Hundreds of wooden paddles have been distributed to brides at a mass wedding in India as gifts to be used to bat off drunken abusive husbands.
The bats, engraved with phrases including “police won’t intervene” and “for beating drunkards”, were presented to women by a state minister.
Gopal Bhargava, India’s minister for social justice, told the women that, if their drunken husbands did not desist their advances after being told ‘no’, the women should beat them away with the paddle.
This was done in a bid to highlight and curb domestic violence.
Speaking to the AFP, Bhargava said he wanted to highlight the abuse women in rural areas were facing from alcohol-fuelled husbands, saying: “Women say whenever their husbands get drunk they become violent. Their savings are taken away and splurged on liquor.
“There is no intent to provoke women or instigate them to violence but the bat is to prevent violence."
As well as the 700 paddles distributed at the wedding, Bhargava has ordered 10,000 to be distributed to recently married women.
Alcoholism and subsequent abuse by husbands of their wives has been a topic of increasing discussion recently. Crimes against women in India rose by 34% between 2012 and 2015, and, in 2016, the Gulabi Gang (a feminist group) launched a campaign to stop the sale of alcohol, and. Some states have banned it, while others have simply cracked down on sales.
With misogynistic occurrences on the rise, and following 2012’s vicious rape and death of a 23-year-old woman on a Deli bus, last year the government announced the instalment of panic buttons on busses, to protect women.
While many are concerned that the paddles are simply adding fuel to the fire of a concerning situation, they certainly raise a valid point which police will no doubt have to answer to.