justice, law, symbol

THE NEED OF REWIRING THE CONCEPT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE- with special emphasis on violence inflicted on women.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

S.NO. TOPICS PAGE NO.
1.ABSTRACT 
2.KEYWORDS 
3.INTRODUCTION 
4.FORMS OF ABUSE PHYSICAL ABUSEEMOTIONAL ABUSEECONOMICAL ABUSESEXUAL ABUSE 
5.RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 
6.LITERATURE REVIEW 
7.CYCLE OF ABUSE THEORY 
8.SOCIAL INFLUENCES 
9.SUGGESTIONS 
10.LAWS REGARDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN INDIA DOWRY PROBATION ACTTHE PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT 2005SEC489A OF IPC 
11.IT ENDS WITH US 
12.CONCLUSION 
13.CITATIONS 

ABSTRACT

Domestic violence is a power that one partner hands over to their respected partner in a relationship, this power is abused by the said partner to hurt them physically or mentally. It is a dynamic that is drilling holes into society.

This project report focuses on how there is still a prevalence of domestic violence in a democratic society such as India.

Further, the attitude in which people of one particular culture believe in reconciliation and not divorce when they hit rough patches in their relationships.

In the end, this report discovers how we can remedy this deep-rooted issue in our society and fight this social evil.

KEYWORDS violence, abuse, frustration, behaviors, social influences, laws, divorce.

INTRODUCTION

Domestic violence[1] is a power that one partner hands over to their respected partner in a relationship, this power is abused by the said partner to hurt them physically or mentally. this abuse is called domestic violence because it is harm that is done in a domestic setting. This can happen to anyone anywhere irrespective of their caste, creed, gender, religion or even color. The fun fact here is that more than half of the population that suffers from domestic violence doesn’t even know that it is being inflicted on them. They are the people who believe that they deserve it or perhaps live in a notion that it is normal to be beaten by your spouse if all you did was merely forget about ironing their shirt. These abusive relationships can take a root in heterosexual relationships, and same-sex relationships, they can also be against elderly people or even children.[2] It takes place in a lot of forms or types, that is, verbally, sexually, economically and even emotionally and religiously yet it still falls on the list of the most underreported crimes worldwide. This is one practice that is being practiced for centuries where the concentration of female victims is the highest in the mix.

Since this violence is found in a domestic setting it is often woven into complex institutions such as marriages, cohabitations, families, and even dating. I hope you are noticing that these are the fundamental units of one’s life. A social structure, that should be a haven and not some dungeon where torture is inflicted on its inmates. I stand by the opinion that violence is no answer to any problem ever.

All relationships are supposed to be a group effort, where all the involved parties must have equal contributions in the form of time, effort and love in the relationship. And honestly, any person who doesn’t contribute the required amount does not deserve a say in the relationship at all. That person must not be the controller of the respective relationship.

It has been observed that the cycle of abuse theory[3] is what this complete institution of violence stands on. This particular concept answers the question that never leaves our mind, that is, “why does she not leave?”, this theory explains how the human brain starts accepting the violence that is being inflicted on the body.

Then, of course, the good old cultural values and norms force the people who are stuck in such relationships not to walk away. The false pride, shame and fear still rule our societies under the phrase,’’ Log Kya Kahenge?” But we often forget that the person who is being mistreated does not deserve PTSD or the children that are manhandled in the process are being gifted with uncalled long term detachment problems or depression for that matter.

The reason why I think domestic violence is one thing that should be more talked about is that it prevails in every nook and corner of our society.  The National Crime Records Bureau[4] (NCRB) 2019 reported that a majority i.e. 30.9% of all the 4.05 lakh cases under crimes against women are registered under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which is a section that deals with the crimes against a woman by her husband or his family.

What is more unfortunate is that it has only been about fifty to sixty years since violence is now recognized as an issue. Even now women don’t come out claiming to be abusing their husbands, because of the fear of social acceptance. We as a society need to change our perspectives on domestic violence so that we can that those who are stuck in such situations. As a society, we must be, encouraged to leave behind the taboos and look at a brighter future ahead. Our focus should be on helping people live a better life and not passing the societal tests.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This paper is descriptive and the research is based on all types of secondary resources for a deep analysis of domestic violence and the remedies provided to us by the laws in India. Secondary sources such as newspaper articles, journals, and websites were all used for the research process.

