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September 16th, 2004, 11:41 PM
Domestic Violence against Women in Haryana
Dr R.S.Dahiya
Domestic violence is not only a public health issue but also a universal problem. Violence within the four walls of home is taking place everywhere irrespective of economic status, culture, religion, class and ethnicity. Violence against women can be seen sadly in every corner-on the streets, at homes and in places of work. It is a grave social problem that threatens the safety, equality and bodily integrity of every women. Domestic violence must be looked at in the context of our social attitudes rather than solely as an individual problem.
Controlling attitude
Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors aimed at gaining power in order to control an intimate partner. It is not just about hitting or punching. It is a pattern of assaultive and coercive behavior including psychological, sexual and physical abuse. Domestic violence can be defined as violent or controlling behavior by a person towards a partner, usually a wife, girlfriend, or love. Although the partner is the primary target, violence is often directed towards children as well, and sometimes towards family members, friends, and even bystanders in attempts to control their partner. This is further complicated by a common belief that violent acts are an expression of love and merely a desire to help the subject be a “ better” person.
The definition of violence would include all acts of “ physical, verbal, visual or sexual abuse that are experienced by a women or girl as threats, invasion or assaults and that have the effect of hurting her, or degrading her and /or taking away her ability to control contact(intimate or otherwise) with another individual”.( Koss et al.1994). Such a definition more fully captures all the different processes by which women undergo subordination within intimate relations and fits more directly into a human rights perspective. Despite widespread prevalence, such violence is not customarily acknowledged and has remained invisible. In Haryana authority of the male as the head of household is unquestionable historically also. Violence is perceived as part of the discipline essential for maintaining the rule of authority within the family.
Myths, facts and statistics
Myth 1: Domestic violence does not affect many people.
Fact: a women is beaten every 1 minute in the world. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 in the USA which is more than car accidents(Uniform Crime Reports, Federal bureau of Investigation,1991). Battered women are more likely to suffer miscarriages and to give birth to babies with low birth weights(Surgeon General, United States,1992)
Myth 2: Battering is only a momentary loss of temper.
Fact: Battering is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. The batterer uses act of violence and a series of behaviors including intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, isolation ,etc. to coerce and to control the other person. The violence may not happen often, but it remains as a hidden,(and constant) terrorizing factor.( Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation,1990).
Myth 3: Domestic violence only occurs in poor, urban areas.
Fact 3: Women of all cultures, races, occupations, income, levels, and ages are battered---by husbands, boyfriends, lovers and partners.
Myth 4: Domestic violence is just a push, slap or punch---it does not produce serious injuries.
Fact 4: More than 25% of women who are battered are often severely injured who visit medical emergency rooms. One in four pregnant women has a history of partner violence(Journal of the American Medical Association,1992).
Myth 5: It is easy for battered women to leave their abuser.
Fact 5: women who leave their batterers are at a 75% greater risk of being killed or tortured by the batterer than those who stay.( Barbara hart, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1998).
National Scenario
Violence against women has its roots in unequal social structures and is further intensified by social and economic inequalities that are brought in by increasing privatization and globalization. There are very few studies done on domestic violence in India. According to the national Crimes Record Bureau, Ministry of Home affairs, government of India, a shocking 71.5% increase in cases of torture and dowry deaths during the period from 1991 to 1995 and it clearly reflected an increase in reporting of violence. In 1995, torture of women constituted 29.2 per cent of all reported crimes against women. As far as our country is concerned, majority of dowry victims are forced to commit suicide and mostly forced by women of older age .The national family Health Survey(NFHS-2), 1998-1999, found that at least one in five women experienced physical violence since age 15 and at least one in nine experienced such violence in the12 months preceding the survey(IIPS and ORC Macro2002).

