In a country, where the patriarchal mindset is prevalent since time immemorial, it is not surprising how women are struggling with emotional & physical abuse during the lockdown.
In the recent turn of events, when our country announced a nation-wide lockdown to combat the coronavirus, hardly we were aware that this will result in a rampant increase in domestic abuse.
Living in Pitampura, Delhi, this 29-YO woman never knew that even after being educated and independent, she would become a victim of domestic abuse.
A verbal spat with her husband turned into physical abuse for this 29-YO IT consultant. This reflects how women in India are being hit by lockdown in the worst way possible.
This 29-YO works with an IT firm and her husband is a businessman. Their life took an ugly downturn post lockdown. Post lockdown the couple hasn’t stepped out of their two-BHK flat.
Her 32-year-old husband’s garment business is shut and she is continuing to work from home. Like many wives across our patriarchal society, she feels that she is overburdened. With no maid or cook available, she is tied up with both office work as well as household work.
In the midst of this overburden, she shares how she has to face the brunt of her husband’s frustration as well. While sharing her ordeal with one of the counselors, she mentioned:
“He broke my mobile as well. Fortunately, the mobile is working but the screen is broken.
I agree he is tensed as his work is shut, he has to pay the rent of his office as well as the house and the salaries of his employees, but it does not mean he will take out his frustration on me.
Post lockdown, he has started getting angry on petty things, he abuses and the other day he slapped me.”
Though it is sad what this young woman is going through, what is sadder is the fact that she isn’t the only victim who is facing harassment and violence at home since the announcement of the lockdown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25.
As per the sources, in just one week (from March 23 to April 2), National Commission for Women has received a total of 257 complaints including 69 domestic violence complaints. In Delhi, 37 complaints have been made to the NCW.
The commission further added that this number is almost double the complaints of domestic abuse they received earlier in the month of March before COVID-19 took center stage and India entered the times of isolation.
As per their own data, between March 2 to March 8, they received 30 complaints as opposed to the 69 since the day after the ‘Janata Curfew’.
After receiving a lot of these complaints on her personal email ID, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma shared:
“Today, I received a complaint from a woman in Nainital, who says her husband has been beating and abusing her. But because of the lockdown, she can’t travel to her maternal home in Delhi. She doesn’t want to go to the police because she says if they take her husband away, her in-laws will torture her.”
In addition, women rights activists said they have also received numerous complaints of domestic violence from women since the enforcement of the lockdown.
Ranjana Kumari, the director of the Centre for Social Research said everyone is at home due to the lockdown and women are not getting the courage to contact for help. She further added:
“It is not a good situation for women.”
It is heartbreaking to see how lockdown has hit women with abuse, overwork, and pain. In tough times like these, it is sad and depressing how women are facing the ugly face of our patriarchal society.
Times like these are a clear reflection of how patriarchy, which is deeply rooted in our mindset, can leave even educated and independent women helpless and hopeless.