DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
INTRODUCTION: Domestic Violence is often referred as any abusive, violent or threatening act inflicted by one member of a family or household to another. It was considered as one of the underreported crimes which became more recognizable during the 1980’s and 1990’s.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN:
Domestic Violence is currently defined in India by Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005. According to Section 3 of the Act, below are the legal definitions of domestic violence:
- Harms or injures or endangers the health of the aggrieved person.
- Harasses or harms the aggrieved person with a view to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property.
- Otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person.
According to United Nation Population Fund Report, around two-third 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. Moreover more than 55 percent of the women suffer from domestic violence in our country.
DOMESTIC ABUSE: It is generally referred as a pattern of unhealthy and abusive behavior which is willfully done in order to maintain control and power over an intimate partner. This type of abuse mostly prevails in between married couples, intimate partners or cohabitates. Below are the types of domestic abuse:
- Marital Rape – It means any kind of sexual acts which is committed by a spouse to other mate (wife) either forcefully or by threatening without any form of consent.
- Physical violence – It refers any kind of physical force used deliberately with the potential to cause harm. Physical violence includes but not limited to throwing, grabbing, choking, kicking and slapping.
- Witch Craft Killing- Very common practices which still prevails in small villages and interior towns where women are abused due to the wrong perception of the perpetrator that the particular women practices witch craft which brings misfortune to their families.
EMOTIONAL ABUSE: Often referred as physiological violence or abuse it is that form of violence in which one person subjects or exposes the other person in acts like isolation, rejection, humiliation or verbal abuse resulting in impaired self-dignity and self-worth. Following are some types of emotional abuse:
- Verbal abuse– It includes yelling, name calling or insults to the victim. Mocking the victim, or using any type of abusive language is also a part of verbal abuse.
- Terrorizing– Any form of threatening, cursing or unreasonable behavior in order to create fear or attain control over the victim’s mental state is a form of emotional abuse.
FAMILY ABUSE: Family abuse refers to those kind of violence which is done by any biological member of the family or any other relative. This kind of violence are often done by parents, siblings or any other relatives conjoined with the family. It includes:
- Dowry Killing- Dowry killing is most common crime in today’s world where women are beaten or burnt to death by their in laws with the intention of unlawful demand for any property or valuable assets. The parents of women are also abused emotionally and verbally if they are unable to fulfill their demands.
- Honor Killing- It is the homicide of a member of family by social members or their family itself due to the self-belief of the criminal that the victim has brought dishonor upon family and community. It usually happens in cases where the victim gets married to a person from other or lower caste.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN:
Since long time women and children are considered the weaker part of the society which has raised lot of crimes against them. It’s a serious public health concern which costs at multiple levels of society. They are susceptible to such kind of victimization because they often have fewer rights or due to lack of protection. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Forced Abortion: At some places in our country till today also women are victim of such kind of heinous crime. Women are forced to abort their child if the child is confirmed as a girl. Female feticide and forced abortion is a huge victimization for women and also a block towards a healthy developing country.
- Prostitution: Human trafficking is another form of abuse and violence which mostly includes women for flesh market or sometimes called as sex trade. Every day lot of young girls and women are trafficked all over the world and are forced in to the dark vail of prostitution and physical violence.
- Child Labor: It is one of the most common crime and abuse of children by illegal means. Small children are forced in to dangerous and hard works which are not only harmful for their life but also deprives them from their basic right of education and livelihood.
