Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. It may be between Partners who are married or not married.
Examples of abuse include:
- name-calling or putdowns
- keeping a partner away from contacting their family or friends
- withholding money
- stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job
- actual or threatened physical harm
- sexual assault
Violence can be criminal and includes physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking. Although emotional, psychological, and financial abuses are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence. The violence takes many forms and can happen all the time or once in a while. An important step to help yourself or someone you know in preventing or stopping violence is recognizing the warning signs.
ANYONE CAN BE A VICTIM!
Victims can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment, or marital status. Although both men and women can be abused, most victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected. Most children in these homes know about the violence. Even if a child is not physically harmed, they are facing emotional and behavior tortures.
Domestic violence is currently defined in India by the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005. According to Section 3 of the Act, “any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence in case it:
- harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well-being, whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, and economic abuse; or
- harasses, harms, injures or endangers the aggrieved person with a view to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property or valuable security; or
- has the effect of threatening the aggrieved person or any person related to her by any conduct mentioned in clause (a) or clause (b); or
- otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person.”
2006 NFHS survey report on domestic sexual violence
The National Family Health Survey of India in 2006 estimated the lifetime prevalence of sexual violence among women aged 15–49, including instances of marital rape in India. The study included in its definition of "sexual violence" all instances of a woman experiencing her husband "physically forcing her to have sexual intercourse with him even when she did not want to; and, forcing her to perform any sexual acts she did not want to". The study sampled 83,703 women nationwide and determined that 8.5% of women in the 15-49 age group had experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. This figure includes all forms of forced sexual activity by husband on wife, during their married life, but not recognized as marital rape by Indian law.
The 2006 NFHS study reported sexual violence to be lowest against women in the 15-19 age group, and urban women reporting a 6% lifetime prevalence rate of sexual violence, while 10% of rural women reported experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime. Women with ten years of education experienced sharply less sexual violence, compared to women with less education.
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A 2014 study in The Lancet states, "Whereas an 8·5% prevalence of sexual violence in the country [India] is among the lowest in the world, it is estimated to affect 27·5 million women in India [given India's large population]". Further, the 2006 survey found that 85% of women who suffered sexual violence, in or outside of marriage, NEVER SOUGHT HELP, and only 1% report it to the police.
Physical injury is the most visible form of domestic violence. The scope of physical domestic/intimate partner violence includes slapping, pushing, kicking, biting, hitting, throwing objects, strangling, beating, threatening with any form of weapon, or using a weapon. Physical injuries as a result of domestic violence against women are more obvious than psychological ones and can be more easily discerned by health professionals as well as courts of law in the context of legal prosecution.
Emotional abuse has been gaining more and more recognition in recent years as an incredibly common form of domestic violence (and therefore a human rights abuse) within the private home throughout developing nations such as India. Psychological abuse can erode a woman’s sense of self-worth and can be incredibly harmful to overall mental and physical wellbeing. Emotional/psychological abuse can include harassment; threats; verbal abuse such as name-calling, degradation and blaming; stalking; and isolation.
Domestic sexual assault is a form of domestic violence involving sexual/reproductive coercion and marital rape. Under Indian law, marital rape is not a crime, except during the period of marital separation of the partners.
Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) considers the forced sex in marriages as a crime only when the wife is below 15. Thus, marital rape is not a criminal offense under IPC. The marital rape victims have to take recourse to the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA). The PWDVA, which came into force in 2006, outlaws marital rape. However, it offers only a civil remedy for the offense.
An honor killing is the practice wherein an individual is killed by one or more family member(s) because he or she is believed to have brought shame on the family. The shame may range from refusing to enter an arranged marriage, having sex outside marriage, being in a relationship that is disapproved by the family, starting a divorce proceeding, or engaging in homosexual relations.
In 2010, the Supreme Court of India issued a notice seeking data and explanation for the rise in honor killings to the states of Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
ABUSE related to ‘DOWRY’- A BIG ‘NO’
Some newly married brides suffer domestic violence in the form of harassment, physical abuse, or death when she is thought to have not brought enough dowry with marriage. Some cases end up in suicides by hanging, self-poisoning, or by fire. In dowry deaths, the groom’s family is the perpetrator of murder or suicide.
According to the Indian National Crime Record Bureau, in 2012, 8,233 dowry death cases were reported across India, or dowry issues cause 1.4 deaths per year per 100,000 women in India.
The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, prohibits the request, payment or acceptance of a dowry, "as consideration for the marriage", where "dowry" is defined as a gift demanded or given as a precondition for a marriage. Gifts given without a precondition are not considered dowry and are legal. Asking or giving of dowry can be punished by imprisonment of up to six months or a fine. It replaced several pieces of anti-dowry legislation that had been enacted by various Indian states. Murder and suicide under compulsion are addressed by India's criminal penal code. The law was made more stringent with Section 498a of the Indian Penal Code (enacted in 1983). Under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA), a woman can seek help against dowry harassment by approaching a domestic violence protection officer.
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