Themetic-Justice

Violence against Women

 

Violence against women continues to be alarmingly high in India and elsewhere, irrespective of the religion, race, region or level of development in a particular society. Cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence against women are still common throughout India. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total of 244,270 incidents of crimes against women, including nearly 25,000 cases of rape, were reported in 2012, an increase of 6.4% over 2011. Although, the Constitution of India guarantees equality under Article 14, which states that “the State shall not deny to any person equality before law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.”, and Article 15(1) states that “the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them”, the gender inequality is still a very stark reality in the country. India was ranked 132 out of 187 countries in the Gender Inequality Index of the UN Development Programme. According to Amnesty International, several surveys show that an estimated 30.53% of women who experience sexual violence actually tell someone about the incident, but only 1% out of these end up reporting to the police, due to concerns of security, social stigma & discrimination.

The latest WHO report of November, 2014 on intimate partner and sexual violence against women indicates that violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women – are major public health problems. The report further elaborates that recent global prevalence figures indicate that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. It states that on average, 30% of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner. The report categorically underscores the fact that violence can result in physical, mental, sexual, reproductive health and other health problems, and may increase vulnerability to HIV. It identifies the risk factors for being a perpetrator to include low education, exposure to child maltreatment or witnessing violence in the family, harmful use of alcohol, attitudes accepting of violence and gender inequality and the risk factors for being a victim of intimate partner and sexual violence to include low education, witnessing violence between parents, exposure to abuse during childhood and attitudes accepting violence and gender inequality.

Additionally, in the form of global statistics the following observation and conclusions have been drawn:

The report particularly highlights that situations of conflict, post conflict and displacement may exacerbate existing violence and present additional forms of violence against women.

There could be several approaches to address the issue of VAW; IPAC focuses on women empowerment as the key area of intervention for lasting solutions to the problem of gender based violence. We consider women empowerment vital to sustainable development and the realization of human rights for all. Under this programme domain, IPAC centers on the issue of women human rights defenders, which includes safety and security of women activists, survivors of violence specially in the context of conflict situations; women in governance which also implies representation of women in political and administrative spaces, and women livelihood focusing on skill building and financial inclusion.