Domestic Violence: A Termite to Flesh, Minds and Values

INTRODUCTION

“Violence is never domestic; it roars wild where every day she serves dinner to the carnivore in a porcelain made out of her broken bones.” By Monika Swain

Domestic violence, which is in itself an epidemic across the globe spiked when couples were placed under mandatory lockdown restraining them to their homes in confined living standards. Home, most of us consider it as the safest place. A place where we grow, get nourished, learn and dream. But this doesn’t apply to all. Some may go through the worst treatment and live a life full of nightmares and atrocities. Many women and children are unable to put their situation in front of anyone because of the fear of getting caught by the abuser. The extended lockdown of Covid-19 has led to a speedy increase in stress and related perils of domestic violence arising due to unemployment, less social interaction, and limited resources. Recently, it has been observed that there is a spike in abusive treatment because of alcohol consumption in families which is directly related to the pessimism in the family and the social circle could be of no rescue because of the restraints. The violence was still prevalent when the liquor shops were closed because of the frustration they were experiencing in the absence of alcohol and also now that the shops have reopened, the cases are still going high.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres quoted “Sexual violence against women and girls is rooted in centuries of male domination. Let us not forget that the gender inequalities that fuel rape culture are essentially a question of power imbalances.”[1]

Domestic violence is also termed as Intimate Partner Violence where behaviour by an intimate partner or an ex-partner causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including physical aggression, sexual coercion, and psychological abuse and controlling behaviours. The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” Domestic Violence, according to the oxford dictionary, the two words means “violent or aggressive behaviour within the home, typically the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.”[2] But is it all we need to know? What about the root cause of it? What we know about the impression it leaves on the minds of the victim and the abuser too? Is knowing the mindset of the abuser necessary? 

Being a historical phenomenon, domestic violence has been studied by many historians who have documented the informal and formal sanctions by the society that have encouraged wife battering. Scottish and English laws permitted a husband to discipline his wife physically without prosecution for assault and battery.[3]This explains that domestic Violence is not a product of one day but this evil developed gradually since ages and even laws were there to support these hypocrite laws which made husbands a tyrant adopting any method to discipline his wife and children. William Blackstone’s eighteenth-century codification of the English common law asserted that husbands had the right to physically “chastise” an errant wife, provided the stick was no bigger than his thumb.[4] It backs down on the society that laws grant men to correct their wife and even stated that the stick should not be bigger than his thumb, reflecting the narrow thinking of people in that period.  It is said that Laws were there to check women’s action but no laws were there to check men’s action as from time immemorial it was a men-dominated society. It was only in the 20th century, that the law finally condemned wife abuse and considered it to be a criminal offence. It was not until the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s that identified and responded to wife abuse recognizing it as a “social problem”. Prior to this time, its existence was overlooked and even denied, although it continued to exist. Various historical circumstances led several social scientists to explain that men abused women basically because they are permitted and encouraged to do so.[5] It took such a long time to recognize the offences against women, that too after the Women’s liberation movement in the 1970s. If violence like this took such a long time to come in light then it is not a fault of just men but also the person suffering and the people ignoring this issue. This would not have taken such a long period of time if the victims would have objected to its earlier but they took a continuous battering as their destiny and accepted it without any thought giving the same notion to the children who are witnesses of this brutal violence.

ROOT CAUSES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

As indicated by one, the reasons for viciousness against females emerge from the abuser’s mental health issues like burdensome indiscretion, uncontrolled feelings and so forth. Culprits are supposed to be powerless, obsessively desirous men with low confidence and encountering instability, particularly about their manliness. Abusive behaviour at home can best be comprehended via cautious assessment of outside factors that sway the activities of the individual abuser.

