Beyond Spaces: Debunking the Public/Private Divide in Understanding Violence Against Women in India

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Sreyashi GHOSH, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India, India
The dichotomization of society into public men and private women has been the microcosmic reflection of the belief held many sociologists and social scientists, spearheaded by Talcott Parsons that men are fitted for the instrumental role whereas women are meant for the expressive role to keep the societal equilibrium intact. The lawmakers have always been rebuffed by the above exposition in their effort to legalize the private sphere and to bring it under the legal scanner, thus creating an illusion that public sphere is more dangerous for women in comparison to the private sphere, whereas the fact is far from the truth. Interplay of various factors, over the years has blurred the line between public and private making youth especially women equally vulnerable in both the spheres. Similarly, the unprecedented entry of women in the labour market post globalization has pressed upon the society the need to frame rules to ensure their safety in the public sphere.  Violence knows no spatial segregation, if a woman is believed to have more chances of being victimized in the public domain she has equal or more chances of being maimed in private. To ensure unobstructed movement towards gender equality, the feeling of safety has to be created and maintained in both the spheres and this can be achieved by introducing various changes in existing legal framework and government policies.

In this paper, the author tries to debunk the idea of gendering space created to make women feel more secured in the private than in the public sphere while in actual reality victimization doesn’t have a spatial characteristic. The paper argues, using the post modernist theoretical framework that idea of space is a patriarchal product which not only jeopardizes the mobility of women between spaces but aggravates the vulnerability of the youth in general.