Imphal: The Women Action for Development (WAD) has informed that globally, 243 million women and girls were abused by intimate partners in the past year. In Manipur, from the month of January-November 22, 2020, the reported cases in local newspapers of violence against women were 165 in number.
In a press release of WAD issued by its Programme Coordinator Shaiphu Ringneiphun, it was stated that, out of the 165 cases, 30 were cases of rape, 2 gang rapes, 1 gang rape and murder, 11 murders, 10 suicides, 8 suspicious deaths, 3 molestations, 7 trafficking, 8 cybercrimes, 36 assaults, 6 life attempts, 20 missing, 4 racial attacks, 7 delivery deaths, 2 kidnappings, 1 attempt to sell baby, 3 attempts to child marriage, 3 medical negligence death, 1 attempt to rape, 1 burnt to death, 1 abandoned. Out of the 30 cases of rape, 17 cases occurred during the lockdown period and 2 cases were gang rapes and the survivors are a 6-year-old minor and 14-year-old minor.
Imphal West contributed 64 cases, Imphal East 34, Thoubal 15, Bishnupur 12, Churachandpur 10, Tengnoupal 9 and 9 cases outside the state, Kakching 4, Chandel 4, Tamenglong 2, Kangpokpi 1 and Noney 1.
The 16 days between November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and December 10, Human Rights Day are known as the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign. This is the time where Women Action for Development (WAD) along with other civil society organizations, NGOs and other stakeholders have been taking part on this international event every year since 2003 to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls in Manipur.
This year, the 16 days’ activism against gender-based violence will be organized under the global theme, “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”. The colour orange symbolizes a brighter future, free of violence. It also serves as a means of demonstrating our solidarity in eliminating all forms of violence. This year too, WAD announced that it will be taking part in this international event amidst the pandemic to address this burning issue. Even before the pandemic hit, violence against women and girls had reached pandemic proportions, said the statement.
Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic where gendered effects are multiplying, one more issue is Emerging-Manipur recorded the worst sex ratio according to the 2018 reports on vital statistics of India based on the Civil Registration System” which was published this year.
Manipur recorded 757 females born per thousand males. This shows how much males are preferred in this society and we could imagine how much female feticide takes place in this state. We fear that this female sex ratio will continue to decrease in the coming years if we do not do anything about it.
On top of these issues, the ancient old customary law has been a stumbling block when delivering justice, WAD claimed. It was said that the hilly districts are bound with customary laws which are not women friendly. There are many rape cases where victim and their family were compensated by the culprits by giving a pig or a cow and the case was closed after that. There is a need to reform the customary law with more women-friendly approaches.
“Today, although the voices of activists and survivors have reached the highest point that cannot be silenced or ignored, ending Violence against Women will require more investment, leadership and action. It cannot be sidelined; it must be part of every state response amidst this Covid-19 crisis. We also urged the government to launch bold actions and commitments to end Violence against Women,” the statement read.
Therefore, WAD has further requested all the media houses, civil society organizations, academicians, intellectuals, judiciaries and all the stakeholders to contribute and support their activism by highlighting the issues and focusing the news pertaining to violence against women.