Ever since the imposition of lockdown, domestic violence or “violent behavior or aggression against a spouse/partner” is on the rise in India. The spike in numbers is startling in the least.
National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) suggests through their data that domestic violence cases are growing and Uttarakhand, Haryana, and Delhi are the top three states to record the highest number of domestic violence cases.
The generic supposition or interpretation of domestic violence is the imagery of women as victims and men as the perpetrators. There is no denying that in most cases, this is the layout of crimes but a Salt Lake case in Kolkata has proved us otherwise and brought to light the legitimate and ever-growing claim that men can be victims of violence and that of rape, which I have already covered.
As has been reported, the engineering couple lives in Salt Lake in Kolkata, and recorded video footage emerged of the wife of Jyotirmoy Majumder( husband and victim) beating him. She is seen slapping and thrashing him and kicking him on the face, stubbing cigarette ash on his body and is alleged to have thrown a mobile phone at his face and poked pins.
As far as the story goes various sources suggest that a few months ago he had left his old parents at Baidyabati to keep them safe from the pandemic. However, later, he brought his parents back home, after which this situation of domestic violence against him emerged.
In the video that surfaced, the wife accuses the victim of lying on her face and of ruining their conjugal life. She further is seen stating that when an entire colony is aware, she is not dependent on his news and thereby administering a good beating on him.
Although the broken conversation is difficult to follow, it is claimed that the wife was extremely dissatisfied with her in-laws coming over to their house without notice and alleged that they were Corona Virus carriers.
This however is untrue as Jyotirmoy stated that his parents traveled from an orange zone to their house which was in a red zone area. His old parents, moreover, had medical certificates sanctioned by governmental organizations.
The ulterior motive as is being assumed is that the wife disliked her in-laws residing with them and this beating was not a one-off incident but rather a regularly administered one, after which the husband decided to record the entire incident.
On moving to the police station, they refused him FIR stating the absence of legal proceedings, and that law was slanted towards women. Later, as is being reported, with the pressure from his advocate, some bailable charges were recorded against his wife. She was not summoned and the husband later decided to move to the court.
This is a strange yet classic example of domestic violence only that here the victim is a man.
“When we present the grim statistics of harassment, rape, and violence of males based on the cases we receive every day as opposed to several women commissions, we are never taken seriously. Male victims never speak up because of the social shame attached to it. The police refuse to take up their cases, rather the victim is criminalized by the Police. In almost every such case falsified charges are engineered against the victim when approached by their wives. Their large non-cooperation is unfortunate. Men and women are above all humans, both subject to the same pain and violence, and therefore deserve the same remedy. If society, aware of what happens, ignores the cases of domestic violence and torture, we need to take up the cause. I personally can prove cases of violence against males and the large inaction of the police,” commented Gaurab Roy, Chairman, Avijan Welfare and Charitable Trust.
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is the act that came into force in October 2006. The definition of domestic violence has been set incorporating not just physical violence, but also economic, emotional, and sexual ones. It allows a woman to file a petition against an “adult male”.
Later in the Hiralal P. Harsora vs. Kusum Narottamdas Harsora case of 2016, the Supreme Court widened the scope of the act to now allow the relatives of the husband, male or female, to be booked under it. This change came about when charges were denied to be registered against the female relatives of the man. Now, the woman can file complaints even against her mother-in-law or her daughters. This amendment has made the act partially gender neutral but again far from it including the husband and his relatives only.
This however fails to provide Jyotirmoy with any remedy for the violation of his rights and thereby the urge to make section 498a of IPC gender-neutral is well placed.
The Indian Constitution allows special provisions to be made for women, children, and also for members of reserved castes under Article 15. This however cannot come at the expense of someone else’s human and fundamental rights. Basic political theory and its understanding suggest that one can enjoy one’s fundamental rights until it violates or infringes upon someone else’s of his, which then becomes illegal.
Since there are overwhelming evidence of men being perpetrators of domestic abuse and rape in general, laws against them are only natural and obvious. This, in no reasonable way, limits the legislators from making laws to provide a remedy for male rights violations.
Criminology suggests that a crime is an act of violation and gender-neutral in itself. There is nothing such as a gender-specific crime and can be committed by any human being. It is in the cases of crimes over time which suggests that some sections of our demography are more vulnerable towards it than the other. This does not discount the responsibility of the legislators to make the laws for those, whose rights are rarely violated but violated nonetheless.
Suggested time and again, laws should not just be based on the intensity or increasing number of crimes against a particular section, but also to provide safety to all individuals of our society irrespective of gender, age or sexual orientation.
As long as societies continue to exist, parallelly possible are the chances of rights violations of men, women, and transgenders alike. But laws cannot just remedy female/male rights violations and ignore the rest.
“An act of violation is illegal and a “wrong is a wrong” in any given space and time and against any gender, for that matter. No change, amendment, or legalization can be witnessed without men speaking out and reporting the incidents,” Gaurab Roy told The Eastern Herald.
Referring to the “Goldilock’s dilemma” of how much is too much and what exactly is the right amount to set the wheels of change in motion? As of now, silence and in the long run, time is its answer.