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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: AN ABUSE
Jasmeen Choudhary, Law student at Banasthali Vidyapith University, Rajasthan View: 319


ABSTRACT

In a country like India with an almost equal population of males and females. Gender-based violence is the reality of many girls and women. It is seen in every part of India, majorly where there less literate people live. Women who nurture the family, take care of husbands and give birth to children are the one who goes through these gravest things in life like domestic violence. The women silently suffer the atrocities which ultimately gives freedom to men to do anything and everything they want. It’s not that there are no rights to women, they have but the loopholes in the system and unawareness among women prevent them to take action and reporting. Domestic violence is not only related to the women in marital relationships. All the females either sister, mother, daughter, or even males face domestic violence. But majorly it is seen in marital relationships because of the ancient thought that women become the property of men after marriage and they can do anything. Sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, psychological abuse, intellectual abuse, and tolerance of abuse are forms of domestic violence. Even children are subjected to domestic violence. Once a female used to report everything and every time she was subjected to domestic violence, but now she thinks that it is better to live with the husband only because the country is not meant for single women after divorce. It is a great task to live in a country like India after divorce. Also, the psychiatrists recognize that after so much humiliation in the house only the women lose their self-esteem and the only treatment can be counseling and creating Awareness for their rights. We’ll further study the forms, causes, consequences, and measures to overcome the evil named Domestic violence.

KEYWORDS

Domestic violence, physical, psychological, women, men, abuse, The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Indian Penal Code, 1983.

“If you alter your behavior because you are frightened of

How your partner will react, you are being abused.”

-Sandra Horley

INTRODUCTION

Domestic violence is a part of society for a long time because of the inequality among males and female[1]. Discrimination leads to physical, emotional, and mental violence is everywhere in this patriarchal society. Some common examples are the death of the bride for dowry, deaths on property disputes, children beaten by fathers when they refuse to go to schools. Domestic violence is not only with women in marital relationships or live-in relationships. It is seen against the child to the most elder person in the family. In ancient times Domestic Violence was socially and legally accepted by society as the right of men. The women were considered as property owned by men. Physical, sexual, or psychological abuse can be against anybody in the house including women, men, and children.

Thus the present paper will talk about the forms, causes, consequences of domestic violence followed by the concept of domestic violence against women. Then we will discuss the measures to prevent and protect women from atrocities. Then the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 with its criticism. And at last, we will end with some suggestions and recommendations and conclusion.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Violence is the intentional physical force to hurt or kill someone which results in injury, deprivation, or death of the victim. There is no specific definition of violence against women. Domestic violence is gender-based violence that is usually against females within domestic boundaries. Domestic violence not only covers the cruelty of husband on wife but covers the violence in the family by siblings, parents, in-laws, and relatives. The damage by domestic violence is both physical and psychological. It is generally not being reported by women as it is behind closed doors[2]. Domestic violence includes slapping, kicking, pushing roughly, biting, hitting, and throwing objects. It is a global pandemic that hits 1 in every 3 women in their lifetime as per reports. Though it is a crime under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1983, it is still the gravest threat to women in India. This section punishes the wrongdoer with imprisonment of up to 3 years or imposes a fine or with both. The main reason for domestic violence against women is caste, class, color, religion, age, and education[3].

Discrimination based on gender is seen before the females are born and continues till they die. A girl being touched on the breast or her rear by family members will amount to violence. Mostly domestic violence against women has been witnessed in spousal relationships. The highest rate of spousal violence is reported in Karnataka, Bihar, and Manipur as per the recent data on states from the fifth NFHS (2019-21). In ancient times the main reason for domestic violence against women was Dowry but as time passed more reasons came into the spotlight. Women in India have no doubt many legal rights to protect their dignity and integrity, the problem is with unawareness among them about the same. One major reason why the women do not report a case in court is the unawareness among them regarding the signs of abusive relationships.

FORMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

There are many types or forms of domestic violence which include all the aspects of reported and unreported cases.

1. PHYSICAL ABUSE

Physical abuse is the most visible form of domestic violence. Section 3 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 describes Physical abuse as any action of physical force intended to harm, damage, or kill thewomen[4]. It includes slapping, kicking, pushing roughly, biting, hitting,  throwing objects, clocking, or any other physical threatening effect. It is one of the most ancient domestic violence used to control the female spouse within the domestic sphere. Locking the women by the husbands or any other family members also amounts to domestic violence under physical abuse. Refusing to help when the woman is sick, injured, or pregnant is also physical abuse. Physical abuse under domestic violence is easy to prove in courts as the evidence is on the body of the victim itself which can be proved by doctors.

2. PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL ABUSE

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 categorizes psychological and emotional abuse as verbal abuse which includes humiliation, name-calling, insults relating to not having a child or male child, putdown, disrespectful behavior, and undermining self-respect of thewomen[5]. It is one of the major forms of abuse female faces. Verbal abuse causes distress and trauma. The consequences of violence by an intimate partner are anxiety, depression, antisocial behavior, low self-esteem, inability to trust others, fear of intimacy, emotional detachment, sleep disturbance, and replaying of assault in mind. Criticism is one form of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse also includes the controlling behavior of parents. It is very common among Indian parents. They force the child to do what they dream at any cost whether the child is happy or traumatized. Threatening to commit suicide is also a form of emotional abuse. The threat to commit suicide weakens the woman and ultimately forces her to do what men want making the women feel inferior. The highest reports of this type of abuse are seen in Odisha and Uttar Pradesh with more than 70% of men committing emotional abuse towards their wives or partners. There are no specific laws for emotional abuse and psychological abuse and are quite hard to prove.

3. SEXUAL ABUSE

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 includes any acts of sexual nature which harm the dignity of women. Sexual abuse is the specific form of domestic violence that is between men and women in marital relationships or otherwise. It is mostly seen in the house where the men ate illiterate. Men sexually abuse women to control them. It includes rapes, gang rapes, and molestations within the domestic boundaries. According to statistics of the National Crime Bureau (NCRB), every 16 minutes woman is raped in India. In the present time, the husbands sexually abuse their wives to maintain and prove their superiority. It is considered that the wife must always give consent to any sexual activity asked by her husband.

Domestic sexual assault includes sexual coercion and marital rape. Marital rape has not been criminalized in India to date. 1 in every 5 men has forced his wife or partner to have sexual intercourse as per the International Men And Gender Equality survey 2011. More than two-thirds of married women in India aged 15 to 49 have been beaten or forced to provide sexual intercourse, regardless of their Socioeconomic positions as per the UN Population Fund. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), only considers forced sex as a crime in marriage when the girl is less than 15 years of age. It is a loophole as the marriage age is 18 years which has increased to 21 recently. Also the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 provides the civil remedy to the victims of marital rape.

4. ECONOMIC ABUSE

Economic abuse is also known as financial abuse. Economic abuse is making women deprived of money-related basic requirements. This is majorly seen where the woman is financially not independent. The perpetrator refuses to give money, preventing them from obtaining education and limiting access to goods and services. The main reason behind doing This is to make women dependent on men. Women and girls take this thing as normal which is not in fact. Some economic or financial abuse examples are preventing the female partner to open a bank account and if allowed then in a joint account with a man only, refuses to spend money even if she earns and controls finances. There is the controlling behavior of the male spouse on an intimate partner which amounts to economic abuse.

5. INTELLECTUAL ABUSE

Intellectual abuse has been missing from all the above discussed domestic violence forms. This is because there is a perception that men can dominate women and thus accepts the inequality. Not matching each other's mental levels is due to their different educational levels.

Indian marriages are already seen as a compromise. That is why women are seen as inferior in respect to men. People think that the only work of women is to nurture their families and thus limits their roles in the house only. Not only uneducated women but educated women also faces intellectual abuse as the access to finances remains with the men only. The women are judged and treated according to the patriarchal authorities. Also, the Domestic Violence Act, of 2005 failed to address intellectual abuse as it is a combination of economic and psychological abuse.

6. TOLERANCE OF ABUSE

In most cases, it happens in childhood when the parents are abusers. Then during adulthood, they tend to more abuse and their behavior and attitude become arrogant. Many women tolerate the abuse they go through for the sake of reputation. Many cases of abuse go unreported, not getting proper medical care after the abuse and never talking of the abuse they faced.

CAUSES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

There is no one single reason for domestic violence. There are many factors in different cultures which becomes the reason. All the forms of domestic violence are in society because of the inequality between men and women in relationships.  The belief of male superiority prevails largely in the world which ultimately makes the female inferior. Family is also one of the major reasons,  like stopping women from going out,  forcing related to dowry and other societal rules and regulations. One cause of domestic violence is behavior like anger,  poverty,  depression, dominating nature,  drug addiction,  stress, andattitude[6].

