With the rise in cases of Coronavirus, cities around the world have gone into lockdown to contain its further spread. But it seems like women and children have no escape or relief from their abusers during quarantine. From Brazil to Italy, Germany to the United States, the mass efforts to save lives have put one vulnerable group more at risk.
The epidemic has had a huge impact on domestic violence. The increased threat to women was naturally a predictable side effect of lockdown. Incidents of domestic violence appear to be spiking in India as well during COVID-19 lockdown. There was a case where a young woman rushed to her mother’s place in Delhi to save herself from verbal and physical torture of her husband. But what she had hoped for was a merely a pipe dream. As the restrictions to avoid travel amid the outbreak were imposed, she had no option left but return to her husband’s house.
Statistically speaking, more than 200 million women and girls have suffered physical abuses at their home in the last 12 months. France has seen a 30% rise in reports pertaining to domestic violence ever since lockdown is imposed. Even helplines in Singapore and Cyprus have registered a spike in calls by 33% and 30% respectively. Imagine how many of those took actions and how many stayed silent. This alarming figure log only cases where women were able to seek help. Many of these couldn’t make calls as they fear being overheard by their abusive partners or stopped from leaving their homes.
The United Nations also shed light on the plight of women during quarantine and pointed out to the fact that domestic shelters are reaching their capacity or are unable to take new victims due to social distancing measures.
India’s National Commission for Women has pointed out that there has been a sharp rise in the number of distress calls during the Coronavirus lockdown. It a statement it said that “with a lockdown in place, no one to turn to and the usual services not reaching them, women and their children are forced into or exposed to uncomfortable and dangerous circumstances.” With women also losing their jobs amid the outbreak, their vulnerability has further increased.
Indian women usually don’t report incidences of domestic violence out of fear. This affects their health both physically and mentally and thus repeats the cycle of abuse. But lockdown cannot be undone till the outbreak is over or a vaccine is developed soon. What women can do in such a situation is report to the authorities about the violence or abuses they are facing at home. Fear should be the one thing that mustn’t let them continue the cycle of abuse.
How to Deal With Domestic Violence in India
If you are a victim of domestic violence in India, Here’s what you can do to control the situation-
- Call ‘100’, ‘181’ or ‘080-22943224’
- Take the help of a relationship counsellor or intimate the police, if required.
- Visit the nearest women center and report domestic violence.
- Tell someone you trust and get support from that person.
- Do not hide your suffering and raise your voice on social platforms, tag legal department, police and women helpline centers.
- NCW has launched a WhatsApp number (+91-7217735372) on which you can alert them.