By Deepali Jain:
“If a man slaps a woman, it is the former who is cursed for being insensitive and if a woman slaps a man, it is immediately assumed that he must have committed another hideous crime to deserve this” — this is what a very thought-provoking dialogue from an equally thought-provoking Bollywood movie ‘Aitraaz’ translates to. It instantly swayed my thoughts towards this much prevalent although less recognized issue of domestic violence against men. Our mind has been programmed to blame the man in any kind of physical or emotional abuse involving the two sexes. Although numerous surveys have unquestionably concluded that men are very often the victims of domestic violence, the mere thought of the male member of the family being tortured by the female one in this ‘male-dominated’ society cannot be processed by our brain freely.
Let us try to comprehend why such a huge yet unattended bias has emerged in the society. For the past hundreds of years, men have been synonymous to being the stronger sex while women have been considered the more submissive ones. Cinema and other popular forms of media have shown undeniable consistency in their inclination towards the idea of males harassing the females, because that is readily digested by the audience — gradually this has evolved into a vicious circle. Any movie scene where the wife is yelling at her husband, asking him to wash or cook — while the latter portrays a helpless expression, is instinctively expected to make the viewers laugh uncontrollably.
Those men who manage to muster the courage to report such crimes are ridiculed by the society, ruling out even the bleak possibility of offering sympathy. Also, the justice system fails to appropriately address or support their side of the story. With probably a few exceptions, the law enforcement officers believe that males can easily subdue the females, break from any oppressing relationship and hence, they do not consider this aforementioned crime ‘serious’ enough to spend their time or resources. Consequently, lesser and lesser number of men give their voice to such stifling acts which in turns compels everyone to believe that these do not exist in real world. To worsen this current pattern, there are few shelters or NGOs that choose to work for this cause, which apparently seems to be too amusing to be real.
Yes, I agree that the cases accusing men for domestic violence outnumber those with women facing the charges. This is a relative analysis but when we talk of absolute numbers; such misconduct cannot be ignored or mocked at. When each one of us change our nonchalant attitude towards this issue, start accepting this possible harsh reality and promises to commiserate with the next ‘dude in distress’ we come across, we will open the doors to a sound future which guarantees equality for everyone.