Thursday, June 23, 2016
Men... the victims of Domestic Violence
Disclaimer: the intention of this article is not to weaken the struggles women face with domestic violence but also to bring in some light on the issues faced by men. Domestic violence is no longer only a women issue but impacts both sexes equally.
Over the past few years, 'domestic violence' has been defined as vehemence by men against women and children, and women's viciousness against their male partners has been considered to be either absent, or the fault of men, or has been underestimated and justified in a variety of ways to an extent where this interpretation of violence implies further that women's aggression is a reaction to men's actions toward them, blaming the victim for his plight. It is argued, for instance, that a wife who beats her husband has herself been beaten and that her violence is the violence of self-defence.
When one hears the words ‘Domestic violence’ we picture about a woman being beaten by a man… a child living in terror of an arrogant father figure … a woman with bruised face, cowering indoors afraid to upset an unstable male partner… The deep-seated prescription of domestic violence as a woman’s problem, and not a social problem affecting both sexes and their children, is now strongly entrenched in societal attitudes of various western cultures, men in India too have become vocal about this, but the public indifference towards men still exists and this not only deters many male victims from reporting intimate abuse against them, even when they have suffered severe violence, but also reinforces stereotypical attitudes towards them by police forces and social agencies, so that if they do report, they are often disbelieved or ridiculed. Unfortunately in India, Domestic violence against men in India is not recognized by the law and like women, men also find it hard to get out of abusive relationships.
An estimated 835,000 men are physically assaulted by intimate partners every year, according to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence. In recent years, there has been a spurt in the number of men who have been physically abused by their wives. Although the trauma may be the same, the methods of inflicting abuse vary. "Men are stronger and hit their wives, but women, in many cases, ask another man — their brother, father, friend or hired goons — to assault their husbands. About 1650 Husbands aged between 15-49 years and selected through random sampling were interviewed using a schedule adapted from the WHO multicounty study on Husband's health and domestic violence. The study looked at all four aspects of domestic violence — Economical, Emotional, Physical and Sexual. Economical violence was found to be the commonest with 32.8% respondents saying they had faced it at least once, followed by emotional (22.2%), by physical (25.2%) and sexual violence (17.7%). An interesting finding was that the probability of violence increased significantly with the duration of marriage particularly if it was more than seven years old.
In my experience counselling and attending to various cases, one key factor I have observed that men shy away from voicing out their problems for reasons including the welfare and access to children, in most of the cases men don’t report or brush aside and continue to stay in an abusive relationship because of the factors involving their parents. One of the cases my client told its very embarrassing for him to go back and tell his mother that his wife is harassing him and his mother being a heart patient will not be able to tolerate the trauma because it was a love marriage against his mother’s will. Another instance was an NRI husband who is married to an Indian girl faces a lot of challenges where the girls family troubles him for money matters. There are few cases of adultery where the wife is involved in but the husband for the very status in the society although coming to know about such things was unable to do anything but seek a separation on some other grounds and meet the demands of his wife during the separation process.
What should men do and how can law / lawyer help…?
In case of False Acquisitions
The most frequent form of abuse that I have come across in my practice is wife falsely filing a case against husband and her in-laws and misusing 498A. In such instances the husband and family approach the lawyer to get an anticipatory bail to protect them and then continue to fight the case which often leads to marital separation.
Having assisted individuals facing a false accusation of domestic violence for several years, I have personally experienced several incidences where my clients were charged with domestic violence crimes for which I knew they were not guilty. It’s always good to be proactive and with the help of a lawyer file the case against the wife in the nearest police station and send a legal notice to wife stating her intentions are being challenged in the court of law and under any circumstance any further false acquisition or false compliant will not hold any good any more. Being proactive is the best possible solution to overcome false acquisitions. Secondly, ensure you protect your valuables, properties, bank information, passwords, and belongings that can be under potential threat in case of such accusations and finally stop shying away and notify family members and close friends about the abuse you are going thru which will act as an evidence in later times.
In case of Emotional / Mental Abuse
Emotional abuse of men is the same as emotional abuse of women: it is acts, including verbal assault, that make a person feel less self-worth or dignity. Emotional abuse of men makes them feel like less of a person. Male victims of emotional abuse may experience partners that: Yell and scream, Threaten them and try to induce fear, Insult and demean them; tell them they are not worth the trouble
Socially isolate them, Lie or withhold information, Treat them like a child or servant, Control all the finances and try humiliating them condemning their sexuality. Having social contacts controlled. Being stopped from seeing or talking to friends and family. Being restricted access to the outside world / groups / organizations is another form of emotional / mental abuse one suffers.
