India is a common law country with diverse traditions, several religious cultures and a history dating back to ages. The constitution of India has been envisaged with the principle of equality as an essential factor for societal development. India’s sustained democratic freedoms are unique among the world’s younger nations; however, in spite of economic and social advancements, there is seemingly unyielding poverty, religious and caste related incidents of violence, separatism and other social evils still prevalent in the country.
Men’s rights activists scored a significant victory in India recently when the Supreme Court essentially identified them as the victims in domestic violence cases. The judges weren’t making the law gender neutral, however. They stated that Indian women were filing inaccurate claims of domestic violence.
“Most of such complaints are filed in the heat of the moment over trivial issues,” read the ruling. It went on to state that women were not visualizing the “implications and consequences” of registering a criminal complaint against their abusive husbands. “Uncalled for arrest may ruin the chances of settlement.”
Women’s groups are furious at what they see as a regressive judgment that prioritizes extended families and preserving marriages over the rights of the woman. Sixteen groups have sent a memorandum to the chief justice of India, demanding that the ruling should be reversed.
“We are deeply concerned and dismayed that the entire judgment proceeds on the basis that women are liars and file false cases,” read the statement, quoting data by the National Family Health Survey, which found that 1 in 3 women faces mental, physical and verbal domestic violence. “The judgment is part of a backward trend that … completely overlooks the fact that women are daily recipients of harassment for dowry and of domestic violence.”
Multiple studies have shown that social stigma and insensitive attitudes of police lead women to avoid filing domestic assault charges. According to a decade of data on 1,675 abused women, which was collected by Dilaasa, a crisis intervention center, only 47 percent of women went to the police. A third of those who did not approach the police had faced violence for three to five years, two-thirds had faced violence during pregnancy, and a third had attempted suicide. A quarter also experienced rape and sexual assault with objects.
Human beings are violent and aggressive. Women are not an exception to it. Research in the field of domestic violence has shown that men and women act violently in relationships at about the same rate. Furthermore, men and women are equally likely to instigate violence against one another. The truth is surprisingly egalitarian: About half of all domestic violence occurs with both partners abusing each other.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, India’s only source for numbers on sexual crimes, 100 instances of rape are reported every day. Just over one-fourth of them lead to a conviction. Skirting some of the reasons why rape cases in India are withdrawn—coercion by family members, victim blaming, and severely backlogged courts—MRAs use this discrepancy to cry foul.
The bibliographic study by Fiebert (2007) has examined 209 studies (161 empirical studies, 48 reviews/analysis of approximate sample size of 201,500) that show that women are physically aggressive, in fact, more violent than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. Definitely, power-relations, gender roles, norms, values, and socio cultural environment affect and influence expression of these behaviors. For centuries, it has been depicted in various mythologies, literature, and forms of expressions that women are inferior and men are superior. So men are powerful, aggressive, and oppressors, and women are on the receiving end as oppressed and silent sufferers of all forms of violence. It is widely assumed and believed that women are always the victims and men are always the perpetrators. The idea that men could be victims of domestic abuse and violence is so unthinkable that many men do not even attempt to report the violence. Acceptance of violence by women on men is generally considered as a threat to men folk, their superiority and masculinity. Therefore, sometimes men do report and allege spousal violence in private, but they hardly report it in public.
Violence against men by women is not a new phenomenon, and I predict that it will increase with changing power dynamics, economic independence, and control over economy and resources. This change in power dynamics will also affect relationships between men and women, where men are afraid of losing power and women are excited by their empowered position. In this context, situating ‘‘power’’ within men and women, husband-wife, and family is important in favor of the larger society.
Men tolerate and stay in abusive and violent relationship for many reasons. Some of the reasons ‘‘why men tolerate domestic violence and abuse’’ are the belief and hope that things would get better, fear of losing social respect and position, protection, and love toward their children and family. Many abused men feel that they have to make their marriages work. They are afraid that if things fall apart, they will be blamed. Many abused men also believe that it is their fault and feel that they deserve the treatment they receive. Another reason is increasing economic and other dependency on women.
Violence against men is not considered serious because of its different manifestation. In most cases of violence against men, women use more mental, verbal, and emotional violence and abuse and are involved less in physical violence. The impact of violence against men is less apparent and is less likely to come to the attention of others. A significant number of men are over sensitive to emotional and psychological abuse. In some cases, humiliating a man emotionally in front of others can be more devastating than physical abuse. Mental and emotional abuse can be an area where women are often more brutal than men. However, what hurts a man mentally and emotionally can in some cases be very different from what hurts a woman.
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.
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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.
We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge