The United Nations defines domestic violence as “a pattern of behaviour in any
relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate
partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or
threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviours that
frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound
someone.” Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of sex, race,
sexual orientation, faith or class. It affects people of all socioeconomic background
and education levels.
As the world shuts down due to the ongoing pandemic, many people, especially
women, are trapped with their abusers at home. In addition to violation of human
rights, victims of domestic violence are at risk of several physical and mental health
problems such as chronic disease, depression, sexual disorders, post-traumatic
stress disorder and substance abuse.
The UN says cases of domestic violence have increased by 20% during the global
pandemic. Recent data released by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)
tells us that Uttarakhand recorded the highest number of domestic violence cases,
with Haryana and New Delhi being at the second and third ranks, respectively.
Reportedly, men are frustrated over the current pandemic and how it is affecting
their jobs and income which is causing them to inflict abuse upon women and
These alarming figures represent only those who were able to reach out for help,
but there are many who don’t due to the fear of their partners. Not relying on the
police and government helplines, various NGOs and small, rural organisations have
taken matters into their own hands by setting up small hotlines and visiting houses
to look into the financial and emotional condition of several poor households.
Women in West Bank, an area bordered by Jordan and Israel, come out their houses
and bang pots and pans to let the vulnerable women and children know that they’re
not alone, and also that their homes will always be open for guidance and help.
The Covid-19 pandemic shouldn’t be used as an excuse for these acts of crimes
against humanity. Domestic violence has been happening since a long time and
cases do get reported but few make it to the court and even few are served justice.
But one should know they’re rights and that they don’t have to endure abuse
inflicted by someone who’s supposed to provide love and care. Any victim of abuse
should remember that it is not them who’s to blame. Violence is unacceptable and
the perpetrator is 100% responsible for his tactics of inflicting pain and suffering.
Reaching out to others is an important thing to do especially during these
troublesome times. It is critical that helpless individuals are protected during these
times. This is a traumatic time for all and only when we join hands and stand
together, can we save ourselves and our loved ones.
If you know anyone who’s a victim of domestic violence, then carefully reach out.
Here are some helpline numbers to aid anyone who might need them:
Central Social Welfare Board- 1091/ 1291, (011) 23317004
Shakti Shalini (women’s shelter)- (011) 24373736/ 24373737
Sakshi (violence intervention center)- (0124) 2562336/ 5018873
Nari Raksha Samiti- (011) 23973949