IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, recently conducted #WebPolicyLearning | Ending Violence Against Women: Awareness of Laws and Policies in India | A Four-Week Online Certificate Training Course.
Dr Ranjana Kumari, Director Centre for Social Research India, one of the experts, has shared her insights and deliberations on the course.
Violence Against Women (VAW) is a global issue recognised as a violation of human rights and a public health problem by the UN and WHO. It includes physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse with severe consequences for women’s physical, mental, and reproductive health. VAW affects women of different backgrounds and intersections of oppression. It also has significant economic consequences. Men and boys can help prevent VAW by challenging harmful gender stereotypes and promoting gender equality. Survivor-centred prevention and response efforts, international cooperation, and changing societal attitudes are crucial to address VAW comprehensively.
Measures adopted in India to end VAW
In India, several legal safeguards and other measures have been put in place to prevent and address VAW. One of the most significant measures is the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. This act provides legal protection and remedies for women who are victims of domestic violence. It includes provisions for protection orders, residence orders, and monetary relief for victims.
Additionally, the Indian Penal Code has several provisions that criminalise various forms of VAW, including rape, sexual harassment, stalking, and acid attacks. The Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013, which was passed in response to the Delhi gang rape case, also introduced several amendments to strengthen the existing laws related to VAW.
Apart from legal safeguards, there are also several other measures that have been taken to prevent and address VAW. One such measure is the establishment of One Stop Centres (OSCs) across the country. These centres provide medical, legal, and counselling support to women who are victims of violence.
Several campaigns and initiatives have also been launched to raise awareness about VAW and change societal attitudes towards women. For instance, the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign aims to improve the status of girls and women in India through education and empowerment.
Why VAW continues to be a pervasive problem?
However, despite these measures, VAW continues to be a pervasive problem in India. One of the reasons for this is the lack of implementation of these laws and measures. Many cases of VAW go unreported, and even when they are reported, the legal system often fails to provide justice to the victims.
Another reason for the persistence of VAW is the societal attitudes towards women. Many people in India still hold patriarchal and misogynistic beliefs, perpetuating violence against women. To address this issue, it is important to enforce the laws and work towards changing societal attitudes towards women.
Simon de Beauvoir was a feminist philosopher who wrote extensively on gender; her work focused more on the social construction of femininity and women’s position in society though she did not specifically address violence against women (VAW) in her writings. However, she did write extensively about women’s oppression and the need for women to have equal rights and opportunities as men. One of her famous quotes related to women’s oppression is, “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman,” which emphasises the idea that gender is a social construct and not a biological given.
VAW is a serious issue requiring a multi-faceted approach. While legal safeguards and other measures are important, it is equally important to work towards changing societal attitudes towards women. Only then can we hope to create a society where women are safe and treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.
The issue of violence against women in India is a complex and deeply ingrained problem that requires a multifaceted approach to address. The course highlights the need to recognise that despite the existence of various laws and policies, the incidence of violence against women in India is still alarmingly high. This shows the need for a deeper understanding of the legal system and its implementation, as well as the need for additional measures beyond the law.
Research shows that violence against women in India is a widespread problem that affects women across all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. According to the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4), 30% of women aged 15-49 in India have experienced physical violence since age 15. Furthermore, the survey also found that 1 in 3 women have experienced emotional or sexual violence by their partners.
The course emphasises the need to address social and cultural attitudes towards women, which are deeply ingrained and contribute to the perpetuation of violence against women. Research shows that these attitudes are often deeply rooted in patriarchal norms and beliefs that promote the idea of male superiority and the subordination of women.
Education and awareness are crucial in addressing the issue of violence against women. The course provides a comprehensive understanding of the various forms of violence that women face in homes and public spaces, the available legal remedies, and how these laws operate. However, research also shows that there is a need for greater awareness and understanding of these laws and policies among both women and men.
The course highlights the need for all members of society, including men, to actively work towards ending violence against women. Research shows that engaging men and boys in efforts to end violence against women is crucial, as they are often the perpetrators of such violence.
Key takeaways from the four-week online immersive training certificate on Ending Violence against Women: Legal Awareness and Policies
Firstly, we must recognize that despite the existence of various laws and policies, the incidence of violence against women in India is still alarmingly high. This highlights the need for a deeper understanding of the legal system and its implementation, as well as the need for additional measures beyond the law.
Secondly, we must understand that violence against women is a deeply entrenched social issue that requires a multifaceted approach to address. This includes addressing social and cultural attitudes towards women, providing education and awareness to both men and women and creating safe and supportive environments for women.
Thirdly, we must recognize that the responsibility for ensuring the safety and well-being of women does not solely fall on the shoulders of women themselves. It is the responsibility of all members of society, including men, to actively work towards ending violence against women.
Also, the course provided a comprehensive understanding of the various forms of violence that women face in homes and public spaces, the available legal remedies, and how these laws operate. It also stimulated thinking about fundamental questions on how to ensure women’s safety and the need for separate laws to deal with crime against women. The sessions were conducted by experts in the field who shared their valuable insights and experiences, making the course a truly enriching learning experience.
In conclusion, the Four-Week Online Certificate Training Course on ending violence against women in India provides valuable insights into the complex issue of violence against women and the need for a multifaceted approach to address it. The course emphasises the need for education and awareness, the importance of addressing social and cultural attitudes towards women, and the need for all members of society, including men, to actively work towards ending violence against women.
Lastly, I encourage each and every one of you to continue your learning and advocacy efforts beyond this course. Whether it is through volunteering at a local NGO, spreading awareness among your peers, or advocating for policy changes, we all have a role to play in ending violence against women in India.
As an expert in the field of ending violence against women in India, I am thrilled to be part of this Four-Week Online Certificate Training Course. I believe that education and awareness are crucial in addressing the issue of violence against women, and this course is an excellent initiative towards that goal.
I appreciate the effort put into organizing this event and bringing together a group of experts to share their knowledge and experiences. I am confident that this course will be valuable to the participants and will contribute towards building a safer and more equitable society for women.
Thank you for your participation in this course, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours to end violence against women.