Smriti Irani claims domestic violence didn't increase during lockdown
Locked down India became disastrous for some women, who had to share the same roof with their abusers round the clock. Several reports suggested that domestic violence saw a spike after March when restrictions were enforced to contain coronavirus' spread. But Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani, on Sunday said this wasn't the case and that women's helplines were working.
Addressing a virtual TiE talk event, the parliamentarian from Uttar Pradesh's Amethi said not every man beats a woman in the house. The BJP leader claimed that there was some "scaremongering done especially with some development partners who are in the NGO sector that 80% of women who are now at homes in India or across the world will be getting beaten up".
When told that women weren't able to lodge complaints, Irani said this wasn't the case. "Every state has a police line functioning. We have one-stop crisis centers across every district of every state," she said. "I without revealing the faces and names of women that we have rescued, have state by state, district by district rescue rehabilitation details of every individual victim," she added.
Asserting that not only women but children were rescued too, she claimed, "In fact, so far as the numbers go, I have 35 helpline numbers across all states apart from a central number that has been functioning fully throughout the lockdown period."
By denying a spike in domestic violence cases, Irani has refuted all data which show otherwise. In fact, just last week, Justice NV Ramana, the second-most senior judge in the Supreme Court, noted that the pandemic "affected rights of women, children, and senior citizens". He said it came to SC's notice that there was a rise in violence within families.
On a related note, the National Commission for Women (NCW) also received a higher number of complaints from women regarding domestic violence. In April and May, the body received 3,027 complaints of crime against women across 22 categories. The maximum, 47.2% (1,428 complaints) were concerned with violence inside homes. From January to March, NCW got 4,233 complaints and 20.68% (871) pertained to domestic violence.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, you can call on the government's helpline number 181. Victims can also contact organizations like Jagori [011-26692700], Nirmal Niketan [011-27859158], Abhay Helpline [+91-9423927818], Sneha [+91-9833092463], or Ashraya Women's Centre [+91-8025251929]. You can also contact on 1091/ 1291, or (011) 23317004. Don't suffer in silence, contact for help.