• Stambh Organization

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WITH EMPHASIS ON THE ECONOMIC AND MENTAL ASPEC

ABSTRACT:

‘Domestic violence is not just a social issue anymore, it is a national concern. Violence and harassment against women at home, workplace, religious places, and institutions has become an unethical custom since eternity. Many activists and reformers are trying to bridge the gap between males and females yet we are nowhere near the dream society! Are we free from a male-dominated society? Not until the mindset of each and every individual changes for the betterment of our society. Domestic violence doesn’t always imply violence against women, many men and in-laws are also victims of domestic violence but the ratio of violence against women is higher than men. Also, domestic violence is not confined to a wife only, it takes into consideration all the victims of domestic violence who have some relation with the abuser. People often consider child marriage a part of domestic violence but child marriage is a separate act and it must not be confused with domestic violence.

KEYWORDS:

Domestic violence, abuse, women empowerment, economic, mental


Introduction:

The onset of covid-19 added fuel to the lives of victims of domestic violence. The lockdown due to the global pandemic has disrupted the right to livelihood and movement of people. They have no choice, but to suffer; awaiting quietus whereas the cruel and sadists are enjoying an unshakable privilege.

Many a time due to traditional protocols, women don't even realize they are being harassed. They tend to normalize these ruthless behaviors of their family members. Even today, in some parts of India women, are taught to remain silent when it comes to their family issues because they believe women belong to an inferior group and men have all the authority to make decisions.

Objectives:

The cultural paradigm of domestic violence has always been a major concern for society. People believe speaking about their miseries might hamper the social protocol and the silence is then treated as a status quo. This points to the need for:

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  • Exploring different types of domestic violence,

  • How women can be encouraged to become economically independent,

  • How important is mental health, not just for the individual but for the whole society?

In an article published by The Guardian, activists say a pattern of increasing domestic violence can be seen worldwide. The increased threat to women and children was a predictable side effect of the coronavirus lockdowns. In many countries, there have been calls for legal or policy changes to reflect the increased risk to women and children in quarantine.

There are various types of domestic violence but majorly there are five. In all these types of violence, the victims experience some kind of pain, be it physical pain or mental pain.

  • Physical abuse is the most common type of domestic violence that prevails in every corner of our country. The injuries might be not severe but the act is heinous.


  • Emotional abuse destroys the victim’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Most of the victims of emotional abuse tend to go into depression which questions the very basic fundamental right of a person. How are we taught to have the right to life? Does it only imply that a human being has the right to live but not the right to have a respectful and non-traumatic life? There is no evidence of emotional abuse except for behavioral changes seen among the victims that might lead to health-related issues as well at some point in time.


  • Sexual abuse refers to forced physical relations including marital rape and harassment, such as unwelcomed touch, demeaning behaviors, etc.


  • Financial abuse refers to situations where the abuser prevents the victim to pursue higher education or work outside the home. Especially in a male-dominated society, this type of abuse is quite prevalent. The head of the family or the male tries to retain the power and control over everyone else. In most cases, the victim is dependent on their abuser for financial support and this creates a helpless situation for the victim. Eighty-three percent of respondents said abusive partners disrupted their ability to work. Of these, 70 percent were not able to have a job, and 53 percent lost a job because of the abuse. This tactic is a form of financial abuse, as abusers are preventing their victims from working and earning their own money. This disrupts the victim's career aspirations and makes them finally reliant upon their abuser, thus making it harder for them to leave the relationship. This hurts individual victims and their families, but it also affects our society as a whole. In fact, the CDC includes loss of productivity in the workforce as part of the $3.6 trillion costs of domestic violence in the United States.


  • Last but not the least, psychological abuse. It is basically blackmailing or threatening

Kate Connolly, 'Lockdowns around the world bring a rise in domestic violence' The Guardian (20th March 2020)https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/mar/28/lockdowns-world-rise-domestic-violence

Maggie Germano, ‘Domestic violence has a financial impact too’ Forbes (17th October 2019) https://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiegermano/2019/10/17/domestic-violence-has-a-financial-impact-too/?sh=74312ac99d04


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  • the victim to do and not to do certain things breach of which might lead to awful consequences.

The famous saying, "When we educate a man, we educate an individual but when we educate a woman, we educate a whole family", implies that we need to empower women in order to cut down evil forces from our society because education is the superpower which can turn a woman into wonder woman.

If women are made independent economically then definitely, they will have the power of making decisions. They will not tolerate domestic violence and hence economic growth is important to reduce domestic violence. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the financial impact of domestic violence ranges from individual to societal. In fact, they say the lifetime economic cost associated with medical services, lost productivity from paid work, criminal justice, and other costs, was $3.6 trillion. The cost of domestic violence over a victim’s lifetime was $103,767 for women and $23,414 for men.

In an article from YouthKiAwaaz, Dr.Ramneet Kaur said “In the contemporary period, people are well aware of the importance of education and relevance of it for empowerment and self-reliance, but both "empowerment and self-reliance" are taken as dangerous terms when referring to women. Whatsoever empowers and makes a woman self-reliant scares the society because then the society won't be able to "control and regulate" her life. Society holds the opinion that if a woman will become well educated, then the society's patriarchal and orthodox traditions will be broken; as education will not only make her strong intellectually but also make her empowered enough to make her "voice" heard, which no one wants to listen to anyway. Following this, she will no longer be their puppet and will go by her "choices", instead of what the society wants her to do." Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides for free legal aid to women to promote justice on the basis of equal opportunity but in this era of corruption, no women can avail of free support without getting blackmailed and harassed. If there are loopholes in every corner of our society that is adamant to let injustice prevail then hoping to get a dignified life with the help of the law is totally vain.

