When it comes to violence against women, several factors are resulting to this such as the dowry system. In India, transnational marriage is characterised by a dowry system that violates a womans rights through exposing them to physical violence and death. The dowry system in India is different from most parts of the world where instead of the man delivering goods and money to the brides parents, it is the brides parents who take the dowry to the grooms parents while aiming at securing a fair treatment for their daughter. However, not all families can afford this massive burden of costly dowry price and wedding ceremony that are all catered for by the bride parents. Among the effects of this include physical violence, abandonment, and coercive control. The modern society, on the other hand, tries to control the violence through discouraging this traditional cultural practice (human rights, gender & environment 24). One of the developed movements to mitigate the vice is that from the Vimochan Development Society with their main slogan stay away from it. through this motto, the society is urging the Indians to abandon the dowry system culture by showing them its effects on women. While the traditional Indias dowry system is still practiced in the modern society, through the stay away from it slogan, the modern society discourages the vice as it shows how it violates women rights.
Vomochan Development Society devised an image with noose words below it in an attempt to pass their message on how women suffer from the dowry system. In the noose words which states Each day. Dowry gets an average of twenty Indian women hanged, snubbed and burned. That is over 7000 innocent victims per year, they are giving the statistics of the number of deaths every year which result from dowry-related incidences. These words are as ascertained by the national crime records bureau that puts the statistics at 8391 annual deaths in 2010 (Claire 3). The image also has a strong message requesting the Indian community to leave the traditional cultural practice. This is loudly shown in two main ways. One is through the words So please, stay away from it at the end of the noose words and the second is the yellow ribbon with the words STAY AWAY being repeated several times. Through this, the image requests and encourages the Indian community to leave the dowry system which will reduce violence against women. The message is strengthened by the hangmans noose graphic which is used to indicate death. This is a clear message indicating that the vice results to death.
From the words in the image to the colours used, the central message depicted from it is that of avoiding some of the cultural practices which violate the women rights. The use of a hangmans noose portrays several messages regarding the topic in discussion. Based on the laymans idea that that noose is used to commit suicide or kill a convicted suspect, the presence of the noose relates marriage to a death sentence to the woman. Through this, the strong messages sent to the public are that if the dowry system is paid, it pays for the death penalty for the woman as a result of physical violence. The second message is that if the family of the bride is unable to pay the hefty marriage price, it is also a death sentence to the bride through what Claire describes as bride burning. She defines the term as the act of maiming or even killing the brides whose families cannot or will not meet the grooms dowry demands (Claire 3). The presence of the hangmans noose available through the repetition and combination of the word DOWRY indicates that the primary cause of these related death cases is dowry and through avoiding it, the community reduces the death statistics.
Before death, however, is the aspect of suffering which according to several types of research done on the effect of dowry system in India, women suffer in their marriage once it has taken place. In the image, this is shown through the combination of several colours and graphics. Women suffer in their marriage according to research by Anitha et al. All women in this situation experience neglect, coercive control and physical violence (Anitha et al. 12). From this, the authors point out the effects of dowry systems on Indian women. This message is shown in the image through colours, contrast, and intensity. Black and grey in most cases have been used to communicate darkness and evil. Yellow, on the other hand, is used to draw attention to something through attraction. These two colours are prominent in the image to convey several messages. Keywords in the picture are written in black describing the effects of their meaning. These main words are DOWRY which has been culminated to form the hangmans noose, and STAY AWAY which is the message is being sent to the public regarding the dowry practice. Of significance are the grey and black backgrounds in the image and message of the words at the bottom of the image respectively. The yellow strip attracts the public eye on the message being communicated.
Through the image, the Vomochan Development Society delivers their message through emotions such as being saddened by the incidences arising from the dowry system. The image further suggests to the society to abandon the evil cultural norm whose effects to the women are explained by several authors and researchers in the Indian community. Anita et al. writes coercive control is devastating because through sustained and often small acts, the control tactics serve to attack a womans individual liberty, agency, and autonomy (Anitha et al. 13). By providing several examples of incidences that have taken place after marriage, these authors confirm that people should stay away from the practice as its effects are devastating. It is also a shame to the women as their culture, religion and beliefs are challenged by the westernised life once they are married to foreigners (Gupta 98). With the most important aspect being that of urging the people to leave the practice, it can be argued that the message is in line with the modern society when no one forces the other to get married or pay the dowry price. This is communicated passionately through the words STAY AWAY.
In conclusion, the dowry system in India is considered as one of the contributing aspects of violence against women rights such as those of freedom. With the main effects of the dowry system identified as physical violence, neglect, coercive control and death, the Vomochan Development Society urges people to abandon the dowry system vice which is characterised by the brides parents paying a massive dowry to the grooms parents to secure marriage. Failure to this result to suffering and death. The message to leave the vice is communicated through an image with words written on it to describe what the Vomochan are asking the Indian community to do. With the key words being DOWRY and STAY AWAY, the message being conveyed here is that dowry system is the leading cause of death in young women, and people should stay away from the practice. The message is strengthened through several aspects such as the colours, their contrast and the image of the hangmans noose shaped from the combination of repeated DOWRY word. Through colours such as black and yellow, the message being communicated is that it is important to note the effects of the practice, and thus the Indian community should stay clear of it to reduce the more than 7000 annual dowry related deaths.
Human rights, gender & environment. 2016. Web. 13 July 2016.
Anitha, Sundari, Anupama Roy, and Harshita Yalamarty. "Disposable women: abuse, violence and abandonment in transnational marriages: issues for policy and practice in the UK and India." British Academy, 2016.Claire. The dowry system | chances. RESET.to, n.d. Web. 13 July 2016.
Gupta, -Nidhi. WOMENS HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE PRACTICE OF DOWRY IN INDIA ADAPTING A GLOBAL DISCOURSE TO LOCAL DEMANDS 1. 2006. Web. 13 July 2016.
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