If you want to see the true nature of man, see how he behaves with those he considers weaker than him.
– Mahatma Gandhi
The Indian society has lived in a cocoon. And as it has fanned its infamous Purdah system, it even put the beating of the fairer sex behind that purdah itself. The term Domestic Violence is actually a very soft term to mention something which is gruesome. We should call it wife beating! Nothing more, nothing less.
Men have always been taught to perceive themselves as the superior sex. It is this conditioning that makes them believe they have to control their wives, especially if they are considered disobedient.
Domestic violence experts say the problem in India stems from a cultural bias against women who challenge their husband’s right to control their behavior. Women who do this—even by asking for household money, seeking a bit of self-independence, nurturing their self-respect or stepping out of the house without their permission–are seen as punishable. This process leads men to believe their notion of masculinity and manhood is reflected to the degree to which they control their wives.
Although men’s preoccupation with controlling their wives declines with age–as does the incidence of sexual violence–researchers found that the highest rates of sexual violence were among highly educated men. About 32% of men with zero years of education and 42% men with one-to-five years of education reported sexual violence. Among men with six-to-10 years of education–as well as those with high-school education and higher–this figure increased to 57%.
A similar pattern was seen when the problem was analyzed according to income and socio-economic standing. Those at the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder–migrant labour, cobblers, carpenters, and barbers–showed a sexual violence rate of 35%. The rate almost doubled to 61% among the highest income groups.
According to a study conducted by the Centre for Women’s Development Studies in New Delhi, 45% of Indian women are slapped, kicked or beaten by their husbands. India also had the highest rate of violence during pregnancy. Of the women reporting violence, 50% were kicked, beaten or hit when pregnant. About 74.8% of the women who reported violence have attempted to commit suicide.
Educated women are aware of their rights and are no longer willing to follow commands blindly. When they ask questions, it causes conflicts, which, in turn, leads to violence. In many Indian states, working women are asked to hand over their paycheck to the husband and have no control over their finances. So, if they stop doing so or start asserting their right, there is bound to be friction. Education is an empowering tool for women and should not be seen as impacting negatively.
It’s ridiculous to think after all the family morals we were taught with our upbringing, accompanied with the formal education we’ve been endowed with, it still doesn’t provide a husband common sense that women are equal beings and also have some dignity of their own to protect.
If a man is violent to his wife, whether she is or not dependent on him financially or socially that means the true identity of that man is violent. It is possible that in front of the world he puts a nice face. But we must know that any man who raises his hands against a woman (or a child) cannot be a good human being, it is just impossible.
It is time that we call out to the society to boycott and shun all such men who are abusive to their spouses. It is never a personal matter and we must collectively give out the message that abusive people are not acceptable in the society. To be frank, if you know anybody who is abusive just BREAK all relationship with him. And that is not enough. Get these women to fight for justice using DV Act 2005.
Boman Irani’s campaign Bell Bajao (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcL7nxlsV5I) brought forth due importance to the issue and its time we start our contribution. For more on this, just type in Bell Bajao on youtube. There have been some truly inspiring campaigns.
After all, where is the relationship between two people if one has to hurt — physically, emotionally, socially, sexually or financially — the other to allow for things to go his way? Doesn’t it sound more like master-slave rather than life partners?
(first appeared http://awomaninindia.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/call-it-wife-beating/)