Lockdown 2020: Prevention or punishment?

Lockdown 2020: Prevention or punishment?

By Muskan Bhatnagar

What are the crimes against women? Who are the people committing these heinous crimes? What punishment do they deserve? Can these be committed even during the lockdown? We owe so many answers to the women of this country. The world is facing an international emergency right now with most of the nations being locked down, India being one of them. However, does the lockdown prevent these horrifying crimes?

Between 1 April to 15 April, when India continued to be in lockdown, the Delhi Police received 21 reports of rape."In some cases, it was rape by known persons including uncles, friends, and neighbours. We are analysing this data," a senior police officer was quoted saying. Besides these, 31 cases of molestation were also reported in two weeks. Even though there's a 42% drop in the Delhi crime rate, but a crime against women hasn't completely stopped.

A 53-year-old visually challenged woman was allegedly raped inside her flat by an unidentified man in Shahpura, Bhopal in the early hours of 17th April. The woman works as a manager in a state bank and her husband was stuck in his hometown in Rajasthan due to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.

Not only in India, but domestic violence cases have been reported all around the world during lockdown. Pixabay

How shameful can it get further? If the women of this nation can't feel safe in these times of national emergency, when the whole country is supposed to be indoors, then will they be safe ever?

The ladies who are lucky enough not to be raped are facing domestic violence. Domestic violence increases whenever families spend time together, even during festivals. Then a lockdown that began due to the apocalyptic scenario of death and disease, is the exact opposite of a happy occasion. Why do we expect abuse to not take place?

According to the data by National Commission For Women, 257 cases of crime against women for 10 days starting from 23 March to 1 April of lockdown were recorded. On the other hand, 116 cases were recorded for seven normal days from 2 March to 8 March. The ten days of the lockdown also saw an increase in domestic violence cases which rose to 69 as of 1 April, as compared to 30 cases between 2 March to 8 March.

Some reports suggest that in India, alcohol consumption by men increases violence against women. Therefore, an increase in the number of domestic violence cases and other crimes against women could be induced by confinement, stress, and unemployment which further results in the consumption of alcohol. There is also a view that the joint family system could protect Indian women against domestic violence.

The lockdown might protect women from Coronavirus but will fail to protect them from all sorts of violence.

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