One out of every four women in Mumbai suffers from gender-based violence
MUMBAI: The focus will be on gender-based violence, which roughly
affects one in every four women in a city like Mumbai, when 85
people supporting the NGO Family Planning
Association of India will run the marathon in the city on Sunday.
“Gender-based violence is a massive problem that women face across the country, irrespective of whether they live in rural or urban India,” said FPAI secretary general Dr Kalpana Apte. The National Family Health Surveys have shown that domestic violence affects every third woman living in rural India.
Data from FPAI’s clinics across Mumbai bear out the seriousness of the problem. Till September 2018, almost 28% of the 5,312 women who came to FPAI’s health clinics for medical help needed to be counselled about gender-based violence. “On talking to these women, we find that domestic violence could be at the root of their health problems and counsel them accordingly,” said a senior FPAI official. The corresponding numbers of 2016 and 2017 were 26% and 23% respectively.
FPAI found that 29% of the 1.34 lakh women who sought medical help at its clinics running in 18 states in 2018 needed counselling for violence that they had faced.
“Gender-based violence has a serious health implication on all women and more so on those in reproductive health age,” said Sangeeta Rege of CEHAT (Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes).
Domestic violence is so widespread in the country, in fact, that a study carried out by Cehat in 2015-2017 found 16% prevalence of domestic violence faced by pregnant women.
“This dispels the notion that pregnancy is a safe period for women,” said Rege. “The study highlighted that this prevalence is comparable to that two other big health problems for Indian women, that is gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, but it has not been given much attention.”
The Cehat study also showed that advice offered to these women enabled them to stop violence in various ways, such as disclosing abuse to their parents. “These women also recognized the health impact of the violence and got doctors and nurses to speak to husbands/abusers about the impact of violence on their health,” said Rege.
Numbers provided by the United Nations Population Fund Report reveal that 66% of married Indian women have suffered from domestic violence, and as many as 70% of married women in India between the ages of 15 and 49 are subjected to beating, rape or forced sex, said Apte.
FPA India recently launched a nationwide campaign #StreeHinsaMuktBharatAbhiyaan with the aim of “breaking the silence around gender-based violence” on the lines of an international campaign to challenge violence against girls and women.
The marathon will be an effort to spread awareness about the need to talk and address the critical issue afflicting women.