“Domestic violence: the repercussions for males and females”

Authored by: Khushboo Aggarwal


Violence means any kind of abusive behaviour. Domestic violence means the violence that occurs within the family itself. The U.N. gives the most comprehensive definition of family violence – accordingly, violence in the family manifest itself as physical mistreatment , often repetitive , which is inter related to the existence of mental torture, neglect of basic needs and sexual molestation.

Domestic violence is physical, sexual or psychological abuse directed towards one’s spouse, partner or other family member within the household. Domestic violence occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically assault or harm the other. It occurs in all the races, ethnicities and religions can be perpetrators of Domestic violence.[1] violence again Women in household by their partner is intimate violence or sexual violence which is the major problem.

The history of Women’s participation in gainful employment is a recent one. After the Industrial Revolution, the social situations changed throughout the world and so in India. The family no more remained a centre of production.

Drawing from Amartya Sen.’s work on ‘Human capabilities’ — an idea drawn from Aristotle a new matrix was created to measure human development. The emphasis was that we need to enhance human well being flourishing and not focus on growth of national income as a goal.

A woman Domestic worker suffers from twofold discrimination, first being that she is a woman and second that she is Domestic worker, a gray area of law where there is still no legal framework to regulate her employment and protect her from exploitation. Until recently, the general view was that cases of violence against Women could be appropriately addressed through the social welfare and justice systems.


Domestic violence is now more broadly defined, often it can but not always including “all the acts of physical, sexual, psychological, or economic violence, that may be committed by a person who is a family member or a person that has been an intimate partner or the spouse, irrespective of whether they lived together.

It is Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including the battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to woman, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation.”

Domestic violence is violent victimization of Women within the boundaries of family, usually by men.


The reason of such type of violence include dispute over property, physically or emotionally abusing any member of other family or clan, any religious cause or conflict arising during a religious ceremony, jealousy because of progress and financial status of other family, inter-caste marriage, Intimate partner violence, etc. This form of violence is common in many states like Haryana, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh etc.

This form of violence is common in many states like Haryana, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh etc. The problem arises when instead of taking a lesson from those news clippings, films, and television shows, people start enacting the same in their homes.

Comparatively, the visual media is far more influencing than the print and electronic media in these cases. Illiteracy and mob mentality of majority of Indians misguides them in all these cases.

International Provisions Regarding Domestic violence

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of discrimination against Women, entered into force in 1981, also does not explicitly include language on violence against Women or Domestic violence but guarantees the human rights listed above.

In 1992, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which is the United Nations committee charged with monitoring the Convention, adopted General Recommendation Number 19. General Recommendation No. 19, Committee on the Elimination of discrimination against Women, U.N. Doc A/47/38 (1992).

This recommendation addresses the Women’s Convention’s silence on violence and states that gender-based violence is a “form of discrimination which seriously inhibits Women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men.”

This recommendation was the first time a human rights treaty or convention was officially interpreted to prohibit violence against Women. The recommendation made clear that Domestic violence was included.

“Introduction The Vienna Accord of 1994 and the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action (1995) have acknowledged that Domestic violence is undoubtedly a human rights issue. The United Nations Committee on Convention on Elimination of All Forms of discrimination Against Women in its General Recommendations has recommended that State parties should act to protect Women against violence of any kind, especially that occurring within the family. .

Domestic violence is undoubtedly a human rights issue and serious deterrent to development. The Vienna Accord of 1994 and the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action (1995) have acknowledged this. The United Nations Committee on Convention on Elimination of All Forms of discrimination Against Women (C E D A W) in its General Recommendation No.[2] XII (1989) has recommended that State Parties should act to protect Women against violence of any kind especially that occulting within the family.

In India there the Civil rights under the D.V. Act Sections 17 to 23 of the D.V. Act enumerate following civil rights.

Procedure for seeking relief under D.V. Act Section 12 of the D.V. Act empowers an aggrieved person to approach the Magistrate to seek any of the reliefs mentioned under Sections 17 to 23 of the Act. 

Constitutional Provisions

Under Domestic violence Act, 2005, any of several possible perpetrators of Domestic violence can be deal with these perpetrators are referred to as ‘the respondent’ in the statute and have been defined as any adult male person who is or has been, in a Domestic relationship with the aggrieved woman and against whom she has sought any relief under the act. =

The Supreme Court also observed that not all live-­in­-relationships   will   amount   to   a relationship in the nature of marriage to get the benefit of Domesticviolence Act. To get such benefit the conditions mentioned above shall be fulfilled and this has to be proved by evidence.

Status of a Keep– The Court in the case further stated that if a man has a ‘keep’ whom he maintains financially and uses mainly for sexual purpose and/or a servant it would not be a relationship in the nature of marriage. 

