What is Domestic Violence?
A systematic method to instil fear and subservience in an individual in a domestic setting like a household is term as domestic violence. In India it typically means violence suffered by an individual at the hands of their biological relatives but specifically covers the violence suffered by women from the male members or relatives in her family.
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 has defined domestic violence. The law governing cases of domestic violence in India were governed by Section 498-A of the IPC before the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act. The two shortcomings of Section 498-A namely the absence of any provision providing relief or compensation for the victim under this provision and that section 498-A was applicable only to married women, to overcome these defects the Centre enacted the Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
Causes of Domestic Violence Against Women:
Before we begin with the discussion, it should be noted that to account for violence perpetrated against women there is no single factor that causes domestic violence. Domestic violence is manifested in following ways:
i) Pre-marital Home
Some causes of violence that is faced by a girl in the natal home are as follows:
a) Female Foeticide:
It is an offence which is kin to murder and is regarded as a violation of right to life.
b) Female Infanticide:
Female Infanticide is a pernicious manifestation of an ideology that devalues a girl child. At times a girl child is drowned in mild at birth because nobody is prepared to support her.
c) Child Abuse/Incest:
It is observed that an estimated 90.1% of victims of child abuse are girl children and more than 90.1% of the perpetrators of child sexual abuse are men even though violence is perpetrated against both male and female children.
d) Child Marriage:
Child Marriage is a type of violence thar makes a woman permanently weak both physically and mentally and uproots the entire existence of woman in her entire life span. It is pointed out by A UNICEF report that in present times parents’ consent to child marriage out of economic necessity to protect girls from sexual assault, prevent pregnancy outside marriage to extend a girl child bearing years or to ensure obedience to their husband and house hold.
e) Child Labour: It is shocking to note that 28% of the total population in India lives below poverty line & Child labour has a much larger reach and extends beyond the four walls of a home.
f) Immoral Trafficking of children:
The term trafficking, is defined by a UN Trafficking Protocol as “a recruitment, movement or transportation of a person through force, deception or fraud or violence into a site of exploitative work.” Throughout the world domestic violence in the form of forced prostitution by male partners or parents has been reported where young girls are trafficked for sexual slavery and domestic work where they are systematically tortured, beaten and starved if they happen to show resistance.
ii) Marital Home
Some causes of violence that is faced by a girl in her marital home are as follows:
a) Physical abuse:
When one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and controls the other person it is called as physical abuse.
b) Dowry Related Harassment:
An integral part of the legitimate causes listed for wife-beating or spousal abuse are formed by dowry related disputes. When the young woman, unable to bear the harassment and torture, commits suicide dowry deaths occur.
Sati is an offence against women which has ancient roots but is still prevalent in some parts of India. It is commonly known as Sati Pratha or Jauhar Vrata.
d) Age Related Abuse:
Some form of violence is experienced by women in every phase of their lives. Most frequently it is often observed that women who experience violence in their marital home may have been targets of violence in their metal home.
e) Forced Prostitution
Families that are destitute and are unable to support their children, often hire out or sell their children, who are then forced into prostitution. In most of the instances the young girl is sent as a domestic worker and she is physically and sexually exploited by her employers.
f) Killing in the Name of Honour:
When death is awarded to a woman of the family for marrying against the parent’s wishes, having extramarital and premarital relationships, marrying within the same gotra or outside one’s caste or marrying a cousin from a different caste, it is called as Honour killing.
Factors/Causes responsible for Domestic Violence:
As noted in the beginning, to account for violence perpetrated against women there is no one single factor. Sometimes the domestic violence caused against women is partly a result of gender relations that assumes men to be superior to women. Some of the causes of Domestic Violence are as follows:
a) Historical Factors:
Various aspects of Domestic Violence such as external influence, Islamic rules, British colonialism and western influence in present times which cause the development and propagation of this offence against women are traced backed by the historical factors.
b) Religious Factors:
Religious attitudes have influenced the way women have been treated have been influenced by religious attitudes & a sublime psychological abuse seems to have appeared early in history of Indian society that has received religious sanctifications.
c) Sociological Factors
In today’s world the world tolerance is losing its relevance. In this new world there exist no morals and norms. Women in this man dominated society are not allowed to be ahead of men because of the belief that a man who cannot control women would not regard as mean in real sense. A person may get aggressive when he becomes financially instable and gets violent and this leads to domestic violence often against woman. Hence factors like aggressive attitude & poverty contribute to domestic violence.
d) Psychological Factors:
The below are the some of the psychological factors considered to be the causes of domestic violence by the psychologists. These as under are:
a) Extra-marital affairs:
Marital conflicts are one of the important reasons which lead to domestic violence. Lack of trust, doubtful, suspicious attitudes and extra marital affairs lead to disputes which can lead to physical abuse/beating of partners.
One of the important causes of domestic violence is Stress. Due to responsibilities at home or can be some problems at work a person may be at stress. Due to this factor the person has a tendency to be violent towards the partner.
c) Economic hardship such as prolonged unemployment:
One of the causes of violence maybe prolonged unemployment which is seen as a response to the frustration that this pressure generates on the abuser. And these financial difficulties further lead to domestic violence.
The rights of women in India are governed by various statutes. They are secured under the Constitution of India which mainly consists of equality and freedom from discrimination. Irrespective of this fact, till date violence against women has no end. Domestic violence can be so severe that it may have a wider and deeper impact in life of the victims and also the children belong to that family. Hence in order to eliminate the issue of domestic violence, a proper societal – legal environment has to be built to make the houses safe and secure for women. Further through political will, and by legal and civil action in all sectors of our society this evil must be eliminated. To find out solution to make our society prosper with gender equality the causes of domestic violence against women must be scientifically analysed and more genuine researches have to be done. In these ways the issue of domestic violence can be eradicated.
This article is written by Ruel Correia of Amity University.