RSTV: THE BIG PICTURE- TACKLING CRIME AGAINST WOMEN
Crimes against women have been in focus over the past few weeks, with several heinous ones being reported across the country. There was uproar in Kashmir after a 3-year-old was raped by her neighbor in Bandipora district. While the police promptly arrested the accused, protesters are demanding capital punishment in the case. Days after the gruesome crime, just 50 kilometers away in Ganderbal district, another minor was allegedly raped. Meanwhile, in Rajasthan, a young Dalit woman was allegedly raped before her husband in Alwar. On April 26, the woman alleged that a group of youth stopped the couple who were on a motorcycle and gang raped her. They also filmed the incident. Elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur, horrific details emerged of the alleged prolonged sexual assault of a 20-year-old woman who has claimed that she was thrashed, tortured and raped by multiple men over a period of years starting 2014. The woman’s husband said that the couple approached police multiple times but were turned away. These are just a few incidents that have been in the news in recent days.
International Family Day:
- The International Family Day was celebrated on 15th May.
- It highlights the importance of families as a basic unit of society. It provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting them.
- It inspires a series of awareness-raising events, including national family days.
- In many countries, this day highlights different areas of interest and importance to families.
- Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) law was enacted to protect the minors. This is one of the first laws which is gender neutral.
- The Indian Penal Code has many stringent provisions in itself. After the Nirbhaya case, amendments were made in the code in 2013 on the recommendations of Justice Verma committee. The amendments have made the code further stringent.
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act (POSH Act) was enacted in 2013 as a comprehensive legislation to provide a safe, secure and enabling environment, free from sexual harassment, to every woman.
- The last decade has seen an erosion of family values, because these days, the world has shifted to a materialistic world. It is because of this materialism that the family value system is coming down.
- People don’t have time to sit with their family members. This results in a lack of connection with their family members. Earlier we used to have the joint-family system where even if a child’s parents were away, their grandparents were there to guide them. However, nowadays in the nuclear families, both parents are working, and the first schooling which a child gets is from the family; the child learns either consciously or unconsciously from the family. When children see how their father is behaving with their mother’s, or with other family members, unconsciously the child learns from that behaviour.
- When parents do not have time for their children, they provide gadgets to them. These gadgets can either be computers, or smart phones, etc. However, they don’t teach their children as to what to watch and what to avoid on these gadgets.
- There has been an increase in the number of crimes on the minors by minors. Juveniles are indulging in crimes against minors and somewhere, parental guidance is lacking. This is in spite of the fact that technology is spread all over but the children don’t know as to how to use this technology.
- The lack of gender equality makes girls and women vulnerable to increased discrimination, violence, trafficking and other harmful practices.
- Exposure to harsh physical discipline during childhood and witnessing the father beating the mother during childhood is a predictor of victimization and perpetration of violence against his wife in adulthood.
- Awareness generation and sensitization
- Awareness about gender equality and women’s rights should be instilled in boys and girls from a very early age in order to bring about a change in the mindset of the future generation.
- Stigma attached to victims of violence should be removed by conscientising the community through outreach programmes.
- Legal literacy camps should be conducted on a regular and systematic basis at the local community level.
- List of NGOs and governmental organizations dealing with women’s issues should be made known to the public.
- Health care providers such as doctors, nurses, and other Para-medical staff should be properly sensitized to treat women experiencing violence
- Health care support
- Domestic violence should be recognized as a health issue
- The prevalence and the health consequences of violence should be documented
- Fostering Self-Employment among Women
- Self-employment is considered to be the best because it not only helps to change women’s own self perception but also helps to attain social status
- There should be a special court with a woman judge and magistrate in each district to handle domestic violence cases
- Mobile courts should be introduced as an effective strategy to provide justice to the victims of domestic violence
- Role of Government
- Government should ensure proper enforcement of existing laws.
- Women should be made aware of Women’s commission
- Offices of the Women’s commission should be opened at the district and lower levels.
- Role of police
- Police should be trained to be respectful and courteous to women in distress.
- A separate wing of police may opened for dealing with women’s issues, in all police stations and personnel of this wing should be exempted from other duties
- Role of Media
- Media should be used to sensitise the officials and the public about violence so as to develop a positive attitude towards women in general, and women victims, in particular
- Censoring of the programmes should be implemented effectively, so that violence and negative impact programmes do not get undue attention of the public
- Strengthening research and research capacity to assess interventions to address partner violence.
- We need to provide children with greater parental guidance.
- In families, there should also be a relationship of authority and respect between parents and their children.
- Women should be respected at home. When women are respected at home, then children also learn about the importance of respecting women. Parents cannot treat their sons and daughters differently.
- It is important to note that when people become isolated from the society, their minds turn to criminal activities.
- The state has to work towards making people aware of laws like POCSO Act, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act etc. The state should also make the penalties of not abiding by these laws clear to the public.
- Gender-sensitization programmes should also be started for males of family, police personnel, medical fraternity etc. Police apathy, especially when a woman approaches the police should be worked upon.
- Encourage and adopt family focused practices that promote equal access for both girls and boys to high quality education, and ensure opportunities to successfully complete schooling, and to making educational choices
- Students should be taught to engage in community activities so that they understand realities and also understand how to cope up with realities. Community get-togethers should also be encouraged so that people get to know each other. Neighbours should also get to know their neighbours. Community activities should be encouraged.
- The misuse of technology has resulted in many crimes. The right use of technology needs to be emphasized.