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Domestic Violence: An Overlooked Offence

Domestic abuse is not just physical violence. Domestic violence is any action that is intended to obtain power and influence over a spouse, girlfriend, girl/ boy, or an intimate family member. Abuse is a learned behavior; it is not induced by rage, psychiatric illness, drugs or alcohol, or other traditional excuses.

Victims Of Domestic Violence:

Women make up the largest group of victims. However, men, children, and elderly people may also be victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence occurs at all levels of society and in all population groups.

Abuse is usually intentional, but not always. For example, often people can no longer cope with family care. The situation can then escalate and lead to abuse.

Facts Of Domestic Violence In India:

The issue of gender-based violence in India has been on the political agenda for many years. And with substantial data, one thing is clear: rampant domestic violence against women in India is a reality. Every third woman, since she was 15 years of age, has been confronted with domestic violence of various forms in the country, according to the National Family Health Survey (NHFS-4) released by the Union Ministry of Health. Thus, the incubation of a new round of debate on the cultural underpinnings of domestic violence.

According to the survey, 27 percent of women have experienced physical violence in India since the age of 15. This experience of physical violence between women is more common in rural areas than among women in urban areas. Domestic violence cases, where women reported physical abuse in rural and urban areas, were 29 percent and 23 percent respectively.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA) sets out a comprehensive definition of domestic violence that encompasses all forms of physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, and economic violence and covers both actual acts of violence and threats of violence. Also, the PWDVA recognizes marital rape and treats harassment in the form of unlawful dowry claims as a form of abuse.

Domestic Violence In Covid-19:

Domestic violence has increased globally, driven by mandatory home-stay rules, physical distances, economic uncertainties, and pandemic anxieties. Across the world, countries including China, the United States, Brazil, Tunisia, France, Australia, and others have reported cases of increased domestic violence and intimate partner violence. India, infamous for gender-based violence (and ranked the fourth worst country in terms of gender equality, according to public perception), is showing similar trends.

Types Of Abuses:

  • Physical abuse may include beating, biting, slapping, beating, shoving, punching, pulling hair, burning, cutting, pinching, etc. (any kind of violent behavior inflicted on the victim). Physical abuse also includes denying someone medical treatment and forcing someone to use drugs/ alcohol.
     
  • Sexual abuse occurs when the abuser forces or attempts to force the victim to have sexual contact or sexual behavior without the consent of the victim. This often takes the form of marital rape, attacks on the sexual parts of the body, physical violence followed by sex, sexual demeaning of the victim, or even sexual jokes at the expense of the victim.
     
  • Emotional abuse means invalidating or deflating the victim's sense of self-esteem and/or self-esteem. Emotional abuse frequently takes the form of persistent criticism, name-calling, injury to the victim's relationship with his / her children, or dissatisfaction with the victim's abilities.
     
  • Economic abuse occurs when the abuser makes or tries to make the victim financially dependent. Economic offenders also try to retain absolute leverage of financial resources, to restrict victims access to funds, or to discourage the victim from going to school or work.
     
  •  Psychological abuse is a catchall term for intimidating, threatening, or fear-causing behavior. This conduct has to be consistent and meaningful. Generally, a one-time event will not be enough to bring domestic violence to bear. Like emotional abuse, psychological abuse may not, on its own, be enough to engage in domestic violence unless it is particularly serious.
     
  • Technological abuse includes the use of technology to control and hold a partner. Technological abuse may happen to people of all ages, but it is more common among teenagers who use technology and social media to communicate in a way that is often unmonitored by adults.

Steps That Survivors Of Domestic Violence Should Take:

In addition to finding help and counseling from services such as Genesis Women's Shelter and Help or a therapist, Aubrey urges victims and survivors of domestic abuse to take the following steps when they can do so:
  1. Call the cops. If you are physically or sexually assaulted by your spouse, partner, or anyone else, call the police and ask for help immediately.
  2. Take videos of the injuries. It's important to keep some evidence of that attack,
  3. During the assault, I had clients grab a phone and hit a record in the voice memo, he said.
  4. Go to the doctor right now. Tell your doctor you were raped and have a rape kit prepared, just as if you were assaulted by a third party or not.
  5. Create a safety. Survivors of domestic violence should set up a safety plan for themselves and their children. A safety plan may involve stashing some money, clothing, phones, extra car keys, passports, I.D.s, and other essential documents in a safe place outside the house.

Conclusion:
Domestic violence is one of the most egregious types of harassment suffered by women in our culture today. Statistics show that 85% of victims of domestic violence are female. Only 15% of the victims are men. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of race, creed, religion, or standing in the victim's society. If the issue of domestic violence is not dealt with adequately, this type of abuse will continue to exist in all classes of society without an end. For us, as a society, to eradicate this horrible type of abuse, we need to stand together and make tougher laws to protect the victims of this abuse.

Written By: Darshika Lodha
, a BBA.LLB (Hons.) student of Unitedworld School of Law, Karnavati University.      

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