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COVID-19 (IMPACT ON FAMILY BOND)

By

Anjali & Shardha Gupta, IV year of B.A.,LL.B. from IAMR law college , Duhai, Ghaziabad.


Introduction

As we all know, due to Corona, lockdown was announced in India on 25th March 2020. Many things have changed during the lockdown. Some lost their jobs, home etc. All family members are in the house because of covid 19, this changes a lot in family bonds, Some families have made good bonding and in some families irritation caused domestic violence to increase.


Where the worlds collide, the family holds the bonds together

Owing to the pandemic for the first time in a long while, it has so happened that the parents, children, and even grandparents are all under the same dome. If we take it as a positive side, we will see it is a gift of time, which was lacking behind for many generations. The time which the family members should give to each other was missing due to schools, colleges, office work, etc. People were getting more involved and having fun with their friends and social media instead of family members. Now the family is spending more time together than they do normally. It is making them both physically and mentally healthy. Family members are sharing their views, they are exploring new hobbies about their family members, they are getting to know each other more, helping each other in their work, and thinking about plans for which earlier they didn’t even have time to discuss. All are doing house work together like sanitizing, washing clothes, cleaning the house, dishwashing, etc. People are making new dishes with their family members and sharing food. They are having dinner together, discussing their daily lives, and keeping all the electronic gadgets aside.


Watching movies together, playing board games, puzzles, cards, doing other fun activities together, reading books together, developing a good healthy routine, reducing emotional stress, and less engaged in bad habits like alcohol, cigarettes, etc. It is a very golden opportunity to re-bond with children. Parents who go for work are now working from home, so they can look after their children side-by-side and help them in their school work and projects. It is normal to react in anxiety and fear in such abnormal situations. People are now constantly confined in their room which affects their mental health, so at this time people are sharing their views with their family members, trying to get involved in doing creative work, maintaining a proper routine, spending their time with each other, etc.


The children, who were not able to get proper parents’ attention, are now getting parents’ love and care. It is said that strong bonds are very important for long term health. Even migrant workers are also returning to their homes because at such times of pandemic we can only rely on our family. People are spending more time with their spouses. Most of the couples were not able to get time for each other due to workload but now as they are working from home they are trying to break down the walls, communicating with each other, making their relationship stronger, knowing about each other’s daily lives and sharing their views on it. Now kids who were outside have come back home, so they are spending more time with their grandparents, they are having fun with them, going for walks with them, etc. Family members who are far away from each other are trying to connect through Zoom, Skype, Microsoft teams, etc. so that they can feel connected. It seems that for the next coming years the relationship between the family members may deepen.

But on the contrary, there’s a Brutus amongst many Julius Caesars, there are broken bonds in every family.

Some families are very complex. Not every family is the same. In a pandemic, people are isolated in their houses due to which stress has been increased which are leading to an increase in domestic conflict and violence against the women, children and LGBTQ community.


Before the pandemic also it was a real challenge but due to restrictions in movements, there is an increase in the cases of domestic violence. Now people are suddenly at their home, so they are giving orders, becoming dictators of the lives of their significant others. Children are also not able to attend school, so they are also adding problems in their homes. Due to lockdown, many people are unemployed, so it is increasing stress in households as they are not able to fulfil their necessities. Conflicts are increasing day by day in the houses due to the scarcity of money.


Women who were earning money are now either getting fewer wages or no wages due to which they are not able to give money to their husbands, whatever he demands. Women who are in an abusive relationship are being beaten by their husbands and even their children are also being exposed to violence. Abusers due to financial losses, pressures, and stress increase their consumption of alcohol or drugs and take out their frustration on women. Women are even threatened by their partners if they complain about it, they will be more harassed physically and emotionally and even they are not allowed to leave the house. In such isolation, women are unable to contact their friends, family, or relatives to tell their grief and are confined within the four walls of the room. They are unable to access the services which help women as due to lockdown staff are not available at the centres and there are limited services available. Now the home has become a dangerous place for women and children in a pandemic. Even young girls are being forced to marry by their families and if they try to prevent it they have to face physical violence and unable to contact the police and other helplines. It has also increased sexual violence. The cases are increasing severely. Their family members are harassing them. And this is not only limited to the family of the lower class but also middle and upper-middle families.