- Child Rape:” A 5 year girl was raped and killed brutally by a 22 year old man, a small infant was raped by a old man in the hospital premises, A girl was molested by her own uncle at home” and what not. These news are like a daily dose for newspapers now a days. Small girls and babies are also victims of such kind of abuse and heinous crimes.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT 2005: Purpose of the Act:
The Domestic violence Act was enacted by the parliament in order to protect women from any form of violence and abuse. The Act was named as “Protection of Women from Domestic Violence”. It came in to force on 26th October, 2006. Domestic violence which was not reported earlier or didn’t came into much notice had some relief measures and protection to the aggrieved women who were a part of such kind of victimization after strict rules and enactment of this particular act. Below are some special acts which are enacted in our country regarding:
- PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT, 2012
- SEXUAL HARRASHMENT OF WOMEN AT WORKPLACE(PREVENTION, PROHIBITION, REDRESSAL)2013
- SATI ABOLITION ACT, 1987
- PROHIBITION OF CHILD MARRIAGE ACT
- PROTECTION AND CARE OF JUVENILES
- CHILD LABOUR(PROHIBITION AND REGULATION ACT), 1986
REMEDIES TO COMABT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:
- Stringent laws: Strict laws and penalties should be enforced in order to reduce domestic violence against women and child.
- Proper Organized Govt. and local authorities: Proper organized NGO’S, Govt. institutions and police officials should be more proactive towards such cases and take proper action on time.
- Awareness Programs: Lack of basic education and knowledge is one of the important cause for all kinds’ violence. Awareness programs and campaigning at all levels are very necessary to combat illiteracy which will in return help in decreasing crimes and violence against women.
- Savita Bhanot Vs Lt. Col. V.D Bhanot (22 march 2010): The case of the petitioner is that it was on account of the conduct of the respondent that she thereafter could not live with him. The learned Magistrate granted interim relief of Rs.6, 000/- per month to the petitioner as well as he passed protection/residence order and allowed the petitioner to live in her matrimonial home in Mathura. After this the respondent filed against this decision requesting eviction of petitioner from the Govt. Flat which was hence approved by Additional courts. But ultimately when the petitioner filed against this decision in The Supreme Court, it decided the case in favor of Petitioner saying that protection of women rights is to be done under Article 14, 15 and 21 of the constitution and hence she has the valid right to get all the necessary facilities and compensation.
- Shalu Ojha Vs Prashant Ojha: Here in this case the lady got married to the person through a matrimonial service. After 4 month of marriage she was thrown out of the house and was regularly pressurized to give consent for divorce. After all the ordeals faced by the lady she finally filed a case against her husband regarding emotional abuse and torture as well forceful intention to sign the divorce papers. To this the Honorable court decided to that husband should pay 2.5 lakhs as monetary relief towards rent charges as well as maintenance and protection fees for his wife. The respondent filed against the decision and did not pay the required amount which was ordered by the court. To which again the petitioner filed a case against her husband for economical and emotional abuse as well as nonpayment of the maintenance charges. This case was a shame on the legal system and Govt. which showed the real face of abuse and non-stringent laws towards solving domestic violence cases.
- Krishna Bhattacharjee vs. Sarathi Chaudhary and Anr. – In the following case there was a divorce decree filed in between the wife and husband in May 2010. Later the wife filed a plea for obtaining stridhan from her husband. This plea was rejected by both the session court and Tripura High court on the basis that wife can’t have her stridhan back as she and her husband are legally divorced. According to both the courts a wife is only entitled to all such valuables when she is not estranged from her husband. To this wife filed a plea in the apex court which dismissed the previous court’s decisions saying that wife has the sole right on stridhan and all necessary valuables which she had received from her family during the marriage if also she is divorced from her husband.
- CASE IN LANCASTER TEXAS: A couple named Jose Arreola and Maria Escamilla decided to move in together in a house in Dallas. After some time things did not go well in between them where Jose started abusing her Maria mate till gross extent. She was beaten, stabbed and mutilated mercilessly on various parts of her body. She suffered from physical and sexual violence but in 2013 Jose was sentenced to 28 years of prison for his crimes. This case is a living example where our Indian regulations and Penalties should be made strict so that no women would face domestic abuse or pain in her lifetime.
Domestic violence is a cancer to our society which needs to be eradicated from the root. Stringent judicial measures are needed to enforce for the wellbeing and betterment of the women who are subjected to victimization. We as society are enabled enough to combat these grievous situations and make the country a better place to live in. Gender inequalities and baisness should be eradicated and enable women to live with more dignity and respect.