In case of Emotional Abuse, it’s essential for men to ensure they seek help thru counselling or legal advice. Few actions men prefer to take in such cases are to leave the relationship or keep evidence of abuse for possible legal action but not retaliate to make the matters worst. A recent landmark judgement was passed in favour of the husband when his wife used to emotional abuse him calling him an elephant, While hearing a plea of a Delhi-based businessman, who faced cruelty and humiliation at the hands of his wife for being overweight and incapable of satisfying her sexual desires, the Delhi High Court recently ruled that calling your spouse ‘mota haathi’ (fat elephant) is a valid ground for divorce. In this case the woman said that the allegations levied on her were vague and non-specific. She argued that the man could not give specific instances of alleged cruelty with dates, time and particulars to which the court observed when two parties are in a marital relationship, neither is expected to maintain a logbook and note down therein each and every instance of matrimonial offence committed by the other.
In case of Economical or Financial Abuse
Victims in this case are forced to hand over their pay cheques to their partner; may not be given access to their own bank statements and other financial documents; may have money withheld or be forced to leave take heavy debt to meet unnecessary demands; abuse of credit cards, be coerced into signing bank loans and other financial documents; may lose their job because of the stress of family violence affecting their performance, some instances where wife’s family members demand monitory assistance, instances where husbands are not allowed to share / part money with their parents etc…
Economical abuse is one of its worst form where a man is found to be in a miserable state almost living a life of a slave puppet in the hands of his wife and wife’s family, the men should retaliate to this form of abuse and seek legal advice, or take a stand to mutually agree with legal documentation in place on the limitations one should put towards expenses and in-law interference in money matters. In one of the cases expressing concern over rift between couples due to parents' persistent interference in their daughter's married life, Justice Kailash Gambhir upheld a lower court's decree of divorce to a man on the ground of his in-laws' frequent interference in his marital life. Parents should not become uninvited judges of problems of their daughter, become an obstacle in the daughter's married life, plant thoughts in her mind and gain control over her and promote disharmony in her family life, the judge said.
In case of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is not suffered by women only, men too are victims. Today’s society with access to the internet is more advanced (pervert) then what is was before. There have been several instances where men undergo sexual abuse. The stress that has built up in the urban lifestyle coupled with many lifestyle health and fitness issues have left a bad taste in the marital life, women in some cases have resorted to various means to derive sadistic pleasure from their partners and also have gone to an extent seeking pleasure outside marriage, adultery in case of wife is not punishable offence. Various forms of sexual abuse exist in the society arising out of sheer dissatisfaction in marital life or simply vengeance that wife carries towards her husband. Cheating on the husband is another form of emotional sexual abuse which is grave in its kind leading to extreme disharmony in marital life. Many men in abusive relationships do not feel in control of their own sex life, their partners may demand or coerce intercourse, may make derisory comments about their manhood or ridicule them in public. Many men also experience "sex as a reward for good behaviour" and the opposite of being denied any intimacy if they have (knowingly or not) done something to displease their partners, as being an abusive use of sexuality.
Suffering in any kind is not a sign of happy married life, men have all rights to file complaints against their wife for the untoward behavior, the emotional damage done is to a very great extent in such cases and no matter how much of counselling conducted levees very less chances for the scars to vanish. In such cases the only resort often happens is separation, more often than not the reason for separation will be emotional stress caused and very less cases the victims will open up with the facts of abuse.
Times are changing and there are various forums / men rights social organizations and NGOs who are upholding rights for men. There are various self-help forums for men and communities formed where men can feel free to discuss their issues. It’s a tough stand one needs to take, the society we live in and keeping in mind the future life often we tend to amicably resolve issues and in very less time want to get out form a troubled relationship, vengeance will not resolve the purpose, there are cases that are filed in the courts of law which are still awaiting their turn to come up for hearing and life continues to suffer. The intelligent prefer to get out of trouble and mutually agree for whatever good or bad to part off and continue new life…
For those looking for ways in which they can help defend their charges in a court of law, seeking out a consultation from a skilled domestic violence lawyer in your best interest can reach out to me writing into email@example.com for any guidance and legal assistance.
- Sonia Rajesh
- I am a practicing advocate in Bangalore Highcourt. My goal is to ensure my clients get justice and victory... Areas of Practice: · Mutual Consent Divorce · Contested Divorce · Annulment Of Marriage · Restitution Of Conjugal Rights · Maintenance (Interim and Permanent Maintenance) · Child Custody (Visitation, Interim and Permanent) · Criminal Proceedings (Bigamy, 498A etc...) · Domestic Violence and Alimony settlement · Registration of Marriage · Power of Attorney · Documentation and Registration of Will · Pre and Post Marriage Councelling Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org Phone : 9845944896