According to the Indian National Crime Records Bureau, an act of domestic abuse is recorded every 5 minutes across the country. Over 118,000 occurrences of domestic abuse were recorded in 2013, representing the highest rate of all gendered violence against women.
The number of instances has climbed since 2003, but the bureau believes the numbers may be misleading because public awareness of the crime has grown, as has the number of real reports. Unfortunately, many cases go unreported because of social, cultural, and patriarchal influences that are still prevalent in some regions of India.
There are several reasons that contribute to sexual violence situation. Culture, family, tradition, and religious beliefs all have a role, but the effect of media and entertainment is universal in the Western world. Bollywood is such a powerful business, not only in India but around the world, that it is surely a source of inspiration and imitation for both men and women.
According to World Health Organization statistics, one in every three women (35%) has suffered physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner or a non-partner in their lives. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) 2017 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS), one in every four Filipino women aged 15 to 49 has suffered physical, emotional, or sexual assault from their marriages.
A domestic violence situation can occur for a variety of reasons. Culture, family, tradition, and religious views all have a part, but media and entertainment have a global impact in the Western world. Bollywood is such a powerful industry, not just in India, but all across the world, that it is undoubtedly a source of inspiration and imitation for both men and women.
Half The Sky movement has started the Frame Her Right Campaign, which focuses on the devastating effects of domestic violence representations in Indian films.
The initiative aims for “more gender-sensitized cinema that places women in positive — rather than exploited and exploitable — roles.” Frame Her Right recognizes that violence against women predates film and empowers women by offering tools to assist them to find access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunity.
For those of you who haven’t of the violence against free speech, here’s an overview of their objectives and procedures:
The activists associated with this movement have written to the information and broadcasting ministry and the Central Board of Film Certification, with the demand that films portraying violence against women (i.e. films that have scenes of a man physically attacking/injuring a woman) should be given a different rating. Also included in their demand is that such scenes should come with a warning (such as the ones we see during scenes where characters are smoking).
Presumably, the proposed warning would be something along the lines of:
‘Warning – This film contains violence against women. Violence against women in real life is a punishable offense.’
2. Indian Cinema
Perhaps predictably, the film industry hasn’t reacted well to such demands. They are calling it a breach of the freedom of artistic expression. A breach, it might be, but is artistic expression really more important than the safety and well-being of the millions of women residing in this country?
If such a warning can really bring about a significant lessening in the number of women facing physical abuse, I think there can be no arguments about the fact that human safety must take precedence over freedom of expression – artistic or otherwise.
3. Important Question
A poll was conducted as part of the UN Women’s Metro Manila Safe Cities Programme. One in every seven women experienced sexual harassment at least once per week in the previous year, according to the 800 respondents from two barangays in Quezon City, while one in every seven males acknowledged committing an act of sexual harassment at least daily in the previous year.
Despite this, there is no classification, certification, or anything else in our cinema to alert parents or children about violence against women. As an avid moviegoer, I support free and artistic expression, but I also feel that every parent and child have the right to make an informed decision before they view scenes that are violent or demeaning to women. You have the ability to assist them in making an informed choice.
However, the question we must ask ourselves now is whether such a warning will really yield the desired results. Can a man who doesn’t from his own conscience understand that abusing or assaulting another human being for anything other than self-defense is a deplorable moral, as well as legal crime, be persuaded of the heinousness of his actions by a pop-up warning during a film?
Fifty percent of males say women love seeing these violent situations. It is ignored by 51% of women. Although 32% of women believe it demonstrates “manliness,” 95% of women are threatened by it. 70% of women encounter it at home. The following is the warning they want the censor board in Indian cinema to insert in some films:
Violence Against Women Is Depicted in This Film.Violence Against Women in Real Life Is a Criminal Act.
Certainly, violence against women is a crime punishable by law. It is one of the most heinous of all crimes. So are many others, including murder, theft, robbery, arson, fraud, larceny, and drunken driving.
All these are also quite frequently featured on screen, in films, and in TV shows. Sometimes, they are even the main subject of the shows, such as crime dramas and mysteries. Why is it that every time a murder or violence is portrayed on screen, a pop-up warning doesn’t tell us–
‘Warning: This film contains the murder of a human being. Murdering human beings in real life is a punishable offense.’
