Most of the crimes against women happen in their own homes. So are women really safe in their homes?
Many times when a woman is going home, we tell her to text after reaching home. To know if she reached safe and sound. Because the world is so violent and dangerous for her. But we do not ask her if she is safe at her own home.
Statistics with various organizations and police pinpoint that many girl children and women are not feeling safe at their own houses. Violence is happening against women and children in their own homes. Sexual violence, violence in the name of dowry, or at least emotional and psychological abuse. And most of these goes unreported.
Most of the time, it is a relative or family member who sexually abuses a girl or woman. The cases are huge, but they are hushed away for the honor of the family. According to a police official, nearly 40% of the reported sexual abuse cases against women are reported at their own homes or at the residence of close relatives. And 90% of child sexual abuse cases in total are perpetrated by someone they know. We are living in a world where their own fathers and uncles will sexually abuse their young girls.
And this is not something that we are not aware of. We all know this is happening and yet do nothing to prevent it or against it. What can we do anyway, right? It is happening in their houses. How can we know and prevent those?
So home is not a safe place for women. We can establish that much. The most dangerous place for women, according to a United Nations report on gender-related killing of women and girls, is their home. Of the 87,000 female homicides in 2017, 58 per cent were perpetrated by intimate partners — past or present — and family members.
One of the most common forms of violence against women is perpetrated by a male partner. This need not always result in deaths. But can happen in the form of slaps, hits, kicks and assault with a weapon. We cannot forget the fact that the criminalisation of marital rape is still under debate in India. We are living in a country where the safety of women in their homes is not given enough importance. Until someone dies, no one interferes with the ‘family affairs’.
And the pandemic situation has only just increased the dangers at home for women and girls since people are mostly at home during these tough times.
We know that it is really difficult for authorities to do anything in these situations as most cases are hushed up and not reported. It is not easy for an external organization to penetrate into family affairs and protect women and girls. However, we can start from our own homes and localities. We can protect the women and girls in our homes. Give them space to speak out about their experiences and create solutions for the problems. Promote them to contact the legal system for their assistance and take the culprits to court.