Any sexual, physical, mental or emotional abuse or controlling behavior is considered to be a violent act. This, when done by intimate partner behavior, is known as intimate partner violence. Women are mostly affected by this. Perpetrators consist of not just men, but families and near ones too.
In India, the values of customs and family practices are so prevalent that no amount of education can get rid of this malpractice.
The problem overwhelmingly affects women world over which is evident in the data presented by the World Health Organization (WHO). As per WHO, around 35% of women in the world have been physically or sexually abused in some form or the other. Globally, it is estimated that male intimate partners have committed 38% of women murders.
What is worse is that the affected women do no seek formal help and try to cover such instances throughout their life.
There are many factors that lead to this type of behavior. Broadly they can be divided into:
- Relationship, and
- Societal factors
The basic cause behind this kind of violence is a larger demonstration of power politics and show of control and authority.
Individual factors include young age, lack of education, exposure to harmful drugs and alcohol, history of abuse, and personality disorders. Relationship factors include dissatisfaction and conflicts with a partner, patriarchal value systems in the family, financial challenges, extra-marital partners, and low level of social standing for men.
Societal factors include inequitable gender norms in the society, poverty, weak legal framework and community acceptance against IPV, lack of women’s civil rights, inequitable and restrictive marriage laws, as well as regressive and outdated cultural practices.
The factors because of which women continue to be in the abusive relationship are:
- From a very young age, girls are ingrained with the values of “perfect wives”. Their families only think about the wedding of their daughter, which indirectly affects the education of their daughter. The wedding becomes the way of getting handed over from one patriarch setting to another, leaving no alternative recourse if things don’t go well in either of them. Men are assumed to have the first right one women’s body, sexuality, and decision making. It is expected for women to keep up to an abusive nature.
- Lack of financial support is another major factor due to which women do not detach themselves from their violent partners.
- The societal pressure and stigma of being married to someone irrespective of the fact whether there is violence involved in that marriage are so much that people prefer to be at that same wedding.
- The fear of self-protection and that of their children is also one of the important criteria for not leaving the abusive relationship.
What can be done?
There are some short-term and long-term measures that can be put into practice to be in a better situation. Reprogramming of traditional thoughts builds up the ladder of personal success.
Short term measures:
- The women should be guided to begin creating financial safety by opening bank accounts, direct savings, etc.
- Women should be involved in community bodies so as to seek help as and when it is required.
- Women should identify emergency shelters outside and inside the house as it becomes important to get away from a scene of violence.
- The stigma attached to the word counseling is the same as that of a “perfect relationship”. However, the counseling should be provided to them to manage trauma.
Long term measures:
- To ensure equality between men and women from the school education itself.
- Strengthen the legal framework Domestic violence laws and other related legal provisions.
- Have a supporting financial sector which gives additional support to women, single mothers, divorcee, etc.,