Men’s expression of masculinity is also closely linked to control women in their family and ensuring that women fulfil expected roles. Women who do not fulfil required roles or who challenge men’s actions threaten men’s masculinity, often resulting in a violent reaction. It was always the ‘wives who triggered violent reactions’, either because they didn’t comply with their part of the marital contract or because they “reacted with energy” when the man did not fulfil his energy or expectations. Situations, where the wife confronted the man in front of his family or friends, were especially likely to provoke violence.
Violence against men is not considered serious because of its different manifestation. In most cases of violence against men, women use more mental, verbal, and emotional violence and abuse and are involved less in physical violence. The impact of violence against men is less apparent and is less likely to come to the attention of others. A significant number of men are over sensitive to emotional and psychological abuse.
In some cases, humiliating a man emotionally in front of others can be more devastating than physical abuse. Mental and emotional abuse can be an area where women are often more brutal than men. However, what hurts a man mentally and emotionally can in some cases be very different from what hurts a woman. For some men, being called a coward, impotent, or a failure can have a very different psychological impact than it would have on a woman. Unkind and cruel words hurt in different ways and linger in different ways. In most cases, men are more deeply affected by emotional abuse than physical abuse.
The biggest issue- Reporting a case of abuse or harassment by a Man against a Woman
Men need to keep their emotions in check or be ready to face backlash by the society for being less of a man. This is the conventional belief and perception that separates male and female in terms of expression of their feelings. It can be a matter of shame for men to disclose their suffering in a man-dominated society, as it can be perceived as ‘‘feminine behaviour.’’ If a married man discloses his suffering to his friend or his family, he fears loneliness and has fear of loss of patriarchy and divorce from his wife or dominating behaviour of his wife. It also has ill effects on his family and children and responsibility toward them. Because of this, men start living in distress and cannot disclose their feelings to anybody. Unavailability of a strong support system (counselling services, institutional support, helpline, family support, etc.) is another factor.
Any case of violence or abuse in a relationship has very significant long term effects for the individual who might choose to remain a silent victim. It may have a different manifestation in individuals’ health such as physical, psychological, social, and economic. If inadequate attention is given, it may lead to prolonged habits of alcoholism, increased homosexuality, stress, frustration, suicide, and the like.
Provisions of Indian Penal Code Presume men can never be the victim of rape or violence
Indian Legislation has failed to accept that men can also be victims of sexual violence and physical assault. The very Section 375 of IPC dealing with rape and legal provisions against it mentions no rapes, sexual assaults against men. The provision in reality almost always translates to this- if there has been a rape, the only a woman can be the victim and a man can only be the perpetrator.
Indian Penal code Act (1860) Sections 354 A, 354 B, 354 C and 354 D, new amendments in (2013) deal with sexual harassment, disrobing, stalking and voyeurism accept women as victim and men as the executor.
There is only one IPC Section 377, crippled in itself that records the sexual violence against men but it incorporates only penile sexual intercourse; non-penile abuse victims are not served by this law. It won’t be wrong to say that these sections work as the mirror to the way of thinking which the society carries
Relief under Domestic Violence Act
Section 3 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 states that what constitutes domestic violence according to which domestic violence shall include: -
- Threats to health, safety, life etc, whether mental or physical, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse and economic abuse; or
- Harassment through any forms such as harms, injuries to the aggrieved person by coercing her or any other person related to any unlawful demand for dowry or other property or valuable security; or
- Otherwise injuring or causing harm, through physical or mental means to the aggrieved person.
Domestic Violence Is Gender Neutral
Not only men, but women can also be prosecuted under the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence (DV) Act. The Supreme Court has struck down the words “adult male” from the pertinent provision in the DV Act to lay down that a woman can also file a complaint against another woman, accusing her of domestic violence.
Under Section 2(q) of the 2005 Act, a complaint can be made only against an “adult male person”, thereby insulating women from being accused of offences mentioned under the law.
