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CONSEQUENCES AND REMEDIES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE By Adv.Akanksha Singh

Aug. 24, 2020, 4:27 p.m. by Adv.AKANKSHA SINGH ( 551 views)

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“Bride tortured to death for DOWRY”, “ School going kid succumbs to injuries after beaten by father”, “A seventy year old man killed over property dispute”.

All these and whatnot, turn to any newspaper in the morning at random and you would find the reports of such kind of domestic violence from all over the country. These are all that we come to know through different forms of media including electronic/ social media. There are more such cases which go unreported every day due to illiteracy, poverty, social stigma, remotely located in rural and semi-urban areas where such violence occurs in our country. Generally include the cases which we self- indulge in or the ones which we witness in the neighborhood but vigilantly and we the responsible citizen of this country are manifestly hesitant to initiate even a single step to reduce the apparent domestic violence occurrences.

In our civilised society, violence is unstoppably bursting due to economic and social strata differences despite the number of statutes promulgated by the legislature from time to time. The violence is present almost everywhere in society and this eruption is more intense right behind the closed doors of our homes. Behind closed doors of homes all across our country, people/close relatives and beloved are being vigorously tortured, mercilessly beaten, and barbarically killed due to personal differences, greed, subordination and to maintain supremacy and dominance in the family as well as in society. It is happening in rural areas, towns, cities, and metropolitans as well. It is crossing all social classes, genders, racial lines, and age groups. It is becoming a legacy being passed from one generation to another without realising the greater social impact upon the future generation.

The term used to describe this exploding problem of violence within our homes is “Domestic Violence”. This violence is towards someone who we are in a relationship with be it a wife, husband, son, daughter, mother, father, grandparent, or any other family member. It can be a male’s or a female’s atrocities towards another male or a female. Anyone can be a victim or a victimizer. This violence tends to explode in various forms such as physical, sexual, economic, or emotional. Since times immemorial, domestic violence has been an intrinsic part of the society we are living in. The contributing factors could be the desire to gain over another family member, the desire to exploit someone for personal benefits, the flare to be in a commanding position all one’s supremacy so and so forth. On various occasions, psychological problems and social influence also add vehemence. The orthodox and idiotic mind-set of the society since medieval, that women are physically and emotionally weaker than the males. Though, since the evolution of the society known to the historian, every time women have proved themselves in almost every field of life affirming that they are no less than men.

There are some more possible forms of domestic violence prevalent in India other than the ones present in our society. On a serious note, family wars or clan wars are deadly forms of domestic violence across the country. The reason for such type of violence includes a dispute over property, physically or emotionally abusing any member of other family or clan, any religious cause or conflict arising during a religious ceremony, jealousy because of the progress and financial status of another family, inter-caste marriage, etc. This form of violence is common in many states like Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, etc. One of the other forms of domestic violence is the ill-treatment of servants and maids in households. In many of the affluent homes, servants are deprived of their salary and necessities. They are harassed and beaten up and forced to work without even taking adequate rest. Similarly, maids are molested, harassed, and utilated by males members in the family. Atrocities against small children working as servants are common and day by day increasing in the civilized modern society. To some extent, social and electronic media are also equally responsible for contributing to all the above forms of violence. The exaggerated news coverage of reports of domestic violence, the daily soaps screening the torture of a daughter-in-law at the hands of family members, the films portraying an element of violence against people of all age groups, etc. are some of the menaces which media is causing and devastating the social fabric of the society at large. It is influencing the mind-set of the viewers of all ages including the minors and adolescents strongly. The problem arises when instead of taking a social reformative and positive lessons from those news clippings, films, and television shows, people start enacting the negative scene’s/ messages in their homes. Comparatively, visual media is far more influencing than print and electronic media in these cases because of a larger viewer throughout the country at every level of society. That Illiteracy, poverty, society polarisation, caste, creed, sex, and mob mentality of the majority of Indians misguides them in all these cases.

