An average five crimes against women hour in Maharashtra.

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NCRB data says crimes against women increased significantly in Maharashtra

The Lingering Shadow of Patriarchal Mindsets

In Maharashtra, which is known for its progressive outlook, the dark specter of patriarchal violence against women persists despite strides in education and empowerment. While the state boasts high literacy rates and initiatives aimed at women’s advancement, numerous instances underscore the deep-rooted nature of gender-based violence. An average five crimes against women were reported every hour in Maharashtra.

As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Maharashtra recorded 31,954 cases of crime against women in 2020. This number increased in 2021 and the state reported 39,526 cases and in 2022, this number increased to 45,331.

One alarming manifestation of patriarchal violence is acid attacks, a form of gender-based violence aimed at disfiguring and terrorizing women. Maharashtra has witnessed several horrific instances where women have been targeted with acid, often as retribution for rejecting advances or asserting their autonomy. These attacks not only cause physical trauma but also inflict lasting psychological scars, highlighting the brutality women endure in patriarchal societies.

Honour killings, albeit less prevalent in Maharashtra compared to some other regions, still occur, rooted in notions of family honor and control over women’s choices. Cases where women are murdered for marrying outside caste or religion, or for asserting their right to love and marry of their own accord, underscore the lethal consequences of patriarchal notions of familial and societal honor.

Furthermore, the state grapples with alarming rates of domestic violence, with countless women subjected to physical, emotional, and economic abuse within the confines of their homes. Despite legislative measures such as the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, many women continue to suffer in silence due to social stigma, economic dependence, and lack of support systems.

These examples underscore the stark reality that patriarchal violence against women in Maharashtra transcends socio-economic barriers, affecting women across diverse backgrounds. While education and empowerment efforts have undoubtedly improved opportunities for women, they have yet to dismantle entrenched patriarchal attitudes that perpetuate violence.

Men resort to violence against women for a multitude of complex reasons deeply rooted in societal, cultural, and individual factors. At the societal level, patriarchal norms perpetuate the idea of male dominance and female subordination, creating a power dynamic where men feel entitled to control women. This sense of entitlement can manifest in violence as a means of asserting dominance and maintaining control over women’s lives and choices. Additionally, societal norms that condone or overlook violence against women contribute to a culture where such behavior is normalized or even justified.

Cultural factors also play a significant role, with traditional beliefs and customs often reinforcing gender roles and expectations. In some cultures, violence against women may be seen as a means of enforcing social order or preserving family honor. Moreover, rigid gender stereotypes that equate masculinity with aggression and dominance can pressure men to resort to violence as a way of proving their manhood or asserting their authority.

On an individual level, factors such as upbringing, psychological issues, and personal experiences can contribute to a propensity for violence. Men who have been exposed to violence in their own lives or have witnessed it in their communities may be more likely to perpetrate violence against women. Additionally, issues such as low self-esteem, insecurity, and a lack of healthy coping mechanisms can fuel feelings of anger and frustration that are expressed through violent behavior.

It’s important to recognise that there is no single explanation for why men use violence against women, as it is a complex and multifaceted issue. Addressing the root causes of gender-based violence requires a comprehensive approach that tackles underlying societal inequalities, challenges harmful cultural norms, and provides support and resources for both perpetrators and survivors. By promoting gender equality, fostering healthy relationships, and addressing the underlying factors that contribute to violence, we can work towards creating a world where all individuals are safe and respected, regardless of gender.