The Dynamics of domestic violence: Men as Victim

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The Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut was accused of slapping and abusing her ex-boyfriend, Adhyayan Suman although the allegations were denied by her in subsequent interviews by the media. Adhyayan Suman said, “The intensity of the slap was so hard I was almost crying. That was the first time she got violent. I was tearing up like a child and shivering at the violently abusive language,” This buzz has diverted us to an ignored issue in our society. Domestic violence against men is a controversial area of research and people aren’t often seen debating upon. The view of men being physically stronger than women and hence they can protect themselves is the social stigma existing in the society. Women are often encouraged to report any such crime against them but the same is not true about men. They are suppressed from reporting the abuse and the statistics is highly unreliable. The notion is made to be instilled among the victims that reporting abuse would be perceived as lack of masculinity.  The laws to protect them vary from country to country. If we talk about India, we can hardly find any legislation that aims to protect men against domestic violence. It is a grave social issue violating the human rights. Many countries have laws to protect both men and women from domestic violence but in India it seems that the government has not addressed the issue properly. These men are at the mercy of their abusive wives or other female relative, facing physical, mental and emotional distress. Such violence also leads to death in some cases. Men who are at the receiving end of this harassment remain numb out of fear that they will be trapped in a false dowry case or separated from their children. In 2016, the Supreme Court Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F Nariman struck down the words, “adult male person” from Sec.2(q) of the Domestic Violence Act, 2016. It was held that, “We, therefore, strike down the words ‘adult male’ before the word ‘person’ in Section 2(q), as these words discriminate between persons similarly situated, and far from being in tune with, are contrary to the object sought to be achieved by the 2005 Act,” This will include women as offenders from then onwards. In 2017, it was clear from a judgment in the court of Karnataka in case of Mohammed Zakir. The Court held, “If the said sub-section is read after deleting the expression ‘adult male’, it would appear that any person, whether male or female, aggrieved and alleging violation of the provisions of the Act could invoke the provisions under the Act. In that view of the matter, the petitioner’s complaint could not have been trashed on the ground that the Act does not contemplate provision for men and it could only be in respect of women,” On 2 July 2014, the Supreme Court said that this law is being used by some women to harass their husband and in-laws. The court prohibited the police from making arrests on the mere basis of a complaint. The court asked the police to follow Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which provides a 9-point checklist which must be used to decide the need for an arrest. The court also said that a magistrate must decide whether an arrested accused is needed to be kept under further detention. The decision was in response to a Special Leave Petition (SPL) filed by one Arnesh Kumar challenging his arrest and of his family under this law. The decision was welcomed by men’s right activists but was criticized by women rights activists. However, due to lack of communication to police stations, the guidelines of Supreme Court of India are still not getting followed. [1]

Thirty three-year-old Santosh Raj was faced with a similar predicament, but chose to fight instead. His world came crashing down when three months into his marriage, his wife hired goons, who not only attacked him, but also beat up his parents, brothers and sister. “My wife accused me of impotency and demanded money. If I was impotent, then she would have come to know on the first night itself; why did she have to wait for three months? She demanded 1 crore for a divorce. My father somehow brought this amount down to 35 lakh. As per the arrangement, 15 lakh was paid and the remaining amount was to be paid after the divorce was finalized. But they soon started asking for the remaining amount. I knew that they wouldn’t stop harassing me if I gave them 20 lakh, so I went underground for some time,” says Santosh.[2] There are various organizations in India to help the harassed men such as Save Indian Family Foundation which runs 24*7 helplines-9410217409 (North India) and 9902210641 (South India), Men’s Rights Associations, 498A organization has one helpline number- 782-709-0270, All India Men’s Welfare Association.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men%27s_rights_movement_in_India
  2. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/relationships/love-sex/when-husbands-are-victims-of-domestic-violence/articleshow/26031858.cms

By- Snigdha Panigrahi, Student Reporter

 

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