ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Violence Against WomenSubscribe to Violence Against Women

An Ongoing Pandemic

Domestic violence is widespread and deep-rooted in India and its ubiquity was highlighted prominently during the COVID-19 lockdown. This paper explores the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on domestic violence on women, the shifts in forms and intensity of this violence, and women’s responses through an analysis of cases of survivors that Swayam (a feminist organisation, headed by the author, working on the issue of violence against women in Kolkata) dealt with in the first half of 2020. It also evaluates the response of state agencies and the challenges faced and strategies used by civil society organisations, which, for years, have been active in working at providing and ensuring survivors’ access to support services.

The Anxious State

Strategies of surveillance of women reveal the state’s warped notion of public safety.

ILO Convention 190

The most important factor in increasing women’s employment is access to safe transport. In India, women often have no choice but to decline job opportunities that are far from home or that do not have proper transport connectivity. Forced immobility of women is a consequence of the violence and insecurity faced daily during the commute to and from work.

Dimensions of Sexual Violence and Patriarchy in a Militarised State

Enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, and sexual violence have characterised Indian military operations in Kashmir. Of these, sexual violence has been used widely to “break” individuals and communities, and as a tool for punishing resistance against violence by the Indian state. The discourse around sexual violence, however, has always revolved around women with very little focus on men and transgender persons, given the patriarchal understanding of sexual violence and power relations. A critical part of this discussion is also looking at how the patriarchal structure of the society acts as a facilitator for the effective use of sexual violence as a tool against the people. The sexual violence that is propagated and implemented by a masculine patriarchal state can be resisted well with a deeper understanding of gender dynamics.

Risk of Intimate Partner Violence and Alcohol Use

This response to "Domestic Violence and Effectiveness of Law Enforcement Agencies: A Panel Data Study" (EPW, 16 January 2016) supports the recommendation to increase quantitative research efforts in the field and apply evidence-based policy to reduce violence against women. As an example, the article presents an epidemiological analysis of alcohol as an important risk factor for intimate partner violence against women in India.

Shalishi in West Bengal

Traditional community/village level dispute resolution systems still coexist with formal processes of justice and administration. The `shalishi' is one such method of arbitration in West Bengal that has been used by NGOs to intervene effectively in settling domestic violence cases. Shalishi scores over the more formal legal avenues of dispute resolution because of its informal set up. But deriving its legitimacy as it does from the conventional norms and values of the community it works in favour of keeping the family intact, often compromising feminist notions of empowerment.
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