  • Patriarchal society: Society from ages has a patriarchal form of society. Male acting as the head of the family has given a notion that they have supreme control over the members of the family and can do as he pleases. This kind of notion gave him the power to control and order the members of the house especially women if they don’t act according to his wishes or the general rules established by the society especially for women and the correction was not simple instead it was so brutal that mostly it ended with physical, emotional and mental torture. These atrocities when displayed in front of the children, after growing-up does the same thing which he had learned in his childhood. This is being continued in the present time too and the mentality deep down is still the same. This is why the cases of domestic violence are still so prevalent. We never recognised women as important as a male person in the family.
  • Societal influence on mind-set: In a community, a culture or a gathering that qualities savagery, people of low confidence may try to support their picture in accordance to other people by doing acts that maybe they don’t want to. It discloses affinity to the viciousness of those for whom society makes it hard to accomplish a sufficient degree of confidence. In the primary stage, when minor battering episodes happen, the females adjust, justifies and externalizes the issue. Strain mounts in the subsequent stages prompting the intense battering incident and promoting serious effects on the females.  This cycle continues reusing itself in the lives of practically battered females. Viciousness is a device that male use continuously to control females because of profoundly disguised male-centric moulding which approves males the option to beat their spouses and hence apparently play out the obligation of scolding them. The inconsistent and progressive sex connection shows the familial arrangement and how it is emphasized by the sex jobs and the sexual division of work.
  • Economic causes – In Covid-19 situation where all organisational institutions, companies, factories are closed, putting a halt to the sources of income and the rising terror of unemployment after lockdown is lifted. Theses condition gives rise to frustration and mental stress. Males abuses women or any person in the family to relieve his stress forgetting that it can be a mental trauma for the victims of domestic abuse. Forcing differed limitations on females and convincing them to stay reliant on males monetarily and socially to make them feel that they are ‘feeble’ and ‘frail’ in all regards. Thus, easily giving males the right to abuse the women of their household just because they are the bread-earners of the family.
  • Socio-Cultural causes- Society plays an important role when determining the status of women in a family. We say that a person first learns from his home and second from his environment i.e., the society he is living in. Societal values and support can be the main factor when determining how safe they feel near them. If the society doesn’t accept women’s position as important and give respect to her, the age-old mentality of people would never come to an end. Women are equally responsible for this misconduct when they don’t raise their voice against the evils which they are a part of. They start believing that it is their fate and they should be subdued by males and do the same thing when they get promoted to a higher position, for example – mother-in-law. They do the same with their daughter-in-law as they have been treated to release their well-built aggression. There is a serious requirement for a more open-minded and acceptable society, which would make women free to feel approachable in distress.
  • Behavioural pattern – As indicated by predominant sex job standards, many males want their partners to behave in a certain way. Any demonstration of freedom on her part would disregard sex job desires for female conduct. Since female will, in general, is regarded as less amazing and of lower economic wellbeing than male, they are effortlessly marked as a freak in instances of aggressive behaviour at home. Along these lines when females don’t act like the males optimal of the spouse, husbands use brutality as their sword against them to make them adjust to standards prescribed by him. The animosity and predominance as manly excellencies and penance, resistance and so on as female ideals are accentuated directly from adolescence through plays, play materials, melodies, adages and colloquialisms. In this procedure, females begin accepting that it is completely correct for them to be the subordinate one.

CHILD DOMESTIC ABUSE

Domestic violence with children as a major issue was evolved in the later period. It was never seen as an issue to be dealt with and some measures should be adopted to deal with it. In early Roman and English law, parents had almost exclusive rights to discipline their children, and these rights permitted physical punishment and death. The Bible said that a stubborn and rebellious child could be taken by the parents into the city and there stoned to death by the elders. The death sentence was permitted for children who cursed or killed their parents.[6] These laws gave rights to parents to discipline their children and in gurur of their rights, they forgot the effect which it has on children’s mind. Children should be disciplined but not in the way which would keep a mark in their mind and would be fearful to their parents. The more isolated child becomes the more rationality he loses giving rise to improper growth of a child. Traditional wisdom prescribes the use of a road to prevent the child from being abused. Viewed in a holistic framework of the family as a social institution, where the parents have the right to raise their children the way they like, few would really buy the idea that child abuse of child maltreatment is a form of domestic violence or a deviant act.[7] The use of brutal ways to correct the child was never in favour of the child because it shakes the child from inside and cannot accept his Parents treatment to him. Later it would make him more distant with their parents giving rise to more differences and misunderstanding among them. Practices that would be viewed as dangerous, incorporate hitting a child with a hard instrument or with shut clench hands, or consuming, burning, harming, choking, suffocating, kicking, choking and stabbing a child. It has always been difficult to protect children from these abuses mainly due to four reasons. To start with, the political will to organize the necessities of children and families has been inadequate. Second, it has been hard to create avoidance programs as a result of constrained data about the reasons for abuse. Third, assets for research around there, have been restricted. Maybe generally significant, these wrongdoings are underreported. Fourth, a crucial right to security and the confidence in the sacredness of the family prompts the view that intercession by the state in family matters ought to happen when important.

