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Aabha Pawar
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Violence against women and girls may be a hidden global crisis which knows no boundaries of geography or culture. But, marginalized women, like poor women and girls, are presumably to experience it, most frequently at the hands of their husbands or partners.
Many perpetrators believe that violence toward women and girls is normal or appropriate behavior, supported by society. They feel that they will commit violence without disapproval.
Women in India continue to be exploited “from womb to the tomb”. While in womb, they continue to face the ever looming threat of foeticide and after birth, they are subject to various forms of violence and harassment at different parts of their lives, at the hands of various actors, starting from their parents to their husbands to the members of general public to their employers.
Nevertheless, the work environment is changing. Women, now, are gradually entering occupations that have hired mostly men. Infact, India has the world’s largest number of professionally qualified women, has more female doctors, surgeons, scientists and professors, but, even after all of this, the harsh reality is that the patriarchal mindset of our so called ‘modern society’ still places ‘wifehood’ and ‘motherhood’ as a woman’s most significant professions.Some may argue, that this thinking is not that relevant now a days, so let’s do a reality check. Suppose both parents in a family, are full time office goers, and return at home around the same time, but only the mother is expected to bear the mantle of completing all the household chores as soon as she is back. Why is it that we never ask our fathers what they decided to cook for the family on their way home? Quite modern, right?
A popular adage among the working women goes as ‘A women has to work Twice as hard to prove that she is half as good’ sums up quite appropriately the general bias of the society.Workplace violence, unequal pay, verbal abuse, bullying are just some of the few atrocities working women face on a daily basis.
Every single day, single women, young girls, mothers and ladies from all walks of life are being assaulted, molested and violated be it on the streets, conveyance or public spaces. While the ones who have gone through this “weep in disdain”, the rest fight their way to a basic life with dignity.
We don’t need to look at any statistics to confront the horrid truth. Stories of women from all over India being raped, beaten, killed appear right before our eyes, everyday.
Domestic violence, dowry death, sex trafficking, you just name it, we have lakhs of ‘pending’ cases that drag for even decades,with the victim not even getting proper justice.
Though some initiatives like G-auto model of Ahmedabad and Pink Auto initiative of Govt of Odisha do provide some protection, but we still have a long way to go before we shed this dubious distinction of being one of the most unsafe places for women.
We can change the harmful beliefs at the core of this problem. What was learned can be unlearned. It is time for us all, women, men, girls, boys and key public actors to finish violence against women and girls.