There are varied consequences of domestic violence depending on the victim, the age group, the intensity of the violence and frequency of the torment they are subjected to. Living under constant fear, threat and humiliation are some of the feelings developed in the minds of the victims as a consequence of atrocious violence. The consequences of the domestic violence in detail can be broadly categorised under – the Effect on the victim himself/herself and the family, Effect on the society, and the Effect on the nation’s growth and productivity. The ‘Effect on the victim’ has been further subcategorized for women, men, children, and olds.

Consequences of Violence Against Women. In India women are more compassionate, tolerant and self-restraint to evade social stigma and to congregate the family in one string despite having suffered trauma at the hands of close relatives including husbands. Moreover, it is the basic intrinsic attributes to remain quiet, agonised, and emotionally disturbed even after the occurrence of the torment. A psychological setback and trauma because of domestic violence affect women’s productivity in all forms of life. The suicide case of such victimised women is also a deadly consequence and the number of such cases is increasing. A working Indian woman may drop out of the workplace because of the ill-treatment at home or office, she may lose her efficiency in work. Her health may deteriorate if she is not well physically and mentally. Some women leave their homes immediately after the first few atrocious attacks and try to become self-dependent. Their survival becomes difficult and painful when they have to work hard for earning two meals a day. Many such women come under rescue of women welfare organizations like Women Welfare Association of India (WWAI) and Woman’s Emancipation and Development Trust (WEDT). Some of them who leave their homes are, unfortunately, under unwarranted circumstances, forcefully get involved in women trafficking and pornography. This results in acquiring a higher risk of becoming a drug addict and suffering from HIV/AIDS. Some, of course, do it by their unavailable choice in the prevailing and compelling ircumstances. One of the severe effects of domestic violence against women is its effect on her innocent children. It is nature’s phenomenon that a child generally has a greater attachment towards the mother for she is the one who gives birth. As long as the violence subjected to the mother is hidden from the child, he/she may behave normally at home. The day when the mother’s grief and suffering are revealed, a child may become upset about the happening deeply. Children may not even comprehend the severity of the problem. They may turn silent, reserved, and express solace to the mother and sometimes becomes a hard-core criminal due to past violent experience faced at home. When the violence against women is openly done in front of her children since their childhood, it may have a deeper and gruesome impact in their mind-set. They get used to such happenings at home and tend to reciprocate the same in their lives. It’s common in especially in rural homes in India which are victimised by the evil of domestic violence. In cases of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), violence against women leads them to maintain a distance from their partner. Their sexual life is affected adversely. Many of them, in desperation and vengeance, file for divorce and seek separation which again affects not only the life of children but also the spouse including the parents of both spouses. Some continue to be exploited in a lack of proper awareness of human and legal rights and laws of the land and the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of India.

The consequences against violence against men in India, are largely economical, social, emotional, and psychological. The physical harassment resulting from domestic violence also affects their lives and productivity but it is still more inclined towards the emotional problems which men face in India. It is largely because many such cases go unreported, as compared to cases of physical assault of women. An emotionally harassed and depressed man may lose interest in the occupation he is associated with. If he is the only bread-earning person in the family, the family may find it difficult to survive. There has been a spate of farmers’ suicide in recent years in Karnataka and other states in India. Several farmers have committed suicide not only because of indebtedness but also because of discord in family and depression resulting from it.