In a recent article published by Times of India, Palak Joshi talks about the stereotypes that exist in our society even after years of struggle by activists to empower women and bring equality among males and females. A woman who got permission from her in-laws to work in the office feels privileged to have got such understanding and supportive in-laws but the crux that the whole society happens to forget is that what is the need to take permission? How are we willing to take permission from others to carry out certain actions which are our basic rights? Empowerment doesn’t come from taking permission. It comes when we acknowledge that we are not puppets of others.


Maggie Germano, ‘Domestic violence has a financial impact too’ Forbes (17th October 2019) https://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiegermano/2019/10/17/domestic-violence-has-a-financial-impact-too/?sh=74312ac99d04


Dr.Ramneet Kaur, ‘A Girl Should Be Educated, But Only Enough to Get A Good Rishta’ Youth Ki Awaaz (9th October 2018) https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2018/10/criteria-for-entering-into-institution-of-marriage-or-way-to-self-reliance/


Palak Joshi, ‘Are women truly independent?’ Times Of India (7th November 2020) https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/readersblog/chasingmyviews/are-women-truly-independent-27754/


Women will not get empowerment only through their contribution, they will get empowered when males, in-laws, out-laws, friends, and the society as a whole bring significant changes in their mindset. Media also plays a major role in shaping our society. Until and unless the media which includes newspaper, social media, television, movies, and many more sources

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of information and entertainment don’t stop showing the stereotypical agendas of our ancestors in recent times, we can’t change the prevailing aura of male patriarchy. We need some strict and major steps to tackle this issue and help women get the status that they deserve so that no women are afraid to lodge a complaint against abuses thinking that society will judge me. Some suggestions to improve the status of women in our society is as follows:

  • Educating a woman will drive encouragement among other women because they will get to know what power they can hold when they are educated.

  • Financial independence will come as icing on the cake once a woman is educated but she needs to understand that the norms laid by society are not guidelines to be followed. She has to take a stand when she is suffering from injustice.

  • A woman needs to know her strengths and weaknesses very well so that when the right time comes, she can make a decision knowing the strengths she has, and also, she will be able to tackle any situation if her weaknesses are targeted.

  • Not only for a woman, but for a male as well, an individual’s first priority must be they themselves. Once they get to know what they desire (ethically), there is no going back. An individual will come out of any injustice without any hindrance and constraints.


The data collected from ‘The Hindu’ reveals that in 2020, between March 25 and May 31, 1,477 complaints of domestic violence were made by women. This 68-day period recorded more complaints than those received between March and May in the previous 10 years.



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Every now and then domestic violence complaints are being lodged but how many of them get justice? The delay in getting justice is not intentional but the process of execution of our law system is tedious. There must be some quick redressal system to solve the issues faced by people in the context of domestic violence.

In an article published by The Conversation, Rhian Parker says, “Women who have experienced domestic violence or abuse are at a significantly higher risk of experiencing a range of mental health conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide.” There is no scope for a country to prosper if the females are not mentally fit. Our mental health affects everything that we see around us, starting from working to socializing. It affects the way we feel and act. Many domestic violence victims take a drastic step to end their suffering by committing suicide.


Rhian Parker, ‘How domestic violence affects women’s mental health’ The Conversation (19th February 2019) https://theconversation.com/how-domestic-violence-affects-womens-mental-health-104926#:~:text=Women%20who%20have%20experienced%20domestic,abuse%2C%20and%20thoughts%20of%20suicid


Bottling up emotions is like blowing air into a balloon even after it has gained its full potential bloat. Sooner or later, it will burst and the consequences are harsh. So, instead of holding emotions, letting them out will set oneself free from the clutch.

Managing expectations and becoming a self-motivator will help in making correct decisions. We can use social media to organize “online domestic violence campaigns” for people of all age groups. When one individual makes a promise to change the world for a better cause, his or her contribution is less in comparison to the population but if everyone in our society gears up to contribute, the day is not far when domestic violence problems will remain just a history.

People believe this pandemic has shattered their dreams but what is a life without struggles? Problems will come our way and that is the rule, but how we play the game with strategy and win, is up to us. Instead of cursing the patriarchal society of the Almighty, if we divert our time for the people who are in need then there is hope that everything will get back to normal again. Ranting about poor redressal facilities provided by the government and creating awareness through social media will not add much value to the battle. Making counseling available to everyone irrespective of age, gender, caste, religion, etc. is the need of the hour and we also are responsible to build a solid strategy to deal with domestic violence during a pandemic as well so that it helps generations to come!


Bio of author:

Bagmi Barenya Nayak is a student of BBA studying at SOA University, Bhubaneswar. She is fond of creative writing and loves to explore different dimensions. She is a research intern in STAMBH Organization which an NGO working towards child rights and upliftment of underprivileged children in India.


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