and Supreme Court of India, the Human Rights Commission, the National and State Mahilla Commissions all are alert to address the violence against women.
They are also keen to give justice to the victim and stingent punishment to the victimiser. But all said and done lots of more are to be done to free women from the clutches of devils in the FREE INDIA.