Domestic violence is a sort of abuse that impacts a person’s life in every way: physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. It is a violation of basic human rights across the world. Various Domestic abuse is a crime in India, and the country offers comfort and protection to victims—but only to women! When we talk about abuse, we often think the victim is a woman. We often ignore that harassment or violence can occur at any age, regardless of gender parity, religion, or attitude. Abuse from spouses is a problem that affects both men and women. Unfortunately, the pain and guilt of having this deed revealed cause them to remain silent.
Male domestic violence is a distinct perspective that is unacknowledged, unaccepted, disbelieved, and brushed under the rug. This seems to be quite unusual because whenever we think of domestic violence we think of a woman being brutally abused by her husband or other family members. Have you ever wondered what follows if a man who is the victim of domestic abuse dares to be vocal about his sufferings? Undoubtedly, it’s a brave move, as he will certainly be hearing that “you’re lying or exaggerating things” or “don’t act like a woman”. This abuse is generally ignored and undiscovered. This abuse can be severe and result in long-term consequences.
DATA ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN:
Between April 2005 and April 2015, the Save Family Foundation and My Nation Foundation conducted an online survey of nearly 1, 00,000 males. According to the findings, almost 98.20% of males have experienced some or other form of violence.
- Economic violence afflicted 34.3 percent of men.
- Physical violence harmed 28.6% of males, while emotional violence-affected 27.5% of males.
- 20.4% of men were victims of sexual violence.
- The most common kind of violence experienced by most males was verbal abuse.
WHY DO MEN SUFFER IN SILENCE?
CHILD PROTECTION: the separation of parents harms the child and makes it more difficult for a father to obtain custody of the child.
STEREOTYPES ABOUT MEN IN GENERAL: The patriarchal belief that “Mard ko Dard Nahi Hota” (men do not feel pain) wants to honor and patronize the emotional immobilization of boys from an early age, teaching them to bear abuse and glorify sacrifices. Because of societal conditioning, the majority of males put on a fake smile, cover their wounds and suffer in silence.
IN COURT CASES, the most common concern among Indian males is getting charged with dowry abuse. It’s difficult to overcome the social stigma that comes with such cases, and the trials continue for years, most probably in favor of the woman.
WAYS MEN ARE ABUSED
Emotional and verbal abuse: A violent woman could take advantage of this restraint by giving in to her anger or manipulative nature and verbally or emotionally abusing her spouse.
Sexual Abuse: Men are also victims of sexual abuse by women. Most of the time, men are not vocal about the abuse they suffer because of shame. Some women try to control men by using sex as a firearm.
Psychological abuse: this includes many forms of abuse tactics, such as demoralizing a man, undermining his confidence, and so on.
Physical violence: When we think of physical violence, we often imagine women as the victims. Physical abuse of men is not very common in India. Many men suffer this violence in silence as a feeling of shame always prevails.
In India, article 14 talks about equality, contradictory to what’s happening in reality. There are sections in the IPC that deal with female abuse. For example, section 354 talks about assault or criminal force towards a woman. Section 376 states the punishment for rape. Section 509 says words, gestures intended to insult the modesty of a woman. Section 498A of the IPC 1860 states, only a man can be held liable for cruelty to his wife. All mentioned sections justify female abuse.
The only section of the IPC mentioning males is section 377, dealing with unnatural offenses. Whoever willingly engages in sexual intercourse against the natural order with any man, woman, or animal must be punished by life imprisonment, or imprisonment of either kind for a term of up to 10 years, as well as a fine. This only deals with the sexual assault of men. Other forms of male abuse are not covered under any section of the IPC. Family violence against males is essentially legal in India since no specific law exists to protect a man who is subjected to abuse from his wife or other family members.
NEED FOR GENDER-NEUTRAL LAWS
Domestic violence should be treated the same as marital violence, with no distinction made based on gender. In India, the domestic violence statute solely applies to women. It is, therefore, necessary to make certain amendments that address the issue of violence against men.
The climate, environment, traditions, and beliefs surrounding gender violence, are changing fast. A story always has three sides, both the individuals telling it and the truth. Instead of instantly drawing judgments based on gender, it is the role of the law to listen to both men and women. We should all be aware that abuse has the same effect on both men and women. Although female violence is more prevalent, we cannot overlook the reality that men are also mistreated. Male abuse should be treated with the same level of concern. It is important to raise awareness that it is OK to speak up about the abuse. It is kept secret because they do not want to defy the social norms that have been imposed on their gender incorrectly. NGOs, aid centers, and movements should exist to assist males who are abused. Society and the government should work together to bring male abuse to the limelight. Men who have been victims of crime should be treated equally by the law.
Author’s Name: Anshika Gupta (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Hyderabad)