Not just for a virus rampaging through planet earth, this is fecund times for 21st century blues too—a farrago of maladies and their ugly manifestations all of us know only too well, in some form or other. Sunanda Desai (name changed), a working woman from an upper-middle-class family in Mumbai, is ploughing through a rough patch since the lockdown began. “There is stress at my workplace and at home. I am expected to do things perfectly by my husband and in-laws. Else, I am shouted at by everybody, including my kids. In ten years of marriage, I have never experienced such acrimonious fights and violence in this house,” she says. Her husband, a businessman, copes with a different level of stress, she says, because he’s unsure if he will ever be able to open his bookshop.
The National Commission for Women (NCW), which receives complaints of domestic violence from across the country, recorded a more than twofold rise in gender-based violence during the initial lockdown period. The total complaints from women rose from 116 in the first week of March (March 2-8), to 257 in the final week (March 23-April 1). NCW chief Rekha Sharma says the main reason for the rise of domestic violence is that men, confined to home, are taking out their frustration on women, while refusing to help out in domestic work.