Domestic violence is a serious social problem, which is widespread to not only India but all over the world. In 1993 at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, a grave violation of women’s human rights was recognized as part of United Nations Human Rights Agenda.
Domestic violence occurs from home which is considered the safest place for all. Domestic violence, the term is used to state the violence in the family which starts after the marriage takes place. Violence can be of any form mental, physical, emotional, economical or sexual abuse. When we hear the word domestic violence the first thing which strikes our mind is violence by husband especially. Nevertheless, it can be violence by anyone father in law, sister in law, mother in law, etc. any husband relative. It is shock to hear there have been cases where the husbands are the victims, not the wives.
There are many reasons like low self-esteem, jealously, inferiority complex, psychological disorder, old traditional beliefs, etc. which gives rise to crimes like domestic violence.
Types of domestic violence
Physical Abuse means any act or conducts which is of such a nature as to cause bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, limb or health or impair the health or development of the aggrieved person and includes assault, criminal intimidation, and criminal force.
It is violence with the mind of the victim. Basically it’s emotional torture on the victim which many times has resulted in suicide. Emotional abuse is one of the causes where victim commits suicide as she is so much emotionally tortured she is compelled to end her life. It can include public insult, demotivating, isolation, and ignorance, bad behavior from the family members, attacking the character, self-esteem and confidence. In such cases usually, the victim becomes so introvert that a stage comes when she fails to share her problems with anyone.
It is not the form but a type of legacy which is continuing for centuries and still continues. It gives rise to other forms like physical abuse and emotional abuse. The dowry death is the one of the common practices which is not common only in India but all over the world. In India, it is more like a ‘paratha or can say custom’ wherein a marriage institute bride was taken as the ATM card whenever the groom or his family needed the money they can swipe the card with the password ‘violence’.
There have been many cases of dowry death and cruelty against women. During the previous time, the laws were not strict but now there are special laws for the protection of women which has not brought an end to economic abuse but reduce for sure.
The fourth form of abuse is sexual abuse or marital rape. When we hear the word ‘rape’ we never count a relation of a husband and wife but why so? It’s the form of abuse where the victims are more but the cases reported are none or a few.
Violence against women is never-ending even if we reach 10 decades further. The best part today is women are more aware than before and they are really standing for their rights. Previously, the matters were left unreported and hardly the authority dare or had such strict outlook towards the cases. But today the scenario has changed, the cases are reported and strict laws and actions are implemented. The most unreported or the biggest grey area is the ‘Marital Rape’. The sole reason for the cases goes unreported is the ‘dilemma’. Women themselves fail to answer themselves whether it was the rape? Or just a normal thing which every woman has to go through? Marital rape is hard to prove, define and establish. It became difficult due to two reasons first, what happens inside the four walls between the two people who are bind with the concept of the marriage institution. Second, the laws for women are too strong so simultaneously there fake cases are also in the flow so it becomes difficult to establish the same.
The central idea of the marriage institution is cohabitation and procreation. There it hits, when two people are married they certify to procreate and generate then how can one be raped by the other. The mindset is husband and wife have all the right over each other than if one exercising the right without the will of the other how can it be turned to rape? Because in our society once a woman consents to marriage ultimately her husband gets all the rights over her body and he can use it with his wishes because at the end husband is a financial supporter and a wife without a husband has no identity.
Marital rape differs from ordinary rape. In ordinary rape, a girl is raped once but marital rape women have to suffer daily. The worst part is at night she is raped and the next day she has to pretend as if nothing has happened and have to behave as a normal husband and wife. The mental torture she faces cannot be described in words all nights she has to go through such verbal, physical and emotional threats for her life is becomes a nightmare.
I would like to share one of the stories of Anita who was raped by her husband but she stood against the wrong happened and today she is living an independent and happy life.
Anita was 18 when she married an IAS officer. Like any normal girl she too has dreamed a lot about her marriage. After all the ceremonies and tired of all the rituals and customs she waited in the room for her husband curiously to share her endless talks. Anita hardly knew what was going to happen to her. As her husband enters the room she was filled with lots of feelings and talks but another second her all the hopes were brutally murdered when she was abused and assaulted from her husband.
On my first night I was assaulted and it then never stopped until it became worsen……
Every night she was forced and compelled to do all the things which she never agreed or consented for. One night when she refused, that too due to ill health, she was forcibly inserted candle in her vagina. Life for Anita was not less than a nightmare.
The saddest part of our society is parents themselves become the victims by giving up to the groom and his family. Same happened with Anita when she informed her mother she was asked to adjust because every girl has to adjust. Why? Because this society will not accept you and once a girl is married she becomes the property of her husband.
Every night Anita was abused and assaulted by the hands of her husband. She was forced to watch porn and forced to replicate the porn stars. The deadest night was when she was brutally beaten with a golf stick because she refuses to get intimate with her husband.
The best part of the deadest night as she took to stand for herself, filed complaint against her husband and now she is living an independent and beautiful life.
But this incident changed Anita and her faith in the institution of marriage and happy life after marriage.
There is a bundle of cases but hardly go reported because in our society people have accepted this fact universally that at a point of time every woman has to go through this and on such petty issue ending a marriage is not a smart move. Such thinking should be changed because in our society the ratio of women like Anita is hard a find.
The women who are raped by their husbands go through such psychological trauma that it becomes difficult for them to get out or stay in the marriage. The societal pressure and the inner conscience make women continue or end her marriage but the result sometimes is unexpected which ultimately gives rise to such crime which is really shocking. There is no special legislation or law for marital rape as there is more probability of being misused. The only problem with this solution is the law should be amended and it should be a time bar. For instance, a case of marital rape can be registered until six months of marriage. It can be justified on three points:
– A rapist mind cannot wait for the months and years to commit rape.
– The medical condition of the women who are raped will definitely defer from the women who normally cohabit with her husband.
– The other circumstances being the behavioral traits and relation between the spouses must be taken into consideration.
“The views of the authors are personal“
Frequently Asked Questions
Can domestic violence happen in gay/lesbian/transgender/bisexual relationships?
Yes, though same-sex marriage is not legalized in India if they share the household and face any violence from the other partner they fall under the ambit of the act.
According to the DV Act, 2005 domestic relation includes a relationship between two people who have lived or at any point of time lived together in a shared household. Any person who faces violence in any intimate relationship is covered under this act.
Is marital rape ground for divorce?
No, marital rape is not the ground for divorce in the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, Muslim Personal Law and special marriage act 1954. It cannot be used as the ground for cruelty and divorce against the husband.
Under what provisions marital rape is punishable?
Under 376 (b) of IPC if a man commits non-consensual sexual activities with his wife who is living separately will amount to rape.
Under section 375 of the man makes any sexual relation with his wife below the age of 15 years he will be punished with the imprisonment of 2 years or fine or both.
If the man makes any sexual relation with his wife below the age of 12 years he will be liable to be punished with the imprisonment up to 7 years which may extend up to 10 years.
The rape of the wife above 15 is not any offense. In such cases, a wife can ask for a separation decree.