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  • Malla Greeshma

"Uncovering the Taboo: Domestic Violence Against Men in India"

Malla Greeshma,

Sri Padmavati Mahila Viswavidyalaym

The critical analysis on domestic violence against men in India

Introduction:-

We often hear about domestic violence happening to women, with men seen as the ones causing harm. But nowadays, things are changing. Men can also be victims of domestic violence. They might experience verbal, physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse. Unfortunately, many men don’t speak up about it, and they suffer silently. The laws usually focus on helping women who are victims, leaving these men without the support they need.

The case of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has brought attention to domestic violence against men on a global scale. Different countries have varying approaches to addressing this issue, with some actively penalizing domestic violence against men while others deny its existence. While some countries recognize and address domestic violence against men, others, like India, may not fully acknowledge it, often due to being male-dominated societies.

In the past, women were the main victims of domestic violence due to male dominance, but as things change, men are also becoming victims. This shift is happening because of changes in power dynamics, women becoming more independent economically, and having more control over resources. Studies show that as women’s roles and status change, they are more aware of their rights and are less likely to accept abuse. This shows how societal changes are affecting who experiences domestic violence. So ,we need laws that treat all victims equally, regardless of gender

Scenario on Domestic Violence In India

In India, there’s a common belief that men should be tough and hide their feelings. This makes it hard for men to speak up about their suffering. Laws like Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code focus on protecting women from cruelty but don’t recognize men as victims of domestic violence. While India has strict laws to protect women from violence, there’s a lack of legislation to protect men in similar situations. Unfortunately, many people don’t believe that women can harm men. But personal interviews and experiences show that men also face domestic violence.

In a study funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research in Haryana, 1000 married men aged 21-49 were interviewed. Shockingly, over half of them (52.4%) reported experiencing gender-based violence, with about the same percentage facing violence from their intimate partners at least once in their lifetime. The study found that emotional violence often precedes physical violence, which was reported in about 1 in 10 cases. Risk factors for this violence include low family income, unemployment, alcohol use, uncontrolled anger, and ego issues.

Official data on domestic violence against men is scarce, but studies conducted by NGOs suggest that it’s a significant issue. Studies, like the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, highlight that male victimization is a serious issue. Some women misuse laws meant to protect them, falsely accusing their partners of violence.

The National Crime Record Bureau’s Suicide Report for 2020 sheds some light on the situation. It shows that a large number of suicides in India are linked to family problems, affecting both men and women. Despite the lack of comprehensive data, it's clear that men are also victims of domestic violence and their suicide rates are increasing. In comparison, if the gender roles were reversed, the response might be different. For instance, while the suicide count for married men is 64,791, for women it's 27,742. These numbers show that domestic violence against men is a serious issue, often underreported. There’s a clear need for stricter laws to address violence cases in a fair and unbiased manner.

Rukma Chary of Save India Family Foundation points out that domestic violence against men isn’t recognized by the law, allowing women to escape consequences. There’s a need for laws to protect men from domestic violence and prevent misuse of existing laws.

It's crucial for society to recognize and address domestic violence against men. This includes creating laws and support systems to help all victims, regardless of gender. By raising awareness and challenging stereotypes, we can work towards a safer and more equitable society for everyone.

The critical analysis on domestic violence against men in India 

Fear of Being Laughed At:

Societal expectations of masculinity often dictate that men should be strong and stoic, leading to the belief that “men don’t cry.” This pressure to appear tough can make men hesitant to discuss their experiences of abuse, fearing that they will not be taken seriously or may even be ridiculed by others, including law enforcement officials and neighbours.

Fear of False Allegations:

Men are also apprehensive about false accusations of domestic abuse or dowry harassment, especially given the prevalence of laws like Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. Some women have exploited these laws to make baseless accusations against their partners, causing significant harm to the accused individuals. The fear of facing legal repercussions and social stigma deters men from speaking out about their experiences of abuse.

