RISE IN DOMESTIC CONFLICT DURING A PANDEMIC
Updated: Aug 28, 2020
By- Akshita Bhardwaj, 3rd Year student at The Northcap University
As cities and towns across China locked down, a 26-year-old woman named Lele found herself entangled in more arguments with her husband, with whom she now had to spend every hour in their home in Anhui Province, in eastern China, quoted in the New York Times.
On March 1, while Lele was holding her 11-month-old daughter, her husband began to beat her with a highchair. She is not sure how many times he hit her. Eventually, she says, one of her legs lost feeling, and she fell to the ground, still holding the baby in her arms. This is the price a woman pays if her man stays at home most of the time now.
“During the pandemic, we were unable to go outside, and our conflicts just grew bigger and bigger and more and more frequent,” she said. “Everything was exposed,” Lele quotes. Intimate terrorism is the term for such behavioural biases occurring due to frustration or monotony in the household. After escalation, it converts into the form of domestic violence, which is a crime as per the laws of various countries.
In India, it is punishable under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Men do not realize the implications, nor so even think about how helpless a woman would feel. Think about it; the only place in the world where you are supposed to feel ‘safe’ from all difficulties in life turns out to be the worst possible place for a person to stay despite spending more time with each other than they ever have. It is saddening to witness this brutality against women, who are merely paying the price for staying in their homes now because their husbands cannot get to work and lash out all their frustration at them.
This is a grave concern regarding all the families facing a counter-reaction of spending more time with another. A lot of couples must be finding it difficult to spend this much time with their spouse as it has been years that they were not used to spend days and nights together.
PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT ON WOMEN AND CHILDREN
The everyday routine that has now been disrupted has led to severe consequences among the structure of a household. Parents and children are now spending more time than ever, and it would be safe to assume this change can only be appreciated for a short time. Children and teenagers can also feel trapped in toxic households as so many children were able to keep their mental health in the balance as they were away from their families, and now the notion of ‘having their own life’ has been compromised.
What I mean by this is Intimate Terrorism is not only subject to women; it can be subject to anyone living in that household who is facing a change in lifestyle. However, the person in power in the household, which is, in most cases, men; assert dominance over all other members. It is a helpless and unchangeable situation.
Everything boils down to the one fact that what can we as citizens, police officers, lawyers, government officials, peers, friends, parents, husbands, and wives do to spread the control of such behaviour? It does not seem like a very easy question to answer. No matter what or how disastrous a situation may be, households within our country have their evils and wars to fight before even getting to think about the need