Top-Rated Free Essay

Violence Against Women

Topics: Domestic violence, Violence against women, Child abuse, Violence, Abuse / Pages: 17 (4106 words) / Published: Feb 27th, 2013
Violence Against Women
Research Paper


* Introduction

* Definition: Violence and Violence against women

* Type of Violence against women

* Factors Contributing to Increased Violence against Women

* Crimes Against Women’ broadly categories into two parts

* Preventive Measures to Control Violence Against Women

* Conclusion


“As long as Violence against women continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development & peace” – ( UN Secretary –General2006 )

Women throughout the world have been accorded lower status than men. Traditionally, women were expected to be married off and settle down in life. Rights of power, position and authority over women were accorded to men. Women were given a very subordinate role and status, as the socioeconomic and external conditions prevailing in ancient times were not favourable for the free movement of women. In the 21st century even though women are educated and equally participating in employment with men, still the social conventions, traditions and restrictions controlling the life of women directly or indirectly.
In the last two decades violence against women, (gender-based violence) has emerged as the most pressing and intractable social problem across regional, social and cultural boundaries. Violence against women is recognized as a serious human rights violation and a pervasive public health problem that concerns all sectors of society. Irrespective of a nation's level of development, women are susceptible to exploitation, oppression and other types of demeaning violence from men in all societies where cultural norms, tradition and the legal system endorse women's subordination to men. In the South Asian Region, violence against women begins long before they are born and continues throughout their lives. The lives of unborn girls are terminated through sex selective abortions. Every sixth death of a female infant in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan is due to neglect and discrimination. In the Region, females face restrictions in mobility, usually have less to eat than their male counterparts, are denied proper education and health care, are often forced into early arranged marriages, have few opportunities of employment and are underrepresented in the governments. All too frequently women are targets of extreme forms of aggression such as incest, rape, public humiliation, trafficking, acid attacks and dowry deaths. India is no exception. Violence against women is a common and insidious phenomenon in India. Newspaper reports in the country clearly indicate that the prevalence of violence against women is very high (Wahed and Bhuiya, 2007).
It is noted that violence is a sign of a power struggle for the maintenance of a certain kind of social order. Violence against women is not so much a question of sexuality as it is of political power, both patriarchal and other, ranging from domestic violence to the violence of state power, that often appropriate the existing patriarchal ideology to control women's minds, bodies, and psyches. Hence, it can be said that psychological illness of women or mental tensions of women are due to violence and exploitation of women in offices, families and in general the society.

Definition: Violence and Violence against women

'Violence' is an act carried out with the intention or perceived intention of physically hurting another person. 'Gender Violence' is defined as “any act involving use of force or coercion with intent of perpetuating promoting hierarchical gender relations”. Violence against women is partly a result of gender relations that assumes men to be superior to women. Given the subordinate status of women, much of gender violence is considered normal and enjoys social sanction. Manifestations of violence include physical aggression, such as blows of varying intensity, burns, attempted hanging, sexual abuse and rape, psychological violence through insults, humiliation, coercion, blackmail, economic or emotional threats, and control over speech and actions.
In extreme, but not unknown cases, death is the result. These expressions of violence take place in a man-woman relationship within the family, state and society. Violence against may be in many forms. From birth till death, women face many kinds of violence.

Type of Violence against women

Violence strikes women from all kinds of backgrounds and of all ages. It can happen at work, on the street, or at home. Sometimes, women are attacked by strangers, but most often they are hurt by people who are close to them, such as a husband or partner. The different type of violence against women is as follow:

