Domestic violence has not ceased even after the passage of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. Insensitivity and apathy of the police towards the victim, insufficient funds to sustain the machinery of workers, etc., have been cited as some reasons. A financially independent woman not only experiences less violence at home but also participates in decision-making. So, more than insisting on the effective implementation of the law, we should give importance to liberating a woman from the shackles of ignorance and dependence.
No law can curb domestic violence because it is confined to the four walls of the house. Even in the most literate State of Kerala, it has not been possible to implement the law on domestic violence effectively. The State Women’s Commission formed block-level committees comprising persons of known integrity to help the Protection Officers. But it has not had much of an impact. Also, people are reluctant to interfere in homes where women are subject to violence. So it is not the law but our age-old patriarchal culture that is to blame for increasing incidence of domestic violence.
There is no dearth of laws in our country. For them to have effect, the criminal justice system needs to work. There is a need to look at the social conditioning of women that leads them to often withstand abuse without complaining. It is ironical that we talk of justice for the victims of domestic violence when no politician is willing to confront the issue of honour killings. In a country where a girl is murdered in front of 200 people and there are no witnesses, it is a pipe dream to expect the law to come to the rescue of those battered indoors. Given the odds, women will have to fight on their own. Education, economic freedom and co-operative solidarity are the best weapons in their armoury.
In order to protest against domestic violence and stand up for their rights, women need to become independent, both financially and psychologically. In most houses, the man is still the only earning member. This is the major reason poor, illiterate women are unable to protest against injustice. Enacting laws is welcome but we also need to ask ourselves why domestic violence is prevalent in India even today.
Education is the first important step in the direction of protecting women from violence. The poorest and the illiterate are the real victims. The true purpose of the laws seeking to protect women will not be served until the poor women are benefited by them.
Many rural and uneducated women do not know that laws exist to address the trauma they face in the form of domestic violence. It is, therefore, important to create awareness on the law among the vulnerable sections.
T. Kiran Kumari,
Except for the educated elite, not many know a law protecting women from domestic violence exists. Although there is a specific provision in the law for its wide publicity, our governments are yet to act on it. As a result many, including some belonging to the legal fraternity, are unaware of the Act or whom to contact to redress grievances. It is time to give wide publicity to the Act and make adequate budgetary allocation for its effective implementation.
H. Imthiaz Ahmed,
To a large extent, cruelty against married women is linked with the problem of dowry. Amid laws which exist in abundance, atrocities against women continue to take place. It is social and economic empowerment, rather than a weak law-enforcement mechanism, that will protect women better.
Procedural complexities of the justice system, apathy of the administration towards victims, the absence of protective mechanism to protect the complainant, and the inability of our women to break the family barriers to register complaints against their relatives are some reasons why the law on domestic violence has not served its purpose.
Surendra V. Azad,