Psychological theories focus on personality traits and mental characteristics of the offender. Personality traits include sudden bursts of anger, poor impulse control, and poor self-esteem.

“The estimate of personality disorders in the general population would be more in the 15–20% range as violence becomes more severe and chronic in the relationship, the likelihood of psychopathology in these men approaches 100%.”[3]


Under Section 27 of the Domestic violence Act, 2005, the Court of Judicial Magistrate of the

First Class (JMFC) or the Metropolitan Magistrate, as the case may be, within the local limits of which entertain the case.Any order made under the Act shall be enforceable throughout India.

The Government of India passed a Domestic violence Bill, 2001, “To protect the rights of Women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”. An act called Protection of Women from Domestic violence Act, 2005 [DVA, 2005] also has been passed”.

There is an urgent need for such a law in the country. In fact, there has also been misuse of section 498-A and DVA, 2005 because of restricted definition of cruelty subjected to married Women.

A woman or a Protection Officer or any other person on behalf of the woman may present an application to the Magistrate seeking one or more reliefs under the Act. Any person who has reason to believe that an act of Domestic violence has been or is being or is likely to be committed may give information about it to the concerned Protection Officer.


Under Section 14, the Magistrate may, at any stage of the proceedings under the Act, direct the respondent or the woman, either singly or jointly, to undergo counselling with any member of a service provider who possesses the prescribed qualifications and experience in counselling.

Other crimes of violence against Women include forced pregnancy, abortion or sterilization and harmful traditional practices such as dowry – related violence, sati (the burning of a widow on the funeral pyre of her husband), and killing in the name of honour and in later life, widows and elderly Women may also experience abuse.

Though Women today have proved themselves in almost every field of life affirming that they are no less than men, the reports of violence against them are much larger in number than against men. Women in India also admit to hitting or beating because of their suspicion about the husband’s sexual involvement with other Women.

The Tandoor Murder Case of Naina Sahni in New Delhi in the year 1995[4] is one such dreadful incident of a woman being killed and then burnt in a Tandoor by her husband. This incidence was an outcome of suspicion of extra marital affairs of Naina Sahni which led to marital discord and Domestic violence against her.

Working Women are quite often subjected to assaults and coercion sex by employees of the organization. At times, it could be voluntary for a better pay and designation in the office.

There been other forms of Domestic violence which is criminal from the view point of law directly just after the marriage the Women are forced to face Domestic violence in form of Dowry which sometimes result in dowry death as well.

Dowry deaths are the deaths of young Women in primarily India who are murdered or driven to suicide by continuous harassment and torture by husbands and in-laws in an effort to extort an increased dowry.

It is considered to be the gravest social evil of today’s immoral society. To deal with the offence of dowry death Section 304 – B is included in Indian Penal Code, 1860 by the criminal Law (Amendment) Act.

Cruelty is indifference to suffering, and even pleasure in inflicting it. If this habit is supported by a legal or social framework, then it receives the name of perversion. In India, certain forms of Domestic violence have been made offence under the IPC, namely Section 498A which deal with cruelty by a husband or his relatives to a woman.”

All forms of Domestic violence abuse have one purpose: to gain and maintain control over the victim. Abusers use many tactics to exert power over their spouse or partner: dominance, humiliation, isolation, threats, intimidation, denial and blame.

Also as expressed by Rebecca J. Burns in the following lines, “When I am asked why a woman doesn’t leave abuser I say: Women stay because the fear of leaving is greater than the fear of staying. They will leave when the fear of staying is greater than the fear of leaving.[5]

As indicated by UNICEF Global Record Card on Adolescent in 2015, 59% of girls and 63% of boys in India think a spouse is advocated in hitting or beating his other spouse. The settlement framework, ghastliness murdering, and male centric standards against ladies have brought about outrageous and various instances of aggressive behaviour at home.

Protection of Women under Domestic violence Act

A recent study has concluded that violence against Women is the fastest-growing crime in India. According to a latest report prepared by India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a crime has been recorded against Women in every three minutes in India.

In 1983, Domestic violence was recognized as a specific criminal offence by the introduction of section 498-A into the Indian Penal Code. This section deals with cruelty by a husband or his family towards a married woman.

The Government of India passed a Domestic violence Bill, 2001, “To protect the rights of Women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”

An act called Protection of Women from Domestic violence Act, 2005 [DVA, 2005] also has been passed”. This Act ensures the reporting of cases of Domestic violence against Women to a ‘Protection Officer’ who then prepares a Domestic Incident Report to the Magistrate “and forward copies thereof to the police officer in charge of the police station within the local limits of jurisdiction.[6]

In fact, there has also been misuse of section 498-A and DVA, 2005 because of restricted definition of cruelty subjected to married Women.