CONSEQUENCES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The consequences of domestic violence are very harsh and no one can even imagine the psychological effect of the victim. The lack of awareness among women prevents them to think beyond the four walls of the house. The consequences also vary with different age groups. In Broadway, the consequences of domestic violence are:-

A. PHYSICAL EFFECT

Some acute physical injuries are broken bones,  head injuries,  bruises, and internal bleeding which can be cured by proper medical care and hospitalization some major physical effects are arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.  some physical injuries are even very difficult to scan by the doctors and nurses. A lady who becomes a victim of domestic violence during the pregnancy can go through severe problems like miscarriage,  pre-term labor, and injury or death of the fetus.

B. PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECT

The psychological effect includes anger,  fear, anxiety,  stress, and oppression after the domestic violence against women. Depression as a result of domestic violence in most cases and with either the idea of suicide order suicide itself. The most common prevailing psychological effect of domestic violence is post-traumatic stars disorder (PSTD). Characteristics of post-traumatic stars disorder are flashbacks,  uninvited annoying images,  nightmares, and avoidance of things that are related to the abuse or abuser.  These symptoms prevail for a long span in the mind of the victim of the dangerous situation.

C. EFFECT ON CHILDREN

A child exposed to domestic violence results in very ill effects in the future. children subject to domestic violence sufferers in their development, tend to abuse more often in schools.  Post-traumatic starts disorder is also seen and children.  The symptoms again are flashbacks,  nightmares,  physical pain,  headaches, and fear to see and touch things and people that were closely related to domestic violence. Emotionally and behaviorally the child suffers from anxiety, fear,  anger, and problem in socializing with friends in the future. The attitude of the child victim develops with a lack of problem-solving skills. They tend to behave younger than they are.  Sometimes the mother and child both suffer from the abuse at the same time.

 

THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT, 2005

The acting board to safeguard women from domestic violence.  it came into effect from 26th October 2006.  This was the first time when domestic violence was defined some will somewhere. The definition of domestic violence under this act not only covers physical violence but also emotional and psychological abuse.  It provides only civil remedies for protection. The act is an effective way to protect the rights of women under the constitution.

The act extends to the protection of all females either sister,  daughter, wife, daughter-in-law,  sister in law or mother in the household. This act includes sexual abuse, physical abuse,  emotional abuse,  economic abuse, and verbal abuse.  It also includes Harassment relating to dowry. Chapter 3 of this act talks about the rights of women which also includes the right to live with dignity in in-laws' house or shared house regardless of the ownership. The act also provides that the court has the power to pass orders to stop or prevent the abuser to protect the victim of domestic violence.  The act also includes the punishment if the abuser continues the wrongdoing even after the passing of Protection Orders. The punishment is imprisonment which may extend to one year or a fine which may extend to ₹20,000 or both.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT, 2005

In order to safeguard women,  the protection of women from domestic violence act, 2005 made such laws which protect the women from even a minor dispute which is a part of daily life and not so great. This is why even a small dispute can be bought or challenged in court. The act gives a direct way that the males are the only reason for domestic violence against women and not women.  The law is specifically made for women's protection. It is a gender-based act. It does not protect men when they are subject to domestic violence.

To protect two women, the act comes up with the idea of extramarital relationships which were not recognized in society according to law.  The violence should be given such a wide recognition and interpretation.  According to the law, if a woman demands money and the man refuse because he has also insufficient money, the woman can sue.

The magistrate must go through all these circumstances and not only through the women part of the verdict.  Section 14 of the protection of women from domestic violence is a dangerous provision as it contains a starter magistrate can order the victim to jointly go with the respondent for counseling.  According to the act If there are no other eyewitnesses then only the victim's words would be considered.  there are still many loopholes left.  The women sometimes misuse these loopholes to take their revenge which is unacceptable.  The act should be considered again with the consequences in mind so that the innocent person can be saved.

FIGHTING AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

A. AT GOVERNMENT LEVEL

The role that a government can play effectively is to arrest the wrongdoers of domestic violence and further actions should be there to prevent and punish them.  More lady police officers should be there in urban as well as rural areas police stations. Immediate actions should be taken to stop the accused to take the benefits of the loopholes of the law. Further, criminals of heinous crimes must be punished with a speedy justice system, they must not leave without any actions against them. Government should create awareness among women so that they get to know what legal rights and remedies they have.  There should be a Women’s Commission at the district and state level with a fixed number of women at the head along with men.

B. ROLE OF NGOs

Non-governmental organizations and institutions should conduct seminars and workshops two create awareness about domestic violence against women.  They should be aware people about the gravity of this crime and the remedies which are available to women.