LITERATURE REVIEW

In this research paper, the social evil of domestic violence would be discussed. Reliable resources have been used to study the effects of negligence caused on the part of society. The forms of abuse will be the first topic that is going to be discussed, which then divides the types of tortures that are inflicted on people in abusive relationships around the world. When we talk about the reason for the question of why is a person so unable to take divorce and move on, we discuss the concept of the cycle of abuse. We will then focus on how social factors make it even harder for a person to end the cycle of abuse they are stuck in. India in this context is a country that still needs to fight this evil that exists in society.

FORMS OF VIOLENCE

Now just like abusers come in all sizes and colors, so do abusive behaviors. Let us discuss some of those types[5] below.

PHYSICAL ABUSE

This type of abuse occurs when a partner physically injures their significant other. It involves the contact that is made by the abuser with a clear motive to cause pain, fear or bodily harm to the victim which has been rooted in the initial stages were intimidation, verbal threats, manipulation as well as isolation. Some very prominent examples of this type of abuse are, beating, shoving, strangling, kicking, restraining etc. the sad part is this list can go on and on. The abusers are very creative in this department, to be honest.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE

This is a special kind of abuse that has been recognized not long ago across the world. Initially, only physical abuse was considered as abuse of an entity, similar to people not treating mental health as an issue. Constant berating, public humiliation, threats, harassment and swearing result in damaged self-respect.

Continuous dominance of the abusers, on victims, converts them, into doormats. These doormats are then walked upon again and again leaving them helpless and dependent. They then become anxiety-ridden and suffer losses in all fields of life.

ECONOMICAL ABUSE

This one’s an interesting concept, where one partner uses assets that the other partner owns as a means of their control. They hold possession of all the financial resources that their spouse owns which in turn makes them dependent yet again on their abusers for basic amenities such as education, food and shelter.

SEXUAL ABUSE

Marital rapes, incest and genital mutilation are all forms of sexual domestic violence against humans. It involves being forced to have sexual intercourse with your partner or any other family member without your consent. This crime ranges from being touched to being recorded for it. This is one abuse that even occurs in workplaces.

CYCLE OF ABUSE THEORY

“The Battered Woman” by Lenore E. Walker[6] gave birth to this concept that regulates violence in any visibly imbalanced relationship, as one of the two in the said relationship has more hold on the other.

Now, this particular theory[7] is categorized into four stages that help us understand why in a relationship it is so hard for a person to leave their abusive situation. This theory walks on the road called tension, where, external sources cause a lot of frustration and build anger in a person eventually making the person lose control of themselves. It has been seen that this frustration is often taken out on the very person who tries to help the abuser with their issues.

Loss of control due to excessive anger makes the abuser feel weak. So, as to gain back their control and feel powerful once again, these violators indulge in abusive behavior which ranges from them calling names to their partners to threatening them to committing sexual acts of violence against their significant others.

Now, this is the turn where the mind plays the game. It is where the abuser convinces the abused party that they were at fault, that is, the victim was the one who provoked the abuse and rightfully deserved what happened to them thereafter. This spiral is further complicated when the abuser asks for forgiveness by bringing gifts and flowers and beautiful trips and dinner dates. This stage of reconciliation is an exact mirror image of the initial relationship that the involved parties shared, where both of them are perfect strangers that know too much about each other.

The journey ends on the stage called Calm, here the abuser plays the blame game. All kinds of justifications and promises are laid down here which more often than not convince the victim that the incident was not as bad as they remember it to be. They fall for the bubble that it is something that can be amended and healed with time.   

SOCIAL INFLUENCES

Cultural and social norms are unspoken and unwritten expectations and rules that exist in a society.[8] The beauty of these norms is that they list appropriate and inappropriate behaviors which are accepted by the said society. These rules don’t have a convener and have been followed for years on end. They are often controlled and looked after by the people who strongly propagate and believe in them. Well, in every sector of society there is a group of radicals that lives. These people are bound to break societal norms and thus are highly discouraged by the community. These disapprovals often consist of shame, guilt and being punished by the people of the community.

India is a diverse country where every seven thousand kilometers there is a new culture and a set of beliefs are found. So clearly with new culture and values come new beliefs. This implies that many different kinds of societal norms exist in society from everyday things to major life-changing decisions.

