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Domestic Violence in India

Updated on August 19, 2014
Seek Help If You Are A Victim Of Domestic Violence
Seek Help If You Are A Victim Of Domestic Violence | Source

Domestic Violence Statistics in India

I know women who prefer to ignore domestic violence. They choose to stay in a violent marriage for the sake of convenience, their kids, social security or because they have been brought up by their mothers to believe that “a little tap” once in a while is all right from a husband. But little tap or no, it’s an attitude no woman need to put up with.

Surveys in the country have shown that a woman or a girl is the victim of:

  1. rape or molestation every 26 minutes
  2. dowry death every 102 minutes
  3. sexual harassment every 51 minutes
  4. a criminal offence, torture or cruelty every 33 minutes.

A study in New Delhi showed that in almost 94% of cases, the victim and the offender were members of the same family. Nine out of every ten murdered women were killed by their husbands.

Domestic Violence Against Women Is Rife In India
Domestic Violence Against Women Is Rife In India | Source

Alcohol Abuse Leads to Domestic Abuse

Now these are grim revelations indeed. Having spoken to women’s organisations such as Vimochana and Madhyam in Bangalore, I was shocked to discover that 60 percent of marriages are riddled with domestic violence and that most women are afraid to even talk about it to their closest friends, let alone report it to the cops. The cops being men most of the time, take domestic violence as part and parcel of marriage and are hesitant about getting involved in “family matters”. In fact, the Inspector in a certain police station turned around and told my friend who was constantly tortured by her alcoholic husband that even he sometimes slapped his wife and got drunk!

“I just didn’t know where to turn for help,” she says. “I had none of my own family members in the city and so finally, I decided to go to a women’s organisation. They directed me to a lawyer who gave me free and valuable advice. I wanted to know where I stood legally in the matter and whether I could obtain a separation or a divorce based on the evidence I had – which wasn’t really much. No one was willing to testify in court for me. When the lawyer suggested I lodge a police complaint in the Women’s Cell, I did so. And the women actually turned up at home to question my husband. I was warned by the organisation that often complaints caused the violence to increase. But I had to take that chance.

I think he got so scared by my determination that he didn’t dare to beat me up for telling on him.”

Finally my friend did get her freedom, but only through a legal injunction that forced her husband out of her house. “I’d listened to his promises and excuses for eight years during which I really felt like I was in a trap because he simply refused to leave me alone. We even went to three marriage counselors, but that too didn’t work. I didn’t want my young son to witness any more horrifying scenes or live in that constant tension. Holidays and birthday celebrations turned ugly because of his drinking. I cared a damn what anyone had to say about me.”

Battered Women Should Be Brave Enough To Report Abuse
Battered Women Should Be Brave Enough To Report Abuse | Source

Reporting Abuse Doesn't Necessarily Lead to More Domestic Violence

Her example inspired a neigbour, a woman who suffered many “taps on the cheek” to register a case against her own husband. Her twelve year old son accompanied her to the police station and testified to the violence.

Acquaintances were stunned. How could this woman, so traditional and orthodox in her demeanour (although she was a bank employee) rebel in this way? Many of them began to shun her. She had, after all, got herself branded as a bad wife, whereas the ideal wife was always submissive. But this lady didn’t care either and today her husband has stopped threatening to throw her out or beat her up. Fortunately for her, she had her son and her brothers come to her rescue.

If only all women could be as brave and rational! To women who refuse to rebel , hope is always lurking around the corner no matter how violent their husbands have been in the past. Studies have shown that violent men remain violent. And `love’ really has nothing to do with it. They could ‘love’ their wives madly and still be violent, alcohol or no. I say ‘love’ in quotes because it could never be love anyway. Love is unconditional and does not hurt or harm the beloved.

Here are two examples of brave women that shatter the myth of increased violence after a police complaint. Such defensive and bold behaviour keeps the offenders on their toes and proves to them that their victims are not going to take it any longer. Are you battered or psychologically abused? Rise up against domestic violence and fight for your rights. And your sanity.

Further Reading


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    • Anita Saran profile image

      Anita Saran 3 years ago from Bangalore, India

      Thank you chef-de-jour! As a result of that horrific rape and murder, things have changed for the better for Indian women. Our voices are heard whether in the legal realm or elsewhere, but still a long way to go. In the end it's really a question of changing the male attitude. I wonder whether that's possible.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      The more this issue is brought out into the open and debated the better the situation will become for all women. Domestic violence goes on in many countries but India in particular needs to get its act together as it grows in stature on the world stage.

      The recent horrific incident of rape and murder on the bus in Delhi -and the reaction of shock from many younger people- shows that India is beginning to think seriously about the role of women in society.

      There's a long way to go but articles like yours help speed up the journey towards justice and equality.

    • Anita Saran profile image

      Anita Saran 3 years ago from Bangalore, India

      Thank you dashingscorpio for the tips and for your comment. Of course women must be careful about choosing their husbands but men can turn to alcohol later in the marriage.

      Grand old lady, thank you for reading. Why do women stay with their abusers? That is an interesting topic and I will write about it.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      I didn't know that domestic violence is so rampant in India and that women prefer to keep quiet about it. I wonder why it is that way? Is it a cultural or a religious matter? I wish you could write another hub that delves deeper into this, as it is very interesting.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 3 years ago

      Each of us chooses our own friends, lovers, and spouse.

      The goal is to learn to make better choices for ourselves when it comes to relationships and marriage. More often than not before the physical abuse starts there is (verbal) abuse. In some instances there are times when their mate displays anger by punching a wall, throwing something, or kicking something. These are "red flags" that should NOT go ignored!

      A lot of women witness these things but because their mate hasn't actually hit them they continue stay with them. When it comes to violent behavior I do not believe in giving second chances. It's not worth the risk.

      The first time someone puts their fist in a wall, kicks a dent in a door, yells like an animal in the wild, tosses a chair or whatever that should be enough of a sign that they're not marriage or father material. Get out fast!