We know that women are being exposed to violence since earlier centuries. At some or the other stage of their life, every woman has experienced injustice. Sometimes we get to know about it and sometimes we don’t. Domestic violence is one such crime that takes place in our society. May it is an elite, educated family or an illiterate household, some women still experience DV (Domestic Violence). Though women today are more independent and vocal about everything. They take a stand and they raise their voices against injustice. Still, some of them stay numb for different reasons.
The crime of domestic violation takes place where partners are in intimate relationships and families. Studies show that domestic violence is characterized by repetitive acts and patterns of dominance. The wrongdoer is often found undermining and exercising power over their weaker counterpart. They include different tactics like intimidation, isolation.
In such cases, the victims are often traumatized and most often they go through domestically violent situations like lack of financial resources, fear, shame, to protect children, isolation, or power and control. John Hopkins School of Public Health conducted a study and it was found that one out of three women all over the world is exposed to some sort of physical and sexual abuse.
Most of the time, the DV cases mention that wife battered beyond recognition yet the victims are often found silent and secretive about it and choose to say nothing but to suffer alone.
FORMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:
Domestic Violence can be classified into different types. The frequency, severity, and purpose can differ in all types. It can include physical aggression and assault like biting, kicking, slapping, shoving, etc. or threats; sexual abuse; controlling; economic deprivation; criminal coercion; kidnapping; harassment, etc. some of the types are-
1. PHYSICAL – Physical violence includes some kind of contact with the body or some bodily harm. The main purpose of physical abuse is to create fear or give pain or bodily harm to the weaker partner in order to control them. Strangulation, acid attack, and dowry death are some of the kinds of physical abuse.
Talking about strangulation, it is one the most lethal forms of DV. In recent years, strangulation has attracted the most attention towards it. In most cases, we find that the cause of the victim’s death is strangulating her throat.
It is no surprise that in India, most of the cases of domestic violence comes under the act of dowry death. Bride burning or dowry death is the crime where the married women is killed by the husband or for that matter, by the husband’s family because of their greed and dissatisfaction over the money provided by the bride’s family in the form of dowry. Hence, we can say that this crime is the result of prolonged demands for dowry after the marriage. Though today, offering and accepting of dowry is illegal still there are women who are losing their life for some meagre sum of money.
After further research into the topic, I’ve found that women are most likely to get abused during pregnancy. A long-lasted abuse can turn into a more severe crime and can result in some negative effect to the health of the mother or her un-born child. Miscarriage, low birth weight babies, fetal injuries, or even death can happen because of this grave crime. Studies also show that child-birth is not likely to be the end of this act. It can even continue after the birth of the child.
3. ECONOMIC – Financial abuse or economic abuse is the one where one partner has full control over the finances of the other partner. It may include the abuser limiting the resources of their spouse or exploiting those economic resources. This increases the dependence of the victim over their spouse which eventually results in weakening the position of the victim in their relationship.
This gives the complete upper hand to the abuser. Arguments related to money may result in heated disagreements which could give rise to retaliation with aggressive physical, sexual or psychological abuse. In most cases, the victim of domestic abuse can be seen as being fully dependent for their survival or for that matter, for the survival of their children. According to the studies, when victims are asked about why they suffer and stay in an abusive relationship, “lack of money or financial instability” comes as a common response.
EFFECTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:
1. ON CHILDREN – Children who experience domestic violence at home get highly disturbed. According to the studies, children who are exposed to domestic violence during their upbringing have a high risk of developing mental and physical health problems.
Such children may start getting afraid of every other thing or may go silent. They find themselves alone and stop sharing their feelings with others. Emotional insecurity, depression, and mental health can be the result of traumatic experiences. It has been seen that children who experience their mother being abused in front of them are more likely to show symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) . Such an environment is not found to be healthy for children to grow.
2. PHYSICAL – Arthritis, migraine, pelvic pain and chronic pain are some of the medical health issues associated domestic violence. Apart from that broken bones, head injuries and internal bleeding are the most common health issues. Victims who experience domestic violence during their pregnancy are exposed to higher risk of miscarriage and injury to or death of the fetus. In some cases, physical injuries caused due to domestic violence even lead to the death of the victim.
3. PSYCHOLOGICAL – It is obvious that the victims of domestic violence, who were exposed to such inhumanity, suffers with depression, stress, and fear. Among all, depression is the most common symptom which often leads to the suicide of the victim. It is reported that among these women, 60% of them fulfill the criteria of for depression, either during or after the termination of their marriage. These women are also the victims of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD includes flashbacks from the past, nightmares, and intrusive images.
PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT, 2005:
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was enacted to protect women from domestic violence. This act was brought into force by the Indian government and Ministry of Women and Child Development from 26th November, 2006. The rules and regulations under this act are mentioned in section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The aggrieved party is defined by this act as “any woman who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the respondent and who alleges to have been subjected to domestic violence by the respondent.”
The objective of the DV act says “An Act to provide for more effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”  This act was primarily meant to provide protection to married woman from her husband or the female live-in partner from the male live-in partner. But was later extended to protecting women living in a household like sisters, widows or mothers. 
Every individual has a right to live with dignity and deserves basic honor and respect. Domestic Violence shows the patriarchal nature of the society where women are given the second position and are treated with disregard. After reading about this crime, one can say that this shows the sick mentality of the abuser. The problem of domestic abuse is deep-rooted.
The first step to combat this heinous crime is to start from home. Parents should try and instill the feeling of equality in their children. It is important that one consider their counterpart as their equals. Every individual should try and make a change, the society will change itself.
We live in the 21st century. The age of change. It is high time that we raise our voices against all the injustices happening to ourselves or others. Acknowledging this issue is the need of the hour because silence gives nothing but harm. Domestic violence has no one is our society and the one promoting this should be dealt with utter strictness.
3. Dutton, Donald; Painter, S.L. (January 1, 1981). “Traumatic bonding: The development of emotional attachments in battered women and other relationships of intermittent abuse”. Victimology.
4. Johnson, J.K.; Haider, F.; Ellis, K.; Hay, D.M.; Lindow, S.W. (March 2003). “The prevalence of domestic violence in pregnant women”.
5. Lehmann, Peter John (1995). Children who witness mother-assault: an expander post-traumatic stress disorder conceptualization (MA thesis). Wilfrid Laurier University.
6. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
7. “Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act”. evaw-global-database.unwomen.org. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
Author: Ananya Tewari
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