Fear of losing custody:

Men often fear losing custody of their children if they speak up about domestic violence. In many cases, society tends to sympathize with women, viewing them as the primary victims. This creates a concern for men that if their partner falsely accuses them of abuse, they may lose custody rights. Additionally, men worry about the impact of domestic violence on their children’s well-being, fearing that exposure to such violence may lead to low self-esteem and behavioural issues. Fathers understandably hesitate to report abuse for fear of leaving their children in the custody of an abusive partner. This fear of false allegations and losing custody leads many men to suffer in silence rather than seek help.

Societal and Family Pressure:

In Indian culture, living with extended family members after marriage is common. This can create a sense of shame and embarrassment for men when discussing domestic violence, as they fear judgment from their family and society. Moreover, societal norms often perpetuate gender biases and stereotypes, further discouraging men from seeking help.

Denial:

There is a prevalent belief that domestic violence only affects women, leading to denial when confronted with the reality that men can also be victims. This societal denial makes it difficult for men to discuss their experiences openly and seek support.

Effects Of domestic violence on male victims 

The effects of domestic violence are wide-ranging and can have significant impacts on various aspects of a victim’s life:

Physical Effects:

Victims of domestic violence may experience physical injuries such as bruises, cuts, or broken bones. They may also suffer from chronic fatigue, respiratory problems, muscle issues, and changes in appetite and sleep patterns. Additionally, domestic violence can lead to illnesses with no identifiable medical cause, often referred to as functional disorders or stress-related problems.

Mental Effects:

Domestic violence can have profound effects on mental health, with victims experiencing higher rates of depression, anxiety, and phobias compared to non-victims. Reports of emotional suffering and suicidal ideation are more Common among those who have experienced physical or sexual abuse. Furthermore, domestic violence is associated with alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, and low self-esteem

Financial Effects:

Those who suffer from domestic violence often face financial manipulation and social seclusion, which result in limited resources and a lack of supportive networks  This can make it difficult for survivors to leave their abusers and find employment. Financial insecurity resulting from domestic violence is a significant barrier to independence and can lead to homelessness.

Effects on Children:

Children living in households with domestic violence are at risk of physical injury and face other risk factors such as poverty and low levels of caregiver education. They may become unintentional victims of violence between adult family members, leading to increased risks of child abuse. Children exposed to domestic violence may experience physical, emotional, and psychological problems, impacting their overall development and well-being.

Low Self-Esteem:

Male victims of domestic violence often struggle with low self-esteem, which can affect their confidence and ability to socialize. This can impact various aspects of their lives, including productivity, relationships, and overall well-being.

Tendency to Continue the Cycle:

Without addressing their traumatic experiences, male victims may repeat the cycle of abuse in new relationships. They may become overly sensitive, misinterpret gestures, and even become physically aggressive. This can strain relationships with family members and lead to conflict within the family unit

Becoming Antisocial:

Male victims may find it difficult to talk about their experiences of domestic violence and may withdraw from social interactions as a result. This isolation can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and further contribute to mental health issues.

Feeling of Left Out:

Society often overlooks the fact that men can be victims of domestic violence, leading male victims to feel marginalized and unsupported. The lack of recognition and resources for male victims can leave them feeling abandoned and resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse.

Overall, addressing the unique challenges faced by male victims of domestic violence requires recognition, support, and resources tailored to their needs. Breaking down societal stereotypes and providing avenues for support and recovery are essential steps in addressing the impact of domestic violence on male victims.

Defence Menthods for the man if he has a flase case aginst him ? 

Defensive Approach 

When a man is faced with a false case under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code or the Dowry Act, a man has several defensive approaches available to him.

Collect Electronic Evidence: 

Gather any electronic evidence, such as recorded calls or chats, showing that he and his family never demanded dowry or committed any violence. This evidence is very important to proving innocence.

Apply for Anticipatory Bail:

File for anticipatory bail as soon as an FIR is lodged against him to avoid immediate arrest and secure protection from legal proceedings.