* Dating violence * Domestic and intimate partner violence * Emotional abuse * Human trafficking * Same-sex relationship violence * Sexual assault and abuse * Stalking * Violence against immigrant and refugee women * Violence against women at work * Acid Throwing * Torture during Pregnancy * Family Violence * Abduction * Forced Prostitution
Dating Violence: Dating violence is when one person purposely hurts or scares someone they are dating. Dating violence happens to people of all races, cultures, incomes, and education levels. It can happen on a first date, or when you are deeply in love. It can happen whether you are young or old, and in heterosexual or same-sex relationships.
Dating violence includes: * Physical abuse like hitting, shoving, kicking, biting, or throwing things. * Emotional abuse like yelling, name-calling, bullying, embarrassing, keeping you away from your friends, saying you deserve the abuse, or giving gifts to "make up" for the abuse. * Sexual abuse like forcing you to do something sexual (such as kissing or touching) or doing something sexual when you cannot agree to it (like when you are very drunk).
Dating violence often starts with emotional abuse. You may think that behaviors like calling you names or insisting on seeing you all the time are a "normal" part of relationships. But they can lead to more serious kinds of abuse, like hitting, stalking, or preventing you from using birth control. Dating violence can cause serious harm to your body and your emotions. If you are in an abusive relationship

Domestic and intimate partner violence: Domestic violence is when one person in a relationship purposely hurts another person physically or emotionally. Domestic violence is also called intimate partner violence because it often is caused by a husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend. Women also can be abusers. People of all races, education levels, and ages experience domestic abuse.
Domestic violence includes: * Physical abuse like hitting, shoving, kicking, biting, or throwing things. * Emotional abuse like yelling, controlling what you do, or threatening to cause serious problems for you. * Sexual abuse like forcing you to do something sexual you don't want to do.
In the United States, more than 5 million women are abused by an intimate partner each year.

Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse is to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence. If you’re the victim of emotional abuse, you may feel that there is no way out of the relationship or that without your abusive partner you have nothing.
Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Additionally, abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence or other repercussions if you don’t do what they want.
You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with scars. But, the scars of emotional abuse are very real, and they run deep. In fact, Emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse—sometimes even more so.

Human trafficking: Human trafficking is when a person is forced or tricked into working in terrible conditions. Victims of human trafficking may be kidnapped, for example. They also may be lured with false promises of a better life in a new country. A person who is trafficked may be drugged, locked up, beaten, starved, or made to work for many hours a day. Types of work a trafficked person may be forced to do include prostitution, farm work, cleaning, childcare, or sweatshop work.
Ways traffickers control a woman may include: * Making her work to pay back money they say she owes them * Threatening to hurt her or her family * Threatening to have her deported * Taking away her passport, birth certificate, or ID card * Preventing her from having contact with friends, family, or the outside world
Sometimes, a woman may end up trafficked after being forced to marry someone against her will. In a forced marriage, a woman's husband and his family can have great control over her life. They may then place her in domestic or sexual slavery against her will.
Same-sex relationship violence: Some people believe that women are not likely to abuse each other. But experts believe that abuse happens as often in same-sex relationships as in heterosexual relationships.

A woman in a same-sex relationship who experiences dating violence or domestic violence may face many of the same issues as an abused heterosexual woman. Her partner may hit her, try to control her, or force her to have sex. A woman in a same-sex relationship may also face additional issues, including: * Fear of being "outed" as gay * Thinking that you have to be married to be considered a victim of domestic abuse * Concern that people who should help will instead be anti-gay
Sexual assault and abuse: Rape is sex you don't agree to, including forcing a body part or an object into your vagina, rectum (bottom), or mouth. In the United States, 1 in 6 women reported experiencing rape or attempted rape at some time in their lives.
Sexual assault or abuse is any type of sexual activity that a person does not agree to, including: * Rape or attempted rape * Touching your body or making you touch someone else's * Incest or sexual contact with a child * Someone watching or photographing you in sexual situations * Someone exposing his or her body to you
Sometimes, sexual violence is committed by a stranger. Most often, though, it is committed by someone you know, including a date or an intimate partner like a husband, ex-husband, or boyfriend. Sexual violence is always wrong, and a person who is sexually abused does not ever "cause" the attack. Keep in mind that there are times when a person is not able to agree to sex, such as if they are drunk or have been drugged with a date rape drug, or if they are underage. Women who are sexually abused may suffer serious health problems, such as sexually transmitted infections, stomach problems, and ongoing pain. They also are at risk for emotional problems, like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, it is important to get help as soon as possible.

