Family Violence and Abuse - I
About an year back, an Indian TV Channel aired a video secretly recorded by a man, who was brutally beaten by his wife every night for a prolonged period of time. As people watched this abuse shown on TV in a restaurant, the most common response was, “Saale, Ulta kyon Nahin Marta?" (Moron, why is he not hitting back?). In India, men who do not beat abusive women are considered as “Namard” (impotent).
Everyone needs corrective action in case of deviation. While society works to correct men and their behaviour through a legal system, it shrugs off its duty to correct abusive women, and in turn expects the men to somehow do this job for the society.
When women can be engineers, doctors, scientists and astronauts, they can also be abusers, drug addicts and criminals? If a woman is abusive, the society expects that it is men’s duty to correct the abusive women in case they abuse in-laws or neglect children. For example, if a woman leaves her kid in the car and goes for shopping in US, the society (law) corrects the woman. But, in India, the society expects the men to correct the women (by abuse) for neglecting the child. This has been brought out very clearly by National Family Health Survey-III, which says 54% women and 51% men believe that it is the responsibility of men to control women with use of force.(Link)
For example, disrespect and abuse of elders of the family is nothing but “domestic violence”. Calling the mother-in-law a slut is domestic violence. But, the majority of the society expects that men correct the abusive women. So, there are no laws in India to correct any abusive women.
Had it been Britney Spears, Indian society would have shrugged off its responsibility and would have expected Kevin to mend Britney’s ways. Had it been Paris Hilton, the society would have expected her father to mend her lifestyle.
In the meanwhile, the same survey shows that only 6% of women (between ages of 15 to 49), who have completed high school, had “ever” faced abuse in their lives in the state of Karnataka compared to national average of 37.2% women facing abuse at one point or other in their life(Link). The assumption here is that the men in Karnataka, who have completed high school, do not get abused by their wives at one point or other in their lives as the survey ignored the condition of men. Running an abused husband’s helpline, I do know that men get abused for not buying a car, not providing lifestyle, coming home late, drinking a beer occasionally or for disrespecting their in-laws. One out of 20 married men in urban India gets severely abused and gets threats of false cases and threats of abuse by police every year. That is 5% of educated men facing severe domestic violence every year compared to only 6% educated women facing domestic violence once in a lifetime in Karnataka. The NFHS ignores abuse against these men even though these men do not retaliate and go against the predominant societal expectation that men must correct their wives.
According to the first ever survey on urban educated Indian men conducted by the Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) on men, who eventually wanted to separate from their wives, 25.2% faced physical violence, 22.5% faced emotional violence, 33% faced economic violence and 18% faced sexual violence(Link,Link). On top of that, 79% have faced further legal violence post their desire to put an end to abuse by walking off the marriage. Still, the society denies men any protection under existing laws. This confirms the National Family Health Survey findings about the Indian society’s attitude that, when faced with violence at home, men are expected to deal with it through physical violence instead of asking the society to allow them to move on.
According to the SIFF survey, 22% of educated men also reported that the relatives of the women as well as counselors admitted that these women were abusive and said that the men would have been happily married, if they had just controlled them with a few tight slaps.
This attitude of the society explains why there is no support for any laws to protect husbands from abusive wives in urban India. The government of India is totally reluctant to restrain abusive and aggressive women as the majority of the society is convinced that it is the job of their husbands to restrain and correct the women using brute force. The situation can change for the better for both men and women, when society makes provisions in existing laws to correct women in stead of forcing men to control and correct abusive women.
Family Violence and Abuse - I
- » Published on October 29, 2007
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