Scroll Top


This blog explores the complex nature of domestic violence, ranging from traditional definitions to nuanced expressions within various relationship dynamics. It delves into the dynamics of power


This blog explores the complex nature of domestic violence, ranging from traditional definitions to nuanced expressions within various relationship dynamics. It delves into the dynamics of power, control, and coercion inherent in intimate partner violence (IPV), uncovering the pervasive cycle of abuse hidden from public view. Through a critical examination, the paper tackles the hierarchical structures of gender, sexuality, and societal norms, highlighting the disproportionate impact of domestic violence on marginalized communities, including LGBTQ individuals. Utilizing real-life stories, research discoveries, and legal perspectives, the paper challenges societal norms and advocates for inclusivity and empowerment. Ultimately, it calls for bridging the divide between research findings and policy enactment to cultivate safer and more equitable relationships for all, regardless of gender identity.


Structured definitions have a knack for compressing any worldwide problem into a single sentence, – Domestic violence stands for, violent or abusive behaviour directed by one family or household member against another[1]. But does this single line embrace the dynamics of domestic violence? Domestic violence is the sinister symphony of fear, control, and manipulation that unfolds behind closed doors, where intimate relationships become battlegrounds and the sanctity of home is shattered. From the shadows of patriarchal oppression to the complexities of queer intimacy, each gender identity offers a unique lens through which to examine the dynamics of power, control, and coercion within intimate relationships.


What occurs when individuals who promise to protect each other in marriage find themselves in need of protection from the very person they vowed to love and safeguard? Although women bear a disproportionate burden of intimate partner violence, this piece doesn’t solely concentrate on their encounters. Rather, it underscores that the repercussions of suffering harm from loved ones extend beyond demographic figures, spotlighting the wider issue of interpersonal violence.


Despite the existence of laws addressing assault, criminal intimidation, and harassment applicable regardless of gender, there is a notable absence of specific legislation concerning domestic violence against men, with only a handful of countries taking steps to recognize and address this issue through legal frameworks, India not among them. The absence of laws protecting men from intimate partner violence is evident in Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code of 1860[2], which only holds men accountable for perpetrating violence against their wives. This legal framework creates a presumption of guilt for men while positioning women as inherently innocent. However, human rights and gender equality principles apply to everyone. Article 14 of the Indian constitution guarantees citizens the fundamental right to equal treatment, while Article 15 prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, sex, caste, or place of birth[3].


Despite comprising one in three victims of domestic violence[4], male individuals often refrain from reporting their experiences due to feelings of embarrassment, fear of being disbelieved by others, and societal pressure to uphold a stereotype of being a ‘strong man.’ This societal expectation creates obstacles for men experiencing abuse, making it difficult for them to reach out for assistance. Those who do report domestic violence may encounter social stigma related to perceptions of masculinity. Up until now, I have personally not witnessed any men displaying signs of abuse. However, this does not imply that abuse doesn’t occur among men; rather, they are often more adept at concealing it. In India, a nation with a long history of male dominance, there exists widespread disbelief regarding the possibility of men being victims of domestic violence comparable to women. This scepticism may contribute to the absence of recognition of domestic violence against men in Indian law.


In the US 1 in 4 women experience abuse during their lifetimes. Globally, the United Nations reports that up to 70% of women experience some form of gender-based violence in their lifetime[5]. The percentage of women who are exposed to violence by their husbands is 45% in India[6] and to amplify the devastating impact of domestic violence, deeply entrenched within societal norms, traditional gender roles exert a significant influence over women’s lives. Presently, gender encompasses the self-perception shaped by individual development, thereby representing a fluid construct that can evolve. Conceptions of gender roles are instilled through the process of socialization from early childhood, which presents barriers to understanding and empathy, which makes it harder to step in other’s shoes and see their perspective. According to traditional GRs, girls and young women are expected to configure their attitudes and individual positions within the couple to respond to the demands of a patriarchal society[7]. Overall, societal norms about women can make it tough for some IPV victims to talk about their situation or even understand what’s happening to them. While there are numerous explanations for why women choose not to speak out, a prevalent concern is the fear of lacking social support. In such a scenario, it prompts reflection on the nature of the society we inhabit.


Until now our attention has been focused on heterosexual relationships, but there exists a significant gap in understanding and addressing domestic violence within LGBTQ communities. 43.8% of lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women have experienced rape, or physical violence at some point in their lifetime, as opposed to 35% of heterosexual women[8]. Multiple challenges impede the comprehensive resolution of LGBTQ intimate partner violence. These obstacles encompass the potential for encountering homophobia among service providers or even among non-LGBTQ domestic violence victims with whom they interact. Moreover, there is a fear within the LGBTQ community that openly addressing these issues might divert attention from ongoing equality efforts or unintentionally reinforce anti-LGBTQ prejudices. These concerns underscore the intricate nature of addressing intimate partner violence within LGBTQ communities and emphasize the necessity for sensitive and inclusive approaches to support and intervention. According to Machado’s memoir, ‘In the DreamHouse’, IPV within LGBTQ relationships is explored in depth, challenging prevailing misconceptions and shedding light on the complexities of abuse dynamics in queer communities. One of the quotes says, “In the DreamHouse, nobody knows you’re a victim, because nobody knows you’re here”, by this Machado highlights the isolation and invisibility experienced by victims of domestic violence within LGBTQ relationships. It underscores the challenge of seeking help and support when societal perceptions and stereotypes downplay or ignore the existence of abuse in queer communities.


While systemic changes driven by policy and technology can offer crucial support and avenues for recourse, the underlying causes of domestic violence extend deeper into societal mindsets and norms. Cultivating a culture grounded in respect, empathy, and equality holds the potential to, at the very least, mitigate its prevalence. It’s important to distinguish between educating people and modernizing their thinking; they are often conflated but represent distinct processes. To truly effect change in society, we must modernize thinking, particularly as instances of abuse exist even within educated households. Dismissing signs of domestic violence with phrases like “pati patni ke bich ka mamla” reflects a lack of empathy. Ignoring such signals implies a failure to recognize our fundamental duties towards one another as human beings.

Author(s) Name: Vedangini Muley (ILS Law College, Pune)


[1] Domestic Violence <> accessed on 14 May 2024

[2] Pooja Gajmer, ‘An overview of section 498A IPC’ (Indian journal of forensic and community medicine)  <> accessed on 14 May 2024

[3] ‘Domestic violence and the LGBTQ Community’ (NCADV , 6 June 2018) accessed on 14 May 2024

[4] Lawrence Robinson, Jeanne Segal, ‘Domestic violence against men: You’re not alone’ ( 5 Feb 2024) <> accessed on 14 May 2024

[5] ‘What is gender based violence?’ (<Introduction to Domestic Violence and Gender Based Violence – ENDGBV (> accessed on 14 May 2024

[6] Madhutandra Sarkar, ‘ A study on Domestic Violence against adult and adolescent females in a rural area of west bengal’(PubMed Central, April 2010)<A Study on Domestic Violence Against Adult and Adolescent Females in a Rural Area of West Bengal – PMC (> accessed on 15 May 2024

[7] Yago Simón T. Anticoncepción y embarazo no planificado en mujeres jóvenes. Determinantes culturales, de género, familiares y personales [Doctoral Thesis]. Zaragoza: Universidad de Zaragoza; 2015.

[8] ‘Common justification for abusive behaviour’, (The maine coalition to end domestic violence) <,necessary%20to%20maintain%20that%20control> accessed on 15 May 2024