Stalking: Stalking is contact from someone that makes you feel afraid or harassed.
Examples of stalking include: * Following or spying on you * Sending you unwanted emails or letters * Calling you often * Showing up at your house, school, or work * Leaving you unwanted gifts
You can be stalked by a stranger, but most stalkers are people you know, like a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend. Sometimes, a current partner will stalk you by calling very often, texting constantly, or asking where you are all the time. These may be signs of an abusive relationship. Stalking is a crime and can be dangerous
Violence against immigrant and refugee women: An immigrant or refugee woman may face many of the same challenges as any other abused woman. In addition, she may face some unique challenges, such as being: * Made to "lose face" in her community * Taught by her culture that family duty comes first * Accused of leaving or failing her culture and background * Lied to about her partner's ability to have her deported and keep their children * Told that in the United States the law says she must have sex with her partner * Told that her abuser is allowed to hit her or use other forms of physical punishment
Although immigrant and refugee women may face such challenges, they also often have strong family ties and other sources of support.

Violence against women at work: Women from all backgrounds are attacked each year at work. Among women, murder is the leading cause of death from a workplace injury. Sometimes women are attacked during a robbery. Usually, though, women are hurt by someone they know, like a co-worker, customer, client, or patient. And sometimes attacks are the result of domestic violence that spills over into the workplace.

Acid Throwing:

Acid throwing is another form of violence against women, which are increasing at alarming women, which are increasing at an alarming rate. The young and teenaged girls are victims of acid burn because of refusal of marriage and rejection of love proposal given by young man. Acid burns also taken as measures of personal revenge, family quarrel and quarrel in couple and also feuds between two families, kinship. Although laws have been made against such cruelty, the offenders are practicing very often in the society.

Torture during Pregnancy:

Bearing a child is very difficult task and causes a lot of physical strain. For the growth and development of the baby and is normal and easy birth an woman requires sufficient food, leisure which are often denied or not taken into notice in most case of joint poor family she is deprived of regular medical checkup and not getting proper medicine for keeping the baby healthy and alive. Denials of all these facilities are nothing but a stress for the women to survive to deliver the baby.

Family Violence:

Violence committed by family members within the family home is the most serious and repugnant of all types of violence. In South Asian countries where reliable, large scale studies on gender violence are available, more than 20% women are reported to have been abused by man with whom they live. Not only they abused by their husbands, but their mother-in-law, father, also physically or mentally tortures them in law, and sister in law or brother in law for dowry. This is a common phenomenon in joint poor family. The women's labour is not properly recognized not given their due share and always they are kept neglected or ignored on different pretexts. Their masters-male or female on a very trifling matter or flimsy ground also inhumanly tortures the maidservants. The tortured becomes often severe that they are succumbed to death. Battering by intimate partners, fathers or brothers; Sexual abuse of female children and young women in the household by family members; Dowry-related violence; Marital rape. Female genital mutilation and other traditional practices are also harmful to women. It also covers abuse of domestic workers including
–Involuntary confinement; Physical brutality; Slavery-like conditions; Sexual assault.


Women are helpless and suffer from a deep sense of insecurity with the increase of deterioration of law and order situation the scale of abduction has astronomically risen particularly in industrial cities where the female workers are abundant in garments factories, the abduction case has sharply increased. Not only it is confined to garments workers only, the teen aged girls are also reported being abducted from the school premises. After abduction the criminals demand a big ransom for their release. In case they fail to get ransom the abducted girls are made worst victims of sex harassment, and in extreme cases they are brutally killed.

