Domestic Violence in India

Domestic Violence may primarily be defined into 4 classes, a) Physical Abuse, b) Emotional & Verbal Abuse, c) Sexual Abuse and d) Economic Abuse.

Mock Domestic Violence

As per section 3 of the The Protection Of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act), the definition of the various categories of domestic violence are [i]

Physical Abuse: means any act or conduct which is of such a nature as to cause bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, limb, or health or impair the health or development of the aggrieved person and includes assault, criminal intimidation and criminal force.

Sexual Abuse: includes any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of the person.

Verbal and Emotional abuse includes-

  • insults, ridicule, humiliation, name calling and insults
  • repeated threats to cause physical pain to any person in whom the aggrieved person is interested.

Economic Abuse includes-

  • deprivation of all or any economic or financial resources to which the aggrieved person is entitled under any law or custom whether payable under an order of a court or otherwise or which the aggrieved person requires out of necessity
  • disposal of household effects, any alienation of assets whether movable or immovable, valuables, shares, securities, bonds and the like or other property in which the aggrieved person has an interest or is entitled to use by virtue of the domestic relationship
  • prohibition or restriction to continued access to resources or facilities which the aggrieved person is entitled to use or enjoy by virtue of the domestic relationship

Majority of the domestic violence studies focus primarily the violence committed by the male spouses on their female counterparts. Many studies conducted in the west have found that domestic violence is not a gender specific issue but affect both the genders equally. Both ‘Husband to wife’ and ‘Wife to Husband’ violence has been found in various studies. In the study by Morse, 1995[ii], the researcher came to a conclusion that both men and women are equally likely to assault their partners. In a study conducted by Whitaker DJ, Haileyesus T, Swahn M, Saltzman LS. in 2007[iii], found that in almost 24% of relationship there was some sort of violence with about 49.7% of violence activities to be reciprocal. In non-reciprocal violence women were the perpetrators in over 70% of the cases.

Women are more likely to use weapons during domestic violence as per an international study by Brown GA, 2004[iv]. As per the study 28.4% of the women were charged by assaulting with a knife, 11% with a blunt instrument and 7.7% with some other weapon.

A gist of some other international domestic violence surveys/studies is given below –

Male-to-Female (%)


Bland & Orn (1986)(a)



Brinkerhoff & Lupri (1988)(b)



DeKeseredy & Schwartz (1998)(ade)



Grandin & Lupri (1997)(b)



Straus & Gelles (1986)(b)

Men’s Reports



Women’s Reports



Magdol et al. (1997)(bd)

Men’s Reports



Women’s Reports



a: prevalence rates (violence experienced ever in the past)
b: one-year prevalence rates
c: violence experienced from a current partner
d: young adult sample
e: women’s reports only

(Source: Gender Differences in Patterns of Relationship Violence In Alberta, 1999- By Kwong M, Bartholomew K and Dutton D)

Domestic Violence Studies conducted in India: Majority of all domestic violence studies conducted in India are primarily targeting male to female domestic violence. Reciprocal violence and female to male violence does not seem to be researched. For example in the research article Violence against Women in India: Evidence from Rural Gujarat, 1999, 346 women were contacted for the survey. Please note that in the sample not a single male respondent is there. Further, the questions asked donot seem to probe the female to male domestic violence (women initiated domestic violence). In another study titled, Domestic violence against women in eastern India: a population-based study on prevalence and related issues, both men and women were part of the sample. In this study, both men and women were administered different questionnaires. For women the questionnaires focused on victimization where they were asked whether their husbands or family members committed violence against them. Men were administered questionnaires on perpetration where they were asked if they had committed violent acts against their wife. The copy of the questionnaire can be found here.

The important points to note in these surveys are –

  • In many studies only women are the respondent and the questions administered are primarily of victimization
  • In other studies where both men and women are respondents questions administered are victimization for women and perpetration for men.

In domestic violence studies conducted, men are never asked if they ever suffered domestic violence at the hands of their wives and women are never asked if they were ever perpetrators of domestic violence against their husbands. The construct of these studies were primarily based on a biased notion that women are victims of domestic violence and men the perpetrators. At the onset of the study, bias has been introduced by the researcher either by way of choosing the sample or by way of administering different sets of questions to different genders. Therefore, the results obtained by these studies cannot be said to be free from bias.

A detailed analysis on domestic violence studies conducted in India and its deficiencies have been enumerated by Sadhukhan P, in a blog post written in 2012. In this article Sadhukhan concludes that the research conducted in India is administered in a gender biased way and ignores female to male violence (ie. ignores men as a victim of domestic violence)

Men as victims of Domestic Violence: A study conducted by Save Family Foundation by Sarkar S, Dsouza R and Dasgupta A, titled Domestic Violence Against Men, 2006, interviewed 1650 men across India as to whether they suffered domestic violence at the hands of their wives. A substantial percentage of men reported suffering domestic violence at the hands of their wives during the in-depth interviews.