C. MEDIA

The media should cover and bring the cases related to domestic violence against women in the public domain. It is one of the best ways to create awareness as many speakers on this topic can join and speak,  the victims of domestic violence can share their unpleasant experiences and victims can also share how they overcame that suffering.

D. AT FAMILY LEVEL

Family is the first institute in everyone's life when they learn many things which becomes the permanent part of one behavior as it is observed that what we learn at a younger age becomes permanent in the subconscious mind.  At a young age, The children should be taught about equality among genders and not create a gender bias situation among them.

E. ON WOMEN’ PART

The women who are the victim or not must raise their voices for justice.  They should be aware others about the legal rights of women has and how to enforce them. The silent bearing of the atrocities should be prohibited as it leads to many health issues.  It does not matter If the woman is educated or not,  upper caste or lower caste,  black or white,  all have equal rights and they can raise voice for themselves.  They should train themselves in self-defense like karate and different techniques.  The woman should try to self employ herself to attain respect and social status.

 

F. SOCIAL WORKERS

Social workers should provide services to the victims of domestic violence by counseling and providing shelter.  Individual counseling should be there. Social workers should work to stop these kinds of atrocities in the first place.  Social workers should empower women. They should direct the organizations which work for victims of domestic violence.  Pre-marital and Post-marital counseling should be arranged by their social workers.

 

G. JUDICIARY

Judiciary can contribute by setting up special courts in every district with women judges and magistrates to handle the cases of domestic violence.  Domestic violence cases against women should strictly lie under the woman judge and magistrate. Mobile codes should be there.  There should be strict laws related to these social evils.

 

HOW TO FILE A CASE?

Section 12 of the domestic violence act deals with the lodging of complaints against anyone who is the offender of domestic violence.

 The women should go to the police station to file a case of domestic violence against the offender as soon as possible. If the woman can’t approach the police station anyhow,  she must dial 100 (police helpline) to get in contact with the police officer to tell everything relevant to the case. Then the legal proceedings will start.  It should be kept in mind that pieces of evidence like emails,  phone calls, videos, and images of abusive nature should be kept safe for future reference. The women should consult the doctor for medical care and report which can be used as evidence in the future. At the time of complaining, every fact of abuse must be kept open.  As soon as the Complaint is recorded one can proceed with the action.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS

-          Counseling is one of the best ways to empower women. Counseling should be given to the aggrieved person by an intellectual person having in-depth knowledge about the issue.

-          Gender-based knowledge should be given to the children in schools at a very early age. The training should be given to officers of various departments who work for and with people. The training will surely result in clearing the clouds of unawareness among people.

-          The attitude must need a change among men and women. The ancient thought of male dominating society needs a change. Discrimination based on gender needs a change. These all things can be done with officers working for the common man by various means.

-          The level of knowledge among women should be increased by various seminars, workshops, and speeches. At least woman should know their legal rights.

-          Sometimes it happens that police officers advise women to stop complaining and compromise with their husbands. That must not happen anywhere. they should empower the women and her thought of complaining.

-          Before marriage, the couples should be given counseling on how to manage and live in a marital relationship.

-          The punishment to the offender should be publicized so that others get to know about the consequences of doing wrong.

 CONCLUSION

As we have discussed the sensitive topic of ‘domestic violence, it is not limited to this article, it has a great impact on the victims which is next to impossible to explain here. Serious measures should be taken to prevent these types of atrocities largely prevailing in society. In our country where there are so many laws on women, they are still considered secondary sex and inferior. If this factor of violence can be prevented then there’s no doubt India would be a better place to live in.



[1]UNICEF (2000), Domestic Violence against Women and Girls, Innnocenti Digest N0. 6, available at

http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/digest6e.pdf (Visited on 15 March, 2019).

 

[3]Narwadkar, Dr. Pooja P., Law Relating to Domestic Violence in India 9, (Hind Law House Publication, 2014).

[4]http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/violence.

[5]The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,  2005.

[6] Indira Jaisingh, law of Domestic Violence, 9-10, (Universal Law Pub. Co. Pvt. Ltd. Delhi, 2001).


REFERENCES

·         The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

·         Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1983

·         www.manupatrafast.com

·         Narwadkar, Dr. Pooja P., Law relating to domestic violence in India 9,(Hind Law House Publication, 2014).

·         Sanjeev Kumar and Kalpana Devi, Domestic violence against women: Indian perspective, (A creative connect International publication).

·         Dr. S. Prescila Sharon, Domestic violence against women in India: A family menace (Indian Journal of Applied Research).

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