“women kill husband, tries to pass death off as due to COVID-19: –
“Delhi women allegedly kills in laws; husband was present at home during the crime”
“Gurgaon: – 17-year-old boy dies by suicide after being accused of molestation”
These are some headlines picked up from the media houses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Will we still factor that domestic violence could be a gender issue? No, domestic violence has got to far beyond the gender norms. Usually, Domestic violence is always heard in the relation of women. In which men are always considered as an evil-doer. With the upcoming approaches socio-changes the domestic violence is not only limited to women only. Basically, cruelty knows no gender. It arises from any person who is filled with hate, revenge and egocentrism. There is a myth in our society that domestic violence affects only women but the stated fact is 40% or more domestic violence victims are men in the society. Well going on with the facts of the domestic violence let us have a clear review on domestic violence. “Domestic violence which is also known as an intimate partner violence which can include physical, mental, emotional, sexual abuse. As we above stated that cruelty knows no gender i.e.it can occur in any relationship either heterosexual or same sex relationships. Domestic violence occurs with the ones who are closer or have been in the close relationship. These kinds of abusive behaviour hold the power of imbalance and tries to control his or her partner. It often includes the mistreatment with the partner which not only include the physical harm, but can also go beyond it such as the verbal threats, psychological and sexual abuse. It is not easy to find out the domestic violence against men in the relationship. Early it will look like the caring and concern, protective and generous. It all might seem like an attentive relationship but later it may turn out to be controlling and frightening.
Getting the exact counting on the cases of domestic violence against men is too difficult as most of cases goes underreported. But it’s got enough tougher to figure out that how many men are the victim of domestic violence. The most approximate reason is the sick mentality of the society because of that men also get under pressure. In the male dominated society, they feel shameful by the fact that they are tortured by their wives or by her family members. The probable reasons for going underreported is fear of losing the social respect, of fear of damaging the good reputation in the society. The pressure forms the family to take any legal action against these types of horrifying acts and moreover falling in the trap of false accusation of 498A. And moreover, is there any law which stands for the justice of these men? No, the sensitization and law reforms must happen for all genders. Why only women get the tag of victimisation when the men can also under go with these situations. With the upcoming changes of law which stands for the safety of women now it’s the time to reform the laws and protect men who are the victims of domestic violence. With the significant increase in the false cases of dowry, cruelty or domestic violence many men undergo with the emotional and mental pain. It’s the time to look at our societal, and legal and moral definition of the “victim”. Victim is not categorised by any gender. Laws on domestic violence shall be gender neutral and should protect equally men as they women do.
Domestic violence against men can be in many ways like physical violence, psychological violence or the sexual abuse which can go beyond the terms for men. Going with the physical violence hitting, biting, kicking, punching on face or use of any kind of weapon which give injury to men, or by attacking when you’re asleep.
Sociocultural and psychological dimension of violence against men
There are the various reasons for the domestic violence against men in the environment.
- Sociocultural: – It has been observed that the many aspects for the domestic violence against men are the issues such as less income, education up to the middle class, nuclear family setup, and influence of alcohol are the risk factors.
- Psychological: – There can be the psychological reasons behind the violence against men such as the short-tempered women or they have some serious anger management issues because of this they have some kind of aggressive behaviour and then the verbal and physical abuse can take place against men. The most common reasons are facing stress at workplace or frustration or anger due to the non fulfilment of the expectations and thus can also indulge into violent nature.
Effects of domestic violence against men
The effects of any violence on life are physically, mentally and emotionally, and psychologically. It is also the violence of human rights. Unreported and unnoticed violence against men can cause a deep loss to the family like denial of accepting, divorce, depression, and thought of committing suicide in extreme cases. It is also observed that women more thinks about the suicide whereas more men die by frequently committing suicide. This is also known as Gender paradox in society. Many time men do not choose to reveal the violence they face by their spouses or their intimate partners. The reasons are
- General stereotype against males, in which man often feel discriminated and found uneasy for revealing the violence against them because they feel ashamed and they will be judged and will be labelled as wimpy and effeminate. They know the struggle to prove the violence against men because of our gender specific laws and provisions given under our legal system.
