All Violence is Male Generated?

Today a comment was made by one of the ministers that all violence is male generated. It is sad to find such comments coming from ministers of India. Let’s try to analyse the statement backed by facts. Violence can be categorized as:

  • Violence within the house (Domestic Violence)
  • Violence outside the house (Crimes)

Domestic Violence: It is a common misnomer that domestic violence is conducted only by men. In the study by Morse, 1995, 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, 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. 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 (%)

Female-to-Male(%)
Bland & Orn (1986)(a)

14.6%

22.6%

Brinkerhoff & Lupri (1988)(b)

24.6%

27.5%

DeKeseredy & Schwartz (1998)(ade)

35%

46.1%

Grandin & Lupri (1997)(b)

18.3%

25.3%

Straus & Gelles (1986)(b)
Men’s Reports

12.2%

10.5%

Women’s Reports

12.1%

11.9%

Magdol et al. (1997)(bd)
Men’s Reports

22.8%

34.1%

Women’s Reports

27.1%

37.2%

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)

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.

Anant Kumar, has written an interesting article on Domestic Violence against Men in India: A Perspective, which discusses in detail domestic violence against men in India.

Crimes: Let’s see if there has been any structural change in the society over the past 10 years. We have used the NCRB Crime data from 2001 – 2010 for arrests made for serious crimes such as murder, dacoity, burglary, arson, kidnapping, thefts etc… The data for increase in arrests by police over the 10 year period is given below, which is startling:

 

Crime

Increase in arrest from 2001-2010

Women

Male

Murder

10.6%

-18.4%

Attempt to commit Murder

46.4%

-17.2%

Dacoity

110.3%

-29.9%

Burglary

40.6%

1.5%

Arson

7.1%

-22.9%

Explosives & Explosive Substances Act

4.2%

-19.6%

Auto Theft

53.0%

80.7%

Other Thefts

45.5%

4.4%

Total Theft

45.7%

18.9%

Robbery

135.2%

18.5%

Kidnapping & Abduction – Women & Girls

66.3%

94.1%

Kidnapping & Abduction

56.0%

46.9%

Other Indian Penal Code crimes

25.8%

16.1%

Gambling Act

39.7%

13.3%

Essential Commodities Act

226.8%

82.8%

Cheating

159.0%

79.0%

Criminal Breach of Trust

62.1%

29.7%

 

Violence does not have a “Gender”, the belief that men are the source of all violence is wrong at many levels. Let us all Stand Up for a Cause…

Do women want to be treated specially or equally? – Do men know the difference?

As per Article 15(3) of the constitution of India a special enabling provision was made towards the upliftment of women – “Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children”, thereby allowing positive for discrimination for women. The reason for insertion of clause 3 to article 15 was that, for centuries, women in India had been socially and economically handicapped. Thereby they were unable to participate in the socio-economic activities of the nation on a footing of equality with their menfolk. This article was to empower them by way of positive discrimination so as to bring about an equality between men and women, gradually reducing the gap between the two sexes.

Let us evaluate if this is true in modern India. The data points that can act as a barometer for concluding whether women are underprivileged could be:

  • Life Expectancy of women: Showing how well they are cared for and have access to medical facilities
  • Unnatural deaths of women
  • Women’s access to higher education
  • Women Child Labour
  • Homelessness of Women
  • Violent Crime against women
  • Women casualties in war
  • Political representation of women

Let us critically evaluate every parameter above with data comparing how well men and women of India have fared on the same:

Life Expectancy of Women: It is widely believed that women donot have access to medical facilities. If that is the case their life expectancy ought to have been lower as compared to the privileged men of India.

 

Particulars

Male

Female

Life Expectancy

62

65

As we can see above life expectancy of women is higher than men in India.

Unnatural deaths: Even in the case of unnatural deaths women have fared better than men. As per the WHO data, the number of non-natural deaths in the South East Asian Countries (India is a part of this group) is given below:

Year: 2008

(In ‘000)

Reasons for Death

Male

Female

All Causes

79,13,478.64

65,84,985.96

Communicable Diseases

25,25,517.23

2,507,378.56

Cancers

5,68,926.57

5,66,482.90

Cardiovascular diseases

20,10,290.25

16,05,605.64

Injuries

9,91,230.123

5,60,454.64

Intentional Injuries

2,93,042.05

1,27,055.14

 

Women’s access to higher education: India is currently having more number of graduates and post graduate women. The census data below speaks for itself:

Age

All India Female – Male Sex Ratio

Graduate and above Female – Male Sex Ratio

All India

Rural

Urban

Total

943

955

962

939

20-24

935

936

933

25-29

975

980

967

30-34

984

1001

951

35-59

951

966

924

60+

1033

1036

1027

As can be seen above the all India all age group graduate female to male sex ratio is way higher than the population sex ratio implying that more women as a percentage are sent to colleges than men. The difference is even wider in rural India where even more women as a percentage than men attend colleges as compared to urban India.

Child Labour: The working children are primarily boys who carry the burden of the patriarchal social construct in their roles as protectors/ providers of the family and at that young age have to shoulder the responsibilities of the family. Still India has special schemes for education and development of a girl child and not for a boy child

Urban Working ChildrenRural Working Children

Homelessness of Women: In the recent census data for 2011 about 1.05 mn men were found to be homeless with over 600 thousand in cities. Around 1.8x times more men were found to be homeless in the urban areas as compared to women. The situation was not very different in the rural areas where more men are homeless as compared to women. The all-India average is at 1.4x times more homeless men.

Homeless Indian Men

Homeless Indian Men

Violent Crime against women: Majority of the crimes are against the male population in India; we see that around 74% of all violent crimes are against the male gender. Men are 2.7 times more likely to be murdered and 4.4 times more likely to be seriously harmed than women in India.

Crime[i]

Men

Women

Murder (#)

25,665

9,457

%

73%

27%

Harm Not amounting to murder  (IPC 304/308) (#)

3,362

761

%

82%

18%

Women casualties in war: the male gender is primarily on the receiving end of all wars and lay down their lives for protecting the society. The casualties across all wars is given below–

Men

Women

Troop Casualties in WW1

3,74,64,404

Nil

Troop Casualties in WW2

2,70,70,026

Nil

Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

6,800

Nil

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

12,843

Nil

Kargil War

980

Nil

Political representation of women: Women have higher political representation (shown by the number of voters) and it is seen that a dominant group is one which has more political representation as they control the law making in a democracy-

Year

Men (% votes)

Women (% votes)

1999

40.01%

59.99%

2004

41.93%

58.07%

2009

45.8%

54.2%

 

As we see above in all parameters women fare better than men still there is a demand for positive discrimination for them. Is this positive discrimination beneficial for the society. We have more women graduates, still the women are going out of the work force and prefer to stay at home. Men are required to maintain well educated women, which is evident in the laws such as Section 125 of CrPC. The violent crimes committed by women has substantially increased over the past decade; still they are treated with kid gloves in the eyes of law.

Given the above scenario, do we really require any type of special laws favouring women? Are women really underprivileged and donot have opportunities? It’s time to ponder. Let’s Stand Up for a Cause …

I’m blogging for the India Today Woman Summit 2015 #WomenPower activity at BlogAdda.

——————–

(i) Table 3.3 and 3.4 of Crimes in India 2012, NCRB.

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