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Domestic abuse rampant during lockdown, Women's Commission braces for steep rise in cases

"Once the lockdown is lifted, we are expecting an avalanche of complaints from women subjected to physical and mental abuse at home," said Shahida Kamal, member, State Women's Commission

Published: 06th May 2020 04:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th May 2020 04:24 PM   |  A+A-

Domestic violence, Abuse
Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Putting up with abusive spouses has been a grim social fallout of the seemingly interminable lockdown as many hapless women have found. Though there is a spike in domestic violence cases since the stay at home order kicked in, most of them have gone unreported, said Shahida Kamal, member, State Women's Commission.

"Most of the victims who have been forced to remain silent are from low-income families and they do not have much of an option now to lodge complaints. Once the lockdown is lifted, we are expecting an avalanche of complaints from women subjected to physical and mental abuse at home," Shahida said.

The Women's Commission had received 58 complaints of domestic abuse from March 22 to April 30 which were either e-mailed or dropped at the panel's mail box.

"Incidents of domestic abuse in high class families seldom get reported. But women from working class and lower-middle class are the ones who often approach us. Most of them don't have the facility to mail us or are afraid to do so since their abusive partners are around," Shahida said.

Despite this, several distraught women are calling up the commission members seeking urgent intervention. According to a source, the members receive around 60-80 calls per week from the victims, with husbands being the perpetrators often.

Attesting to this, Shahida said cases needing urgent intervention are handed over to the police. "In one case, a woman in Kottayam suffered a fractured hand after being hit by her husband. And in another one, a woman and her daughter had been forced out of the family's home by the abusive husband. The police were immediately alerted and took action," Shahida said.

A source in the commission said there is a definite pattern to the domestic abuse cases during the lockdown. "In the first week of the lockdown, most of the complaints pertained to men showing withdrawal symptoms taking it out on their wives. Later, these came down and instead cases pertaining to money matters cropped up."



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