Domestic violence against men in India

By Bhushan Salunke
Devil’s Advocate: Serving you a cocktail of wit, humour and sarcasm

On 24 November 2023, a woman (Renuka) punched her husband (Nikhil Gupta) on the nose, to death, while having a domestic argument in their apartment in Pune, India. The husband’s fault? He had refused to take her to Dubai for her birthday celebration. Also, he had not bought her expensive gifts on her birthday. She broke his nose and knocked his teeth out. The impact of the blow was so severe that Nikhil lost consciousness due to heavy bleeding. He was declared dead when taken to the hospital.

Domestic violence against men in India is on the rise reaching endemic proportions. A number of incidents of violence, such as the one above, are reported regularly.

Every domestic violence incident against women is widely publicised in the media and grabs the headlines in all media channels, including socials, but incidents about domestic violence against men gets buried in the avalanche of other news.

Domestic violence, which affects men, women, and children, is a social scourge, experienced by all societies across the world. What makes India different is that its laws exclude men as the victims. In 2005, the Indian parliament enacted the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (DV Act). There is no provision for men to protect themselves against domestic violence. In the eyes of this law, men are always the perpetrators and women are the victims of domestic violence.

A research study “A cross-sectional Study of Gender-Based Violence against Men in the Rural Area of Haryana, India” was carried out over a period of year. In the study, 52.4% of men experienced gender-based violence. Out of 1000, males 51.5% experienced violence at the hands of their wives/intimate partner at least once in their lifetime and 10.5% in the last 12 months. The most common spousal violence was emotional followed by physical violence.

A study by the UN has revealed some shocking results regarding the stats of domestic violence against husbands. Egypt has claimed the first position when it comes to beating and abusing husbands. UK took the second place and India was on number three.

One-third of the domestic violence victims in Australia are men. Men in India tend not to report domestic violence against them by their wives for the fear of getting ridiculed by society. They prefer to suffer in silence in order to protect their mardangi. Many have committed suicides to end the agony.

India is a patriarchal society, according to the feminists but the highest position in the land (President of India) is occupied by a woman, the finance and budget of the country is handled by a woman minister, the country was ruled by a woman PM for 16 years etc. Recently, the government passed a legislation requiring that in each election, 33% of seats in the assemblies and the Lok Sabha be assigned for only female candidates! There are dozens of programs for the empowerment of women, including the PM’s favourite “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” program and his mantra ‘Beta Beti, Ek Samaan’. Seats are reserved for women in public transports! The Karnataka government launched the Gruha Lakshmi scheme recently which gives Rs. 2,000 in a woman’s bank accounts every month. India also has the “Dowry Prohibition Act” to protect the interests of women against dowry issues.

Why would a patriarchal society be doing so much for the welfare of women on the one hand and harming its own kind on the other, with the discriminatory DV act? Only the raucous feminists can explain this paradox!

The gender equality warriors pick and choose the battle they wish to fight. They always favour one gender over the other. If an atrocity happening to women is also happening to men, i.e. domestic violence, these warriors choose to turn a blind eye to the damage caused to men. How can gender equality be achieved under such hypocrisy? The rate of suicide among Indian men is 2.5 times of that among women, according to International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS). The gender equality warriors won’t be losing their sleep over this fact!

Says Priya Bedi, founder of Lavendar Foundation in Melbourne “Just like it is important to protect our daughters and sisters from family violence, we must ensure that we protect and support our sons and brothers too.”

Added to this is the domestic violence arising out of dowry cases. SBS Punjabi did an article “The Dowry Trap: The untold story of male victims”. This article narrates the stories of many men who were falsely accused in dowry cases, using the Dowry Law and decimating the men’s lives.

Women filing false dowry, false domestic violence and false rape cases against men are on the rise and there are no repercussions for false complaints. There have been innumerable cases of women abusing Domestic Violence Act & Dowry Prohibition Act. Used together, these laws deliver a knockout blow to the innocent man and destroy him and his family completely.

Data from the National Crime Records Bureau shows that on average about 1,00,000 cases are filed under section 498a annually. The rate of conviction, where the accusation was proven, varied between 20% in 2011 and 14% in 2015. The conviction rate under all IPC sections was 46% in 2015. This gap in conviction rate is evidence that a large number of false cases were being filed under section 498a.

The Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) has reported shocking statistics revealing that 53.2% of the rape cases registered with the police between April 2013 and July 2014 in Delhi were falsified. Furthermore, the report says that between April 2013 and July 2014, out of the 2,753 complaints of rape, only 1,287 cases were found to be true, and the rest of the 1,464 cases were filed on false grounds.

Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj is a journalist, documentary filmmaker & a men’s rights activist from New Delhi, who makes a compelling case for protection of rights of men too whether it’s false accusations or domestic violence or sexual crimes. She has become a prominent voice for men’s rights in India with her documentary film “Martyrs of Marriage”, which is about abuse of section 498a (Anti-dowry law) of Indian Penal Code by brides and their families.

A crime is a crime whether it is perpetrated by a man or a woman and shall be punished with no gender bias. Bad women exist as much as bad men do. Ignoring the plight of innocent men, wrongly accused of rape, dowry and domestic violence and the feminists/gender equality warriors treating these innocent men as collateral damage in their great “war against men” is not fair and just.

Gender-neutral laws are urgently required to set a level-playing field for social justice in India.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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