Bailancho Saad (BS), a women’s collective which has been taking up women’s issues for over 20 years, has observed that violence against women has become more cruel.
At a presentation on International Women’s Day on Friday, it cited an example where a policeman poured hot water in his wife’s ear and another attacked his wife with a “koita” (sharp domestic knife), resulting in deep gashes on her legs.
A study titled “Rough justice for women: fact file” brought out a gross under-registering of cases pertaining to violence against women by police stations.
Sabina Martins of the BS made the presentation of the findings of 300 cases that the group was seized with.
A comparative study of cases registered at police stations and taken up by BS, revealed that there was under-registering of cases by the police. For 2012, no dowry cases were registered whereas the BS received six cases. The police registered two cases of domestic violence, while the BS had 37.
Nearly 62 per cent assistance-seekers sought help in matters of domestic violence. The maximum cases were of women deprived of their possessions and the right to stay in their houses by alcoholic husbands. Nearly one in three abusive men evicted their wives, one in four had extramarital affairs,15 per cent abandoned their wives, and 17 per cent failed to provide maintenance to their wives and children.
Later, speaking on behalf of domestic workers, Gracy Barbosa lamented that domestic workers were not recognised as workers to avail themselves of benefits given to other contract workers. Despite the Domestic Workers’ Movement and the BS giving representation to labour Commissioner and Labour Minister to include them as workers in Minimum Wages Act, nothing was done.
Pushpa Pilarnkar cited the difficulties faced by BS volunteers when they go to police stations with women. Some of them are treated badly. She said that when police are cooperative some action is taken. They resent when women seek help from the BS. These attitudes need to be changed, she stated. The study has spoken of the State government’s failure to adopt a right approach to problems at times. For instance, it criticised a social welfare scheme of the Goa government — Ladli Laxmi — which gives Rs.1 lakh to a girl child at the time of marriage to ease the “burden” on parents. “It does not question but reinforces the concept of burden and hence provides money to institutionalise the dowry system,” noted the study.