OPINION: Domestic violence during Lockdown period; How safe are we?


By Prajal Regmi | Sikkim, April 27:

Well, we are all aware of the facts about the " CoronaVirus " or in other words COVID – 19 that has been spreading all over the world in a very rapid manner. One of the countries which has also been severely affected by this COVID – 19 is our own country India with a total case of over 20,000 with over 700 deaths 4,500 recovered cases.

As we all know that the country is going through lockdown since 25 March 2020 till 14 April 2020 which was the 1st phase and we are currently in the second phase i.e, from 15 April 2020 which is supposed to end by 3rd May 2020 as per instructed by prime minister Narendra Modi.

India is going through a pandemic situation but besides this, the act of domestic violence doesn't seem to stop. There has been a steep rise in crime against women across the country. According to some organisations' websites, as many as 587 complaints have been received from March 23 to April 16, out of which 239 are related to domestic violence.

Domestic violence cases have doubled than what it was before the lockdown. The cases are mostly high in states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana & Punjab.


One of the reasons for the rise in domestic violence is that the men, who are bound to stay home due to lockdown take out their frustration on women and refused to participate in domestic work. Women are confined within the four walls of the house and cannot even report their problems though helpline numbers have been provided due to the fear that harassment would increase.

Women are not safe in their own home because of the harassment they are facing daily either from their husband or in – laws. Domestic violence is growing just like the coronavirus. We used to think that due to this lockdown their would be no chances of women getting raped or going through sexual abuse but it turns out, nothing can stop this social virus from spreading.

The main reasons could be due to stress of confinement, financial constraints and the lack of access to alcohol. Many women facing abuse want to go to their mother's houses but during the lockdown they can only be sent to state-run shelter homes where the risk of overcrowding and poor hygiene runs high. Though to stay at home is the best way to beat COVID – 19 but for women who are stuck in abusive relationships, it is detrimental for them.


So in order to help such women, the WEFT (Women Entrepreneurs For Transformation) Foundation, a non-profit organisation working for women, launched a new initiative called "red dot" under which the citizens can identify a domestic violence's victim by seeing a red dot on her palm and inform NGOs or authorities.

In one such case, in Kolkata, a victim was stuck home with her husband who was jobless since the lockdown; he has been beating his wife and took away all her savings even as he assaulted her in front of her son. So she contacted WEFT through the red dot initiative and immediately got help from them.

The red dot initiative is a citizen led movement under which they plan to create videos and stories that can go viral so that people start identifying this symbol as the indicative of domestic violence. Since during the lockdown, victims are stuck with their oppressors as if in jail and their own homes have become unsafe for them.

Hence, the objectives is to help such women and make 'red dot on the palm' a global symbol for domestic violence. This way many, women will break silence and would be able to live better lives.

The National Commission for Women (NCW), which is the government body has now launched a new Whatsapp number for the duration of lockdown. This would allow women to contact them for help related to domestic violence through messages.

This is a personal opinion. Any views or opinions represented in this article are personal and belongs solely to the author and do not represent people, institutions or organisations that the author is associated with in a professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization or individual.