Prajnya’s campaign against gender violence begins

The annual ‘16 days campaign against Gender Violence’, initiated by the Prajnya Trust, a Chennai-based non-profit organisation working on issues related to peace, justice and security, began with the release of the Gender Violence in India 2021 report, on Thursday.

The report indicated the impact of the pandemic on many forms of gender-based violence over the last year. Kausumi Saha, the author and curator of the report, said that child marriage and forced marriage had been steadily rising during the pandemic owing to higher economic instability. “Children from lower socio-economic groups could not stay enrolled in schools and while more boys were pushed towards child labour, more girls were married off early. Early marriage is also a huge contributor towards the negative mental health of adolescents,” Ms. Saha said.

The report also indicated an alarming surge in the cases of domestic violence, with the National Commission for Women reporting nearly 2,300 complaints of domestic abuse filed between January and May 2021, which is the highest since 2000. “The increased cases of domestic violence was referred to as a ‘Shadow Pandemic’,” she said.

With an increase in the use of technology -- right from work shifting online, and online classes in schools and colleges, cyber harassment and violence too saw an upsurge. “When online platforms were being used to put the word out about hospital beds and oxygen cylinders needed during the second wave of the pandemic, we saw instances of numbers being misused,” Ms. Saha recalled. The report also, notably, shed light on the increasing number of killings committed in the name of honour.

Looking at how much more intersectional the report can be made in its approach, Prajnya included a new chapter on gender-based violence against Dalit and Adivasi communities. Ms Saha said that the findings indicated low conviction rates as well as ineffective implementation of the SC/ST act.

Speaking on the occasion, Rukmini Sen, professor in sociology, and currently Director, Outreach and Extension Division and Centre for Publishing at Dr B. R. Ambedkar University, who was a special guest at the virtual event, said that it was equally important to foreground the importance of care and support that is needed as they all engage with violence and address it.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 11:00:11 PM |

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