It notes that one-third of Women in the age group 15-49 have experienced physical violence and about one in 10 have experienced sexual violence; in total, 35 percent of Women experience physical or sexual violence; and nearly two in five (37 percent) of married Women have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their husband.

Part III of the Constitution of India under Article 14- affirms that the state shall not deny any person equality before the law or the equal Protection of laws,

Article 15(1), – State shall not discriminate against any citizens on the grounds of sex, religion, race, caste etc, and

Article 15(3) – that nothing in Article 15 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for Women and children. 

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of discrimination against Women (CEDAW) from an international human rights framework mandates the State to outlaw all forms of discrimination against Women.

In order to appreciate the intent behind the PWDVA, it must be remembered that India signed the CEDAW on 30th July 1980 [and ratified it on 9th July 1993] and also the UN Declaration.

There are several Acts that had been passed at different times after Independence and which try to offer Protection to Women from violence. These include:

  • Crimes identified under IPC, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
  • Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
  • Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
  • Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987
  • Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (PNDT)
  • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006
  • Protection of Women from Domestic violence Act, 2005

Judicial Approach

See National Women’s Conference, organized by Action India & National Centre For Advocacy Studies; the Implementation and Enforcement of The Protection of Women from Domestic violence Act, 2005 February 20th and 21st, 2006, New Delhi.

The PWDVA requires certain procedures to be followed, which include

Protection officer is required to make a Domestic Incident report to the Magistrate in charge

The Magistrate shall fix the first date of the hearing, which shall not ordinarily be beyond three days from the receipt of the application by the court and shall endeavour to dispose every application within a period of 60 days from the date of the first hearing and so on procedure follows.

PWDVA even after 7 years since its enactment, and weak infrastructure reflected in inadequate number of Protection Officers and service providers. The PWDVA is implemented by the States/Union Territories. Even where full-time officers have been appointed as in Delhi, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Haryana, all of them are on contractual appointments. 

It is apparent that even though the main focus of these is on advocacy and changing attitudes and behaviour, the need to encourage and mobilize communities is recognized by all, as is the need for sustained sensitization of duty bearers.

Concept of Males under Domestic violence

This is not to deny that men and boys too face Domestic violence and other gender-based violence, and may face many similar obstacles as the woman from their society.

The working definition of ‘violence against Women’ used for this study was to understand the extent to which physical violence within the home or the threat of physical violence was present and experienced by the Women.

We have looked at the issue broadly with the aim of discovering the causes of Domestic violence, reasons that constrain the affected Women from seeking help against this violence, and individuals and duty bearers’ view on the implementation of the law.

 While discussing the issue of Domestic violence the focus has been on the experience of violence within the home. However, during interviews with the duty bearers and Civil Society Organisation (CSO), who share a specific relation with the VAW (violence against Women) initiatives, the discussions centred on the implementation of the PWDVA and efforts towards ending VAW.

Stuntman Eddie Kidd endured for years at the hands of wife Samantha. After his wife was jailed, he told “Sat in a chair and beaten by his wife as their help watched…- this is what former James Bond British newspaper, “She had started drinking heavily and would slap me, punch me, strangle me, and say horrible things.

As a man, to be beaten by your wife is desperately humiliating and, in a way shameful.” Eddie was left unable to walk after suffering injuries from a bike stunt gone wrong, and his wife called him a “spastic” in fits of drunk enrage.[7] spouse manhandle is a major issue that isn’t simply looked by Women.

While news of share related provocation and wrong doings against ladies are accounted widely in media there are a developing number of men who are forced to bear badgering and face physical and mental mishandle because of their spouses.

What’s more awful? The mortification and disgrace of their of the demonstration opening up to the world powers them to keep num.

Eddie discovered equity when his significant other was captured on charges of local mishandle, yet men in India are not as fortunate, says Rukma Chary, general secretary, Save India family Foundation.

One out of three men in India trusts that a woman must preserve through Domestic abuse to keep her family together, uncovered an examination discharged by the United Nation Population Fund (UNPF).

The investigation additionally uncovered that whole while 93.6% of male respondents trust that a lady ought to comply with the significant other, 76.9% of the men trust that if a spouse or accomplice accomplishes something incorrectly a man gets a privilege to rebuff her.

The investigation led by a UNFPA is a joint effort with the International Centre of Research on Women additionally covered that 52%of female respondents detailed being subjected to some type of savagery through their lives, while 60% of men confessed to having been submitted different demonstrations of viciousness on ladies.

