Perception of Youth on Domestic Violence
 Masters Student in Political Science, University of Calcutta
|Title:||Perception of Youth on Domestic Violence|
|Keywords:||Domestic Violence; Gender-Based Violence; Youth|
|Issue Date:||October 9, 2023|
|Publisher:||IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute|
|Abstract:||The problem of today’s society is that the people who, if not a victim of a particular kind of injustice, seem to turn a blind eye to the continuing crimes in society, one of the most serious of which includes domestic violence against women. Over the years, women from various backgrounds have been facing gender-based violence, especially in a country like India. Though domestic violence does not exclusively refer to wife-beating or emotional abuse on the wives by their husbands or in-laws, statistically the percentage of women being the victims of such kind of violence is higher. Certain sections of the youth can be characterized to be politically aware of the continuation of such heinous crimes in society to date and scorn upon it. However, some are not aware or sensitive to such problems as such or believe that the wives are responsible for the violence inflicted upon them. This article basically discusses the perceptions of such kinds of people and briefly throws light upon the significance of their understanding of the problem through a sympathetic perspective. This article is based on primary and secondary research.|
|Appears in Collections:||IPRR Vol. 2 (1) [January-June 2023]|
(January-June 2023) Volume 2, Issue 1 | 8th October 2023
ISSN: 2583-3464 (Online)
The problem of today’s society is that the people who, if not a victim of a particular kind of injustice, seem to turn a blind eye to the continuing crimes in society, one of the most serious of which includes domestic violence against women. Over the years, women from various backgrounds have been facing gender-based violence, especially in a country like India. Though domestic violence does not exclusively refer to wife-beating or emotional abuse on the wives by their husbands or in-laws, statistically the percentage of women being the victims of such kind of violence is higher. Certain sections of the youth can be characterized to be politically aware of the continuation of such heinous crimes in society to date and scorn upon it. However, some are not aware or sensitive to such problems as such or believe that the wives are responsible for the violence inflicted upon them. This article basically discusses the perceptions of such kinds of people and briefly throws light upon the significance of their understanding of the problem through a sympathetic perspective. This article is based on primary and secondary research.
‘Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.’- Margaret Atwood
The world, even in the twenty-first century, is not a safe space for women. While world leaders would never abstain from talking about an all-inclusive world and how the freedom of women is a necessary condition of achieving it, women all over the world still face obstructions in their progress of which one of the major reasons is domestic violence. Domestic violence can stand in the way of the progress or growth of a person belonging to any gender, place of birth, age, race, and so on.
The term broadly encompasses violence against children, the elderly, and parents and in one of its narrower or more specific understandings, it refers to intimate partner violence and family violence.
Though, as mentioned, the victims are not gender-specific, according to www.womensaid.org.uk, “Whilst both men and women may experience incidents of interpersonal violence and abuse, women are considerably more likely to experience repeated and severe forms of abuse, including sexual violence. They are also more likely to have experienced sustained physical, psychological or emotional abuse, or violence which results in injury or death”. (Women’s Aid; n.d.)
In India, domestic violence against women is an age-old thing and thus, is detrimental to the exercise of even the fundamental freedoms of the victims. It is comprehended by the perpetrators as a tool of power that they can exercise on their wives. People from different educational and cultural backgrounds have different opinions on domestic violence and these opinions are often structured by facts or the kind of conditions that they have been exposed to.
Recently, I interviewed a group of youngsters from the age group 20-25 following a semi-structured questionnaire from government-sponsored and private institutions about their perception of domestic violence against women in India. Questions to my interviewees revolved around what, according to them, were the regular reasons leading to such an aggravated form of violence and what they thought was the reason behind the feeling of entitlement of the perpetrators. More precisely, if they thought that the victims, i.e., the wives had a role to play in the violence that is caused to them by their husbands (or in-laws).
While some of the respondents narrated how they strictly believe that domestic violence is not an appropriate response or reaction to any aggravated level of conflict between the husband and the wife, others explained how the women have a solid role to play, direct or indirect, in making the husbands feel compelled enough to express their anger or frustration by means of physically assaulting their ‘significant other’. Now, the role that they talked about was two-fold. One group felt that women test the patience of their husbands in some way or the other, leading them to hit them.In this case, the reason behind the initiation of the conflict on a violent level by the husband, usually, can be as frivolous (and the most common reason for domestic violence) as less or more amount of a particular flavor in a dish or not having the bed made according to the husband’s whim. This group also feels that the wives are often not submissive enough towards the in-laws leading the husbands to react violently. However, in this case, even the mere existence of the woman can become a reason to hit her.
Others felt that the inability of women to stand their ground makes their husbands feel entitled or acquire the audacity to hit them. Earning a minimum amount of money, according to this group, would help the women to establish their own ground. Be it from whatever background, a woman has to earn so that they can support themselves. While the age-old reasons leading to domestic violence are still there, “Women who earn equal to their husbands have about 14% lower odds (statistically significant) of being victims of domestic violence as compared to women who earn less than their husbands” (Suri et al., 2022).
What remains unaddressed is the fact that not all women get to earn a living, even though they are capable. Women from middle-class or upper-class families are not allowed by their families to do any less-reputed jobs (like domestic help). Plus, they are often not well-educated or trained enough to do a corporate or academic job. The problems in getting a job are usually context-based but these are two of the commonest ones.
However, it is unimaginable that violence can be an answer to any kind of trigger, especially between spouses. Women to date teach their girls to be more patient with their husbands. In a country like India, domestic violence against women is still defended as a “cultural weave” (Singh and Arora, 2022).
Though today’s youth is more or less well or, at least, adequately acquainted with the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, many of them are either not sensitive to the problems (due to lack of awareness or privileged status) or abstain from talking about it because “there are other problems too” or “even women beat up their husbands”. The fact that the level of domestic violence against women is a continuing crime in India for a long period of time is reason enough to discuss this issue continuously (of course without taking away any focus from other forms of oppression including violence inflicted upon other genders). If the youth is not bothered by the existence of such injustice in society, it is unlikely that the world will be better in any way, any time soon. The youth have to be more aware and learn to sympathize with the victims because it is significant on their part to take the lead in breaking the established narratives of society characterized by regressive practices so that the world becomes a safer, more inclusive, and better place for women, and in turn all, in the future.
Banik M, Singh R, Arora S. 2022. Prevalence and perceptions of gender-based violence amongst married women in India. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn, 23:149-52. Available at https://www.ijcne.org/text.asp?2022/23/2/149/367097
Domestic Violence is a gendered crime. Women’s Aid. Available at: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/what-is-domestic-abuse/domestic-abuse-is-a-gendered-crime/ Suri, Shoba, Mona, and Sarkar, Debosmita. 2022. Domestic Violence and Women’s Health in India: Insights from NFHS-4,” ORF Occasional Paper No. 343. Observer Research Foundation. Available at https://www.orfonline.org/research/domestic-violence-and-womens-health-in-india-insights-from-nfhs-4/#:~:text=An%20interesting%20trend%20is%20seen,earn%20less%20than%20their%20husbands