KINDS OF CHILD DOMESTIC ABUSE  

The child domestic abuse can be classified in many forms, such as physical domestic abuse, emotional domestic abuse, sexual domestic abuse, neglect engulfing other two.

  • Physical Domestic Abuse – Physical maltreatment alludes to the punishment of physical mischief on a child by a parent or guardian in the family. The damage doesn’t have to be purposefully dispensed. Truth be told, most of the physical maltreatment is the unexpected consequence of beating or other unforgiving disciplinary techniques that have raised to the point of physical injury or the danger of physical injury. Continuous torturing physically makes a deep impact on his body, living scars and many internal injuries which are unseen which gives rise to abnormal growth of body. Children’s body are very sensitive it is unable to face the wrath of torture inflicted on them.
  • Emotional or Psychological Domestic Abuse – Psychological mistreatment, or mental abuse, is characterized as verbal conduct in which a grown-up assaults a youngster’s confidence and social skill. This type of misuse is seen, for instance, in remarks made with the aim of criticism, annoying, undermining, or deprecating child. Psychological mistreatment is hard to report in light of the maltreatment of physical proof frequently found in physical maltreatment, here and there in sexual maltreatment. The imposition of physical damage on the child isn’t fundamental for a finding of emotional or mental maltreatment; simply seeing aggressive behaviour at home or encountering departure, misdirection or misuse might be sincerely or mentally harsh. Social pointers of psychological mistreatment incorporate a wide exhibit of different practices, for example, fits, school learning issues, reckless inclinations, eating and resting issues, negative or level effect, inability to flourish, lack of involvement and negative self-image.
  • Sexual Domestic Abuse – This form of abuse is the most serious one, as the victims are unable to share the mental and physical torture which is inflicted on them. The adults use children in order to satisfy their sexual desire, disrespecting the relationship they share. This kind of sexual abuse leads to kind of ‘incest relationship’ between them. The victims of this abuse can never share their traumatic story to anyone giving rise to a situation where they start isolating them from others and become quieter and keep living in themselves. Among sexually abused girls, between 33 and 50 percent of perpetrators are family members, whereas 10 to 20 percent of sexually abused boys are assaulted by family members. The vast majority of incest perpetrators are male, but mothers and other female relatives also commit incest.Conduct markers of sexual maltreatment might be nervousness, gloom, drastic decreases in school results, or wrong sexual direct concerning the suffering child, isolating himself from others. Physical pointers of sexual maltreatment incorporate sexual action, venereal infections; scarred or mangled.[8]
  • Disregard to the child – Child disregard is the nearness of specific lacks in guardian commitments, for the most part concerning the guardians. Disregard can be physical, enthusiastic or instructive. Physical disregard can incorporate not giving sufficient food or attire, suitable clinical consideration, management, or appropriate climate security, relinquishment or removal, seriously unsanitary conditions at home or helpless individual cleanliness for the child and so on. Mindlessness to a child’s emotional needs, aggressive behaviour at home, or allowed liquor or drug use reflects enthusiastic disregard. Instructive disregard incorporates inability to give fitting tutoring or uncommon instructive needs, permitting over the top delinquencies. While physical maltreatment might be focused on one child in the family, disregard is regularly comprehensive.

 EFFECTS OF CHILD DOMESTIC ABUSE  

The effect of child abuse is regularly talked about in physical, mental, conduct, cultural and    different terms.

  • Psychological Effect – The quick impacts of abuse disengagement, dread, outrage, tension and failure to trust can convert into deep-rooted outcomes that incorporate low confidence, fear, discouragement and relationship challenges, despondency, uneasiness, dietary problem and self-destruction attempt. The rate of effect which the children have is so much that it completely changes them to a person who is mentally weak and unable to face a normal situation which they could have.
  •  Behavioural Effect – Abuse may prompt low scholarly accomplishment and different types of character issues. In some interminable cases, it might prompt sexual dysfunction, or even to prostitution. Examination reliably mirrors an improved probability that abused and abandoned child will smoke cigarettes, devour alcohol and unlawful drugs.
  • Physical Effect – The impact on the body of the child can be minor or extreme. No one knows how much the child suffers through physical violence. Even though he accepts what is inflicted on him, he can never get over the scars or wounds of his body. If there should be an occurrence of ceaseless maltreatment, the pressure may bring about disabled mental health and different resultant handicaps like physical distortions, inclination to push issue, direct turmoil, hyperactivity, rest aggravation and so on.
  • Social Effect – It will influence the capacity to create a truthful and personal connection with companion and grown-ups. Most children feel separated from others, particularly if a relative is included, as they feel that there is no spot, they can securely trust in. Most grown-up survivors proceed to become favourites, maintaining a particular distance from close connections.