- Fear of fake cases filed against men they feel that if there is struggle to prove the violence against men then they will also face the legal consequences because of the gender specific and gender biased laws against them. If these proven right then they have to leave the family and they have to lose the custody of their child’s.
- societal and family pressure to not to reveal the violence because the society believes on the stereotype factors against the specific gender. Because of these factors they will feel ashamed of opening about the violence against them.
Research on domestic violence against men in India
In a study of 1000 married men, the various age groups of men from 21-49 years of age in rural villages. 52.4% of male experience the gender-based violence in India. 51.5% of male in the society have experience some sort of torture or violence from their wives or their intimate partners. The remaining 10.5% have experienced the gender biased violence at the hands of their wives. The most common domestic violence against men is emotional and physical violence against their will. And the other common domestic violence against men is using abusive language, torturing them and, making them feel embarrassed in front of the society threatening to impose their personal information to others showing oppressive possessiveness or jealousy etc.
The gender biased law or gender biased factors for suffering from violence describes that besides women men also experience these acts against them. Usually in society there is a stereotypical assumption that most of the women faces the domestic violence. But this assumption is not correct. Women not only suffers the domestic violence; men can also be the part of it. India is a patriarchal or can be called as male dominated society so it is often hard to believe that the domestic violence can occur against men too.
Need of the gender-neutral laws
We all know about our legal system, despite of having the data of violence against men there is no law to provide justice to them, in fact no law is yet formed to protect men by legislature. Laws provided believes that or controlling domestic violence considers women as a victim. Such as anti-dowry laws prohibition act 1961, according to section 498A only men will be held liable for the cruelty to his wife. There is no subsection or the provisions to held women liable for domestic violence or to protect men from the domestic violence in the society. Even if men try to open up or to reveal against the violence no one listen up or take these things seriously because of the stereotype factors present in our society.
As we know that the human rights and gender equality belongs to both men and women of the society. But in today’s era where men are falsely accused of fake rape cases, fake allegations of harassment or, fake dowry cases, fake domestic violence allegations, there is a need of the gender-neutral laws for the hour. In case of divorce or child custody laws, a woman is looked at more sympathetically and is considered as a victim. The same facts are found regarding the claiming of maintenance after divorce. By all of the above there is an increasement in the false cases or allegations against men. Therefore, there is a need for the laws which are not gender biased or not gender specific. It means domestic violence or any other crime is there, it should be free from gender specific. That is domestic violence should consider as a spousal violence and must not be differentiated due to gender.
In the due to modernization and westernization in the society, values of the society, culture and norms of the society have changed a lot these days. Earlier men were seen as protectors of their family but nowadays both men and women are equally working, equally raising and equally managing their homes with equal contribution to their incomes. Any kind of discrimination or any kind of mental issue or pressure from workplace and raise these kinds of situations. Men have now stopped thinking for the stereotypes policy of the society and now started to open up about the domestic violence they face by their wives or intimate partners and now they have started sharing their pain, problems, agony, and their struggles that how they deal with it all, openly but this is not enough the legislature have to do something with the laws present. Now, Men are no longer stronger than women. It’s now more often important that laws and legislature too should recognize their problem as a social problem or a big issue for the society. Domestic violence against men can be resolved with few changes in the laws, by creating awareness in the society against all these things and by breaking stereotypes policy from the society by which men can feel free to share these situations without any fear of fake allegations or charges on them and preconceived notions.
The structure of the family and societal preferences are being developing, and the same is true with the norms and values regarding gender violence. Earlier women were the victims of torture or forced to do things by now men are also physically and mentally harassed by their spouses and in-laws but as to this there is no laws or provision are there to help men or to protect their rights against all of this. Hence, the problems of men must be seen as a social act or a social issue and public health issue, and appropriate strategies regarding this and interventions should be implemented by the legislature. Men too need help in these crisis and family violence happening against them, especially by their spouse. Even the laws and legislation of the country must include domestic violence against men as a punishable offense because Men and women both are the pillars of society and a family. Hence, laws are needed to offer protection to both from spousal violence but not to be differentiated on the basis of the gender in the society.
Author: Mudita Verma