Monday, August 8, 2016
Beaten Down and Silenced Cry... Domestic Violence
In a country with a population 1.2 billion Indians, 48.5% comprise of women. 56% of the total women population are married out of them 7.5% are aged 60+. (Hindu 38.78 %; Muslim 6.5 %; Christian 1.18 %; Sikh 0.88 %; Buddhist 0.38 %; Jain 0.20 %; Others 0.32 %).
As per a NFHS statistics 37.2 % of ever married women have experienced spousal violence and about once every five minutes an incident of domestic violence is reported, under its legal definition of "cruelty by husband or his relatives". At all India level, 10.35 % households are female headed and the average size of female headed households is 4 whereas the average household size for male headed households is 6, and surprisingly domestic violence cases often are from homes that are female dominated.
Acts of domestic violence can include physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse. The abuser could be a parent, child, spouse, stepparent, live-in partner, sibling, or other relative. Victims and abusers come from both genders and all age groups. Marital rape is another form of domestic violence in which one spouse is sexually abused by the other. 65% of Indian men believe women should tolerate violence in order to keep the family together, and women sometimes deserve to be beaten. In January 2011, the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) Questionnaire reported that 24% of Indian men had committed sexual violence at some point during their lives.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, reported incidents of crime against women increased 8.3% during 2014, and a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes. In 2013 there were 314,210 reported incidents of crime against women, in 2012 there were 244,270 reported incidents, while in 2011 there were 228,650 reported incidents. Among the crimes committed against women, the crimes of torture and molestation together constitute 65.53%
India’s societal changes have been engineered by women getting access to education and jobs. However on the ground regressive notions and crimes continue to halt women from getting out of their homes and joining the work force. While our Western sisters burned bras in the 1960s for equality, India's women are taking to the streets to demand their right to walk freely without fear from men…
The law surrounding domestic violence and marital rape is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. There is no single cause of domestic violence, it comes from a combination of factors, including society's attitudes, community responses, and the individual psychology experiences of the abuser and the abused. The biggest challenge is more often than not the women experiencing domestic violence tend to believe it’s a normal behaviour and start falsely believing that the violence against them is punishment for their misbehaviour (as defined by the husband and his family) and for their good behaviour petty rewards like an outing or a movie or a gift is what they should expect… quite unfortunate… many women in India still believe there is no good reason to call police if husband beats wife, and family members too don’t come to the rescue of women when being abused by her husband.
One of my clients reported that her husband used to turn on the TV volume high and then beat her so that family members or others in the home don’t come to know what is happening and also she was under constant depression, malnourished and used to become hysteric. In-laws blamed her of being a mentally ill girl and wanted to get rid of her and so filed a divorce case…
In one other case, the girl had to leave the marital home due to the illegal sexual advances from the father-in-law towards her, the plight of this newly married girl was such where she was living a nightmarish hell without able to communicate to her husband or mother-in-law, with much difficulty and the help of house maid she gathered some strength and opened up the matter to the police…
Often reported by many social activists and NGOs that children become victims of domestic violence, the emotional trauma they go thru seeing the violent episodes between parents and watch in-laws behaving like an animal with their mother makes them social rebels
Alcohol and substance abuse is another big cause to this concern, cases where husband abuses wife under the influence of alcohol and pretends to repent his deed once he comes to his normal senses, the fallacy is that the women being abused fails to understand the behaviour of her husband and lives in her own false believes
Dowry is another problem that adds fuel to the fire; many young women today too are murdered or driven to suicide by continuous harassment and torture by husbands and in-laws in an effort to extort an increased dowry. It’s very important that people realize such facts and take actions well in advance…
The only way to permanently stop domestic violence is for everyone to no longer try to control and abuse those they love. This goal will take educating our kids to respect their romantic partners by demonstrating respectful, healthy relationships with our spouses and partners.
Beyond the one who is a sufferer, we as responsible citizen can play our part in helping avoid such situations in our community…. Few things I believe we can do are…
If your neighbour, friend, co-worker, classmate, mother, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, niece or cousin is facing Domestic Violence at home, let them know that you will be willing to be a witness or to intervene on their behalf while you are around.
I really liked the idea Bell Bajao campaign, have seen on the television and few social media sties too, If you are the neighbour of a family experiencing Domestic Violence, please take the time to ring their bell when you hear a violent situation happening. You could use the old neighbourly approach of asking to borrow a cup of sugar or some milk as an excuse. If you feel that it could get dangerous, bring another person with you so there will be more than one witness.
If the situation is beyond simple neighbourly intervention, call the police, Provide critical information, such as location, names, contact number, and whether or not you wish the remain anonymous, remember you are a neighbour or a friend and you may not wish show heroism and get into trouble but it’s always good to seek help, you can also seek help from a couple other neighbours and together work to support the victim…
If you fear for your friend, co-worker, classmate, or family member’s life, call or text her once a day at a random time to see if she is all right., remember to be friendly, be sensitive to the situation, unknowingly your act may trigger another episode of violence if you text too much or her husband come to know and starts suspecting you to be a person creating more troubles in their life…
The victim of domestic violence is often either aggressive or too low in self-esteem, be a good listener, counsel her or seek professional counselling. This taboo is not easy for the society to overcome, it will take time may be a couple of decade if very optimistic or may be a couple of centuries… as long as the roots of social evil are strong in the society, as long as the education is limited to theories and lacks empathy, as long as the morals are poor, as long as minds are corrupted, as long as …. as long as … as long as… etc..
It’s our responsibility to act and help and support… you may wish to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice and counselling or any legal assistance in lieu with this.
- 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 : email@example.com Phone : 9845944896