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Violence against women on the rise during lockdown

Thirty-three cases registered with women’s commission
Shillong, Jun 27: Violence against women saw a steep rise during the period of the lockdown on account of the Covid-19 pandemic in Meghalaya reflecting the same trend as in other states.
Women are suffering not only because of the rising violence against them in closed confines of the homes but because physically approaching help has become difficult due to lack of public transport and the prohibitive cost of travel in the remote areas.
“We don’t know if it is because of the lockdown but from the reports we are getting the cases of violence against women has risen during these last two months,” Chairperson of the Meghalaya State Commission for Women (MSCW), Theilin Phanbuh said today.
Over just these past two odd months there are 33 cases registered with the commission. These range from cases of rape, domestic violence, molestation, sexual harassment and cases seeking maintenance by abandoned wives with children. The highest number of domestic violence is reported from the districts under the Jaiñtia Hills region of the State.
Phanbuh said that the lockdown had thrown the routine of hearings awry and this had caused immense difficulties for the women seeking succor at the commission.
She said that when the lockdown was partially lifted allowing the commission to function, the victims still found it difficult to attend the hearings because of the lack of public transport. “The cost of travel has also become unaffordable for the poorer sections of society,” she said, especially for those travelling quite a distance.
“Though the summons given many might not be able to make it,” she added.
Even then the victims’ problems are not over when the reach the commission for the hearing. More often than not the man against whom the complaint is filed usually does not deign to attend.
“It is a difficult situation for the woman complainant. She will come spending scarce money and then there is nothing that can be done when the man against whom she has complained does not appear,” said Phanbuh.
She decried that according to the rules of the MSCW, it is only after three summons are ignored that the Commission can ask the Police to file an FIR against the man or the opposite party.
Before the mandatory three hearings, the Commission can do nothing even though the matter might be very urgent for the woman-victim and the children.
The Commission has slatted the hearing cases next month on July 9, 16, 23 and 30.