Complaint Against Blackmailing or False Allegations:

If the husband believes he is being blackmailed or falsely accused, he can file a complaint with the police. If the police refuse to register the complaint, he can escalate the issue to higher authorities, such as the Superintendent of Police or Commissioner.

File for Restitution of Conjugal Rights: 

Under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the husband can file for restitution of conjugal rights, seeking to restore the marital relationship and address any unjustified separation initiated by the wife.

Raise Awareness:

Increase awareness about the situation by sharing his experiences and advocating for his rights. This can help garner support and highlight the prevalence of false cases.

Additionally, the husband can submit complaints to the Prime Minister’s office or send letters to the Web Information Manager in New Delhi to bring attention to his grievances and seek assistance in addressing the false accusations. These defensive approaches can help protect the man’s rights and innocence in the face of false allegations of domestic violence or dowry harassment.

Offensive Approach

In addition to defensive measures, a husband can also take an offensive approach to defend himself against false accusations by his wife:

Section 227 of the Code of Criminal Procedure:

This section allows for the discharge of the accused if there is insufficient evidence to proceed with the case. If the husband can provide enough proof that his wife’s complaints are false, he can file an application under this section to seek discharge from the case.

Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code:

The husband can allege that his wife is engaging in criminal conspiracy against him, potentially implicating others who may be colluding with her to make false accusations.

Section 167 and Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code:

These sections can be used against police officers who refuse to file an FIR or assist the wife in making false complaints. The husband can take legal action against such officers for dereliction of duty or aiding and abetting in the fabrication of false accusations.

Defamation Case:

The husband can file a defamation case against his wife under Section 500 and Section 504 of the Indian Penal Code. By making false claims, the wife has damaged the husband’s reputation, and he can seek legal recourse to restore his good name and seek compensation for any harm caused.

By utilizing these legal provisions, the husband can defend his innocence and hold accountable those who have wrongfully accused him.

The critical analysis on domestic violence against men in India

Remedies and suggestions 

Divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act:

Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act allows for divorce on grounds of cruelty. If a husband is subjected to cruelty by his wife after marriage, he can petition for divorce based on this ground.

Approaching the District Magistrate:

Under sections 200 and 153(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), husbands can approach the district magistrate with their complaint. The magistrate will examine the complaint and may take statements from the complainant, witnesses, and other supporting individuals like friends, family members, or neighbours

Provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC):

Sections such as 319, 320, 323, and 193 of the IPC provide remedies for men facing domestic violence. Section 319 deals with bodily harm, section 320 addresses grievous hurt, section 323 covers voluntarily causing hurt, and section 193 punishes false evidence.

Balancing the Law:

It’s important to acknowledge that domestic violence can affect men as well as women. Proper investigation of cases where women sue men is crucial to prevent innocent men from being wrongly punished. Husbands should have the right to file for divorce if they are victims of domestic violence. While laws aimed at empowering and protecting women are essential, there must also be measures in place to safeguard men from misuse of these laws. Society should strive for balance and ensure that both men and women are protected from domestic violence and its legal consequences.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, it is crucial to recognize that domestic violence is not solely a women’s issue; men can also be victims. Therefore, when women accuse men of domestic violence, thorough investigations must be conducted to ensure justice is served and innocent men are not wrongfully punished for crimes they did not commit. Additionally, husbands suffering from domestic violence should have the right to file for divorce against their abusive wives, just as women have the right to seek legal recourse in similar situations.

While laws aimed at empowering and protecting women are important, it is equally essential to balance these laws to ensure the safety and rights of men are also upheld. Care must be taken to prevent the misuse of laws meant for the empowerment of women, and society must strive to operate on the principle of fairness and justice for all individuals, regardless of gender. By recognizing and addressing the issue of domestic violence against men, we can create a more equitable and just society where the rights and safety of all individuals are respected and protected.

REFERENCES:-

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR LEGAL RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS

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