India gained its independence in 1947 and the commendable contribution of female freedom fighters in this regard can’t be forgotten. Not only talking about the freedom fighters alone but the contribution of women in the society is also unmatched. But she doesn’t get her due for all the sacrifices she did since the existence of the humans and the mankind and in return gets the pain and suffering for the wrongdoings of some other person.
India has been a land where women are considered as goddesses, ‘Yatra narasti pujyante yamante tatra devta’ are some of the ancient shlokas that are enough to give an indication towards the status of women in the past. Women were considered to be the dignity and pride of the country. But now a country like India, where at some place festivals like Navratri are celebrated to please the goddess, a place where 51 shaktipiths are situated in the respect of Sati (a godess and a lady), is also a land where in every 3 minutes a crime against women is committed. And hence it becomes really important to answer this question that are women really safe in India ?
On 26th January 1950 India adopted its constitution. Constitution is the supreme law of the country that enshrines the principles of – justice, liberty and equality to all the citizens, but at the same time it provides under Article 15(3) the states authority to make special provisions for women and children.
The constitution gives several rights and remedies to the women of India- be it no discrimination on the basis of sex, or equal pay for equal work, reservation of 1/3rd seats of panchayat for women of India, and other important laws. Not only this, there are several other Acts, legislations and laws made for the welfare of the women.
Domestic Violence Act, Dowry Prohibition Act, section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act that aims at strengthening the financial position of female in the family, and Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination to Women (CEDAW) in 1993. All these Acts not only anchors the privileges of women but also secures them with the social equity provided by these articles.
The women themselves were a part of drafting committee of the Constitution. There are all means of empowering them, providing support to them but still the crimes rates against women doesn’t not seem to be controlled or lessen.
According to a survey from ‘Thompson Reuters Foundation’ India is the most unsafe country for women and is among the top 10 countries in the world. Although there were several criticism in this regard as well and many data showed that violence is not the only factor that is responsible for India topping the list of most unsafe country in the world. Some of these factors are –
Undernourishment – A high prevalence of anaemia in productive-age women is a blatant sign of how women’s health has been neglected for decades. Half women aged 15 to 49 years in India suffer from anaemia. Women of reproductive age also suffers many other health related issues and problems. Just 53 per cent of women in India have access to any contraceptive system – the lowest in the BRICS and the second lowest in the subcontinent.
Maternal Health– In 2015 45000 maternal deaths in India occurred which is 10 times more than that of China and hence maternal health is one of the major issues. Participation of women in the work force: India’s rise, though faster than its peers in the BRICS, was not equally inclusive of gender. Women in India are just a fifth of their labour-force. India is just a tad safer in its neighbourhood than Pakistan. For every Indian woman working, almost two Chinese women make up the workforce of the country.
No Sexual Offenders Registry– This is one of the major causes for the increased number of sexual violence against women. Given repeated gory crimes against women and young girls, India still doesn’t have a growing sex offender database. Over the last twenty years, identification and warning programs for sex offenders have been developed around the world.
Talking about the violence the data related to that are even more shocking. 65% of Indian men believe women should tolerate violence in order to keep the family together, and women sometimes deserve to be beaten,
In January 2011, the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) Questionnaire reported that 24% of Indian men had committed sexual violence at some point during their lives. National Crime Records Bureau statistics for 2012 to 2016 show that approximately 40% of female reported rape victims were minors and 95% knew the rapists. The rapists belonged to the “circle of trust” of extended family and friends. Young girls have nowhere to go. And many such reports and stats are there that are enough to question the safety of the women in India.
Causes of Domestic Violence
There are many factors according to many different surveys that are a reason or one of the reasons for the crime against women.
Due to changes in the society–
Many people say that due to rapid urbanisation, globalisation there has been a rapid change in the lives of the people, thinking of the people, and hence there has been a radical change in the values. These changes in turn changed the moral and psychological environment which made the culture criminogenic.
Personal and Psychological –
Men considers women to be inferior then them. Our ancient tradition is somewhat also responsible for that. Manu (the law giver) himself had written that – Drunkard or abusive a man is always meant to be obeyed by women. So due to many personal reasons, jealousy, anger against women, ego hurt the man commits crime on women.
Unemployment and Poverty–
This is one of the major causes of the crimes. Domestic crimes happening against women are major examples of the aforesaid. Unemployed husbands many a times can’t even digest a working women earning for the whole family.
It is one of the major causes as well. Person drunk is not able to control his gestures and due to frustration he finds women as the easiest target.
Misuse and non execution of law–
Many a times the people who are supposed to prevent the crimes end up helping the criminals. The legal system in India also lags somehow in punishing the criminals on time, and hence it anchors the criminals and criminals become care free as they have no fear of the punishment.
Given the fact that there is no firm analysis or information on the number of women and children who are victims of sexual exploitation for business and trafficking purposes, in India alone it is estimated to be over one million. Every now and then a new case related to rape and murder of the victim flashes on the television screen or gets printed on the paper. There are already more than 40,000 pending cases related to crimes against women in India in the district court only. There is no fear in the minds of criminals, the acts are increasing day by day and hence there can be no denying in the fact that India is becoming an unsafe place for women.
Despite having several laws and regulations, despite having social movements related to feminism, India is somehow lacking to provide safety to women. Physically and rationally, Indian women face the toughest time, largely because of ignorance and lack of evidence on valid and secured lady rights in India. The crimes that are increasing on a daily basis are indication that we need to work more upon women safety. In many parts of our country women are still seen as a burden and an economical drain as there would be so many expenses related to them. One of the major problems is that the crimes against women are condemned and justified by many women themselves. The superiority of men over women, women seen as a soft target and some other factors together creates a perception and this general perception together creates a rape culture.
Women today in India do not feel safe to roam around at night, there is always a fear instilled in the minds of women and that fear itself is a major proof that somewhere there is a loophole in either the laws or implementation or somewhere that is needed to be filled. We should make more devices tracking the location of women, create more and more awareness, and must ensure safety for women in every possible way we can.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje