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Domestic Violence: A Threat

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2019 reports that a majority (30.9%) of all the 4.05 lakh cases under crimes against women are registered under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)[1].

Irrespective of class, race, and age we can see domestic violence against women all over the world, even it crossed religious and national boundaries. According to UNICEF Innocenti Digest (2000)

Domestic violence has been defined as:

Violence which includes, violence perpetrated by intimate partners and other family members, and manifested through; Physical abuse such as beating and also includes traditional practices harmful to women such wife inheritance; Sexual abuse such as compel sex through threats, intimidation or physical force; Psychological abuse such as threats of abandonment, confinement to the home, verbal aggression and constant humiliation; Economic abuse which includes denial of money, refusal to financial contribution and control the access to health care employment etc.

Violence against women is not a new phenomenon; it is a primitive practice that has always been treated as a part and participle of socio-cultural milieu and domestic violence against women is a worldwide phenomenon in different forms such as physical, emotional, religious, economic and mostly sexual abuse.

According to the United Nations Declaration (1993), violence against women includes “any act of gender 'based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.

Domestic violence is a two sided sward, it not only negatively affects victim's physical health but also affects their mental, sexual and reproductive health, it is so obvious that such violence along with women will affect her family too in way of  child maltreatment, harmful use of alcohol, attitudes accepting of violence and gender inequality and also It may lead to socio 'economic difficulties such as 'a limited ability to take care of themselves or their children, an inability to work and to sustain wages and isolation due to domestic violence, which leads to a lack of participation in social and regular activities.

If we look into the history, since ages women have been experiencing domestic violence and discrimination. Unequal power relations between men and women might have led to violence against women. It has been used as a social mechanism to force women to a subordinate position in the society when compared to men. Domestic violence existed in all cultures, ethnicities, faiths, age groups, education levels, income levels, and sexual orientations. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that globally 29% to 62% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their life time.

Despite talking about forms of domestic violence let us focus on the causes which leads to such violence against a woman in the society, these factors differ in different communities and culture, numbers of family members, type of marriage and husband's education besides menstrual problem have significant influence on domestic violence. Many research studies have resulted that marriage at a younger age makes women vulnerable to domestic violence.

The causes for domestic violence are varies from rural to urban areas. In the rural areas, dissatisfaction with the dowry and infertility in female, desire for male child and alcoholism are the major causes for domestic violence against women. These may lead to exploitation women in several ways. In urban areas, these are different. working women are supposed to earn more than her partner and social, economic background, her absence in the house till late night, abusing her relatives etc. are some the causes for domestic violence against women in the urban areas. Even some of the traditional beliefs also one the main cause for domestic violence against women.

The main causes to put our focus on are:
  • Psychological
    Personality traits and mental characteristics of the offender come under this category. Personal traits include sudden bursts of anger, poor impulse control, and poor self-esteem and personality disorders etc. Dutton & Gallant (1995) suggested a psychological profile of men who abuse their wives, arguing that they have borderline personalities that are developed early in life.
  • Jealousy
    Very often jealousy between the spouses leads to domestic violence against women. This will take place when men attempt to control female reproduction and ensure sexual exclusivity for him through violence. Women may think to leave the relationship with her partner.
  • Social Stress
    Stress may not be the main cause for domestic violence against women. Bur sometimes social environment in which they live may leads to increase of social stress on the couples. Finally, it leads to conflicts between the couples. Even economic stress also causes to domestic violence against women.
  • Social Learning
    It is also one of the important causes for domestic against women. In order to get control over his spouse and to fulfil his social needs, men try to get unhealthy knowledge and apply it on the women. Finally, it leads to violence between the couples.
  • Power and Control
    This is the very common cause for domestic violence against women. In the process of establishing power and getting control over the women, abuser try to abuses his partner emotionally and physically.
The main question arises is that, why women bear such domestic violence? women from her childhood is taught to be calm to compromise to adjust to tolerate and all this leads to the failure to get a stand for herself. On the first-place women being a mother tolerates all this just to not make their children suffer and for this they do not make a report against such violence. For taking stand for oneself a support is required which used to lack in our society, she neither gets support from her parents and nor from any of the relatives which makes her inferior and steps back and suffers violence all alone.

Even though women are not self-sufficient, supportive and not economically independent, she has some responsibilities to fulfil. After leaving her husband, how will a woman manage her expenses? Often non 'working women are faced with such grave questions. She is not interested to be a burden on her own family and wants to live independently.

Due to the fear of unable to take up her own responsibility she chooses to stay back with her husband in silence. In our society, failed marriages and divorces are not treated well by the society. To avoid gossips and rumors victimized women stay in silence and rather than going against the social rules. Safety is one of the important factors which play a great role in making a victim of domestic violence mum. After breaking the relationship or filing a case against due to domestic violence the fear of safety leads a woman bear domestic violence.

India has various statutes governing the rights of women; Rights of Women are secured under the Constitution of India 'mainly equality and freedom from discrimination. But still violence against women has no end. Domestic violence may have a wider and deeper impact in life of the victims and also the children belong to that family. A proper societal 'legal environment has to be built to make the houses safe and secure for women. A nation or a society cannot prosper by keeping half of its population under distress.

Domestic violence against women is nothing but violation of basic human rights. This evil must be eliminated through political will, and by legal and civil action in all sectors of our society. The causes of domestic violence against women must be scientifically analyzed and more genuine researches have to be done to find out solution to make our society prosper with gender equality.


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