Does only physical abuse counts as Domestic Violence?

The term violence refers to the intentional hurt which a person gives to another person in order to fulfill their motive which is to see the other person in pain. Now, the type of violence which we know is the one which is visible to our eyes i.e. if the victim’s body showing an evidence of any kind of hurt , then it is considered to be a violence but what about the mental and emotional trauma that the person(the victim) has to suffer due to this “physical violence”.

We hear the cases of major fights on the road, or any mob outrage , the culprits are charged against various sections which provides punishment for basically only the visual harm but if the mental trauma of the victims is also to be taken into consideration , then the charges pressed will be so many.

Domestic violence in the same way is a term which is constituted to take the women under its shed if they suffer any kind of physical abuse from their husbands or their in-laws. The term domestic refers to anything which is related to the establishment of the family i.e. mainly the issues that happens after marriage as it is when the formation of a family actually starts, traditionally speaking . When a woman gets married in India, she is considered as a multitasking robot and also referred to as Goddess Lakshmi , the Hindu Goddess who symbolises money and prosperity. Until recently I thought that the reason of the reference of a married woman to Goddess Lakshmi is because the arrival of a daughter in law in a family is considered to be auspicious and she is regarded as the carrier of fortune and also she is the carrier of the future generation of the family thus prospering the family with happiness. I was so wrong. The reference to the Holy Goddess of Wealth is because the arrival of a new daughter in law in a family brings a lot of money to the family which the new woman brings in from her family. This money in older terms was refferred to as a ritual, a set of gifts which the Bride’s and Groom’s family and friends gives to the newly married couple in order to help them set their new household. In today’s terms these never ending lists of gifts which commonly includes luxurious items for every member of the family and in the cases when this demand is not meant , the woman has to bear the wrath which sometimes lead to her being burnt alive. The bride is basically seen as a no repayment bank which will solve all the financial problems of the family and the consequences when the expectations are not met are horrific to say the least. If not death, then the hits , rape by other males of the family with husbands consent , continues for a life time.

Not to mention the emotional and mental trauma which a woman has to suffer. She stands at a threshold in these cases because if she dares to escape this turmoil by going back to her parents house, she will labelled as “tainted”, and a thousand other faults will be found out in her which will be humiliating for her family. AND no girl wants their family to face humiliation because of them. This is just one instance of one of the type of domestic violence that is very prevalent in India. Mental and emotional abuse are also a very popular form but not many are aware of it because there is no provision for the law to find the damage to a woman’s mental stability that has been caused by the family she has been married into. Now, the term “affecting the mental stability” does not means that a woman gets completely retarded but the trauma which these instance causes which leads her to question her self worth, her confidence, her judgement and eventually she becomes a puppet in the hands of this patriarchy.

This blog will provide some insights into the causes, affects and the consequences of the mental abuse which a woman has to undergo.

Causes of Mental and Emotional abuse

In India, there are several definitions to define a good wife. These may include her “respectful” sense of dressing which in a traditional way prohibits an exhibition of even an inch of skin except when she is wearing a saree, catering to all the demands of her husband from being his washerperson, cook, maid even his frustration box to leash out his frustration which may include either physical abuse or marital rape. Oh! the term marital rape does not even exists nor in the judiciary(not for woman who are legal adults) nor in the dictionary of the patriarchy. These all things are termed under “wife duties”. Amidst all these we tend to forget that the woman is also a human being with emotions and feelings and is supposed to be respected. Mostly after marriage a woman is made to give up on her career , if she had any( as daughters in India are nothing but a liability who are educated to just financially help their partner if the need arises in future. Though this concept is changing now but is still prevalent for 70 percent of the households) to concentrate better on her family. She is put under constant restrictions and is constantly judgesd for everything she does. This takes the identity of a woman. She starts seeing herself just as a wife , a daughter-in-law, a mother, but never as a person. The snatch of this basic freedom to do the basic things can led to decline of confidence and cause a trauma which even after years still continues to haunt.

This basically comes as a result of the supremacy which one gender wants to show on another. Marriage is a bond of togetherness, and whenever we combine to persons in a closed spaces some compromises have to be made by both the parties to accommodate and live but the problem arises when just the female is expected to change herself.


This emotional and mental trauma then becomes a sort of family heirloom which is passed from one generation to the other. I call it as a sadist thing to feel one’s peace through the trauma of others. This the biggest consequence of the mental trauma that a woman has to undergo that these all things becomes natural to her and without her even realising the fact that she is becoming a part of the same system she lets the emotion of revenge take over her. It is a revenge cycle which continues where a mother in law tries to dominate her daughter-in-law using all the measures without involving any physical abuse at times, “because this is how it has always been” is their counterargument. Whereas, the mothers who have been dictated all their lives if has no sons to transform this heirloom to their son’s wife, then transfers it to her daughter by being extra dominating and dictating her life to such an extent that she looses all her self confidence, develops self loathe and is left with no esteem. Ironically, these very qualities which sets a human different from an animal is snatched just to have a “long period of marriage”, the words “happiness”, “success of marriage” being hidden. Because in India what matters is the time period of the marriage not the happiness and compatibility of the two individuals sharing this Holy bond.

Every female in India has to suffer some restrictions which comes as a protective measure by the families against the raising of number of crimes against woman but the problem arises when her personal decisions such as the choice of her inner garments are also being dictated upon by the females of her family. When she is made to got through those rude snides questioning her character if she ever as much as laughs with a member of the opposite gender who is not family, when her self dependence is shamed and when she constantly becomes a box for all the frustrations .

Anubhav Sinha’s bollywood directorial THAPPAD starring Tapsee Pannu proves my point of woman being a frustration box no matter what the financial condition of the family is.

What we can do to stop this is STOP PASSING TRAUMA AS A HEIRLOOM. It has to stop at some point otherwise the wrath which it emits will risk the future of even the coming generations.