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Although men also suffer from domestic abuse and violence, women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner. Domestic Violence can be described as when one adult in a relationship misuses power to control another. It is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. The violence may involve physical abuse, sexual assault and threats. Sometimes it’s subtle, like making someone feel worthless, not letting them have any money, or not allowing them to leave the home. Social isolation and emotional abuse can have long-lasting effects as well as physical violence.
Violence against women in India:
The following are some kinds of violence that women are subjected to specifically in India:
Female feticide (selective abortion based on the fetus gender or sex selection of child), Domestic violence, Dowry death or harassment, Mental and physical torture, Sexual trafficking, and Public humiliation.
Key research findings about domestic violence on women:
Emotional abuse leaves deeper scars and more lasting effects than physical violence.
Victims of emotional, verbal and psychological abuse don’t know where to go for help.
Family, community and religious influences play a key role in preventing and reporting abuse against women, especially among minority women.
Teenage women recognize the signs of relationship violence but feel isolated and unable to discuss it with peers.
Types of domestic violence and abuse:
Emotional or psychological abuse: This kind of abuse harms your feelings of self worth and independence. It includes yelling, blaming, putting the other person to shame, ridiculing etc.
Physical abuse: Physical abuse is the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers that person. This kind of abuse includes hitting, grabbing, choking, throwing things and assaulting with a weapon.
Sexual abuse: Any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence.
Economic or financial abuse: It includes-
Controlling the finances.
Withholding money or credit cards.
Giving you an allowance.
Making you account for every penny you spend.
Stealing from you or taking your money.
Exploiting your assets for personal gain.
Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter).
Preventing you from working or choosing your own career.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Abusive Relationships:
Recognizing the warning signs and symptoms of spousal abuse is the first step to breaking free.
Frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
Frequent and sudden absences from work or school
Frequent, harassing phone calls from the partner
Fear of the partner, references to the partner's anger
Personality changes (e.g. an outgoing woman becomes withdrawn)
Excessive fear of conflict
Submissive behavior, lack of assertiveness
Isolation from friends and family
Insufficient resources to live (money, credit cards, car)
Depression, crying, low self-esteem
If you feel that you are abused in anyone of the above mentioned ways, please do something to save yourself. Just remember domestic violence is a CRIME and you must seek help. You have all the rights to protect your dignity and take legal actions against the person who has abused you.
What should you do and whom should you contact?
There are various laws that are passed by the Indian constitution to protect the rights and dignity of the women.
1. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 ("the Act") was approved by parliament in August 2005 and came to effect on Oct 26th 2006. This legislation marks the first time that India has recognized marital rape as a crime. The Act contains a definition of domestic violence that includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse, recognizing dowry harassment as a form of domestic violence (India 13 Sept. 2005a, Sec. 3). The Act allows judges to issue protection orders, residence orders, monetary relief, custody orders, and compensation orders. Since this is a civil law, women are expected to come and file complaint against the abuser.
2. Dowry laws: The payment of a dowry was prohibited in 1961under Indian civil law and subsequently by Sections 304B and 498a of the Indian Penal Code. Section 498A was inserted into the penal code in 1983 it reads:Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
A ray of hope for women in distress
1. Santvana Mahila Sahaya Vani: "Santvana," a government programme being implemented in association with non-government organizations since 2001 to help women in distress in Shimoga, has come to be hailed as a ray of hope for them. Women in distress may call the emergency help line 1091 or 08182-270149.
2. Vanita Sahaya Vani: Vanita Sahaya Vani, which was set up in 1999 in Bangalore, supports women in distress. Vanita Sahaya Vani, a help line set up in 1999, offers support to women in distress. It has so far helped hundreds of women by way of counseling, immediate rescue, family counseling and rehabilitation. Emergency help line 1092.
3. Delhi Police Helpline for Crime Against Women Call 23317004,1091 (Toll Free)
4. Shakti Shalini women shelter: 10920
5. Sakshi – Violence Intervention Center: 0124 2562336/ 5018873
Inspite of having laws for the protection of women, its pathetic to know that the number of cases that are reported are very less. What I mean to say is that even if women identify that they are abused in way or the other and even if they are aware of certain laws, they do not go and report them. Why? In India, the families are patriarchal and the role expectations are very high for an Indian woman. Some women consider it shameful to admit their failure as a wife and daughter-in-law. So, they try to live in a humiliated relationship than protest against it. Even if they protest initially, they might not be able to continue with it for a long time may be because of society’s ridicule or lack of maternal family support. STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS, IF YOU DON’T, NOBODY WILL DO IT FOR YOU.
Horrifying facts about domestic violence in INDIA:
1. Bihar tops the list in domestic violence.
2. 2/3 rds of married women are subjected to domestic violence.
3. India has one of the highest rates of violence against women who are pregnant.
4. Studies reveals that 56 percent of women consider "wife beating ... justified in certain circumstances"!!!!!!!!!
5. Every 26 minutes a woman is molested. Every 34 minutes a rape takes place. Every 42 minutes a sexual harassment incident occurs. Every 43 minutes a woman is kidnapped. And every 93 minutes a woman is burnt to death over dowry.
6. Within the home, women and girls may be subjected to physical and sexual abuse as punishment or as culturally justified assaults.