In the paper titled The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence, 2013, by Nupur Bhutani, a research was conducted on instances of domestic violence on men with a sample size of 242 participants. The questionnaire administered contained various questions exploring the above 4 classes of domestic violence. Approximately 93% of the participants indicated that they suffered Verbal and Emotional violence at the hands of their wife. 76% stated that they had experienced Economic Abuse and 48% stated sexual abuse was suffered by them at the hands of their wives. Further, roughly 73% men had experienced physical abuse at the hands of their wives.

Approximately 55% of men had cuts, bruises or aches due to the physical violence at the hands of their wife, 9% men got burnt because of their wife and almost 31% men had eye injuries, sprains or dislocations due to the domestic violence.

The participants were also asked if they had ever initiated domestic violence with their wives. 96% of the participants replied in the negative stating that they never abused or tried to abuse their wives.

Domestic Violence on men in India by Type(Source: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence, 2013 – By Nupur Bhutani)

Domestic Violence Injuries suffered by Men in India

(Source: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence, 2013 – By Nupur Bhutani)

In both the above domestic violence studies conducted in India a high percentage of violence is reported against men. The results of these surveys are consistent with international studies where a higher percentage of men had experienced domestic violence.

Non-Reporting of Domestic Violence by Men: Men typically donot report domestic violence due to the deep rooted bias in the society against them. Mostly, the men who speak-up are made fun off, shamed and even ridiculed when they disclose that they have suffered domestic violence. Further, there is no institutional support to safeguard men against an abusive partner. In certain cases the abusive partner may use the same institution to further abuse the harassed husbands. These social and structural factors serve as a negative catalyst which keeps the husbands in an abusive relationship.

Reasons for non reporting of domestic violence by men in India(Source: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence, 2013 – By Nupur Bhutani)

It is high time we realize this serious issue in the society and Stand Up for a Cause to promote a positive change in the society by making the DV Act gender neutral.  

[i] The definition have been abridged for the purpose of the article. Further, the definitions have also been modified to make them gender neutral.

[ii] Beyond the Conflict Tactics Scale: Assessing Gender Differences in Partner Violence, Author: Morse, Barbara J

[iii] Differences in frequency of violence and reported injury between relationships with reciprocal and nonreciprocal intimate partner violence, Authors: Whitaker DJ, Haileyesus T, Swahn M, Saltzman LS.

IrBM Arguments in Media – Part 2 (Short Update)


In recent media debate pro IrBM school of thought have brought out 2 points of view. The first point of view is that women also assist in building the matrimonial assets. Their labour in the house is immense for which they should get equal property share and the other one is that by asking for a share in husband’s property, they are demanding their right.

Let’s critically evaluate every statement –

1)      Household Work: During the debates the household work done by women is treated as equal contribution in building matrimonial property. The work of the husband is completely sidelined or treated as something which he ought to do as his duty. Without going into the value of work, let’s analyze the number of hours put in by both men and women. As per the NSO[i] survey, women spend about 2.1 hours cooking food and about 1.1 hours cleaning the house and utensils daily. In essence, women put in a total of 3.3 hours a day in building matrimonial assets. Compare this to the hours put in by a man which is around 11 hours a day (10 hours of work and 1 hour of travel time). Therefore men essentially put in 3.33 times more effort and work in building matrimonial assets. Even if we include managing children as a chore, which it is not otherwise during separation the women would be giving the child’s custody to the father, the total time spent by women in household work increases to 6.46 hours. Even taking into account this stretched number, men put in 1.75 times more effort in building matrimonial assets.

Do note that in the whole calculation above we have not included the value of work done by men or women. Do take a guess as to who generates more value per hour in their work. Further, many women also outsource their household work to maid servants, salary of whom is paid by the husband. In essence, the husband has to work harder so that the household work may be outsourced by his wife on his expense. Still the women’s group demand equal property division of not only matrimonial but also ancestral property of the husband.

2)      Rights of Women: The second argument is on a rights approach wherein the school of thought supporting IrBM state women demand their right and they ought to get the same. A point of view here is that as per heirship and succession laws of India, women need to get an equal share of the property from their parents (ie. their right) . Inability to apply these laws is often cited as the reason to bring in IrBM. How can non applicability of one set of laws be a reason for passing an unjust act? Why can IrBM not be gender neutral wherein the property of both husband and wife is pooled together and then divided based on the effort put in by both. Will this method not be Just and Equitable. Currently as IrBM stands a section of society is being unjustly enriched in the name of rights and false gender equality.

In developed nations of the world such as Sweden and Germany, the propertiesof husband and wife are treated separately and only joint contributed property is treated as marital property. This comes from the tenet that all able bodied persons should be liable for their own upkeep[ii].