Forced Prostitution:

This is an old practice and an evil, a social disease too. On many pretext and temptation the girl are abducted and forced to live a life of sex workers and those who control them or manage them. They are also great exploiters. They enjoy a greater shore of money earned by the sex worker and on the other hand the letters are reduced to a life of bare necessities.
Factors Contributing to Increased Violence against Women:
In recent years the incidents of women violence have increased significantly in South Asia. There are different socio-economic, political, cultural and religious components, which have contributed to the increased vulnerability of women to male violence, are as under: * Male Dominated Society * Socio-Economic Factors * Cultural Ideological Factors * Devaluation of Moral Character * Poverty Pervasiveness * Other Influential Factors
Male Dominated Society: As a male dominated society men in all sphere of their life dominate the women of Indian subcontinent. In her life cycle a women depends on father, brother, husband and lastly their sons.
Besides, they are dominated and oppressed in every sector by the male members. Owing to such dependency, the male members think that they always direct women and all services should be centered to the interest of the male.

Socio-Economic Factors: The disruption in the traditional rural economic pattern brought about by changing socio-economic processes has adverse effects on women. Both the economically and socially are vulnerable in the society. Traditional socio-cultural practices, low rate of education, lack of employment opportunity, and low nutritional and health status etc. are some of the factors responsible for holding low social and economic status, unemployment have increased the stress and tension in male-female relation in poor households and given rise to desertion, divorce and violence.
Cultural Ideological Factors: Irrespective of national affluence or level of development, women are vulnerable to exploitation, oppression and all other types of explicit violence from men in all societies where cultural norms, tradition and legal system sanction women's subordination to men. In India, an important mechanism of male dominance is the propagation of gender ideology through sanctions of religious texts and their gender-selective interpretation by the community leaders. Moreover, increasing exposure to violence through popular reading, theaters, film and TV shows, satellite culture etc. directly or indirectly encourage men to commit offences like rape.
Devaluation of Moral Character: Socio-economical conditions like poverty, unemployment etc. and political unrest tend to force young people to be involved in drug addiction, hijacking, illegitimate sex and other anti-social activities. Thus dislocated form moral courage they like to cheer up more by occurring rape violence as thrill and adventure.
Poverty Pervasiveness: Most people of the country are often victimized of due to object poverty. People in large number are live in rural areas. Majority of people are living bellow the poverty line. They live from hand to mouth. Owing to their poverty condition the rural people something tends to incest female members to workout side the home even in urban areas. In that case, miscreants allure them of job and take the opportunity of their helplessness and commit rape.
Other Influential Factors: Besides these, other influential components are responsible for the rape occurrence in the country, lack of education and awareness in case of women, gender disparity, practice of power, land dispute, illicit love affair, denial of love and marriage, opposing second marriage, expansion of political supremacy in the specific area and others, are directly or indirectly associated with criminal activities including women violence.

Table No. 1. Incidence of Violence against Women during 2006-11 and
Percentage Variation in 2011 over 2010

Type ofViolence | Cases Registered on Crimes against Womenduring the Years | PercentageVariationin 2011over 2010 | | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | | Rape | 19348 | 20737 | 21467 | 21397 | 22172 | 23582 | 6.3 | Kidnapping &Abduction | 17414 | 20416 | 22939 | 25741 | 29795 | 35,565 | 19.3 | Dowry Death | 7618 | 8093 | 8172 | 8383 | 8391 | 8618 | 2.7 | Torture | 63128 | 75930 | 81344 | 89546 | 94041 | 99135 | 5.4 | Molestation | 36617 | 38734 | 40413 | 38711 | 40613 | 42968 | 5.7 | SexualHarassment | 9956 | 10950 | 12214 | 11009 | 9961 | 8570 | -13.9 | Importation ofGirls | 67 | 61 | 67 | 48 | 36 | 80 | 122.2 | SatiPreventionAct, 1987 | -- | -- | 01 | -- | -- | -- | -- | ImmoralTraffic(Prevention)Act 1956 | 4541 | 3568 | 2659 | 2474 | 2499 | 2435 | -2.5 | IndecentRepresentationof WomenProhibitionAct, 1986 | 1562 | 1200 | 1025 | 845 | 895 | 453 | -49.3 | DowryProhibitionAct, 1961 | 4504 | 5623 | 5555 | 5650 | 5182 | 6619 | 27.7 | Total | 164765 | 185312 | 195856 | 203804 | 213585 | 228025 | 6.7 |
Crimes Against Women’ broadly categories into two parts: * The Crimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPL) * The Crimes under the Special & Local Laws (SLL)
The Crimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPL) include : * Rape (Sec. 376 IPC) * Kidnapping & Abduction for specified purposes (Sec. 363 - 373 IPC) * Homicide for Dowry, Dowry Deaths or their attempts (Sec. 302/304-B IPC) * Torture - both mental and physical (Sec. 498-A IPC) * Molestation (Sec. 354 IPC) * Sexual Harassment (Sec. 509 IPC) * Importation of girls (upto 21 years of age) (Sec. 366-B IPC)

