DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Many other factors in urban areas lead to differences at the beginning and then are domestic violence. Violence against young widows is also increasing in India. Other forms of physical abuse of women also include beating, grabbing, burdening them with bullying, public humiliation, and neglecting health problems.

This form of domestic violence is the most common. The most common causes of harassment and torture of women are dissatisfaction with the dowry and abusing women for more, arguing with a partner, refusing sex with him, neglecting children, leaving home without telling the partner, improper cooking or on time, engaging in new matters, not caring for my parents-in-law, etc.

Domestic violence is a global issue reaching across national boundaries as well as socio-economic, cultural, racial and class distinctions. This problem is not only widely dispersed geographically, but its incidence is also extensive, making it a typical and accepted behavior. Domestic violence is wide spread, deeply ingrained and has serious impacts on women’s health and well-being. Its continued existence is morally indefensible. 

“Domestic violence is a burden on numerous sectors of the social system and quietly, yet dramatically, affects the development of a nation… batterers cost nations fortunes in terms of law enforcement, health care, lost labor and general progress in development. These costs do not only affect the present generation; what begins as an assault by one person on another, reverberates through the family and the community into the future”.

WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

“Domestic violence is not simply an argument. It is a pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Abusers use physical and sexual violence, threats, emotional insults and economic deprivation as a way to dominate their victims and get their way”.

Domestic violence can be described as the power misused by one adult in a relationship to control another. It is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. This violence can take the form of physical assault, psychological abuse, social abuse, financial abuse, or sexual assault. The frequency of the violence can be on and off, occasional or chronic.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 says that any act, conduct, omission or commission that harms or injures or has the potential to harm or injure will be considered domestic violence by the law. Even a single act of omission or commission may constitute domestic violence – in other words, women do not have to suffer a prolonged period of abuse before taking recourse to law. 

The law covers children also. Domestic violence is perpetrated by, and on, both men and women. However, most commonly, the victims are women, especially in our country. Even in the United States, it has been reported that 85% of all violent crime experienced by women are cases of intimate partner violence, compared to 3% of violent crimes experienced by men. Thus, domestic violence in Indian context mostly refers to domestic violence against women.

WHAT LEAD TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

Cultural mores, religious practices, economic and political conditions may set the precedence for initiating and perpetuating domestic violence, but ultimately committing an act of violence is a choice that the individual makes out of a range of options. Although one cannot underestimate the importance of macro system-level forces (such as cultural and social norms) in the etiology of gender-based violence within any country, including India, individual-level variables (such as observing violence between one’s parents while growing up, absent or rejecting father, delinquent peer associations) also play important roles in the development of such violence.

Domestic violence against women is an age old phenomenon. Women were always considered weak, vulnerable and in a position to be exploited. Violence has long been accepted as something that happens to women. The gender imbalance in domestic violence is partly related to differences in physical strength and size. Moreover, women are socialized into their gender roles in different societies throughout the world. In societies with a patriarchal power structure and with rigid gender roles, women are often poorly equipped to protect themselves if their partners become violent.

The disparity relates to how men-dependence and fearfulness amount to a cultural disarmament. Husbands who batter wives typically feel that they are exercising a right, maintaining good order in the family and punishing their wives’ delinquency – especially the wives’ failure to keep their proper place.

PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL VIOLENCE:

Violence against women has a far deeper impact than the immediate harm caused. It has devastating consequences for the women who experience it and a traumatic effect on those who witness it, particularly children.

Psychological and emotional violence covers “repeated verbal abuse, harassment, confinement and deprivation of physical, financial and personal resources”. Undermining an individual’s sense of self esteem can have serious mental and physical health consequences and has been identified as a major reason for suicide. Quantifying psychological abuse is extremely difficult, and very few studies have been conducted to establish prevalence rates of this type of violence.

For some women, the incessant insults and tyrannies which constitute emotional abuse may be more painful than the physical attacks because they effectively undermine women’s security and self-confidence. Qualitative studies that have been undertaken conclude that it is just as damaging to one’s health to be continuously psychologically abused as it is to be physically abused.

IMPACT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ON CHILDREN:

Children who witness domestic violence may develop serious emotional, behavioral, developmental or academic problems.

As they develop, children and teens who grow up with domestic violence in the household are:

  • more likely to use violence at school or community in response to perceived threats
  • more likely to attempt suicide
  • more likely to use drugs
  • more likely to commit crimes, especially sexual assault
  • more likely to use violence to enhance their reputation and self esteem
  • more likely to become abusers in later life.

WHY DO WOMEN STAY?

Lack of information about alternatives also forces women to suffer silently within the four walls of their homes. Some women may believe that they deserve the beatings because of some wrong action on their part. Other women refrain from speaking about the abuse because they fear that their partner will further harm them in reprisal for revealing family secrets, or they may be ashamed of their situation. They also fear the consequences of reporting violence and declare an unwillingness to subject themselves to the shame of being identified as battered women. 

Violence against women is a violation of basic human rights. It is shameful for the states that fail to prevent it and societies that tolerate and in fact perpetuate it. It must be eliminated through political will, and by legal and civil action in all sectors of society. Economic dependence has been found to be the central reason. Without the ability to sustain themselves economically, women are forced to stay in abusive relationships and are not able to be free from violence. Due to deep-rooted values and culture, women do not prefer to adopt the option of separation or divorce.

CONCLUSION:

An effective response to violence must be multi-sectoral; addressing the immediate practical needs of women experiencing abuse; providing long-term follow up and assistance; and focusing on changing those cultural norms, attitudes and legal provisions that promote the acceptance of and even encourage violence against women, and undermine women’s enjoyment of their full human rights and freedoms.

The health sector can play a vital role in preventing violence against women, helping to identify abuse early, providing victims with the necessary treatment and referring women to appropriate care. Health services must be places where women feel safe, are treated with respect, are not stigmatized, and where they can receive quality, informed support. A comprehensive health sector response to the problem is needed, in particular addressing the reluctance of abused women to seek help.

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