51.1% of the male respondents and 57.3% of the female respondents trusted that a lady ought to endure abusive behaviour at home to keep her family together.

While 93.6% of the men and 91.1% of the ladies trusted that a lady ought to comply with her other significant, 76.9% men and 78.8% Women felt that if a lady’s better half has the privilege to rebuff her on the off chance is there that she accomplishes something incorrectly.

 The examination was discharged at the men engaged symposium, which expects to search for better examination by men in achieving sexual orientation equality.

Of the 52% of ladies who confessed to being causalities of savagery, 38% answered to be of physical brutality, 35% confessed to being sincerely disregarded while 17% announced sexual viciousness.

Of this, three-fourths of the respondents from Odisha and Uttar Pradesh (75%) confessed to executing shifted types of savagery.[8]

With the predominance of inflexible thoughts of manliness, 93% of men felt that ‘to take care of business, you should be extreme’ contrasted with 85% ladies and 86.2% men and 74% ladies trusted that the most imperative part of a lady is to deal with her home and cook for her family.

 Shockingly, 74.6% of 65.1% of Women trusted that if a lady does not physically battle back, it isn’t assault.[9]

Dominant part of Women met 63% said ’yes’ when inquired as to whether a man should expect spouse/ accomplice to conquer the occurrence when they that is the men need to engage in the sexual relationships and that the husbands/ accomplices don’t favour wife/accomplices proposing the utilization of condoms.

77% ladies likewise said that their accomplices anticipated that they would concur when they needed sex. 54% of the ladies likewise said that on the off chance that they requested that their accomplices utilize a condom, their accomplices would get irate.

The discoveries demonstrate that youth encounters of separation have a solid bearing on demeanours of manliness and control. Monetary pressure was additionally one reason behind mutual conduct.[10]

Need For Gender Neutral Laws

There have been several debates about whether there should be gender neutral laws available to the people of the country or not. Domestic violence is a type of gender – based violence that occurs within the social context of Women’s subordination and their familial bonds. Research from developed and developing countries has shown Domestic violence to be very common.

Domestic violence is a health, legal, economic, educational, and developmental and, above all, a human rights issue. The term ‘Domestic’ includes violence by an intimate partner and by other family member, wherever this violence takes place and in whatever form.


Domestic violence is not a new phenomenon. It has been hidden behind the walls of the home. Those within do not wish to speak about it and those outside do not want to hear it. Women in general, the victims of violence, the families, the community, the courts, the police and the government all seem to be one in keeping it under wraps.

Each has a rationale from family honour, intimate relationship, dependency, and the right to personal / family privacy to the complexity of proving and implementing the law. Women have been accustomed to bear with Domestic violence without any protest.

Social practices, customs, beliefs, myths and patriarchy foundations. From a theoretical perspective the causes of violence have been broadly classified under biological determinates including hormonal factors; intra – psychic determinants that include personality characteristics of both the victim and the perpetrator ; behaviouristic  positions that focus on factors such as accepting other anger, faulty processing of social information, and so on .

The anti-dowry law is not a fool proof legislation. The legislative intention, clearly, is to check the menace of dowry death with a firm hand. However, it would be highly inappropriate to think that mere passing of a law would automatically lead to prevention of deep- rooted social problem. Hence, there is a truth in saying that “society enacts progressive laws to save its conscience, it does not expect them to be implemented”.

However, it is to be admitted here that in respect of social legislation, mere the law remain a ‘dead letter’. Hence, non- formal justice delivery system is the best option. It is regrettable that the judiciary instead of denouncing dowry openly supported the prevailing customary practice.

This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.


1)    Panda, P. and Agarwal, B. 2005. Marital violence, Human Development and Women’s Property Status in India. World Development. 23(5): 823-850.

2)    Panda, P. 2004. Domestic violence Against Women in Kerala. Kerala Research Programme on Local Level Development Centre for Development Studies. 6: 1-44.

3)    Koenig, A. M., et al. 2006. Individual and Contextual Determinants of Domestic violence in North India. American Journal of Public Health. 96(1): 132-138.

4)    Martin L. S. et al. 1999. Domestic violence in Northern India. American Journal of Epidemiology. 150(4): 417-426.

5)    UNICEF. 2000. Domestic violence Against Women And Girls. UNICEF Innocenti Digest. 6: 1-29.


[1]Dr. G.B women and the law, edition 2012, Gogia law Agency, pg no.144-G


[3] Ali TS, Khan N.  Strategies and recommendations for prevention and control of domestic violence against women.  J Pak Med Assoc. 2007 Jan; 57(1):27-32.

[4] AIR 1995, SC,126Pg 45

[5] National crime records agency. com


[7] Times of India article- https;//




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