The Crimes under the Special & Local Laws (SLL) * Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 * Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 * Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 * Sati Prevention Act, 1987

Preventive Measures to Control Violence Against Women:
All kinds of violence against women outside domain of her home are essentially administrative, police and legal matter. Voluntary organisations/civil society organisations have little role to play in this, except for mounting pressure on the official machinery to act in a non-partisan manner. Lower level officials who deal with such cases are often lured by the enticements of the perpetrators of crime and work in such a manner that is against the spirit of criminal justice. In such cases the organisations mount pressure on the officials by reporting the matter to the higher officials, or to various bodies constituted for women like National and State Commissions for Women. Of late the government has come out with woman police stations in major cities of almost all the states of the country. These woman police stations have inherent problems: their coverage is entire district; they are ill equipped in terms of communication and mobility; and their human resource is drawn from other police stations of the districts concerned. Moreover, the woman cops are not tuned to the kind of work they are expected to do – on one hand woman cops are trained to act firmly with criminals and on the other while they are in women police stations they are supposed to act with sensitivity with women. Lastly, they have to engage themselves in normal policing duties, with long stretches of working. Under these circumstances, it becomes quite difficult for them to discharge the role at the woman police station.

As far as domestic violence is concerned responses are varied and multi-layered and they are subsumed in the overall struggle for gender justice. These strategies may be broadly categorised as those that seek to prevent/eradicate domestic violence and those that react/respond to such instances. Encoded in these broad categories are a variety of responses, which may be further delineated on the basis of their target groups and their expected outcomes:

* Attacking the Roots of Violence (Preventive Measures)

* Through Theory Building

Developing a social analysis of violence through research and documentation
Understanding the extent and limits of the law and the criminal judicial system ensuring that these theoretical insights are disseminated to the field staff and social workers of the organisation

* Through Intervention Strategies

* Identifying and monitoring vulnerable families to prevent violence * Creating new options by developing skills (self-confidence, employment, Political consciousness, etc.) * Creating economic opportunities for women * Empowering women with the knowledge of their rights * Providing them with information about the various government welfare programmes and helping them to access them * Providing women with the necessary socio-cultural space to conceptualise and articulate their issues * Sensitising the community and the bureaucracy to the issue of domestic violence and its illegality * Media publicity given to the issue of domestic violence * Campaigning for gender just laws and reform in the criminal justice mechanism

Role of media to prevent Violence Against Women:
Media that includes television, radio and newspapers can play a positive role in creating awareness about the pitfalls of violence against women. Mass media’s power should not be undermined by our policy makers.


It is clear that violence against women is endemic in India. The reason is women in the country are highly vulnerable because of poor quality of life indicated by rampant poverty, lack of education, high under five mortality, poor health status, high fertility rate and high maternal mortality rate. Also contributing to the violence against women is societal mindset about women that has not changed much. Violence is perpetrated on women both inside and outside her home. The government and voluntary organizations are making efforts towards ending/minimizing violence against women. The efforts of the government are in the shape of enacting relevant legislations, issuing orders and launching various women welfare schemes. But their implementation remains tardy, as the lower level government functionaries are not gender sensitive. On the other hand the voluntary organizations are taking both preventive as well as reactionary measures. But efforts of the voluntary organizations suffer from paucity of funds and infrastructure. Yet in this rather bleak scenario, many voluntary organizations have devised several innovative strategies to combat the menace and been successful in wiping tears of violence victim women.

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