SILENT CRIME FACED BY MARRIED WOMEN IN INDIA

INTRODUCTION

Wife – Battering is a silent crime against married women. ‘Wife battering refers to violent acts—psychological, sexual and/or physical assault—by a partner inflicting fear and pain against the permission of his spouse.’ Women are often taught in Indian households to stay quiet and worship their husbands and in-laws. As soon as a woman gets married, they are taught to be quiet, respect their in-laws obey them, worship their husband do whatsoever he asks her to do and what not. Women are in a way pressurized to adjust themselves with their in-laws and husbands howsoever they are. Whereas in the Indian society man are always taught to dominate in the household and do whatever they wish to, which further encourages them to do whatever they please with their wives. It leads men to treat women as they please from slapping their wives to breaking their body organs to trying to murder them, but apparently, as these crimes are done by the husbands themselves they are considered to be very trivial and most of the women choose not to talk about this. Sometimes even if a tries and gather some courage to speak about her situation, the very first question she has to hear is “What did you do to provoke him?” It leads the woman to have serious doubt about herself, as a consequence of which she begins to question her identity.

WIFE BATTERING AND LAWS RELATED TO IT IN INDIA

This evil act sadly falls under the general category of assault, under sections 319-326[1] of IPC while sections 319  and  321 [2] are  non-cognizable offences where the police can take no action against the assault which worsens the situation. Also, these laws are ineffective as most of the wives are not ready to leave their husbands because of many unavoidable reasons. When we talk about the current scenario there are very few alternatives left for women to live an independent life.  The  Alternatives are either she goes to her parent’s home, only if they are in a position to maintain her with her children, which is, of course, a very rare thing, or she ends up in a women’s shelter home funded by the government which is in a very impaired situation. Wife battering is seriously an under-reported crime and the data is hard to obtain as it is mostly done at homes.

During the Judgment made by Gujarat high court in Nimeshbhai Bharatbhai Desai v the State of Gujarat. A woman was compelled to complain about her husband who was forcing her to have unnatural sex even after repetitive denial by the lady. The court in the order defined three kinds of rape in which Battering rape included – In this type of marital rape, women experience both physical and sexual violence in the relationship and many ways. Some instances are those where the wife is battered during the sexual violence, or the rape may follow a physical violent episode where the husband wants to make up and coerces his wife to have sex against her will. In most cases, the victims fall under this stated category.[3]To provide effective protection to the rights of women guaranteed under the constitution to the victims of violence within the family the Parliament of India enacted “The Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005”.

SECTION 3[4] of the protection of women from domestic violence includes –

—For this Act, any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence in case it—

  • Harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well-being, whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, and economic abuse; or
  • harasses, harms, injures, or endangers the aggrieved person to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property or valuable security; or
  • Has the effect of threatening the aggrieved person or any person related to her by any conduct; or
  • otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person.[5]

But because of the societal pressure faced by the women in the society they choose to stay quiet and suppress the matter. Even when society sees a man battering his wife they choose not to interfere in their matter and stay quiet by considering this as their matter. So, even after the acts were enacted for the protection of women and their rights they are of no use. Men treat their wives as they please when we find the reason behind it, we can see that due to lack of proper laws in the Indian legal system for the protection of women’s rights. Also, even when some laws prevail societal pressure stops women to fight for their rights and dignity.

CAUSES OF WIFE BATTERING

The fundamental reason for wife battering is how the sex structure is designed in our society. Though under the constitution men and women hold equal rights, however till the patriarchy stays in the minds of the people, wife battering will be perpetuated in society. Both economically dependent and independent women are likely to be battered, When women who are battered are uneducated or do not have access to proper jobs choose to suffer the constant battering and are left with no option. Whereas, the man does not fear this, so he continues to batter his wife and is confident that his wife won’t leave him as –

  1. She is not economically independent
  2. No place to go
  3. The burden of bringing up the children, as according to society feels that child care is the sole responsibility of the [6]

CONCLUSION

During this research and analysis, I came across the fact that though under the written document women hold equal rights and responsibilities as men, when it comes to taking a bite of the reality sandwich. I came across the fact that women are often suppressed of their rights and are always taught to compromise and learn to live with the reality to save their married lives and their family. It is the need of an hour to educate women about their rights to prevent them from living a life with cruelty. There is a constant urge from our judicial system to make proper laws for the protection of the rights of married women who face battering, cruelty, violence in their daily lives. Also, we need to teach our children to learn and fight for their rights and always respect women. Women need to learn some useful skills to earn a living and be self-sufficient. There is a need to create awareness in society so that the attitudes of doctors, counsellors, social workers, and police be more polite and sympathetic to the victims of marital violence.

Author(s) Name: Kritika Sharma (Institute of law, Nirma University)

References:

[1] INDIAN PENAL CODE,1860, s. 319 to 326

[2] INDIAN PENAL CODE,1860, s. 319 to 326

[3] Nimeshbhai Bharatbhai Desai v State of Gujarat, MANU/GJ/0291/2018

[4] The Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act,2005, Section 3

[5] The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Section 3.

[6] Rashmi Sharma, Women, Law and Judicial system (2009, Regal Publication) 199