Do you still support IrBM?

[i] National Statistical Organization: Men and Women in India, 2012 – 14th Issue, Para 33

Home Page: Stand Up for a Cause…

Child Marriages in India

Vintage Postcard ~ Child Bride & Groom

I just came across a media article stating that 46% of the Indian women (between the ages of 18 and 29) are married before the age of majority. WOW, a whopping 46%.

In the 2011 SRS Census Survey of India, the details of marriage, average age and child marriages is captured. As per the statement 12 of the 2011 SRS Census Survey only 3.7% of married women, married before the age of 18. Further, the average marriage age for these women in child marriages was 16.5 years. Majority of the Indian women have married above the age of 21.

The mean marriage age for women has increased over the decades from 19.3 years in 1990 to 21.2 years in 2011 as per the Census. Therefore the data point stated in the article that 46% women in India marry below the age of 18 seems incorrect.

The article further states that the child brides in India are projected to increase to 140 million by 2020 from the current projection of 23 million, with atleast 18.5 million brides under the age of 15. I am unable to fathom the numbers due to the following points –

  1. Average age of marriage of women in India is increasing and has increased from 19.3 years in 1990 to 21.2 years in 2011.
  2. The average age of child brides in India is 16.5 years, then how will 18.5 million child brides be under the age of 15 as projected in the news report?
  3. The news report cites a reference to the National Family Health Survey-3. This survey was conducted in the year 2005-06. Why is it being cited after a period of 7 years when better and reliable SRS census data for 2011 is available?

Is the quality of journalism in India deteriorating? You decide and Stand Up for a Cause

India’s Gender Gap

English: A sticker pasted at a house to mark i...

I was recently going through an article in the newspaper which stated that the gender ratio in India worsens with age. The analysis and conclusion of the news report looks intriguing, but on a detailed reading it is found that the analysis conducted by the author of the article was rudimentary.

The article compared apples and oranges therefore giving incorrect conclusions. The premise was that the women in India are discriminated from an early age by way of sex determination methods and gross neglect. Let’s delve deeper into the analysis employed and conclusions derived by the author of the article –

  1. The author took the data from 2011 census which provides Single Year wise gender data for the Indian Population.
  2. Then the author added the difference of men and women for the age groups till 6 years and 15 years and stated that there has been a drop in the population. This drop in population is attributed to female feticide, gross neglect for the girl child and slow death. This implies that the girls die younger and which skews the gender ratio by the time they reach 15.
  3. The thesis above is completely incorrect due to the below reasons –
    • You are comparing the population born in one year with the population born in another year and coming to a conclusion that a few have perished away. An example below will explain –
    Age Population in 2010 Population in 2011
    1 Year 100 105
    2 Year 99 100

    The author has taken the first column and came to a conclusion that by the time the population of age 1 year becomes of 2 years of age, one person dies. This is incorrect as the first column provides the total number of persons who are of age 1 and aged 2 in year 2010. By the time the person of age 1 becomes of 2 years, the year will be 2011, therefore population data for 2011 needs to be compared. In 2011, the number of persons at age 2 years is 100, therefore no one has died till the time they reach 2 years of age. The author of the article has not done such an analysis.

    • The population of India is growing therefore more number of children are born every year, which is shown in the above table for example, in 2010 only 100 persons were born as opposed to 105 in 2011. Therefore comparing persons born in 2011 with persons born in 2010 is bound to give a negative result (ie. Signifying death). When the author of the news report compared the data in 2011 for population of age 1 year with population of age 2 years he is actually comparing population of two separate years.
  4. The conclusion of the author is also incorrect which states that sex determination technique is skewing the gender ratio. In fact the gender ratio has increased over the past 3 decades as shown below[i], implying that sex determination is not as prevalent as suggested by the author of the article.
    Census Year Sex Ratio (Females per 1000 males)
    1991 927
    2001 933
    2011 940
  5. The conclusion that women of India are not cared for and die at an early age is also incorrect and not supported by data. Infact the data shows a picture contrary to this hypothesis due to:
    • Average Life Expectancy of women in India is higher at 65 as opposed to 62 for men. This implies that women live longer and healthier, hence have lower malnutrition[ii] contrary to what is suggested by the article.
    • WHO data shows that deaths due to diseases and injuries for men is 883.2 as compared to women as 788.7 (per 100,000). Hence, women have better access to healthcare as compared to their male counterparts[iii] again something completely contrary to what is stated in the article.The truth is infact the men are missing in India and their death rates increase once they are born. Over 20 Million men are missing from the working population of India based on the data tabulated for the past 15 years. The complete analysis can be found here. Further, the truth about India’s Gender ratio can be found here.

Home Page: Stand Up for a Cause…

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