VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN…?

It is really an Irony that since the outbreak of COVID-19, emerging data and reports from those on the front lines reveal that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence intensified during this period. While the ‘International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women’ is being observed today, it needs to be realized that amidst this growing shadow of pandemic there is a need for global collective effort to stop the inhuman treatment of the weaker sex. As COVID-19 cases continue to strain health services, essential services, such as domestic violence shelters and helplines, have reached capacity. More needs to be done to prioritize addressing violence against women in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. Everyone needs to get involved in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, an international campaign that begins on November 25 and runs until December 10, the International Human Rights Day. There is a dire need to pursue this year’s theme “Orange the world: End violence against women now!” in true letter and spirit. ‘UN Women’ provides up-to-date information and support to vital programmes to fight the shadow pandemic of violence against women during COVID-19. Although different phases of unlock passed away though taking the toll, the graph of violence against women and girls has not come down as yet with the different waves of the mutated virus anticipated. It is a fact that violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in the world today and it remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it, especially in India. In general terms, it manifests itself in physical, sexual and psychological forms, encompassing multiple forms including child marriage and harassment. The adverse psychological, sexual and reproductive health consequences of violence against women and girls affect this vulnerable lot at all stages of their life. Besides early-set educational disadvantages that only represent the primary obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls; down the line the society is also responsible for restricting access to higher education and even translate limited opportunities on ground for women in the labour market. The adverse psychological, sexual and reproductive health consequences of VAWG affect women at all stages of their life. For example, early-set educational disadvantages not only represent the primary obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls; down the line they are also to blame for restricting access to higher education and even translate into limited opportunities for women in the labour market. While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable As such the UN Secretary-General’s ‘UNITE to End Violence against Women’ campaign, a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls, will focus on amplifying the call for global action to bridge funding gaps, ensuring essential services for survivors of violence during the COVID-19 crisis, besides prevention, and collection of data that can improve life-saving services for women and girls. While several public events are being coordinated with iconic buildings and landmarks ‘oranged’ to recall the need for a violence-free future, at the same time deliberations on the issue through debates, seminars, etc will be a significant part of the programme, though these will be organized virtually through video conferencing and other digital modes in view of the COVID-19 SOPs enforced across the globe including India. Every individual being a stakeholder can ensure participation either individually or by being part of any NGO. The easiest option is to start conversation about gender-based violence using different hashtags. After all, even in a broader context of peace, progress and development nothing can be achieved by a society without putting an end to violence against women and girls.