Men and Domestic Violence

Gender roles and expectations in Indian society have changed significantly since Independence, and continue to change still. Gone are the days when men used to be the sole breadwinners and women were confined in the four walls of the house. The rate of crimes against women has shown also a considerable decline. There’s still a long way to go before we achieve the ideal society, if ever, but even so, the progress so far has been commendable.

The Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (Domestic Violence Act for short) was a very significant milestone in this path and has gone a long way in fighting against the bane of Domestic Violence in the past decade and a half.

One of the most important features of the act is its scope. Drifting from the earlier notions, it defines Domestic Violence not only in terms of the husband-wife relationship but any woman in a domestic relationship with the person she’s bringing the charges against, including blood relation, in-laws, relations by adoption and even live-in relationships and legally invalid marriages. In addition to that, the Act also widens the scope of what constitutes “Violence,” including not only physical violence but also verbal, sexual, economic and emotional abuse.

That being said, some have criticised the law, stating that it doesn’t take into consideration Domestic Violence faced by men in the country, which there presently are no laws against. Most people, upon hearing about Domestic Violence against men either see it as a trivial matter or worse, completely deny the existence thereof. In situations like these, some statistics might be of use.

A 2019 study published in the Indian Journal of community medicine aimed at studying Violence against men in rural Haryana had the following results:

“In the present study, 52.4% of men experienced gender-based violence. Out of 1000, males 51.5% experienced violence at the hands of their wives/intimate partner at least once in their lifetime and 10.5% in the last 12 months. The most common spousal violence was emotional (51.6%) followed by physical violence (6%). Only in one-tenth cases, physical assaults were severe. In almost half of the cases, husband initiated physical and emotional violence. Gender symmetry does not exist in India for physical violence. Less family income, education up to middle class, nuclear family setup, and perpetrator under the influence of alcohol were identified as risk factors. Earning spouse with education up to graduation is the risk factor for bidirectional physical violence.”

These numbers put the gravity of the situation into perspective. Domestic Violence against men is not a rare happening, but a reality that we live in. There may be a lot of reasons why the victims in these cases do not come forward to complain, and mostly they overlap with the reasons women have, such as worrying about family reputation, desire to keep the family united etc. There is, however, one major factor particular to men: usually viewed as strong and not in need of protection, many men feel embarrassed in admitting they have faced violence. They find it better to suffer in silence.

There’s no denying that women face more atrocities in society compared to men, but that doesn’t mean that the needs of the suffering men should be or even can be ignored. An ideal solution thus will be a law with provisions to protect everyone against violence, regardless of the gender.

Gender roles and expectations in Indian society have changed significantly since Independence, and continue to change still. Gone are the days when men used to be the sole breadwinners and women were confined in the four walls of the house. The rate of crimes against women has shown also a considerable decline. There’s still a long way to go before we achieve the ideal society, if ever, but even so, the progress so far has been commendable.

The Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (Domestic Violence Act for short) was a very significant milestone in this path and has gone a long way in fighting against the bane of Domestic Violence in the past decade and a half.

One of the most important features of the act is its scope. Drifting from the earlier notions, it defines Domestic Violence not only in terms of the husband-wife relationship but any woman in a domestic relationship with the person she’s bringing the charges against, including blood relation, in-laws, relations by adoption and even live-in relationships and legally invalid marriages. In addition to that, the Act also widens the scope of what constitutes “Violence,” including not only physical violence but also verbal, sexual, economic and emotional abuse.

That being said, some have criticised the law, stating that it doesn’t take into consideration Domestic Violence faced by men in the country, which there presently are no laws against. Most people, upon hearing about Domestic Violence against men either see it as a trivial matter or worse, completely deny the existence thereof. In situations like these, some statistics might be of use.

A 2019 study published in the Indian Journal of community medicine aimed at studying Violence against men in rural Haryana had the following results:

“In the present study, 52.4% of men experienced gender-based violence. Out of 1000, males 51.5% experienced violence at the hands of their wives/intimate partner at least once in their lifetime and 10.5% in the last 12 months. The most common spousal violence was emotional (51.6%) followed by physical violence (6%). Only in one-tenth cases, physical assaults were severe. In almost half of the cases, husband initiated physical and emotional violence. Gender symmetry does not exist in India for physical violence. Less family income, education up to middle class, nuclear family setup, and perpetrator under the influence of alcohol were identified as risk factors. Earning spouse with education up to graduation is the risk factor for bidirectional physical violence.”

These numbers put the gravity of the situation into perspective. Domestic Violence against men is not a rare happening, but a reality that we live in. There may be a lot of reasons why the victims in these cases do not come forward to complain, and mostly they overlap with the reasons women have, such as worrying about family reputation, desire to keep the family united etc. There is, however, one major factor particular to men: usually viewed as strong and not in need of protection, many men feel embarrassed in admitting they have faced violence. They find it better to suffer in silence.

There’s no denying that women face more atrocities in society compared to men, but that doesn’t mean that the needs of the suffering men should be or even can be ignored. An ideal solution thus will be a law with provisions to protect everyone against violence, regardless of the gender.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

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