“Change is the only constant”, and unless you are prepared, it catches you stumbling, like the stunning lockdown which has swept the entire globe.The ongoing pandemic popularly known as Covid’19 has disturbed everybody’s peace and harmony around the world as it has forced people to stay indoors.Most countries have a nationwide lockdown which has led schools, restaurants and many public spaces to close, while more and more organisations are calling for their employees to work remotely.This means that the children are engaging in online learning, parents are working from home, and family members are spending more time with each other. While this may be a tough time for everybody parents and kids alike, it is important to remain positive and be there for each other. This is an opportunity to strengthen the bond between family members whereas on the contrary for some people, families are the primary triggers of their mental health issues while some others are part of deeply abusive families. Thus, this lockdown becomes extremely challenging for such individuals.
Better Relationships and Bonding
This pandemic has led to a lot of uncertainties in the minds of every single person at this moment whether it is financial,emotional or social in nature.In these tough times the mental health of a lot of people is at stake and many have been dealing with anxiety and depression too. This lockdown has provided families with a lot of opportunities to bond with each other whether it involves dividing the house chores amongst each others,working out or cooking meals together. Due to the busy lifestyles most of the parents haven’t had the time to interact with their children and this lockdown can actually prove out to be the deal breaker as it can actually lead to a better understanding between the different generations. Taking steps to strengthen your relationship during lockdown doesn’t need to be another burden, it shouldn’t be forced Instead, it can be something that’s simple, practical, and achievable. It’s a precious time that’s helping a lot of people realize what they miss out in the usual rush of the rat race.There are plenty of lessons to be learnt from coronavirus lockdown. And they are not going to come to us if we spend this time complaining.
A few ways to engage in spending quality time with each other and strengthen family relationships are-:
1)Talk it out-The quality of your conversations determines the quality of your relationship. And in these challenging times,comes a unique opportunity for some quality discussions.
2)Watching movies together and indulging in other forms of leisure activities such as indoor games- This is the right time to complete all the pending movies and TV shows we just didn’t get the time to watch.Board games have made a grand reentrance into our lives this lockdown be it physically playing the game with our families or virtually with our friends,it’s the time to cherish the childhood again.
3)Doing household chores-As almost everybody has discharged their house help during this crises to avoid the spread of this virus, now this responsibility falls upon each and every member of the family and dividing the chores is a task. From sweeping to washing clothes which makes it a perfect way to bond as well.
4) Cooking together-Now is the time to experiment and try something new to eat every day because again there’s no house help and in order to keep ourselves busy, entertained, and have delicious treats for the belly. Cooking together is a great option to keep ourselves going and to bring the family together
5) Exercising together- Nobody is allowed to step out of the house. However, to remain healthy one can exercise at home. Nothing is better than the entire family doing it together. It will be a fun process and people will discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses and motivate each other.
Domestic Conflict and Violence
Domestic violence means family violence or any other abuse in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Domestic conflict can also involve verbal fights.dissagreements and torture. There is a lot of anxiety in people’s minds, uncertainty whether they will find a job, whether there will be pay cuts, and there are hardships such as in accessing food. In a patriarchal society like ours, men find women easy targets for venting their anger and releasing their frustration. The other contributory factors to this issue are risk factors such as unemployment, frustration, reduced income, limited resources, alcohol abuse and limited social support are likely to be further compounded. The lockdown has resulted to be negative for the people who are struck in toxic households and their mental health is a huge mess.
The Global Trend And COVID’19
As the lockdown began within days instances of domestic violence have been witnessed first in China, Europe,Italy, Spain, France, UK and the even in the US. WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said countries “are reporting up to a 60% increase in emergency calls by women subjected to violence by their intimate partners in April this year, compared to last”. Also The UN agency for sexual and reproductive health (UNFPA) has estimated that there would be 31 million more cases of domestic violence worldwide if lockdowns continue for another six months. Policies are being formulated across the globe, since no jurisdiction governed by rule of law could ever predict a complete lockdown in the present manner.
The Domestic Trend And COVID’19
In India The National Commission for Women (NCW), has been receiving complaints of domestic violence from across the country, and has recorded more than two fold rise in gender-based violence in the national Coronavirus lockdown period. The total complaints from women rose from 116 in the first week of March (March 2-8), to 257 in the final week (March 23-April 1). The victims of domestic abuse are scared of complaining to the police because they fear that harassment will increase so they are resorting mainly to these helplines associated with women commissions.
“Domestic violence cases have doubled than what it was before the lockdown. The cases of domestic violence are higher in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Punjab,” says NCW chief Rekha Sharma. She says the main reason for the rise of domestic violence is that the men are at home and they are taking out their frustration on women and they refuse to participate in domestic work too which creates a toxic environment in the family. Women are also confined within the four walls of the house and they cannot share their grief with anybody.
Besides this unlike other western countries, we do not have the logistics to move victims to safe homes or order the aggressor to move out of their homes.
Remedies Available to The Victims
In 1983, domestic violence was recognized as a specific criminal offence by the introduction of Section 498-A into the Indian Penal Code. This section deals with cruelty by a husband or his family towards a married woman. A punishment upto 3 years and fine has been prescribed.
The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides for legal provisions regarding relief to the wives and children. The provisions of maintenance under sec 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are applicable to persons belonging to all religions and have no relationship with the personal laws of the parties.
These are the remedies available to domestic violence victims under which they can report their abusers during this lockdown and get justice.
With the coronavirus pandemic still looming over the world, no one knows when this is going to end or get better. In this light, the best word of advice for those who are locked in with their loved ones but feel resentful is to take a moment to place yourself in the shoes of the people who are oceans away from home and are miserable. This is the time to acknowledge your privilege and be grateful. This pandemic has made us realize how life can change within a split second and hence we should value this time we have with our families and continue to cherish this even after the lockdown ends. On the other hand domestic violence is on a rise,the extent is so much that even in the time of an actual dangerous crises like corona virus which is the most unpredictable incident that has occurred across the globe; women are still having a real tough time staying indoors. Therefore, the burden should be on the governments that while putting the plans together to respond to one of the biggest disaster mankind has ever faced called as Covid-19, the issue of domestic violence must be prioritized so that it doesn’t lead to another disaster all together. In India, the government has overlooked the need to formally integrate domestic violence and mental health repercussions into the public health preparedness and emergency response plans against the pandemic.
Author Details: Akshita Bhardwaj (The Northcap University, Gurugram)
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