Domestic Violence against women in Haryana:
Respecting women and motherhood is very much part of the Haryanvi culture we boast of lavishly. But what is happening to our women, girls and children today is a blot on our culture and the Haryana’s conscience. The argument that violence is happening everywhere in the world is no justification. It makes us all hang our heads in shame. Too many selective sex abortions, too many murders, too many rapes, too many cases of sexual abuse , too many cases of Honor Killing, too many cases of molestation have disfigured Haryana and its fair name. It has serious implications, especially on health. If women’s health is endangered, the whole fabric of society may be torn apart, and the even tenor of life will be disturbed. Stories about sexual harassement or violence within homes abound the media reports and include female genital mutilation (FGM); forced feeding of women; early marriage; the various taboos or practices which prevent women from controlling their own fertility; nutritional taboos and traditional birth practices; son preference and its implications for the status of the girl child; female infanticide; early pregnancy; and dowry price.
Haryana being culturally backward and feudal society, is now in a transition phase. Modern thought and scientific temper are not the guiding force in day today life. Even the educated people, scientists and science teachers have not absorbed scientific temper though they are using science as their livelihood. Under the influence of market driven society at large in the world, Haryana society is also becoming a consumerist society without shedding its older backward culture and feudal ideas. On the top of this easy money has accumulated with a few people in cities and villages as well in the last 10-15 years earned through black-marketing, liquor sale, grabbing and sale of lands and other corrupt means. This is the dominating group which have influence over closed society of Haryana where women is taken as a commodity and not a human being. Haryana women suffer the most crippling disability while having to bear a disproportionate burden of household work. Emotional abuse fuel the situation. All short of violence against women are on increase as is clear from the statistics of one districts of Haryana. Son preference is very deep rooted in Haryana which is at the cost of girl child. Murdering a girl in the womb of the mother has been an accepted practice in most of the homes. The declining sex ration in Haryana is a testimony to this crime. Sex Ratio in educated people of Haryana is 617. Very alarming indeed! This shows that the present education does not bring in gender sensitization and hence it is gender blind. It should be gender friendly.women’s oppression does not seem to end only with economic progress or with education. Beating of wife is very common. There is a saying in Haryana—“lugai ke gudi pachhe mat hose. Isne kabu mein rakhan khatar do jante han dhardaya aur do ake dhar dayo”. Rape by the known persons and relations in the families is increasing though the studies on Haryana society are difficult to be traced. Patriarch Monarch like behavior is a very common feature of the society here . Bride burning is very common. Most of the women admitted in the PGIMS Rohtak with serious burns are married between the age group of 15-35.Dowary Deaths are on increase in Haryana. Even dowry torture cases are increasing. One argument raised by the backward thought people is that this law is being misused. These very forces have never raised the voice against misuse of other laws e.g in murder cases the names of so many persons are implicated many times but these forces never raise their voice. Because of gender bias they are raising voice against dowry act.
Sexual harassment is also on increase in the families. Honor Killing of young girls and boys in families has been there but is on increase these days. Janwadi Mahila Samiti has case studies of 18 such cases.

One factor must be kept in mind that a good many cases of domestic violence does not get reported.

Why donot victims just leave?

One very important reason why women don’t just leave an abusive relationship is the very real fear that they will be harmed if they try to leave. The perpetrator will threaten the women as well as other family members including children. She may not have the financial means to support herself and their children. The victim may feel that the children need an intact family. She may have religious or cultural beliefs that the family must remain intact at all costs. She may believe that violence is because of her fault. She may still love the perpetrator and succumb to his promises never to let it happen again. It is a vicious circle. Victimised women may not admit that the injuries they have received are the result of abuse even if they are asked. They may fear retaliation if they tell. She may be unable to talk freely because the perpetrator is present.

Long and short term relief measures:
There is no ready made immediate solution of this deep rooted social problem.
A comprehensive understanding of the problem of domestic violence in all its spheres is very essential while formulating effective and sustainable intervention strategies against women violence. The problem lies in the deeply disrespectful, even contemptuous attitude towards the fair sex. Unless men’s mindset changes, the status of women will not change for the better. This includes identifying the victims and perpetrators the evident risk and protective factors, the common outcomes of violence, and the real needs of survivors.
A great deal of violence in the home is neither constant nor random. It occurs in a defined cycle. If this is the pattern in one’s home, understanding the cycle can help clarify what makes you a victim, and when and how you can get help to break the cycle.
Anybody who comes into contact with the people should be on the alert for the signs of domestic violence that includes doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, lawyers and other resource persons.If a person knows where to go for necessary help, some of the frustration and confusion can be eliminated.
But long term solutions still rest with gender friendly education. Children living in abusive households will have to be extended specialized support. One way we can stop the cycle is by teaching children in school that they don’t need to use violence. Teaching healthy communication skills is a long term way to help. Educating men about women that they are equal and that men cannot use violence to get what they want is important.

How to Reduce domestic violence?

The following steps may help in reducing domestic violence:
Ø Establishment of short stay homes to provide immediate needs.
Ø Advocating preventive measures by monitoring existing cases, creating opportunities for economic self reliance, consciousness- raising(drawing the attention of community to the fatal consequences of domestic violence) and creating an awareness among the community and mobilizing them to stop domestic violence with the use of street theatre and folk songs.
Ø The availability of a wide range of accessible quality services together with interventions that seek to challenge the broader social and economic context that exacerbates the imbalance in power between men and women.
Ø It is very essential to involve the community in the design and implementation of intervention strategies. The success of any community-based project mainly depends on the full involvement of the community which will not only be effective but also sustainable in the long run.

September 17th, 2004, 04:17 PM
This is just a magnificient weave of ideas on a social problem sustaining in our society. The gravity of the situation has been so plausibly opened up with extreme care. Thankyou Dr. Dahiya for posting it on this site, I really admire the efforts you have put in the article.

