Domestic violence also called domestic abuse, it’s violence in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or a live-in relationship. In its broadest sense, it also involves violence against children, parents, or the elderly. Domestic violence has various forms, including physical, economic, emotional, and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle to violent forms of marital rape and violent physical abuse such as choking, beating, and acid throwing that results in disfigurement or death. Globally, the victims of domestic violence are mostly women, and they tend to experience more severe forms of domestic violence. Domestic violence is one of the most underreported crimes globally for both men and women. Many people don’t consider themselves victims or abusers because they always have some justification for the violence. In abusive relationships, there may be a cycle of abuse during which tension rise and an act of violence are committed. Abusive behavior and violence is a deliberate choice to gain control, wrongdoers use various tactics to manipulate and exert their power.
Around 70% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. In India, domestic violence against women is considered as any type of abuse that can be considered a threat; it can also be physical, psychological, or sexual abuse to any current or former partner. Many studies have reported the frequency of the violence and have taken a criminal-justice approach, but most women refuse to report it. These women are guaranteed constitutional justice, dignity, and equality but continue to refuse based on their socio-cultural contexts. As these women refuse to speak of the violence and find help, and because of that they are also not receiving the proper treatment.
In earlier times, wife-beating was considered as a valid exercise of a husband’s authority over his wife in most of the legal systems. Domestic violence has been addressed only from the 90s onward. In 1993, the UN published Strategies for Confronting Domestic Violence: A Resource Manual. This publication of the UN urged countries around the world to treat domestic violence as a criminal act. In recent decades, there has been a call for the end of legal impunity for domestic violence, impunity often based on the idea that such acts are private. There has been increased in specific forms of domestic violence, such as honor killings, dowry deaths, and forced marriages. India, in recent decades, made efforts to reduce dowry violence by enacting the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) in 2005, and also following years of advocacy and activism by the women’s organizations
Forms of Abuses
It involves intent to cause fear, pain, injury, other physical sufferings, or bodily harm. Denying medical care, sleep deprivation, and forced use of drugs and alcohol, it is recognized as one of the most lethal forms of domestic abuse. During pregnancy, a woman is at higher risk to be abused or long-standing abuse may change in severity, causing negative health effects to the mother and fetus. Acid attack is an extreme form of violence in which acid is thrown at the victims, resulting in major damage including long-term blindness and permanent scarring.
Any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or otherwise directed against a person’s sexuality using force is defined as sexual abuse by world health organization. It also includes obligatory inspections for virginity and female genital mutilation. Forced sex, even by a spouse or partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of domestic violence.
Just because someone is not battered and bruised doesn’t mean he/she is not being abused. Many men and women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less compared to physical abuse. But unfortunately, emotional abuse is often ignored or overlooked even by the person experiencing it. It is a pattern of behavior that threatens, intimidates, dehumanizes, or systematically undermines self-worth. Emotional abuse includes minimizing, threats, isolation, public humiliation, unrelenting criticism, constant personal evaluation.
Financial or Economic Abuse
Since we all know that the main objective of the abuser is to control you and that’s why they will frequently use the money to do so. Financial abuse includes rigidly controlling your finances or withholding money or credit cards. A victim can also be put on an allowance, allowing close monitoring of how much money is spent or he/she is making, preventing spending without the perpetrator’s consent, leading to the accumulation of debt or depletion of the victim’s savings.
There are various strategies to prevent or even reduce domestic violence, but it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of the strategy that is being implemented. UN Women has stated that the legislation should ensure that “a perpetrator of domestic violence, including marital rape, cannot use the fact that he paid bride price as a defense to a domestic violence charge”. Gender guidelines that promote the inferiority of a gender mainly of women, may lead to the abuse of women by intimate partners. A key strategy in preventing domestic violence is the promotion of respectful, nonviolent relationships through the individual, community, and societal level change.
Protection of Woman from Domestic Abuse Act, 2005
It’s an act of Indian parliament enacted for the protection of women from domestic violence came into fro 26 October 2006 by the Indian government. This act for the first time in India provided for the definition of “Domestic Violence”. It is a civil law meant primarily for protection orders and not meant to be enforced criminally. This act was mainly meant to provide protection to the wives or female live-in partner from domestic violence at the hands of the husband or live-in partner, it extends to protects women living in a household. Furthermore, the Act also provides relief to domestic violence committed by both male and female relatives of the husband or male partner (which would aid in situations where family members harass the wife, etc. The respondent must pay the victim compensation and not cut off financial resources, and this protects the victim from not only violence but also protects her interests. The protection orders are inclusive of most instances where the respondent could have possibly taken advantage of the victim, and again isn’t limited thereto definition alone. Finally, the orders issued by the law should tend freed from cost to the victim as proof.
Despite what many people believe, domestic violence and abuse do not take place because of an abuser loses control over their behavior. In fact, abusive behavior and violence may be a deliberate option to gain control. It’s impossible to understand with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs of emotional abuse and violence. If you witness these warning signs of abuse during a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously. Children who grow up in violent homes may be led to believe that such behavior is a normal part of life, therefore it is important to challenge such attitudes when they are present among these children. Domestic violence is common and therefore the victims often first present with health problems. Doctors, nurses, and others working in primary care, accident and emergency departments and antenatal clinics in particular need training in its recognition and management.
Author: Sanidhya Pateriya,
School of law, Jagran Lakecity University / 1st year