Domestic Violence in India

Domestic Violence is a global issue that targets women of developing countries on a larger scale than developed countries. Despite its rapid growth and advancements, domestic abuse, or intimate partner violence (IPV) is deeply entrenched and prevalent in India. One in three women in India have faced abuse however, only a small number report it. Domestic violence can be accounted as the most common cause of non-fatal injury to women. This issue can be derived from cultural ideologies and the overall silence that surrounds it.

IPV affects a majority of all Indian women, but certain demographics such as status, age, and education play a significant role. Older women, divorcees, and poor women are all more likely to experience domestic violence. Women with unemployed, alcoholic, and poorly educated partners are also more likely to be subjected to domestic abuse. Women who are less likely to experience domestic violence and abuse include those with a higher social standing, economic independence, and higher education. However, it was also observed that women who had a job were more likely to face intimate partner violence, which could be because it is not the norm for women to work in India. While these factors are the most commonly observed in India, they cannot be used to conclude a correlation.

There is a strong connection between domestic abuse and the cultural norms of India. For instance, Indian culture emphasizes the value of childbirth, more specifically the birth of boys. Therefore, if a woman is infertile or gives birth to a baby girl, she is more likely to face domestic violence. Moreover, the traditional practice of giving a dowry is still very prevalent in India, more so in rural India. A woman’s in-laws and partner may subject her to abuse if the dowry is insufficient or lacking. In India, subjecting one’s wife, daughter, sister, etc. to domestic violence is deemed normal and not worthy of any attention. Hence, it can be said that in India culture plays a role in abusive behaviors against women. These harmful ideologies fuel the problem and prevent women from seeking the help they need.

In India, of all women that had experienced IPV, only 14% reported it and sought help. This low rate can be traced back to the stigma surrounding domestic violence. It is often observed that a victim’s family has a negative response towards the victim’s experiences. The family may even dismiss the claims altogether. However, this cannot be used to define all families, as many variables come into play. Poverty, patriarchal norms, family structure, etc. all play a factor in a family’s ability to help the victim. The response from law enforcement also affects this low rate. Like other developing nations where domestic violence is prevalent, police typically have a negative response towards these cases. In India, they do not have a reputable image and many people distrust them. Therefore, many victims of IPV avoid seeking help from the police when they should feel comfortable reporting abuse without worrying about being ridiculed or taken seriously.

The issue of domestic abuse in India has reached an alarming rate. While the country itself is on the rise to growth and prosperity, its women still overwhelmingly face intimate partner violence. This problem, however, can be managed if the proper measures are taken. Steps toward the elimination of domestic violence involve the abolishment of toxic cultural ideologies, along with education, enforced laws, and stricter punishments for offenders. The need for action towards the erasure of domestic violence is immediate and crucial to protect Indian women; without these steps, no country can fully claim to be truly prosperous.

Written by Fiza Aamir, Blog Writing Volunteer at Sylvia’s Place

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