The domestic violence toll among women in India is horrifying. The amount of complaints filed by the women in India during the four phases of the lockdown is more than recorded in a similar period in the last 10 years.
Social media is flooded with appalling videos either of men trashing their wives or women committing suicide. Women are getting tortured or gang-raped in almost every city in India and to be honest there are only a few cities that are actually safe for women in India.
India was ranked fourth in 2011, the last time the poll was conducted, whereas Pakistan was ranked 6th. India is perceived as having the worst record for sexual violence, harassment from cultural and traditional practices, and human trafficking, meaning it is now considered the least safe country in the world for women.
So, where it all started? Twenty-five years ago Indian parents began a social policy of desiring only sons. So tens of thousands of Indian parents who gave birth to daughters murder them within the minute they were born. At that time American sociologists warned India that a continued policy of reducing the female population would create a testosterone-driven, violent society in family-level turmoil. Today United Nations has declared India to be the worst country for women on Earth. As they were either murdered or raped by a gang of angry men who don’t have enough females to court and marry.
I came across the term “femicide” while reading an article about Brynglas, Cwmbran, UK. The problem there seemed “a largely irrational anxiety”. But the numbers are increasing and many cases are dismissed as accident and remains not investigated. And those are the reported cases, with many I am sure going entirely unnoticed. I realised that I had understood the concept of men killing women way before I came across a term defining it. Femicide is sex-based hate crime term which is intentionally killing of women or girl because they are female.
Indians are doing it since 30 years ago. As years have passed the cases of femicide have decreased but rather than using the term “decreased” it would be replaced by “rapes” and “domestic violence”.
Growing up as a women in India involves subtle and explicit lessons on how to deal with men, be at home or streets. Keep your gaze low, don’t talk out of turn or at all, give way when walking in public space don’t return a stare and always remember the duty of protecting your man’s ego by living as humble as possible.
Women and girls are taught to walk on eggshells around men while men and boys are taught to give full vent to their feelings when slighted, whether real or imagined. It is perfectly normal for men to feel entitled to murderous rage against women and the validity of that rage is also for them to decide, it is always the women who are criticized.
This created a gender-biased society where men are given the upper hand and developed a culture of violence on women.
As the years are passing by, a depressing number of cases of violation against women, increasing have accrued in my head, poking holes in my consciousness. It makes me think – what is the price of a woman’s life? It seems that brutally, mercilessly killing women is one of the easiest things to do in the world. Why is that? What exactly is the position of a woman in this world? Women were taught to prove their ‘worth’ to access any ‘value’. But what value does all their labour come up to? How much of it is enough to save them from being murdered or raped?