Internal conflicts and care and love are all part of one big family since the inception of time. Numerous battles have been fought among the members of the same family and legends of love have also come to light. Similarly, a friendly rivalry between two siblings and small quarrels is all just part of the love that one has for others. So similarly, had not there been the pandemic of coronavirus, things would have always been the same. Bonds are regularly created and destroyed, and the cycle goes on… and that’s how life is.


Domestic violence is not only about physical abuse but also includes sexual abuse, psychological abuse and stalking too.

Total 86% of women who experienced violence never sought help and 77% of women who spoke about this problem even did not mention the incident to anyone.


UNDER REPORTING [1]

Among the 14.3% of victims who sought help, only 7% reached out to relevant authorities- the police, doctors, lawyers or social services organisations. But more than 90% of the victims sought help only from their immediate family

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN 2020

The UN has described the worldwide increase in domestic abuse as a " shadow pandemic" alongside covid-19.


Its thought cases have increased by 20% during the lockdown, as many people are trapped at home with their abusers.

In a lockdown, Indian women filed more domestic violence complaints than recorded in the similar period in the last 10 years.

In 2020, between 25th March and 31st May, total 1,477 complaints of domestic violence were made by women. This 68 days period recorded more complaints than those received between March and May in the previous 10 years.

RECENT CASE

1st case- On 18 April, Tara (changed name), went online to search for helplines for survivors of domestic violence. It was the time of Indian's lockdown which began from 25th March.


Her husband of 15 years had always been abusive to him. But she had her job, which kept her out of the house for most of the day, and her husband often travelled for work, working kept him away.

The lockdown changes everything.

“she lives in a constant state of fear - of what could affect her husband's mood,” she told him, speaking over the phone in a low voice after locking herself up in a room so her husband and mother-in-law wouldn’t hear her.

She says both of them taunt and harass her. “she is constantly told that she is not a good mother or a good wife. They order her to elaborate meals, and treat her like a domestic worker.”

Unable to bear the abuse and beating, she decided to seek help. She found a Facebook page run by invisible scars, a support group and connected them.

2nd case-. Lakshmi (changed name), says the police were unhelpful in her case. Her husband drank heavily and often, and became violent. He raped her, she says that he treated her as an object to fulfil his sexual desires rather than as a partner.

In the past, when it fit badly, she would often go to her parents for a few days, but that wasn't an option during the lockdown.

Then she found that her husband had been visiting a sex worker. She says that she was worried he could contract the coronavirus, and passed it on to her and both their children, despite her fearing him. She complains to the police.

She says that they warned him and seized his motorbike to prevent him from leaving the house, but did not detent to him.when he returned home he beat her badly

“She thought it was the end,” she says.

Her nine-year daughter went to their neighbours' house for help and they intervened. She wants to see a doctor and then wants to go to a police station to file a charge.

“She thought they would register a complaint but they refused.

“She felt humiliated and helpless. She was scared to go home. What killed her?

Early the next morning she took her children and drove to her parent's house. She is yet to return and says her husband has not contacted her either.

“Her life is as uncertain as lockdown".


A direction issued by Delhi High court to check domestic violence during the lockdown [2]

THE Delhi High Court on April 24 directed the Delhi Government and the Central Government to ensure effective implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 in the wake of the increase in the cases of domestic violence during the lockdown.

CONCLUSION

The Covid 19 pandemic has caused the large scale loss of life and persistent human suffering. 84 countries have declared emergency since the pandemic began. Media is so engaged in capturing the public health and economic consequences that they have failed to pay enough attention to growing governmental and institutional risks. We can see that the leading priority of this ongoing pandemic is to lessen the loss of life and health. But Covid 19 has also impacted on the other major crisis that will burden our society for years to come.

In the lockdown, providing mental health care has become a logistical nightmare because one side covid 19 is going and another side this anxiety and depression issue has created a lot of sufferings to the people. A lot of people say anxiety is nothing but overthinking. As a consequence many people continue to suffer silently without any help in normal times and how can we expect one to explain this feeling in these testing times?

[1] The Hindu.com. (2020, June 24). Data | Domestic violence complaints at a 10-year high during COVID-19 lockdown. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.thehindu.com/data/data-domestic-violence-complaints-at-a-10-year-high-during-covid-19-lockdown/article31885001.ece/amp/

[2] The leaflet. In. (2020, May 04). Women's rights. Retrieved from https://theleaflet.in/delhi-high-court-issues-directions-to-check-domestic-violence-during-covid-19-lockdown/