The paper is based on the secondary sources on the issues of ethical values, curriculum, education and violation against women in India. It argues that ethical values are the core aspect to prevent and mitigate the issues of atrocities and violation against women in a patriarchic society like India. It also offers suggestion to skirminish violation against women. One of the measures is to imbibe ethical values to the younger generation by updating such issues in the curriculum.
Key Words: Ethics, Curriculum, Violation, Gender Equality
Violence against women is partly a result of gender relations that assumes men to be superior to women. Given the subordinate status of women, Manifestations of violence against women include physical aggregation, such as blows of varying intensity, burns, attempted handing, sexual abuse and rape. Psychological violence through insults, humiliation, coercion, blackmail, economic or emotional threats, and control over speech and actions. In the extreme, but not unknown cases, death is the result. These expressions of violence take place in between man-woman relationship within the family, state and society. Usually, domestic aggression towards women and girls are, due to various reasons remain hidden (Sibyl and Bharat, 1987).
Cultural and social factors are interlinked with the development and propagation of violent behavior. With different processes of socialization that men and women undergo, men take up stereotyped gender roles of domination and control, whereas women take up that of submission, dependence and respect for authority. A female child grows up with a constant sense of being weak and in need of protection, whether physical, social or economic. This helplessness has led to her exploitation at almost every stage of life (Sheela, 2000).
The family socializes its members to accept hierarchical relations expressed in an unequal division of labour between the sexes and power over the allocation of resources. The family and its operational unit where the child has been exposed to gender differences since birth, and in recent times even before birth, in the form of sex-determination tests leading to feticide and female infanticide. The home, which is supposed to be the most secure place, in where women are most exposed to violence.
The review of the literature reveals that the higher socio-cultural values played a vital role in maintaining peace and social harmony. Consistently those ethical values are deteriorating on the backdrop of increasing industrialization, modernization and urbanization and increased globalization, economic liberalization and privatization. The impact of cable TV network, obscene literature, easy access to internet and mobile phone has been the major threats for diminishing higher values in our generations. The influence of western culture is dominant on our generations than the family, parents, teachers and the education system. Exposure to obscenity, bad habits and violation are the consequences of the impact of western culture over cable TV networks and the internet.
Education, being a formal agency of social control is found ineffective in control of anti-social behavior of the generations. The curriculum is one of the important factors for preventing violence in society in general and violence against women in particular. This paper argues that as the present education system is creating highly competitive human resource, but not the true human beings. Education is closely related to the development of the society as in its real purpose, it enables people how to lead a life. It is to be noted that, education with integrity always leads to development. But education without integrity leads to destruction.
Violence against Women
Violence against women has been clearly defined as a form of discrimination in numerous documents. The World Human Rights Conference in Vienna, first recognized gender based violence as a human rights violation in 1993. In the same year, a United Nations declaration, 1993, defined violence against women as “any act of gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to a woman, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life” (Sheela, 2000).
Radhika Coomaraswamy identifies different kinds of violence against women, in the United Nation’s special report, 1995, on Violence against Women;
Coomaraswamy (1992) points out that women are vulnerable to various forms of violent treatment for several reasons, all based on gender.
Structural violence, according to her is the basis of direct violence, because it influences the socialization which causes individuals to accept or inflict suffering, according to the social function they fulfill. Open or direct violence is exercised through aggression, arms or physical force.
Media all over the world is full of news of violence against women and children. No country in the world, developed or developing is free from the menace. Apart from rape, women are subjected to beatings by their husbands or other male relatives. Similarly, children are battered by either or both of the parents, or step-mothers, uncles, aunts, siblings, etc. While rape cases get a wider coverage in the media, battering of women and children within their homes is ignored and given a go by as a domestic matter. Of course, in many counties such offenses are punishable by law; but only a small percentage of cases get reported (Rajagopalan).
Physical violence as well as explicit forms of aggression is used by the more powerful in the household as methods to ensure the obedience of the less powerful and therefore related to power dynamics in a household. At every stage in the life cycle, the female body is both the objects of desire and of control.
Domestic violence includes not only inter-spousal violence, but also violence perpetrated by other family members. Generally, an important part of the power relationship between spouses and their families relates to dowry and its ramifications.
There is a wide social tolerance for wife-house, which is very often even considered justifiable under certain circumstance: Disputes over dowries, a wife’s sexual infidelities, her neglect of household duties, and her disobedience of her husband’s dictates are all considered legitimate causes for wife-beating. It is only when the torture becomes unbearable or death appeared imminent that most women appeared willing to speak out.
The class defines domestic violence as “anything that is experienced as fearful, controlling and threatening when used by those with power (invariably men) against those without power (mainly women and children)”.
Domestic violence includes harassment, maltreatment, brutality or cruelty and even the threat of assault – intimidation. It includes physical injury, as well as “willfully or knowingly placing or attempting to place a spouse in fear of injury and compelling the spouse by force or threat to engage in any conduct or act, sexual or otherwise, from which the spouse has a right to abstain”. Confining or detaining the spouse against one’s will or damaging property is also considered as acts of violence.
Statistics on Violence against Women and Girls Worldwide today
Conclusion and Suggestions
It is clear that violence against women are endemic in India. The reason is women in the country are highly vulnerable because of poor quality of life indicated by rampant poverty, lack of education, high under mortality, poor health status, a high fertility rate and high maternal mortality rate. Also contributing to the violence against women is a societal mindset about women that has not changed much.
Violence is perpetrated on women both inside and outside her home. The government and voluntary organizations are making efforts towards ending/minimizing violence against women. The efforts of the government are in the shape of enacting relevant legislations, issuing orders and launching various women welfare schemes. But their implementation remains today, as the lower level government functionaries are not gender sensitive. On the other hand, the voluntary organizations are taking both preventive as well as reactionary measures. But the efforts of the voluntary organizations suffer from a paucity of funds and infrastructure (Tiwari, 2003).
An ethical curriculum depends on the ability to impart skill with knowledge for making the best use of the learning processes. It can further advance only when one explores different value dimensions with additional goals in education than mere technical goal with an appropriate curriculum. An ethical curriculum provides character formation for the well-being of an individual which is even more important than cultivation of intellect. However, the present education system offers no provision to gain experience in social virtues while studying as a result of which even the well-qualified are not being readily accepted as serious social citizens. A curriculum with ethics will be able to address and advise various social diversities in a holistic manner and also elevate a society with values to greater heights. So, the main aim of ethical education is to provide statesmanship and academic heroism to create a good society for holistic thinkers.
Inculcation of Ethics in the curriculum for skirmishing violation against women can make you younger and newer generation sensitive about the issues of violation in general and issues of violation against women in particular. Hence, inculcation of ethical values in all the levels of education particularly in its curriculum is a need today to prevent destructive behavior like violation against women in any form. This will have a bearing on socialization of the new generation with proper moral and ethical framework. We cannot fight violation against women need to be treated as a human being from the perspective of a human being not as a male member of the society. The orientation of the great peace leaders like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Asghar Ali Engineer, and Mother Theresa can make our generations to have such personalities as role models and lead the human society towards a real state of development with peace, harmony, gender justice, gender equality and gender equity.
Dr. Yallappa Kombinoor
Faculty Member, Department of Political Science,
Akkamahadevi Women’s University, Vijayapura (Karnataka).
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