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Domestic Violence

Written by: Arohan Pattnaik

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence or domestic abuse is violence in a domestic setting. In other words people in the domestic circle like partners, ex-partners family friends, and other relatives. The intention behind such violence is to maintain the power structure within a household, normally such violence is carried out with women Physical, verbal, emotional, economic, religious, reproductive, or sexual abuse can take a variety of forms, ranging from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and other violent physical abuse, such as choking, beating, female genital mutilation, and acid throwing, which can cause disfigurement or death. Stoning, bride burning, honour killing, and dowry death are examples of domestic murder that sometimes involve non-cohabiting family members.

Forms of domestic abuse

Defined in section 3 of the domestic violence act,2005 as follows :

Physical abuse: is probably the most prominently visible and seen form of domestic violence against women. this type of violence includes the likes of all acts which not only cause harm to one's body but can also threaten their life, there are cases wherein the health of the victim has been severely affected. Not only health but cases wherein limbs, hands, and development of the victim have taken a beating. It has been defined in the Domestic Violence Act. A few examples of tortures which are defined in the act to be constituted as physical abuse are assault, criminal force, and criminal intimidation.

Sexual abuse: Any form of sexual/reproductive coercion against women is deemed to be constituted as sexual abuse. Thus the concept of marital rape comes within the ambit of sexual abuse. But in a nation like India, unlike other countries wherein there are provisions framed for marital rape, marital rape is considered out of the scope of law unless the wife is below 15 years of age. In a nutshell, according to the Domestic Violence Act, Any form of abuse of sexual nature that humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of a woman, shall be considered sexual abuse.

Verbal and emotional abuse: Verbal abuse and emotional abuse are fairly related, one could say one leads to another, normally it's seen as verbal abuse leads to an emotional one and are thus interrelated. This sort of abuse is one of the most common types of abuse and is considered one of the major reasons for depreciating the self-worth and esteem of women. The combination of verbal and emotional abuse leads to psychological abuse. Remarks/threats, use of foul language and demeaning of an individual all come under this title, a growing topic of discussion while referring to domestic violence against women.

Economic abuse: It is considered one of the most remarkable and notable steps by the government to introduce this form of abuse in the Domestic Violence Act. This was overlooked before but due to an increase and notable rise of such cases steps have been taken to raise awareness of such topics. In this form of abuse, it's common for the husband to be threatening or maybe depriving the victim and her children of the use of financial resources/assets, forcing her to believe in lesser rights and imposing an inferiority complex over her which by the law is not allowed.

Causes of domestic violence

Sociological/Behavioral Factors: Anger issues/aggressive attitude, economic hardships and struggle, dominating nature, inequality in status between the individuals, addiction, upbringing, and psychological instability (bi depression, stress, etc.) are among the sociological, behavioural, and cultural aspects. Domestic violence is exacerbated by the neglect of conjugal responsibilities as a result of extramarital affairs or a lack of trust.

Historical Factors: tracing back to the inherent evil of patriarchy and the superiority complex that men have played a role in domestic violence.

Religious Factors: Religious sanctifications reflect a subtle sort of dominance over women, if not an overt and obvious dominance. Domestic violence against women is also exacerbated as a result of this.

Cultural Factors: the desire for a male child. This obsession has been prevalent in the backward society for centuries. Due to a lack of awareness and spread of knowledge and education, women in some parts of India still face this challenge in this day and age. Inherent male superiority leads to the perpetration of domestic violence against women. This is just one of the examples which are included in such factors.

Dowry: normally seen as a socio-cultural element. However, due to the high number of incidences of domestic violence stemming from dowry demand, it is necessary to describe it individually. This was also recognized by Parliament since dowry-related domestic violence has been designated as a distinct category within the Domestic Violence Act's definition of abuse resulting in domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Act,2005

Any woman who has been harmed or who has seen domestic violence can go to the nearest police station, protection officer, or service provider under the Domestic Violence Act. To implement its instructions, the court can appoint a protection officer. The protection officer is a unique position intended to act as a link between domestic violence victims and the system. Domestic Violence Act orders of relief can also be obtained by filing a complaint directly with the magistrate. Anyone who informs the appropriate authorities of a criminal offence is exempt from civil or criminal liability.

The court must have a hearing within three days of the complaint being filed. If the court determines that the allegation is true, it will issue a protective order.

A complaint can also be brought under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, which defines matrimonial cruelty as a crime with a criminal penalty.

Are women the only ones who face domestic violence?

For the Domestic Violence Act, 2005.No provisions have been laid down for men to lodge cases of domestic violence against women. This is largely because the Act is primarily welfare legislation. Nevertheless, if an aggrieved man feels the need, he can file for Divorce/Judicial Separation on the ground of Cruelty, given under Section 13(1)(i)(a) of the Hindu Marriage Act(2).

In recent times the Supreme Court of India has recognized and identified the need for reforms in the Indian domestic violence laws, laying down further provisions for the protection of men from acts of domestic violence.

Cruelty and violence against men should be recognized by law in clear words for a gender-neutral society. Additionally, with the decriminalization of homosexuality in India, it becomes pertinent that the domestic violence advocacy for men’s right to protection from domestic violence gains traction.

Case laws which show men face domestic violence too with facts and judgement :

  • Narayan Ganesh Dastane V. Sucheta Narayan Dastane[1]

  • Hiral P Harsora vs Kusum Narottamdas Harsor[2]

Consequences of domestic violence

If we have to talk about Domestic Violence against women and what could be consequences to the individual we got to delve deep into the different forms it could affect them, the first is long term or how a person suffers from such torture in the long run and the second is short term physical and mental harm. Not only women but if the couple has children they too suffer from these acts, it affects their thought processes, and beliefs especially in marriage as an institution, and creates a negative impression on a child’s vulnerable memory.

Short-Term Physical Consequences: The physical consequences of violence can range from small injuries to catastrophic illnesses. Bruises, wounds, broken bones, and injury to organs and other body components are examples. Some physical ailments are difficult or impossible to detect without scans, x-rays, or other tests performed by a doctor or nurse. Long-term emotional and verbal abuse may have an impact on a woman's and her children's moods in their daily tasks, as well as impair their efficiency.

Long-Term Consequences: Violence against women, whether sexual or physical, is linked to a variety of long-term health issues. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, and Anxiety are some of the long-term mental health consequences of violence against women. Substance abuse and drug addiction may result as a result of this. Sexual abuse can cause irreversible damage as well as a loss of self-esteem.

Conclusion :

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviours by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation. Domestic violence has many forms including physical aggression (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects); it can also be sexual or emotional. The main causes of domestic violence will depend on the abuser back ground such as Witnessing abuse as a child, Was a victim of abuse as a child, being abused by former partners, and maybe because of Unemployed or underemployment, Poverty or poor living situations.


  1. Narayan Ganesh Dastane V. Sucheta Narayan Dastane:

  2. Hiral P Harsora vs Kusum Narottamdas Harsor :

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