November 25 marks the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women’. The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women was issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993.
“India now has 1,020 women for every 1000 men”, read the summary findings of the fifth round of the National Family and Health Survey (NFHS), which the Union health ministry released on November 24.
It is a positive and progressive sign that the country has come a long way in the battle against female infanticide.
At the same time, when we look at the official website of the United Nations, it is shocking to notice that the number of women subjected to violence has considerably increased over the years.
The UN states that violence against women is “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. “
“Nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime. In times of crises, the numbers rise, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent humanitarian crises, conflicts and climate disasters,” says the United Nations Organisation.
A new report from UN Women, based on data from 13 countries since the pandemic, shows that 2 in 3 women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence and are more likely to face food insecurity.
“Only 1 in 10 women said that victims would go to the police for help,” the report added.
When we narrow it down to India, reports assert that incidents of violence against young girls are on the rise. With the technological and social advancements, the awareness must have increased and all sorts of abuses also must have been prevented. But the ground reality is different. Tamil Nadu lost two schoolgoing teenage girls due to sexual harassment this November alone.
Whenever such an incident occurs, there will be an uproar, the immediate circle of the victim would protest, few organisations come to the forefront, the government will take up the prosecution process and the trial would go on and on for years.
The normalcy will not be disturbed until another such incident occurs. This has been a constant loop in this country for years.
This clearly shows that there is a huge vacuum in the educational framework and the family structures, resulting in gender insensitivity so that young women are not able to tackle the violence aga9inst them such as domestic violence, gender-based discrimination, physical, verbal or sexual harassment and so on. Sensitisation on gender equality is very much needed to combat the violence against women.
To raise awareness, the UNO initiates global campaigns every year on this day and this year, the theme is “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!”.
The UN has launched 16 days of activism that begins today and will be concluded on December 10— the day that commemorates International Human Rights Day. “Several public events are being coordinated and iconic buildings and landmarks will be ‘oranged’ to recall the need for a violence-free future,” the UN announced.
“In some crisis settings, more than 70% of women have experienced gender-based violence. Yet, we have reasons for hope.
We see it in the leadership of strong and autonomous women’s rights movements holding governments and other actors to account,” Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women said in a statement today.