‘Warning: This film contains a grand theft auto. Stealing motor vehicles in real life is a punishable offense.’
The possibilities are endless. What is more, they are all absolutely true. All of the above are offenses punishable by the law. However, these things are not spelled out for the audience because they are already aware of these facts. Nobody expects a sane individual to watch a murder scene in a movie and suddenly feel the irresistible urge to commit murder himself or to want to steal because they saw a character in a film stealing something on-screen.
Neither is it expected that a man watching a scene of domestic violence in a film would feel the need to re-enact it in real life. If he does, he is obviously raving mad. And what good are pop-up warnings to the insane? Forcibly issuing such warnings in the middle of movies would interrupt the story’s flow and insult the general viewers’ intelligence. As I have already said, most people who watch movies do not do so to go on crime sprees afterward – and those who do need psychiatric treatment and a little padded cell, not pop-up warnings.
We wonder how many women would still consider violence “manly” if they knew it was a criminal and could witness more diverse conceptions of masculinity in film. Frame Her Right hopes to bring about a more positive framing of women in media, as well as disrupt some of the unjust and unequal conditions that make women’s oppression possible, through its online games and mobile tools, on-the-ground engagement with its network of supporters, policy interventions, and the support of partner NGOs.
Ankita Khare, the campaign manager, stated that they do not intend to limit filmmakers’ flexibility, but rather ‘want the labeling on the bottle to be accurate.’ While these borders are still fuzzy, it is worth noting that someone is finally calling a spade a spade.
The celebrity-obsessed world we live in demonstrates how urgent and important this message is. It is sad that institutions like big athletic organizations and Ivy League universities are more concerned with safeguarding a star’s reputation and the money spent by sponsors and advertising, and would go to any extent to cover up crimes like abuse and rape.
We witnessed how this damaged the NFL when video evidence of former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice beating up and dragging his fiancée out of an elevator surfaced. The NFL claimed they had no previous information, yet it just took a simple email for Hollywood gossip website TMZ to receive the tape, demonstrating to the public that they had not handled gender based violence properly.
Similarly, because celebrities have enormous power and influence, whether in Hollywood or Bollywood, what we see on TV has an impact on viewers. Women ought to be framed and depicted positively whenever feasible, and violent films must include a disclaimer that what they are going to watch is a crime. It may appear redundant, but with the statistics as they are, it’s time to reconsider altering the culture, not just the legislation, to guarantee moviegoers can make more informed judgments about their watching informed choice. Obviously, Indian film is not accountable for those who conduct violent crimes, but it may surely play a role in altering the regrettable status quo when it comes to domestic violence.
1. Do Movies Influence Violence?
The safety of women is one of the most pressing concerns of our times. However, to say that men hurt women because of some scenes in a movie is like saying that item numbers and songs cause men to rape women. These are nothing but distraction tactics used by politicians and other such groups to take our attention away from the real issues affecting this country’s men and women, which do not involve celluloid.
More censorship does not reduce violence, and it only helps to push it under the rug. If filmmakers are forced to give increased ratings to their films to depict violence against women, they will stop talking about such abuse altogether to ensure a wider audience. This will only further marginalize the victims, who have very little voice and representation in our society anyway.
2. How Can We End Violence (Gender Based Violence)?
Here are some pointers on how to end violence that is gender based. Learn about the underlying causes of violence, stop using sexist or discriminating words, be critical and skeptical, Abuse should be stopped, Stop harassing women, make a strategy of action, Stop blaming the victim, and stop the culture of rape.
3. What Are the Warning Signs of An Abuser?
The following are some red flags and warning signs of an abuser:
- Jealousy to the extreme
- I have a nasty temper
- Animal cruelty
- Abuse of words
- Extremely domineering conduct
- Outdated ideas regarding the roles of men and women in partnerships
A strong understanding of what works in and for the culture and community in which the organization is attempting to impact change. We hope that these efforts and activities motivate you to act and join the fight to end VAW. It is past time to put an end to violence against women.