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Ending Gender Based Violence In India, Issues And Challenges – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

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Ending Gender Based Violence in India, issues and challenges

Session Report
Divyansh Dwivedi

#IMPRI Centre for Human Dignity and Development IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi had organised “LPPYF Law and Public Policy Youth Fellowship- Cohort 2.0 Winter’23 – Theme: Promoting Human Rights and Ending Gender-Based Violence”, Law and Public Policy Youth Fellowship, an immersive legal awareness and action research certificate training course and internship program was organized by Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), to raise the legal awareness, and appreciate learning through the renowned experts in the field.

On Day 3, our first speaker, Dr. Keerthi Bollineni, President, Vasavya Mahila Mandali, Vijayawada, initiated the session by talking about the topic, “Ending Gender Based Violence in India, issues and challenges.” While enlightening us about the concepts of what constitutes gender-based violence, the session by her was primarily centralized towards crimes committed against women, based on gender issues, that is still considered as a taboo topic in India.

Gender Based Violence- Issues

Ending gender-based violence in India is a complex and multifaceted challenge that requires a comprehensive approach involving legal, social, cultural, and educational dimensions. While there have been significant efforts to address this issue, numerous challenges persist in the world. Following are the issues that were discussed during the session, making it extremely knowledgeable, and intriguing.

  • Deep-rooted Patriarchy: India has a deeply ingrained patriarchal culture that perpetuates gender inequalities. Traditional gender norms and attitudes often condone or trivialize violence against women. Changing these attitudes is a fundamental challenge. Many cases of gender-based violence go unreported due to fear, stigma, or lack of faith in the criminal justice system. Encouraging survivors to come forward and report incidents is crucial, but it requires a supportive environment and awareness campaigns.
  • Legal Loopholes and Enforcement: Although India has stringent laws to combat gender- based violence, the implementation and enforcement of these laws remain inconsistent. Gaps in the legal framework and delays in the judicial process contribute to a culture of impunity. Victims of gender-based violence often face societal stigma, which can deter them from reporting incidents, or seeking help. Addressing this stigma requires both legal and cultural changes. Though efforts have been made to make the changes, however, the loopholes have always found an upper hand in such scenarios.
  • Limited Access to Justice: Many women, especially in rural areas, face barriers in accessing the justice system. This could be due to factors such as lack of legal awareness, inadequate infrastructure, and distance to courts. Strengthening the justice delivery system is essential. Economic dependence can trap victims in abusive relationships. Empowering women economically through education, skill development, and employment opportunities can contribute to reducing vulnerability to violence. Making women more aware about the availability of justice would definitely make a change.
  • Education and Awareness: Lack of awareness about the nature and consequences of gender-based violence remains a challenge. Comprehensive educational programs that challenge traditional gender norms and promote respectful relationships are essential. In addition to this, Dr. Keerthi added that harmful practices such as child marriage and female feticide contribute to gender-based violence. Eradicating these practices requires a combination of legal measures, community engagement, and awareness campaigns.

Surge in Challenges in the Modern World

  • Technology-Facilitated Violence: The rise of technology has brought new challenges, such as cyberbullying, online harassment, and the misuse of social media. Addressing technology-facilitated violence requires updated legal frameworks and awareness programs. The lack of sufficient shelters, counseling services, and rehabilitation programs for survivors of gender-based violence is a critical issue. Strengthening support systems is crucial for the recovery and reintegration of survivors.
  • Intersectionality: Gender-based violence affects different groups of women in unique ways based on factors such as caste, class, religion, and sexual orientation. A comprehensive approach must consider intersectionality to address the specific challenges faced by various groups. Women from marginalized caste groups often face intersecting forms of discrimination. Caste-based violence can exacerbate gender-based violence, and addressing both caste and gender inequalities is essential for comprehensive change. Dr. Keerthi while talking about intersectionality, also diverted her attention to economic disparities that always intersect with gender, making women from lower socioeconomic backgrounds more vulnerable to violence. Lack of economic independence can limit their ability to escape abusive situations.
  • Police Insensitivity: Instances of insensitivity or negligence by law enforcement officials can discourage survivors from seeking help. Sensitizing law enforcement agencies and ensuring accountability are vital. Women from religious and ethnic minority communities may face unique forms of discrimination and violence. Cultural insensitivity and religious bias can further marginalize these women when seeking support or justice.

Way Forward

Dr. Keerthi while addressing the participants also discussed about the ways by which gender-based violence can be countered. She said, legal frameworks need to recognize and address the intersectional nature of gender-based violence. Ensuring that laws are inclusive and responsive to the diverse experiences of women is essential for effective implementation. Furthermore, recognizing the diversity within communities is crucial for effective outreach and support. Community-based programs should be sensitive to intersectional identities and work collaboratively with diverse groups. Last but not least, improved data collection methods should capture intersectional experiences of gender-based violence to inform targeted policies and interventions. Understanding the nuances of violence against different groups is vital for effective prevention and response, she added.

Conclusion

Dr. Keerthi while concluding the session said that addressing gender-based violence in India requires a sustained and coordinated effort from government agencies, civil society, and the community. It involves changing cultural norms, strengthening legal frameworks, improving access to justice, and fostering a supportive environment for survivors. Collaborative efforts aimed at education, awareness, and empowerment are essential to create a society where gender-based violence is not tolerated.

Read more at IMPRI:

Legal Hands-on Session II- Human Rights

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IMPRI, a startup research think tank, is a platform for pro-active, independent, non-partisan and policy-based research. It contributes to debates and deliberations for action-based solutions to a host of strategic issues. IMPRI is committed to democracy, mobilization and community building.

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