Domestic Violence is a threat to the social fabric of family life, mental well being and peace. It is a violation of that sacrosanct marriage vow and promise made at the very beginning to love and to cherish each other, in sickness and health and for better or worse. We look deeper at some of the inherent reasons for its impending rise and how, as a society, we ought to do much better.
Victims of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a dreaded social evil and sadly a deep part of the society we are living in. The contributing factors could be the desire to gain control over another family member, the desire to exploit someone for personal benefits, the penchant to be in a commanding position the entire time, showcasing one’s supremacy so on and so forth.
One of the reasons for it being so prevalent in society is because of the orthodox mindset of the society that depicts women as physically and emotionally weaker than men. Though women today have proven themselves in almost every field of life, affirming that they are no less than men, the reports of violence against them are much larger in number than against men.
According to the UN population fund report, around two-thirds of married Indian women are victims of domestic violence, and as many as 70 per cent of married women in India between the age of 15 and 49 are victims of beating, rape or forced sex. In India, more than 55 percent of the women suffer from domestic violence, especially in the states of Bihar, UP, MP and other northern states. Domestic violence is caused mainly by dowry, addiction, social, cultural as well as political aspects, sexual behaviour of the husband, making familial decisions, giving birth to a female child and so on. Though the literacy rate of our country is increasing day by day, the extremeness of domestic violence remains the same. Most of the families face disorganization among the family from violence, most children drop out from school as they deal with quarrelling parents. In some cases, wives are being beaten severely, sometimes being raped by turns, sometimes being hung and made to look like suicide. Again, in most of the families, women are tortured for any simple reason as they fail to bring money demanded by their husbands. In some cases, I found that the inability of the husband to impregnate their wife is also solely blamed upon the wife.
A close friend of mine, confided that she is a victim of domestic violence too. Her husband is from a well-to-do family. But despite being well educated her husband indulges in domestic violence frequently, not sparing her even at the time of her pregnancy. However, she did not raise her voice because she was forced to believe by the norms of the society and her parents that women should bear all these pain. Whatever happens is for her own good and she must take it all in her stride. She can never go back to her parental place nor share her problems openly in public because this will invite her more trouble instead.
In my opinion, to stop domestic violence against women we need a change in the mentality of the people who think that the only duty of women are in the kitchen and to take care of the children. By treating women equally, and teaching the next generation the same, I think we can make a lot of change in the status quo. There are a number of things which can be done about stopping domestic violence against women. We have to be cognizant of the fact that the government can only make the rules and enforce them, but the real change comes from changing our attitude towards such matters. Most of the time people hide it because of the stigma associated with it. Women should be encouraged to talk about it and not hide it.
I am not saying that disrespecting women always results in violence against women. But violence against women begins with disrespecting them in the society. Both girls and boys should be taught from their childhood that nobody has the right to underestimate and discourage them in any way. Even parents have no right to be violent against their kids. If parents try to correct kids by resorting to violent means like hitting, slapping etc. kids will learn to be violent and end up growing in that way. We cannot force people to be good or bad. But the young ones are still clay. We can mould them in whatever shape we want, and imbibe them with good characteristics by teaching them to respect women. Sometimes girls are forced to stay in marriages to avoid the stigma attached with divorce. By bearing undue duress women not only spoil their physical health but mental health too.
To stop this violence we should give more importance to women and not only to our brothers, sons and fathers. Social attitude is shaped by what we see in day to day life. And therefore if parents teach their girls only to be home makers, then boys will also think of them as nothing more than a cook, a body or some property they own.
To curb domestic violence in our society it takes every individual and society to be more responsible and more sensitive to the situation. Further, I would like to suggest that mass effort from all sectors – government, media, education, NGO’s and other influential bodies should take up this issue more seriously and educate women regarding their rights, as well as the alternatives that are open to them. Programmes on the changing status of women will make a positive contribution in changing the general attitude of society towards women.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Nungchim Christopher, Seyiesilie Vupru, Vikono Krose and Kvulo Lorin. Portrait photographer: Rhilo Mero. For feedback or comments please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.