Despair And Hope In The Times Of Domestic Violence In India

Domestic violence in India is increasingly becoming a familiar reality in the lives of women. Here are some stories of despair, and hope.

Keeping in mind the gruesome incidents that have taken place over the years against women, many of us would come to the conclusion that a woman’s safest abode is her home. Think again. The danger could be lurking in our own homes – women’s lives can be in grave danger at the hands of their abusive husbands, partners, and in-laws, too.

I chose to write about domestic violence in India, is because it’s the story of so many Indian women, or at least the ones who I personally know. Most of us have experienced it first-hand, in some form or the other in our own marriages, or have witnessed it happening to our own sisters, mothers and friends.

If the abuse did not emanate from the husband, then it perhaps was from the in-laws or other members of the family. And it’s painful to see our loved ones suffering unnecessarily in the name of family tradition and values. This article has woven together a few stories to understand the problem from a woman’s perspective.

Staying in abusive marriages

I’ve seen many women staying in the marriage for years; they’ve suffered at the hands of the tormentor, hoping to see light at the end of the tunnel. But for this lady, things took a turn for the worse. Years after the violence, she’s still not healed and the effects last even today. Here’s her story : Forever Broken. The message I got after reading her story is that if we don’t exit the abusive relationship in time, the effects can leave scars for a lifetime.

What are the other reasons a woman stays in an abusive marriage? This piece opines that The Stockholm Syndrome could be one of the strange reasons. I’ve heard about the Stockholm Syndrome often, in which victims or captives display loyalty and compassion to their captors. True incidents where captives have done so have been brought to light in this interesting article.

A similar scenario occurs in many marriages, where wives think it is justifiable for the husband to beat her. She becomes a victim of domestic violence; she does not retaliate but becomes submissive to this treatment.

Coping with domestic violence

Seeking help from family and friends, at this painful juncture of their lives, seems the most reasonable act for the victim. However, many families suffering as a result of domestic violence in India do not whole-heartedly accept their daughters back, fearing societal pressures and financial burden. Fortunately, Meena found immense support from her own family. Here is Meena’s Story of domestic violence. The physical torture inflicted on her was unfathomable. She chose poetry to give her solace and relieve her of endless pain.

Thousands of Indian women who belong to the poorer sections of our society battle domestic violence everyday. They are usually illiterate with no knowledge about social organizations and social media that can be used in their favour. Considering this, their stories of violence commence and culminate with their lives. But there are exceptions. One such example is the story of Jayalakshmi – a maid who fights domestic violence every day of her life.

But despite the suffering shooting at her from all corners of life, she doesn’t fail to have a sense of humour. And guess what! She’s made progress. Read her inspiring and a Common Enough Story. With education, food, and support from their mother, the future looks bright for her children.

The effect of domestic violence on children

However, some children are not fortunate enough. The vicious effect of domestic violence does not stay between the husband and wife. It can have drastic effects on the kids of the household. Our children imbibe the values they visually perceive. How would a child feel upon seeing his own mother abused? What values will they grow up with?

Author Karthika S Nair reveals a chilling story of the impact of domestic violence on children. It’s based on a real incident. A family In The Dark: The Vicious Effects Of Domestic Violence is a must read.

The impact of domestic violence on kids was being discussed on Oprah Winfrey’s show and a video was displayed, which shows a mother being abused by her husband in front of her children. This is a real video filmed by the son, on orders from the father.

Have a look at this startling video:

How domestic abuse damages children (Oprah Winfrey Network)

This next video, presented by Maitri India, provides startling statistics of Indian women who’ve been victims of violence. Have a quick look:

Domestic Violence presented by Maitri India( Video)

Seeking help in case of domestic violence in India

Indian women can seek help under the Domestic Violence Act 2005, however we’ve seen that many women are hesitant to come forward and report the incidents. Probably, due to the insensitivity in handling these cases. It’s painful for the victim to go through the whole trauma, by narrating the incidents once again. Here’s some guidance on seeking help against domestic violence in India

The law and order machinery must address this issue which continues to be spoken of in hushed tones. A special task force can be created to handle these cases with sensitivity. Women’s support systems can be established to help the victims of domestic violence in India, so that more and more women can come forward to report the cases.

A detailed survey on the status of women across India can also be conducted from time to time. The guilty should be strictly punished, as that would stand as an example for other abusers to think twice before abusing a woman. They should shudder at the thought of touching or hitting a woman. And this law should be clearly defined, so that women can use it in their favour across all states of India.

Victims need to seek help when the situation escalates. Help is just a click away. Here are links that lead to helpline numbers, beneficial to women, men, and kids in distress.

Jagori Helpline

Bell Bajao resources

Helpline numbers in Andhra Pradesh 

Delhi Helpline Numbers

Bengaluru Helpline Numbers

Jointly launched by Aks Foundation and Neo-Gandhian Aid Organizations India (NGAOI) — 8793088814 /15 /16

Domestic Violence Helpline.com – +91 9423827818

 

Pic credit: Image of a woman crying via Shutterstock

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3 Comments


  1. Pingback: Despair And Hope In The Times Of Domestic Violence | Diana's Musings

  2. Great post Diana ! very relevant and its a burning issue, agree with everything you wrote, recently I presented a paper on counseling women in Domestic violence. I have also blogged on this topic, I am glad that you have expressed it so well, you can add the number of YWCA, secunderabad 040-27891909 & MAKRO Foundation which is a helpline with 040-46004600 for women who want help in hyderabad. Thanks for sharing !

    • Diana Pinto

      Thanks Genevive and it feels good to know that you are working with victims of domestic violence. We need more people like you, who could work with the less fortunate.Thank you so much for sharing the numbers, as It would be a great source of help to many women here.

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