The consequences in the case of children are far more drastic and its effect is long lived. Children are sensitive to issues related to violence of any kind as they are not matured enough to comprehend them. In their growing years, they try to imitate things that they see happening around them. In the process of following their parent’s advice or instructions, they become firm in their opinion and approach towards life. Now if the approach of parents itself is negative, children are bound to get highly influenced and motivated by it. They may adopt the negative traits of the ill they see around them or develop a hostile approach in life because of the ill-treatment they are subjected to. If a child is beaten badly for under-performing in school, he may do the same to his children, thinking it might be the only possible way of making a person work hard. Whenever a child is dropped out of school because of poor financial condition or when he is engaged in some form of child labor, there is a sudden leap which the child tries to take from his childhood to the manhood. In this process, he misses out the values and morals a person should inculcate in him as a good human being. He fails to develop a vision to see things from an unbiased point of view. All these factors make a child insensitive towards society and societal needs. Every instance of child abuse causes a callous indifference to suffering. However, in the process of comprehending the wrong being done to them, many children are traumatised and psychologically disturbed. They find it unsustainable and may lose out their mental soundness. Children who are victimised by physical violence may become permanently physically and mentally handicapped as well. In some cases, children prefer to run away from home and try to become self-dependent. Some commit suicide, some indulge in malpractices because of improper education and the bad company they become a part of after leaving the home. Some even reciprocate the violence they are subjected to by harming the family members. That girls also develop a feeling of insecurity in their homes when they are sexually exploited by their relatives or beloved ones and even neighbors on whom they innocently feel protected. They lose their self-confidence and desire for living. A girl child from a violent home can withdraw from society and become completely depressed. Children from violent homes become disobedient and violent and start using aggression to solve their problems. Adolescents may succumb to drugs and alcohol when treated harshly. Some helpless and abandoned children are picked up gangs who sell their organs for making a huge amount of money. In most of the cities, the group of beggars at traffic lights or railway platforms are the abandoned children who are deliberately physically deformed and forced by beggars gang for begging. As a reformative measure, the civilised and elite class of the society have started taking care of the children who escaped being a part of this vicious circle and are being looked after by children welfare organizations like, Indian Child Welfare Association (ICWA), Child Relief and You (CRY) and Child Line, etc.

Elderly abuse is one of the most unfortunate happenings for the elderly class in their lives. They would rather like to be more at ease and calm in this phase of their life than being prone to such kind of shameful treatment by the family or society. Ironically, the elderly class itself also avoid indulges in harming each other. Many of the elderly men continue to beat and harass their wives throughout their lives due to intoxicant/ drug habit and/ or social dominance and old erratic customs and cultures. Some of the olds are ousted from home by their children, some are beaten until death and some are exploited socially. A sense of insecurity dodges them all the time. They are isolated and cut off from society in some cases were son and daughter-in-law do not let them interact and move around freely in the society. The old people are not looked after properly and their health problems are neglected despite the old parents have bequeathed their movable and immovable properties in the name of their children and sometimes parents are tortured by their own children under the greed to pressurized them to bequeath the property. Due to the abuse and mental trauma they suffer, some of them leave home and stay in old age homes like HelpAge India, Senior Citizen Home Complex Welfare Society (SCHCWS) and many others.

Violence against women may keep them locked in homes succumbing to the torture they face by their own children and family members. If they come out in open and reveal the wrong done to them for help and rescue, it influences the society both positively and negatively. On one hand, where it acts as an inspiration and rays of hope for other suffering women, on the other hand, it also spoils the atmosphere of the society. When something of this kind happens in the society, few families may witness the evil of domestic violence knocking their doorsteps. Some families try to imitate what others indulge in irrespective of it being good or bad for the family. Effect on the productivity of women is mostly based upon domestic violence, un-cordial family environment, and ill- social factors. The other social negatives factors also affect the productivity level of the victim negatively. Children are found to concentrate less on studies. They drop out of school and do not get the education which otherwise they might have got if they were not tormented and thus the country loses a future immense valuable productive assets. Therefore, the nation’s productivity altogether gets affected because of domestic violence in homes. When old people are tortured and physically abused, they separate themselves from family members, and their daily activities are restricted to themselves and the young generation remains deprived of old valuable social culture and norms. The guardianship they can provide out of their experience, the moral values which they can instill in the grandchildren are all not done as they are unwanted in their own homes. People need to spend their part of income for medication when they are met with worse forms of domestic violence which again leads to a loss in the productive use of a family’s income. The cumulative effect of domestic violence at all levels and across all regions in the country’s hindered development and slow economic growth.

Remedies for Domestic Violence What exactly do we want? A very important question in the wake of domestic violence remedies is that what exactly we are looking for in the process of minimising their occurrences. Is it so that we want to gather more information about such cases for just expressing our concern over this issue with more accuracy, having facts and figures at hand? Or instead of just raising our voices, we want to clean up the mess with sheer force and determination?