“The microscopic difference between male and female, adult and non-adult, regard being had to the object sought to be achieved by the 2005 Act, is neither real or substantial nor does it have any rational relation to the object of the legislation. In fact, the words ‘adult male person’ are contrary to the object of affording protection to women who have suffered from domestic violence of any kind,” held the bench.
It underlined that the classification of “adult male person” subverted the doctrine of equality by restricting the reach of a social beneficial statute meant to protect women against all forms of domestic violence.
“We, therefore, strike down the words ‘adult male’ before the word ‘person’ in Section 2(q), as these words discriminate between persons similarly situated, and far from being in tune with, are contrary to the object sought to be achieved by the 2005 Act,” ruled the court.
Domestic violence can be said to be gender neutral in India because according to the research and studies it is clear that the number of men and women who commit violence toward each other is equal with respect to the analysis of these studies but apart from this it has also been found out that women are more likely to report act of violence than men in India. The reason for the violence both in men and women are different as men turn into violence when they feel a sense of powerlessness such as when they are not able to overcome what they want and women turn violent when they are frustrated or do not get their spouse’s attention.
Domestic violence can be defined by four broad categories- Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Verbal and Emotional Abuse and Economic Abuse.
Under the Domestic Violence Act, physical abuse means – causing bodily harm, danger to life, limb or health or development of the aggrieved person. This includes assault, criminal intimidation and criminal force.
The definition of sexual abuse explains – “conduct of a sexual nature that abuse, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of a woman”. This definition clearly denies justice to men and indirectly says that abuse, humiliation or violation of dignity cannot happen to a man.
This definition includes – “Insult, ridicule, humiliation, name-calling or especially insult for not having a child” or “repeated threat to cause physical pain to any person to whom the aggrieved person is related”.
The definition of economic abuse under this law is – “deprivation of all or any economic or financial resource to which the aggrieved person is entitled under any law or custom”. On the one hand, if the husband earns and he doesn’t pay to his wife it is domestic violence. But if the wife earns and she does not pay to the husband it is not regarded the same majority of women do not have to bear the responsibility of household affairs.
The times are changing, and attitudes need to change accordingly
Ever since the beginning people have been saying about how our society was male dominant, how man used to rule the world, how powers were vested in only one section of the society and another was simply neglected, heard read about all sorts of horrendous tortures activities that man used to carry out, but like all the fairy tales or in this scenario sob story time turned it’s tide in favour of the weaker section of the society, what one had never imagined to be possible is actually now creating havoc in the society.
The once powerful male dominant society has turned the table, the weaker section of society (as it was called before) had its fill of misery, sorrow, pain and dissertation. Power was given in the hands of women so that they can be at par with male dominant society or so can do much better than us, for a time being the decision felt right, vision was to see women standing with man not behind him anymore, but nevertheless incidents kept happening which forced the hands of lawmakers to take drastic measures in order to give women more power over man, now she doesn’t have to prove the wrong which was done to her instead he has to prove that he has done no wrong what so ever.
What can a man really do in a situation which could be like a nightmare? He can’t go and lodge a complaint because the society is going to ostracise him for not being manly enough. Going to court and getting a divorce for the cruelty of any kind is generally unheard of when the man is facing violence while getting the custody of children is altogether another issue.
Fortunately, there is a handful of NGO’s taking the initiative to help those men who are wronged or have suffered mental or physical agony. While there are debates going on as to not give absolute power in regards to domestic violence cases, make it a bailable offence, or a compoundable offence which can help the family to maybe reconcile. The flipside though is also very critical where legal experts agree that the powers granted to women to report any case of abuse cannot be taken away as at the end of the day such a stringent law does help women in need.
Abuse against men is no laughing matter. An organisation called the Save Indian Family Foundation meets once a week and every week, there are 4-5 new faces at these meetings. The demands of all harassed men are simply this: There must be a misuse clause added to the Domestic Violence Act and the law must be gender-neutral so that women can't falsely accuse their husbands. Additionally amending the Statues to give anonymity to male complainants and treating victims equally no matter what the gender is will also go a long way in bringing about equality and safety with respect to the laws dealing with abuse and domestic violence.
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