How does the media effect domestic violence in India?
India was named as the most dangerous country for women with regards to risk of harassment, human trafficking, domestic servitude and the dangers women face from cultural, tribal and traditional practices in 2018. An estimated 27.5 million women experience sexual violence in the sub-continent. The root cause is likely situated within the home, due to a structurally violent society. With widespread exposure from, for example, “daily soaps” on television there are many other factors which may be enforcing traditional gender norms and in turn perpetuating violence. This study aims to understand how different forms of media are influencing society, especially the adolescent populations , shaping their views of relationships and how this has an impact on the prevalence of domestic violence.
There are two key components if this study. The first is a secondary thematic analysis of a pilot study conducted in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in April 2019. The state was chosen as it has the highest number of rape cases in the country and Lucknow as the capital, being majorly affected. Primary qualitative data was collected in the form of 15 semi-structured interviews with teachers, NGO workers and paediatricians to understand why sex and relationship education (SRE) programs are not being implemented in this area, especially as education programs have been highlighted as a key intervention to reduce the rates of domestic violence by the World Health Organization. The second aspect of this study is to review the current literature. Online databases Science Direct, Medline (OvidSP) and Web of Science will be searched, the relevant papers with their findings will be analysed using the Cochrane GRADE system to assess the quality of evidence. These results will be synthesised in order to offer possible policy recommendations on what can be done to improve the current situation.
The results of the pilot study, strongly highlighted that “media”- in the form of films, books and social networking sites - plays a vital role in how intimate relationships are perceived, established and experienced by adolescents. Additionally cultural stigma around sex and rigid gender roles are preventing the implementation of education programs which seek to promote “healthy relationships”, a vital intervention in reducing domestic violence. Parents are also a barrier as they feel ill equipped to discuss these issues with their children. Currently 10 relevant papers have been identified in the search.
The Lucknow Adolescent Health Group part of the Uttar Pradesh branch of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics have been involved with the pilot study and recommendations of this work are currently being passed on to them. Results of this study will also be feedback, especially as they are working on a national level to increase awareness around this topic.