FIGURES ON INTERNATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

Almost one third (30%) of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner. The prevalence estimates of intimate partner violence range from 23.2% in high-income countries and 24.6% in the WHO Western Pacific region to 37% in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region, and 37.7% in the WHO South-East Asia region.[9]

It is estimated that of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed in 2017 globally, more than half (50,000- 58 per cent) were killed by intimate partners or family members, meaning that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day. More than a third (30,000) of the women intentionally killed in 2017 were killed by their current or former intimate partner.[10]

Data from female participants of prevention interventions in six low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa show that women with disabilities are two to four times more likely to experience partner violence than those without disabilities. Furthermore, the risk of experiencing all forms of partner violence and non-partner sexual violence increases with the severity of impairment. Qualitative data shows that disability-related stigma and discrimination compounds women’s vulnerability to violence and hinders their ability to seek help.[11]

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS:

People, when they are at the verge of getting knocked down, might not understand how to react and when to react. No one wants to live a life of misery and atrocities. After all, they haven’t asked for this. 

1. WOMEN ENTITLEMENTS: It has been noticed that women with poor education or no education suffer more than those who have some kind of skills or qualifications. Those who know their way back and can promisingly earn the bread are less likely to get affected by their assaulters. Women who possess entitlements such as property are also spared. It is therefore important for women to learn basic life managing skills. Getting themselves educated is the most prized possession they can have. Education & skills will make them partially independent with a thought that she can leave or run away and start a better living.

2. WOMEN STANDING FOR WOMEN: Generally, when someone gets to know that a person in their locality or known to them is getting assaulted time and again, they ignore thinking that it is their personal matter and they should keep themselves away from such activities. Even the women who clearly have an idea of the action happening might just ignore. But what wonders will it create when women start standing for each other, reporting such inhuman crime, providing the details of the phase the assaulted women are going through. These small things don’t take much time and force but save someone’s priceless life.

3. MANDATORY AWARENESS PROGRAMS: In villages, the concept of domestic violence is less accepted as the people there think that it is a common household fight and imply that it is the sole right of the husband or in-laws to treat the women of their house as they want. However, in that case, there should be proper and mandatory awareness programs citing the impacts domestic violence or sexual assault leaves in the minds of the assaulted person. Assaulters also need to understand that the act which they think as their right is an inhuman crime in the eyes of the court. Using the local language of the particular region where the program is to be conducted will make the villagers more comfortable and they will understand ‘causes and solutions of domestic violence’ clearly.

4. FREE SELF-DEFENCE AND STRATEGY TRAINING: It is quite difficult for the women of rural areas to pursue training programs especially self-defence. But if it is free of cost then at least half of the expected number would come forward as a positive response to it. Moreover, college and school going girls will have something important to understand and learn to tackle these situations by themselves. It is to be understood that the families might not support an activity where their women are moving forward in the direction of a life, they actually deserve but once the women in their family bring something good out of it, they definitely won’t oppose it.

5. MANAGING THE URBAN STRESS: In urban areas, where people socialize and enjoy their life doesn’t actually imply that they are not stressed out. Stress being a common cause of domestic violence is a problem which when prolonged causes severe mental illness. There should be effective regulations and modes of workshops and programs which might help them figure out what they are doing to themselves and how it is affecting the lives of others. Urban people are more inclined towards the workshops and have such circles and friends who help them get interested in it, even if they are just doing it to impress. This will also ensure enough socializing and space for good thoughts.

INDIAN LEGISLATIONS
There are three laws in India that deal directly with domestic violence: 

  1. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is a civil law that guarantees protection to women in a household from men in the household. This law not only safeguards women who are married but it also protects women who are staying in live-in relationships, as well as family members including mothers, grandmothers, etc. Under this law, women can ask for protection against domestic violence, financial compensation, the right to live in their shared household, and they can get maintenance from their abuser in case they are living apart. This law is to ensure that women do not get kicked out of their own homes and are able to sustain themselves if they have been abused. It is also designed for protecting women from their abusers – a Magistrate can pass a protection order under this act to ensure the abuser doesn’t contact, harm or get close to the survivor. 
  2. The Dowry Prohibition Act. This part of criminal law punishes the person who is accepting or asking dowry and the person who is giving dowry. This law states that, if someone accepts, gives or even demands dowry, they can be imprisoned for 6 months or they can be fined up to ₹ 5,000.
  3. Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code– This is a law under The Code of Criminal Procedure, which applies to husbands or relatives of husbands who are cruel to women. Cruelty refers to any act or conduct that drives a person to take their life or causes grave injury to their life or health – including mental health – and also includes harassment in the name of dowry. If the person is convicted, they can be sent to jail for up to 3 years under this law.

INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVES AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

  1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights– It was adopted in 1948 by 58 member states of the United Nations, UDHR prescribes human rights as fundamental to all human beings and requires the help of the governing bodies to take actions to protect and preserve human rights of all beings.
  2. Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women– It was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly, CEDAW has been sanctioned by 187 countries. CEDAW does not explicitly mention domestic violence, but it defines what constitutes discrimination against women, establishes norms and standards, and obligates states that have sanctioned the convention to end discrimination against women and girls.
  3. UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women– It was adopted in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly, this declaration describes violence against women. As a consequence of this declaration, the Commission on Human Rights adopted Resolution 1994/45 that appointed a Special Rapporteur on violence against women.
  4. Special Rapporteur on violence against women– The Special Rapporteur has four mandates, which includes seeking information on violence against women, and recommending measures, ways, and means to eliminate domestic violence.
  5. International Violence Against Women- This report contains a detailed analysis of causes, prevalence, and consequences of violence against women. It provides examples of completed and ongoing U.S. activities that address domestic violence directly or include anti-violence against women components.  

CONCLUSION:

This family brutality that females experience in their lifetime is essentially an aftereffect, old male-centric structure winning the world. The degree of this heinous act is so high that even in the hour of a cataclysmic event like Covid-19 which is the most erratic occurrence that has happened over the globe; females are having a genuine difficult stretch staying inside. In this manner, the onus is presently on the administrations that while assembling the designs to react to one of the greatest catastrophes, humankind has ever confronted known as Covid-19, the issue of abusive behaviour at home should be taken in consideration. Worldwide, the legislature has ignored the need to officially incorporate abusive behaviour at home and emotional wellness repercussions into the general wellbeing readiness and crisis reaction plans against the pandemic. But instead accusing the administration we ought to have to advance mindfulness about abusive behaviour at home and feature the different modes through which objections could be recorded.

The Covid-19 pandemic has unveiled the disastrous effect of Domestic violence. There is an abundance of infrastructure but either it is not in light or they don’t know about it. Endeavours to guarantee the wellbeing, and financial security of survivors during the current emergency must be intended to improve the current foundation of survivor bolsters past exclusively this second. Notwithstanding fortifying the current help framework to incorporate assurances for survivors against monetary frailty, there is a basic need to look past these conventional emotionally supportive networks—which have demonstrated insufficient intending to the genuine and multifaceted needs of survivors, during the pandemic and something else. This country must grasp a pledge to an auxiliary change of survivor underpins—an exertion that will require expanded subsidizing for help administrations and endeavours to improve financial security and wellbeing to keep overcomers of Domestic Violence genuinely, mentally, and monetarily protected.

Authors: NUPUR SINGH & SIMRAN BARADIA(2nd-year B.A.LLB Students)Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida.


[1]<https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women>

[2]United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2019), Global Study on Homicide 2019, p 10

[3]Kohol, Yudistir (2003); Violence Against Women, Reference Press, New Delhi. P-108

[4]Kadish, Sanford H. (Ed) (1983); Encyclopaedia of Crime and Justice (Vol.4). The Free Press, Collier Macmillan Publishers, London. P 1629.

[5]Kohol, Yudistir; op cit p 109

[6]Reid, Sue Titus; (1998) Crime and Criminology (5th Ed), The Dryden Press Saunders College Publishing, USA p239

[7]Servastava, SP, Op, ciL p 58

[8]Rafter, Nicole Hahn; (2003) Encyclopaedia of Women and Crime. Checkmark Books, London, p 14

[9]<https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women>

[10]United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2019). Global Study on Homicide 2019, p 10.

[11] Dunkle K, Van Der Heijden I, Stern E, and Chirwa E. (2018). Disability and Violence against Women and Girls: Emerging Evidence from the What Works to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls Global Programme, p 1-3.

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