‘UP ranks first in gender-based violence’
LUCKNOW Uttar Pradesh ranks first in gender-based violence in the country. NCRB statistics also show that domestic violence, sexual violence, kidnapping and abduction are the highest contributors to crimes against women, said Renu Mishra, executive director of Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives (AALI).
India continues to fair poorly internationally, when it comes to women’s rights, with the global gender equality index ranking the country 95th out of 129 countries, behind countries like Ghana, Rwanda and Bhutan, she said on Sunday.
“Women constitute half of India’s population and they demand their right to live a violence-free life,” said activists on the eve of International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women.
The day also marked the beginning of a 16-day activism campaign, a global movement to raise collective voice against gender based violence.
Addressing the media, activists (caseworkers) shared some of the challenges they faced while helping survivors get their rights and justice, especially in cases of sexual violence. They also put forth a list of recommendations for the state to implement.
AALI shared that between January 2018 and August 2019, grassroots caseworkers in Uttar Pradesh intervened in 76 cases of sexual violence. In 41% of these cases, the survivors belonged to Scheduled Caste and 53% belonged to Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
The data also highlighted that the police posed major challenges for the survivors in 41% of cases of sexual violence and in 54% of the cases, survivors had to face pressure from their families and community and threats from the accused.
Grassroots women’s rights activists working with women survivors of sexual violence shared their experiences with the media.
Jyoti from Sagar Society, Jaunpur said: “Dalit women who go through sexual violence are put under immense pressure to not take their cases to the police. Especially in cases where the accused belong to ‘higher’ castes, there is an attempt to influence the matter at the level of the police too.”
Neetu, a women’s rights activist working with Samudayik Kalyan evam Vikas Sansthan, Kushinagar, shared: “The police are apathetic in cases of sexual violence. Getting FIRs registered is a struggle and the laxity in investigation is evident. Because of such delays, sometimes critical medical care is denied and important medical evidence is also lost.”
* The state must strive to fulfill its obligations under the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically towards Goal 5 (gender equality) and Goal 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).
* The police must be sensitised towards cases of sexual violence. Regular procedural trainings must be held for the police and non-negotiable strategies should be shared with them for interventions in cases concerning the top 3 contributors to crimes against women through standard operating protocols.
*Clear guidelines must be made for registering complaints against the police under Section 166A(C) of the Indian Penal Code that makes such provision in case of delay or denial of FIR by the police for cases of sexual violence.
* The health sector must prioritise violence against women as a health concern. Compulsory screening must be held for sexual violence in cases of domestic violence and also in other cases of gender-based violence.
Courtesy : HT