THE SILENT ABUSE OF WOMEN

By Aditi Arora

(09/09/2020 18:00 IST)

"My silence had not protected me, your silence will not protect you"

-RACHEL CARSONS

Silence is what allows people to suffer without recourse, allows hypocrisies and lies to grow, crimes go unpunished. Here we are discussing that" silence" which prevails in society aloof. Ironically enough when I was young I was reminded again and again that -"SILENCE IS GOLDEN". Later, everything changed. Silence equals death. Silence is the ocean of the unsaid, the unspeakable, the repressed, the erased, and the unheard. It surrounds the scattered islands made up of those allowed to speak and of what can be said and who listens. And here comes "THE SILENT ABUSE OF WOMEN".

Behind the doors, THIS happens. Here by "THIS" I mean the silent abuse, the domestic violence, every time I switch on to News Channels, front being highlighted with rapes news, harassment, pestering, badgering and the list goes on. For violence to be "domestic”, it doesn't have to occur at home ,it could be anywhere say it your workplace, school bus, market, home etc. who try to power you, control you.

Domestic violence is not simply an argument. It is a pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Abusers use physical and sexual violence, threats, emotional insults and economic deprivation as a way to dominate their victims and get their way”.- Indian Journal of Community Medicine. This control or abuse is further expressed like this :-

Economic abuse -Abuse when one intimate partner has control over the other partner’s access to financial resources.

Spiritual abuse -Capacity of damaging the central core of who you are.

Physical abuse-Being hurt or threatened.

As victims adapt to abusive behavior, the verbal or psychological tactics can gain a strong ‘foothold’ in victims' minds, making it difficult for them to recognize the severity of the abuse over time.” (Witness Justice, MA, USA)

Abuse is a traumatic event in anyone's life, not only INDIA is suffering this is a disease all over the world .Considering the case of planned rape of eight-year-old Asifa in a temple by several men, including a policeman who later was particularly horrific. Asifa’s rape has outraged and shaken the entire country!

Talking about our own democratic India, there are many such cases, considering cases like Nirbhaya,Ajmer rape case, Unnao, Hyderabad and so on ,list is so long and no more surprise as cases are doubled up since 2017. Yet sexual abuse in India remains widespread despite tightening of rape laws in 2013. According to the National Crimes Records Bureau, in 2016 the rape of minor girls increased by 82% compared with the previous year. Chillingly, across all rape cases, 95% of rapists were not strangers but family, friends and neighbors. THIS IS THE COUNTRY WE LIVE IN, PROUD ENOUGH TO SAY THAT? India has been creeping up the policy agenda over the past couple of years. And with substantial data, it proves one thing: rampant domestic violence against women in India is a reality. This thing again highlights taking side of abuser that if crime has been happened then you (women) were careless. This is the main reason women don't report .Blame is pushed to victim. Then they ask (society) OH! What were you wearing? The end of story ....Victims are afraid of COMMUNITY.I REPEAT! The utmost Justice they will get is asked to marry Victim.

Last week, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the country into a lockdown, a woman called a helpline number. Her in-laws had threatened to throw her out if she coughed. Another woman locked herself inside a room after her husband slapped her. Scared, she didn't open the door till the police arrives. There is a ticking bomb in already abusive homes. Unfortunately, stories are like these are Norms.

The survey has found that every third woman suffers from physical, social and economic abuse since the age at 15 and the most suffered are married ones because in that case THE MONSTERS are at home in form of husbands. It is worldwide epidemic, this social disease has quietly weaved itself into the fabric of our society!

Recently a hashtag #MeToo broke the silence on sexual abuse.

There is song on METOO being heralded across the land, echoed on social media. Thousands of women from across the world flooded social media with accounts of being sexually assaulted and molested.

As more and more people started coming out with their accounts, the topic was trending, giving away how much it affects the lives of thousands.

“Couldn’t begin to count the # times or men-far too many.

Some users posted poems running into four lines or a page, telling their stories of being abused at home, at work and on the roads. Others stood with the victims with resilient words: “It isn’t your fault. The reason being because we as society believe in such norm that-If I don't see your pain, your pain doesn't exist!

If being fat made it hard

Being black made it hard

Being young made it hard

Being silent too made it hard

Abuse has the power to belittle, demean, intimidate and eventually silence women.

Being unable to tell your story is a living death.

Assertively saying that we all live in 21st century where women are still considered the weaker section of society. There is always upper hand of man who rules ,we still have guts to talk about WOMEN EMPOWERMENT; we do talk a lot about it .On 8th march we celebrated “International Women's Day” to give honor and respect to all women .But my question to you is do Women really get that honor and respect?

Moving to another sequel, few days back I came across the tale of Vox by Christania Dalcher, which stated that the premise of Vox is females are limited to speaking 100 words a day. Women and girls, even babies, wear counters around their wrists that are trained to their voice and count every word they speak. If you speak more than your allotted amount, you receive electric shocks, increasing with each infraction. I must say we have prerogative to use our voice, considering lucky enough to raise our voice and our words. Make optimum use of your democratic right “FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION"

"When whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful"

-Malala Yousafzai

Quiet is to noise as silence is to communication. The quiet of the listener makes room for the speech of others, like the quiet of the reader taking in words on the page.

In January, India implemented its first law aimed at tackling domestic violence (The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005) to protect the rights of women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It also defines repeated insults, ridiculing or name-calling, and demonstrations of obsessive possessiveness and jealousy of a partner as domestic violence. The big challenge in front now is to enforce it in true sense. Instead of focusing on deciding the number of consequences for the culprits, our policies should be more victim centered and ensure sensitive delivery of services in nonjudgmental manner.

You and me are Change. Come out of darkness, hiding in shadows, come and let’s curb Ignorance. Ignorance is not bliss, its poverty, its devastation. The need of the Hour is to raise your voice and talk out loud to world, don’t stay behind Doors. Women need to be free not Fearful!

To put it into nutshell I would like to conclude my words -"Being silent doesn't make it hard only it makes it worse, it is a culprit freedom to commit freely, and move freely in society. And the silent scars sometimes take longest to fade.

About Authors.

Aditi Arora

Desk Editor

References.

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