The facts and figures mentioned in your article are distressing.Essentially,a great deal of endeavours is needed to eradicate the menace from the grassroot levels of our society. Though my thoughts go very well in agreement with your solutions of how this trouble could be sorted out. But I would definitely like to add : First and foremost females need to be educated intensively on this matter. The submissive nature of females is generated due to lack of confidence and encouragement they receive from family members. Indeed Iam strong believer in the fact that primarily the error lies with female attitude. Though women is well educated but still is naive in family bonds and her resistivity and tolerance to the member of same sex is also matter of question. This is supported by the fact that the dowry violence/deaths are instigated and catalysed by elderly females of the household. However, we are also responsible to teach our sons how to respect the fairer sex. Well if in all the situations if women is deprived of right and jeopardised by a women, it is imperative for women to change her attitude and respect herself , since she is the soul of family and society. And if this change is observed, many related stigmas will eventually evaporate in no time.

September 17th, 2004, 04:46 PM
Katu satya.. TRUE FACTS!!

Welcome to JATLAND.COM

September 17th, 2004, 05:48 PM
Dear Dr. Dahiya and other respectable members,

This is very important topic and needs to be debated in all its aspects and with utmost seriousness. Dr Dahiya has put forward some very important observations on the subject. I would like to loo at this from a different perspective;

1. Violence againts woman is universal in nature and is prevalent in rich and poor all. If I take this obseravtion on its face value then we will have to look somewhat deeper into the man-woman relationship. What is it between two which leads to this menifestation of behaviour? Why man wants to rule over woman? Why is it that woman has not been able to understand man's behaviour and deal with him intelligently? Why is it than man considers female child as a liability? Let me attemt to put forward my views on all thse to best of my understanding;

1. Why man does not consider woman as equal: Women have been called by many biological names like fair sex, weaker sex etc. I do not know how these terms originated, but there must be some merits in ther meanings. All relationships in universe are like physical-chemical bonds and require the investment of energy from the from the parties involved. Simple laws of nature dictate the dynamics of all relationships. Things always revolve around the one who has the strongest pul. If women are the weaker sex, certainly it is the man who is the pulling force and things revolve around him. Energy contributed by two sides is the most fasic factor which decides the stability of this structure. Any energy varaitaions lead to imablances. Imbalances can be corrected only by proportionate contributions from other members in the structure. If those contributins do not come forward, whole strucure oscilates and creates insecurity. Insecurity leads to behavioural changes and which in turn become the root cause of violence. Since most of the time man feels that its the woman who gets fatigued and demands more energy from the man to stabilize the strucure, man holds her responsible (might be man's imaginary thinking).

2. Most feminist would blame the man for all this violence and call it lack because of lack of education and poor brought up or whatvere. But I do not agree to this view. All male and female children spend all their formative years under the watchful eyes of mothers. By this one would assume that all kids should have been moulded to take care of the female feelings and be gentle and protective to them. However, this are otherwise. This means that it is the inherent biology of the two and not the education and brought alone which contributes to violence.

3. Can violence ever be stopped?..my answer is a big no..No amount of law or lesiglation can prevent it. The reason being simple that unless two sex are able to maintain their individual level of energy contributions into the relationship, violence will continue menifesting in various forms. Since man feels that female is a week partner, he tends to look for alternative in male offsprings and female also supports him in this mission, thereby leading to the killing of female child.

In summary, the issue originates from the basic biology of two and does not have an easy solution. Even if we can get rid of physical violence, man will continue discounting woman's role in relationship if she is a drain on his energies...this will be like silence torture to the woman.. I can think only one way of addressing this problem where one bases his hypothesis on a composit system and not on relation. If we start considering man and woman both as integrated components of a system and not the one who are related by some social relations, things will be easier to understand and mange. In the model like I am talking, each componet has a vital role to play.the role is independent of the strength or energy contribution from either side. To make my views clear, one take help of many examples. Let us look at the role of fingers in human body. Each finger is much weaker than the hand. However, one needs the figers to accomplish the various tasks. Our education system has to take an intelligent way of presenting the roles of males and females in society and not just based upon weaker or stronger sex theories..


September 18th, 2004, 11:13 AM
Dear Dr. Dahiyaji and Rajendraji,

Domestic violence is a reality all over the world and it has become an epidemic in India. But, I am personally of the view that only those people who have some inherent weakness, mental or physical, tend to be more aggressive against women as by doing so they try to hide their weaknesses. For example, my own younger brother used to bash up his wife at one pretext or the other. The matter came to me. I scolded my brother and spontaneously uttered the word "bhai jo namarad hote hai woh aurat pe hath thaya kare, tu namard tha tai byah na karta". This had the desired effect and not even once he has fought with her thereafter. I am sure if learned people like you impress upon masses that indulging in violence against women is a weakness, I am sure it will definitely have some effect as bascially every man is egoistic.