Several common factors that lead to domestic violence[9] are no education for girls, and female feticide which in itself claims how inconsequential a little female life is. Excessive consumption of alcohol and drug abuse often leads to child abuse and family violence. Often multiple partners are used by an abuser to fulfil his desires. Now the reasons why a person is handicapped into staying in such risky conditions are first and foremost, Family honor, followed by a belief that men can simply not suppress their sexual urges. These societal norms even claim the requirement of virginity as proof of the purity of a woman’s character in society. It is often looked upon as a deciding factor for marriages. All these ideologies are often fed to women in society from the very beginning of their journeys. They are expected to follow these traditions and mask their disagreements if they don’t want to face the shame and guilt trips that they will soon be sent on. The abusers often degrade the economic situation of their victims so that they can increase their level of vulnerability to violence. The risks of violence against women may increase according to different individuals, family circles, communities, environmental norms, economic and as well as societal factors.

The concept of “she is my wife, hence my property!” is still prevalent in society. And most families prefer reconciliation after major violence and abuses rather than walking away. The worse part in all of this is when society starts victim-blaming instead of appreciating the strength that the victim showed by serving what came its way and walking out unscathed. And let’s not forget the concept of the cycle of abuse, this is one deep-rooted psychological way that usually ends with the victim justifying the abuser and accepting that whatever happened was what they deserved in the scenario.

SUGGESTIONS

A toxic partner in a relationship will lead to violence in one form or other at some point in life[10]. The point is you don’t deserve that treatment and you need to save yourself from this evil. In my opinion, the best way in which this crime can cease to exist is through the mode of education, because only when a person is taught about their rights and duties, they will be able to distinguish wrong from right. Everyone must be taught about the importance of consent and respecting others’ choices from the moment they are born. I think parents play a key role in shaping one’s character in life. Therefore, parents need to start promoting respect towards all genders and sexual orientations.

India even today is still a country that does not believe in therapy. Again, the fact that a person needs to talk out what he or she is feeling maybe via professional help should be encouraged in society to solve the issues that people are facing.

Another taboo is divorce. We need to realize that divorce is as normal as getting married, and walking away when the marriage is not working out is ok. We need to remember that 4 years of a good marriage is better than 40 years of misery.

In the end, it is an issue that is faced by men, women and children all alike and must be put to an end before it eats us alive.

LAWS REGARDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN INDIA

Intimate partner violence or domestic violence is seen as a crime in India. Let’s do a fact check, I am sure we all know at least one person either from school, offices or neighborhood that has suffered domestic violence. I mean this has been woven into our society too intricately. Now the point is if I am for instance a victim of domestic violence, what should I do? How can I speak up and fight for myself? Are there any laws that can help me? What should be my plan of action?

The answers to all those questions are what I am here to convey, but first I need you to remember Melinda Longtin’s words,” Trauma may happen to you, but it can never define you.” I need you to know that these small steps matter, you decide that you need help and being ready to walk out on your partner or for that matters your family for mistreating you proves that you are a very strong soul.

Now, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room, that answers yes. Yes, it is not okay to be ill-treated and yes, you can walk away and yes, the government aids to this issue in the form of laws that it gave us. The laws that have been provided are enacted directly against domestic violence crimes. Also, any victim who needs help immediately can reach out to the NGOs or support groups in the area where they live. They can even report directly to a police station or simply even dial 100 and tell them about the misconduct in the household.

A few governments helpline numbers that every person should be aware of are[11]:

Police-100

Women’s Helpline Number- 181 or 1091

Domestic violence helpline knew as the National Commission for women – +91 7217735372

Single emergency helpline number for immediate assistance to services of women’s helpline and police – 112

Child abuse helpline- 1098

The emergency number for transgender and men who are in same-sex relationships- 1800 2000 113

At last, let’s talk about the laws that safeguard us against such evils that still exist around us.

  1. DOWRY PROBATION ACT[12]: Well, to this day women suffer from this concept called dowry. In this, a woman is traded to the groom’s family by making a payment to him in the form of money, property or kind. Now the women who are unable to fulfil the demands of their husband’s family are subjected to constant neglect, harassment and abuse. Therefore, Dowry Prohibition Act was passed. This act was enacted on 1 May 1961. All it did was prevent give and take of dowry in any form or kind in the country by all people from all religions and cultures alike.

Well, since humans are creative, they soon renamed the term dowry to gifts and presents which in turn did nothing to control the violence that was inflicted on the women who were unable to achieve the quota of demands of the groom’s family. So, in 1984 the law was amended wherein the families were supposed to provide a receipt of the gifts exchanged by families.

  • THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT, 2005[13]: the very act determines that any act of domestic violence that is conducted in any form or manner, under any circumstance is an unlawful act. The act serves women under both civil as well as criminal provisions and aims to provide aid within 60 days of contact. The act provides incentives such as residence under section 17, and money orders which therefore include maintenance for herself as well as her children under section 20 and even protection of their lives under section 18 of the act. This act also brought a breakthrough under the dowery prohibition act, 1961, when it established minimum and maximum punishments for forgiving as well as receiving dowry along with creating a penalty for demanding money or property related to marriage. This act laid down civil liabilities on people who commit acts of domestic violence.
  • SEC 489A OF INDIAN PENAL COURT (IPC)[14]: it is another activity that provides the aid that is provided to the victims of abuse that occurs in a household. The section clearly states that Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.” This is a non-bailable offence that carries a minimum sentence of up to seven years of imprisonment. This menace of cruelty against married women was the main motive behind the introduction of this section.

IT ENDS WITH US[15]

This is no paid promotion, but just a book that precisely hits the concept of domestic violence written by Colleen Hoover. So, what happens in the book is that Lily is a young girl who hasn’t really had a beautiful life but is sure trying to have one. She moves to Boston to establish her own business where she irrevocably falls in love with Ryle, a thriving neurosurgeon who is determined to be the best in his field.  The story is an emotional roller coaster and is one of those that you will have a thousand theories about and all of them will be wrong.

I was in love with Ryle until I just couldn’t love him anymore. I found myself making excuses for him until I couldn’t anymore. I consider myself a strong person who can handle such evils but that was until I was put into Lily’s shoes and had to face the dilemma myself.

CONCLUSION

In these current times of coronavirus pandemic, the world has seen a rise in Bruises, broken bones, head injuries, lacerations, and internal bleedings. The National Commission for Women (NCW) registered an increase of 94 per cent in the complaints that were filed by women who were being abused within the four walls of a house. This led to an estimated amount of half a billion women only in India who suffered from domestic violence.

Now only if we could conclude the question of “Log Kya Kahenge?” to “Kuch Toh Log Kahenge Logon Ka Kaam Hai Kehna.” I truly believe half of these social evils will simply come to an end.

AUTHOR :

DHWANI ARORA

AMITY LAW SCHOOL, NOIDA

BA LLB (H) 2021-2026


[1] UNITED NATIONS ORGANISATION, https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/what-is-domestic-abuse (last visited on February 9, 2022)

[2]  CENTRE FOR FAMILY JUSTICE, https://centerforfamilyjustice.org/faq/domestic-violence/ (last visited on February 9, 2022)

[3] BIOMEDICAL JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH,  https://biomedres.us/fulltexts/BJSTR.MS.ID.003130.php (Last visited February 9, 2022)

[4] THE WIRE, https://thewire.in/women/domestic-violence-india-underreported (last visited on February 9, 2022)

[5] NSW GOVERNMENT, https://facs-web.squiz.cloud/domestic-violence/about/types-of-abuse-in-dv, (last visited on 9 February 2022)

[6] WALKER, L. E. The battered woman. (Harper and Row 1987).

[7] VERY WELL HEALTH, https://www.verywellhealth.com/cycle-of-abuse-5210940 (last visited on February 9, 2022)

[8] SCIENCE DIRECT, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2452315116300303 (last visited on February 9, 2022)

[9] WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION, https://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/norms.pdf (last visited on February 9, 2022)

[10] BIOMEDICAL JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH,  https://biomedres.us/fulltexts/BJSTR.MS.ID.003130.php (last visited on February 9, 2022)

[11] INDIAN HELPLINE, https://indianhelpline.com/Important-Numbers/  (last visited on February 9, 2022)

[12] ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA https://www.britannica.com/event/Dowry-Prohibition-Act (last visited on February 9, 2022)

[13] Protection of women from domestic violence, ACT NO. 43 OF 2005, (IND)

[14]  BY, SABHARWAL, I PLEADERS https://blog.ipleaders.in/need-know-section-498a-ipc/ (last visited on February 9, 2022)

[15] HOOVER, C. O. L. L. E. E. N. It Ends with Us. SPEED BOOKS PRESS. (2021)