Domestic violence is acts of violence or abuse against a person living in a household and the worst thing about this violence is that it comes from within the household by an immediate family member. Recent trends show that not only women but men also experience domestic violence or Intimate Partner Violence. There are many causes for this behavior among spouses and Lack of education is found to be the major one, besides this, the Egotistic and violent nature of spouses and Income Disparity between spouses are also some of the leading causes.
In 2021, National Commission for Women received 30,865 complaints out of which 21.6% included Domestic violence and this is only the reported case. It only includes women as a victim of Domestic violence as there is no provision to protect men from Domestic violence in India. We live in a patriarchal society that is why it is hard to believe that men could be the victim of such crime. When we hear anything about Domestic Violence, the only picture we paint in our mind is of a woman beaten up by her husband and her in-laws. But this is not true, not always.
Domestic violence against men goes unnoticed and unpunished in India. Among various provisions in Indian law to curb Domestic violence, there is not a single measure to save men from this crime. Section 498A of IPC reads “Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty. —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”. Here we can easily interpret that IPC only talks about protecting women from domestic violence.
India also has a specific statute, named ‘The Protection of women from domestic violence Act, 2005’ and as the title reads, the object of the law explains it as an Act to provide for more effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family. This shows the lack of concern given to this prevalent issue. These gender-specific laws make the condition worse.
Not only in India, in the United States of America, One in Nine men experience some sort of domestic violence or Intimate Partner Violence. In the United Kingdom, two out of five victims of domestic violence are men.
Who do we blame for this?
Is it the Law? is it the Government or the Men who do not stand against it?
NO, it is not about the Law, or the Government, or the Men who suffer and does not speak about it. The blame should be on the lack of support for the cause. When a woman suffers any kind of atrocity in her life, everyone stands against it together, be it, men or women. Feminists all around the world work so hard to protect women and their rights. There are countless organizations working towards the policy of ‘No Domestic Violence against women’
Men do not have any support when it comes to domestic violence against them. There’s no NGO, no government organization, or no support from any section of the society. The core reason behind this is the notion of Patriarchal society. We never think of men as a victim of domestic violence because the victim itself does not want us to know his condition. He thinks that his value and respect in society will be diminished if the word got out. He never reports this violence, he only suffers it.
We are very far from solving this problem because almost all of us do not consider that this is a problem. The victims are not coming out except a handful of men who chose to speak about it and when they do come out, they are being judged.
To solve this, Firstly, we have to acknowledge the fact that domestic violence against men is a serious problem. Secondly, more victims have to come forward and talk about their experiences. Thirdly, we as a society have to be more empathetic towards this issue. And lastly, more people have to come forward in support of the protection of men against domestic violence.
The Path Forward
Mass support is the only way to manifest this issue and then only we can expect the government to either amend these gender-specific laws and provisions or make a gender-neutral policy towards domestic violence. We as a nation have to talk about it just like we do when it comes to violence against women.
Education and awareness play a vital role in solving this issue. Awareness camps should be organized and people should be encouraged to take an empathetic stance towards men as a victim of household violence.
In recent cases, we have seen domestic violence become a leading cause for suicide among men, the mental cruelty and physical attacks on husbands by wives, the mental cruelty induced by family members on unmarried sons are a few instances that we have seen in the news lately. Looking forward we have to take care of all the dimensions of domestic violence. Without manifesting it properly we cannot expect a change in the policies.
Conclusion: The Society and The Government
Our society and the government should work towards framing gender-neutral laws. It is the responsibility of both society and government for the welfare of every citizen without any bias. In gender-specific laws like Section 498A of IPC and The protection of women from Domestic violence Act, 2005, the government clearly overlooked the fact that men can also be a victim of such crime. This needs to change now; a review of these policies is the need of the hour. Society’s notion of man being powerful and masculine ceased the victim to come forward and talk about it, but it has to change now, and only then we can bring domestic violence against men out in the open.
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