A recent study has concluded that violence against women is the fastest-growing crime in India. According to the latest report prepared by India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a crime has been recorded against women every three minutes in India. Every 60 minutes, two women are raped in this country. Every six hours, a young married woman is found beaten to death, burnt, or driven to suicide. The response to the phenomenon of domestic violence is a typical combination of effort between law enforcement agencies, social service agencies, the courts, and corrections/probation agencies. The role of all these has progressed over the last few decades and brought their activities in public view. Domestic violence is now being viewed as a public health problem of epidemic proportions all over the world – and many public, private and governmental agencies are seen making huge efforts to control it in India. There are several organizations all over the world — government and non-government actively working to fight the problems generated by domestic violence to the human community.

Need for Stringent Laws. In 1983, domestic violence was recognised as a specific criminal offence by the introduction of section 498-A into the Indian Penal Code. This section deals with cruelty by a husband or his family towards a married woman. The main legislative measures at the national level for the children who become a victim of child labour include The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act -1986 and The Factories Act -1948. The first act was categorical in prohibiting the employment of children below fourteen years of age and identified 57 processes and 13 occupations that were considered dangerous to the health and lives of children. The Factories Act again prohibits the employment of children less than fourteen years of age.

The Government of India passed a Domestic Violence Bill, 2001, “To protect the rights of women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”

An act called Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 [ DVA, 2005 ] also has been passed”. This Act ensures the reporting of cases of domestic violence against women to a ‘Protection Officer’ who then prepares a Domestic Incident Report and forward the same to the Magistrate and forward copies thereof to the police officer in charge of the police station within the local limits of jurisdiction…” Unfortunately, hitherto, there is no single law passed by the Central /State legislature under the Indian Constitution which can strictly deal with all the different forms of ‘Domestic Violence’ as discussed in the paras mentioned above. There is an urgent need for such a comprehensive law in the country. There has also been misuse of section 498-A and DVA, 2005 because of the restricted definition of cruelty subjected to married women. The role of non-governmental organizations in controlling the domestic violence and curbing its worse consequences is crucial.

“Sakshi” - a violence intervention agency for women and children in Delhi works on cases of sexual assault, sexual harassment, child sexual abuse and domestic abuse and focuses on equality education for judges and implementation of the 1997 Supreme Court’s sexual harassment guidelines.

Women’s Rights Initiative — another organization in the same city runs a legal aid cell for cases of domestic abuse and works in collaboration with law enforcers in the area of domestic violence. These NGOs continue to spread awareness amongst people regarding the legal rights they have in hand for fighting against the atrocities they are subjected to. They are encouraging more and more people to report any case of domestic violence so that proper action may be taken against the culprits.

Police play a major role in tackling domestic violence cases. They need to be sensitized to treat domestic violence cases as seriously as any other crime. Special training to handle domestic violence cases should be imparted to the police force. They should be provided with information regarding the support network of the judiciary, government agencies/departments. Gender training should be made mandatory in the training of the police officers.

There should be a separate wing of police dealing with women’s issues, attached to all police stations throughout India. Central/State Govt./Authorities should take steps to recognize Domestic Violence as a public health issue. A crisis support cell needs to be established in all major Government and Private Hospitals with a trained medical social worker to provide appropriate services. Training programs must be organized for health professionals to develop their skills to provide basic support for abused people. Documentation on the prevalence and the health consequences of domestic violence should be undertaken by the concerned government departments, health care institutions, NGOs, and counselling centres. A nodal agency should also be set up for the annual consolidation of the documented work and publish the same for wider publicity among the masses for increasing awareness.

Conclusion having looked at a sensitive topic of “Domestic Violence in India”, we can sense the importance of discussion of such a topic. The varying causes which can spark the violence within the four walls of homes need to be analysed carefully and a wise study of the factors causing the violence may prevent a family to suffer from the menace of domestic violence. Domestic violence may have a far wider and deeper impact in real life than what has been covered in this article. What is required is to see closely the association of the factors provoking a particular form of domestic violence. If these factors can be controlled then more than one form of violence can be prevented from harming an individual or our society and India would be a much better place to live in.

 

-Adv.AKANKSHA SINGH

LL.M,AMITY UNIVERSITY NOIDA UP

B.A. LLB(Hons),IP UNIVERSITY DELHI


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