Domestic Violence: The patriarchal curse

Based on a BBC report from back in 2013, there are around 309,546 crimes that were reported by women, out of which 118,866 came under the category of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence: The patriarchal curse
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On a daily basis, the number of stories being published about women suffering from abuse in their households is in abundance.

Almost every other day, you tend to hear some story about how someone is being beaten up or thrown out of the house by their husband.

The unfortunate plight of Indian women who suffer physical, emotional, and psychological domestic abuse is simply disheartening. Hearing these stories makes you feel nothing but sorry for these women and absolutely hate the guts of their husbands.

The concept of domestic violence isn't new to anyone. It is embedded and significantly prevalent in the Indian community. It is so common that it has its own section dedicated to it in the Indian Penal Code.

Crimes against women are registered under Section 498A and mainly deal with 'cruelty by husband or his relatives.' An opinion survey conducted by experts in the Thomson Reuters Foundation showed that India ranked as the most dangerous country in the world for women.

The former Union minister for Women and Child Development, Renuka Chowdhury, in 2006 stated that almost 70% of the women of India are victims of domestic violence. This statement, however, did face challenges; it was disputed by the Save Indian Family Foundation.

Based on a BBC report from back in 2013, there are around 309,546 crimes that were reported by women, out of which 118,866 came under the category of domestic violence.

The NFHS-5 (National Family Health Survey) did a reality check on domestic violence statistics in India. It went on to show that 44% of women respondents who reside in Karnataka have experienced violence from their spouses. Following Karnataka is Bihar with 40%, then Manipur leads with 39.6%. Following these states, Telangana has 36.9%, Assam with 32%, and Andhra Pradesh with 30%.

During the pandemic's beginning, in 2020, the world became acquainted with the 'work from home' or stay-at-home' situation.

For innumerable women, the home is not a safe place due to the ongoing physical abuse. These individuals were now stuck at home with their abusers, locked in essentially, or a worse term, they were imprisoned. The pandemic did see a considerable rise in cases of domestic violence.

The question to ask now is, why do these women still stay with their abusive husbands?

Research has shown that India has the lowest rate of divorce, with just 13 of 1000 marriages; India stands at the bottom of the list. Simply 1 percent of marriages end in divorce in India.

The stigma attached to it is why divorce is not such a popular concept in India. The whole phenomenon of divorce is seen as a huge taboo and an immensely hot topic gossip. If your neighbor, two houses down, is a divorcee, then it is for sure that the next-door Sharma uncle will spread the word about it.

A few of the reasons why women are reluctant for divorcing their abusive husbands are as follows.

·       Women have no voice

The reason for divorce rates being low even today could be that women are still not able to speak up to their families. They are not able to financially support themselves and simply cannot walk out of their oppressive marriages.

·       Being sanskari is more significant than their happiness

The family's 'reputation' is what is on the line in Indian society. Women are expected to put their feelings and emotions aside and put up with their abusive husbands for the sake of their family's status. Divorce means disgracing the family and not fulfilling your 'duties as a wife'. It is always the woman's fault; she wasn't able to 'keep her man happy.

Indians, in general, are not taught to prioritize their individual happiness.

·       The never-ending legal process

This factor is relatively self-explanatory. It can be universally agreed that the Indian system is a long, slow, and tremendously draggy one. The bureaucratic inefficiencies of this country don't even have to be explained; these do nothing but ruin great purposes, such as divorces that can lead to happier lives. You could say the Indian Legal System is standing in the way of happier citizens.

·       Legality is nothing when compared to morality

The easiest way to explain this is, 'for the sake of the children. The reason couples with children refrain from divorce is so that their children can have a normal upbringing, with both parents under the same roof. Parents assume that children coming from 'broken homes' don't turn out how they wish to, but what they don't realize is an unhappy marriage under one roof can cause miles more damage than a happy divorce under two separate roofs.

Domestic violence is a severe issue in India and needs to be talked about more. Only by doing this can women find their voice. Help women find their voice.

Dethrone the stigma, normalize divorce. And women, stand up for yourselves.