By Asha Negi:
Turn to the second and third pages of your daily newspaper and you will surely come across some cases of domestic violence making the headlines. A further study into the news reports and you know how the relations between couples now days are falling apart as a result of rising violence in the homes. It is true that in most of the cases, the ‘weaker’ sex that are the women, are the victims but the recent outburst of domestic violence cases against men cannot be overlooked.
According to an online survey conducted by Save Family Foundation and My Nation Foundation in April 2005 and March 2006, it was shockingly found out that, of 100,000 men who took the survey 98% of them faced severe domestic violence at the hands of their wives and in-laws in the form of verbal, physical, emotional, mental and financial abuse. Another shocking revelation was made by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), which stated that the number of suicides in the country has increased by 40% during the decade 1996 — 2006. A whopping 26.1 % of the total number of suicides is attributed to domestic violence, 16.6% out of which are married men outdoing the number of women. This data clearly outlines that men facing various forms of abuses in the hands of their wives are not just part of the jokes but a grim reality of the society.
While women in India find it much easier to file cases of domestic abuse against their partners, the law fails to include the men under its shelter who face this evil at the hands of their wives. The “Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act”, (DVA) was passed in the year 2005. This Act primarily protects the wife from domestic violence at the hands of the husband or live-in partner and does not cover the male victims of it. This is evident from the present laws that why the men who are victimized by their wives have no alternatives and often tend to end their lives or move out of the relation without teaching them a lesson.
Often men who are harassed by their female partners tend to not bring the cases to light fearing the embarrassment he may have to face in the society. One knows that if his weakness to suffer at the hands of his wife comes to light he will surely become a laughing stock for his friends and society. This hesitation of men can be attributed to the old thinking of the society where man is the supreme sex. These domestically abused males fail to get full support of the police and at present there are only a few NGOs and organizations who offer help to these victims. The government should enforce strict laws to ensure that gender equality persists in the society and the laws should cover both the sexes with no partiality towards any one gender.
Another fact associated with the evil of domestic violence is that most of these cases have spurred among partners who had arranged marriages or were pushed into the courtship by their families. Even if one goes with the idea of arranged marriages, the couples should go for pre marital counseling to avoid the problems in their married lives. Also they should spend some time in knowing each other rather than taking a sudden plunge into the serious association of marriage. With strict laws to provide cover to both men and women and awareness in the society these issues can be curbed to a great extent.