India’s heatwaves continue as domestic violence rises — Global Issue
  • opinion Umang Dhingra (New Delhi, India)
  • Inter Press Service

India has recorded its hottest temperatures ever for the third year in a row. Recent record high Temperatures have risen to 52.9°C (127.22°F), causing loss of livelihoods, water rationing, health problems, and even deaths. The heat affects different people differently. As people are advised to stay at home, the economically disadvantaged Dealing with cramped living conditions, lack of air conditioning and power outagesWomen are the ones most affected. New Delhi Heat Action Plan (HAP) Women’s vulnerabilities are noted – for example, they are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses than men, pregnant women are at higher risk, and women are expected to play greater roles as caregivers – but there is no mention of the growing threat of violence. It is well known that extreme increases in temperature lead to increased domestic violence, with low-income women bearing the brunt. In South Asia, for every degree of temperature rise: Domestic violence increased by about 6%.

As India struggles with rising carbon emissions, rising temperatures and a growing population, it is expected to see a surge in intimate partner violence. India is likely to see a surge in domestic violence, especially if greenhouse gas emissions are not effectively regulated. More than 20% by the end of the centuryExtreme temperatures are associated with frustration, aggression and disruptions to people’s daily lives. I guess this is the reason Why does heat have such a large effect on the incidence of intimate partner violence?

For low-income daily wage earners in India, the heat can lead to loss of livelihood and income. Financial stress and the associated anxiety The risk of domestic violence increases significantlyMoreover, women are expected to be the caretakers in their families, leaving them with little chance of escaping their abusers and increasing their vulnerability in extreme situations. This phenomenon has become more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. The “shadow pandemic” of domestic violence It has impacted women across India.

The pandemic also A strong pattern of economic abuse Unequal power dynamics within families lead to increased cases of violence against women. Despite research proving this, the spike in domestic violence during heatwaves remains a hidden secret. New Delhi Heat Action Plan (HAP) Gender-based violence is not mentioned once across the 66 pages.

While the bill recognises women as a vulnerable group and addresses increased risks during pregnancy, other risks to women remain hidden under the ambiguity of “social norms” and “gender discrimination”. The failure to address the threat of intimate partner violence means that a key piece of the puzzle is clearly missing. This omission has multiple impacts: policymakers avoid confronting the issue, creating gaps in policy at the highest levels; and government officials tasked with implementing schemes such as New Delhi’s HAP on the ground fail.

An increase in domestic violence is expected during the hot weather, but with no guidance on how to tackle it, the government has little ability to offer support to women who need it. Mahila Panchayat (“Women’s Council”) and Grassroots Nonprofits They often help rural and low-income women find support and community, but extreme weather can cut off these resources.

Forced to stay indoors and without help, women have few recourses and few places to rest. In theory, Indian laws protect them. But in practice, implementation is patchy and women remain vulnerable. India’s climate policy must not leave women out in the cold. New Delhi’s heat stroke plan and other policy initiatives must protect women and make the help they can access available to them. Emergency workers and government officials must be given the tools they need to support those at risk of domestic violence, not just during heatwaves but all year round.

Finally, while India’s domestic violence problem may be worse in the summer, it is not unique to the summer. India needs a set of policies and concrete actions to address rising intimate partner violence, starting at the grassroots level and prioritizing education, employment, economic stability, and family planning for all. While heatwaves and the stressors they bring may be in some ways unpredictable, rising temperatures and increased domestic violence are entirely predictable impacts of climate change. There is no excuse for not remedying this.

By leaving women more vulnerable year after year, we do a disservice to both the women who need help and the institutions they trust.

Umang Dhingra She is an undergraduate student at Duke University and a Stanback Fellow at the Population Research Institute, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that supports reproductive health and rights.

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