Gender Inequalities

Violence against women in India is increasing according to the data released by various government and non-government organizations. These acts include domestic abuse, sexual assault and murder. Most typically, all these violent acts against women have their basis in the  long-standing gender inequalities present across our societies and communities.

Violence against women in India is actually more frequent than it may appear at first glance, as many expressions of violence are not considered crimes, or may otherwise go unreported or undocumented due to certain cultural values and beliefs.

In Jammu and Kashmir, from the past six years crime against women have been increasing. In 2019, 1602 cases of molestation and 354 cases of rape were registered by the police.

Though domestic crime and violence against women have been increasing in J&K due to various reasons including dowry, nowadays, the threat of hooliganism outside the tuition centers and schools has been a great challenge for the administration. Atrocities against the fair sex registered by police include incidents of kidnapping, abduction, rape, molestation, dowry, cruelty by husband and other crimes.

A new worry of female infanticide, the termination of a female fetus through sex-selective abortion is also fast increasing at our place. One study found that the fetal sex determination and sex-selective abortion by medical professionals is now a thriving industry here which is worth hundreds of crores.

An alarming upsurge in violence towards women, whether it is related to eve-teasing, feticide or whatever acts of violence, has created havoc in our society. For instance, the inconsiderate youngsters involved in eve-teasing outside coaching institutes do not even give a second thought about those whom they target. Just for their own fun, they put their own lives and others at risk. Their parents do not have a slightest idea for such dagger acts.

Generally, girl child is considered to be a social and economic burden and a boy is considered as an incentive to the family. We can say that our society is intertwined with various dogmas and conventions. Despite changing times when girls are significantly contributing to the society in general and their families in particular, the traditional fear that daughters are a burden continues to make poor families to go for female infanticide. This misconception needs to be removed and a girl child needs to be effectively promoted as an asset to the family which guarantees prosperity and enhances social status. The sooner we curb the menace of female infanticide, the better the society will look.

It would be unfair if the condition of public transport is not discussed here. We have the worst kind of public transport here. Girls are being teased in an overloaded bus is a testimony to the fact that we still have to go very far in bringing a change among us. Every time, we cannot blame the administration or the government, we as a society have to come forward to curb the menace. It would be in the fitness of things if people make it a point to let the women folk feel safe by protecting their rights.

Various amendments have been done in the Acts pertaining to sexual harassment and against women crime which has introduced new sections making acts like disrobing a woman without consent, stalking and sexual acts by person in authority an offense. It also made acid attacks a specific offence with a punishment of imprisonment not less than 10 years and which could extend to life imprisonment and with fine.

Reports of harassment of female employees at workplaces are not new. Though complaints have been filed against culprits in government departments for allegedly resorting to inappropriate action against lady employees, no concrete steps have been taken to mend the behavior of culprits.

In short, the violence against women causes deep physical and psychological impact preventing her to live a normal life, which ultimately impacts the health of the society. If we want to have a progressive society and achieve developmental goals of our nation, violence against women has to end.

Jazim Bazaz is a student of Kashmir Government Polytechnic College, Srinagar