Since the nationwide lockdown was announced after the Covid-19 pandemic hit, reports appeared in the media about the increased incidence of domestic violence during lockdown.
A recent study ‘Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India’ by UNFPA and International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) revealed that 60% of men have admitted to using violence to assert their dominance over their partner.
The seven-state study (in India) has highlighted the high prevalence of intimate partner violence in the country.
Domestic violence is a rampant brutal reality. Women continue to be tortured for reasons ranging from dowry to her infertile status. The violence can take many forms including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects), or threats there of sexual abuse; controlling or domineering, intimidation, stalking, passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect), and economic deprivation.
As a result of abuse, victims may experience physical disabilities, chronic health problems, mental illness, limited finances, and poor ability to create healthy relationships.
Victims may experience post-traumatic stress disorder as well. Such behaviour not only causes her grievous injury and untold harm but also preys on the psyche, paralysing her strength and slowly killing her spirit.
This also emotionally scars the children, who are mute and helpless witnesses to the terrorising. Children who live in a household with violence show dysregulated aggression from an early age, which may later contribute to continuing the legacy of abuse when they reach adulthood.
A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that women who experience domestic abuse are more prone to cardiometabolic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes.
No specific reasons have been identified yet to explain what makes men behave in this violent manner. It is as a result of his inability to manage his anger, his need to control, and feel a sense of power over his wife.
However, men should understand that they don’t need to use force in order to rule over the woman. They can rule her by their love and affection.
One may ask why should a woman put up with domestic violence, but only the woman in question would be able to answer that. How can a woman help herself?
Never ever tolerate violence, in any form. If the husband shows signs of violent behaviour, immediately bring it to the notice of your own parents. Enlist the support of a woman’s organisation, and if the husband is willing, get psychiatric help.