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Patriarchal society and Domestic violence against women

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University of Alberta

Introduction Domestic violence has been recorded in history for over thousand years but the world has not yet adopted a universal treatment to eradicate it. The main reasons behind the failure of a universal approach to tackle domestic violence are the different cultural and societal ethics. Contemporary India reflects the tragedy of thousands of women who are beaten, insulted and tortured inside the chardiwari or the four walls of their homes. As said in the Encyclopaedia of India by Jain, the architects of the Indian Constitution envisioned a democratic, secular polity to guarantee peoples fundamental rights without distinction of caste, colour, creed, religion, or sex. Fundamental rights and freedom, as incorporated in Indias constitution, reflect the ethos and spirit of the charter of the United Nations, reaffirming faith in the dignity and the worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women. Despite the built in safeguards for the protection of human rights for women, the violation of human rights has become common in India. The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against women states in its Preamble that violence against women is a product of the unequal relations that characterize gender relations in all parts of the world (Mahapatra 1). The patriarchal system of India acknowledges the domination of male and suppression of females. Womens roles are often diminished to her ability to serve her male counterparts. Domestic violence against women in India stems from the cultural bias against women who challenge their husbands right to control their behaviour. According to the Indian feminists, violence against women is largely underreported because women are unwilling or afraid to reveal that their husbands abused them (Lodhia 108).The very essence of the Patriarchal society is the womans crucial resignation to the dominion status of her male 1 counterparts. The domestic violence against women in India is so deeply rooted that the Indian Society encourages men to beat their wives in order to control them from crossing their boundaries. I have witnessed domestic violence in the very essence of my family. In my own familial relations the tolerance of being inferior by women is unquestioningly accepted. The domestic violence against women is a crucial human rights violation and is very significant to deal with as the Indian society buries the domestic violence with deafening silence. The anti-violence activists in India against domestic violence have achieved success in legally banning domestic violence with the enforcement of the civil law, The Protection of Women against Domestic Violence 2005. From 1983, the women facing domestic violence in India were only protected by the criminal statute, the Penal Code section 498A. Although, the new civil law helps the women to claim justice but indirectly the India patriarchies are being recast through the construction of gender- related myths where women are considered as threatening gendered objects destabilizing the sanctity of the Indian family. The perpetuators of domestic violence against women threaten the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. It is the need of the hour to reflect deeply on the role of the Patriarchal society and religious customs in the growing rate of domestic violence against women in India as it is the largely complex and unsolved human rights issue. The Patriarchal Society of India fosters Domestic violence The World Health Organization defines domestic violence as the range of sexually, psychologically and physically coercive acts used against adult and adolescent women by current or former male partner (Pg.1 data stat sheet). Domestic violence against women 2 in India has emerged as a major issue mainly due to the effects of the ancient patriarchal society and religious norms. According to the 2002 study, 45 percent of the Indian women are slapped, kicked and beaten by their husbands and about 74.8 percent women who reported violence have attempted to commit suicide (www.indiatogether.com). The patriarchal society gives the men power to dominate and rule over women due to which domestic violence fosters in the society. Unfortunately, these values have remained in the society for centuries due to which they are embedded in the individuals ethics. The domestic violence affects women physically, sexually and psychologically. The effects of the patriarchal society and religious influence are clearly reflected in the perception of the domestic violence cases by the Indian judicial system Riddhima had a well paying job with the Railways. Soon after the marriage, she had to hand over her passbook, chequebook and all financial documents to her sister-in- law for safe keeping. The family kept total control over her earnings and she had to ask permission and money even to replace her tattered pair of sandals. She suffered a nervous breakdown and was sent back to her parental home (Tribune.com). This is one of the instances where the dominance of the Patriarchal Society in India is clearly reflected with the degradation of the health and wellbeing of women. India characterizes a patriarchal society where men and women are expected to fulfil their distinctly different roles. Women are trained from a young age to submit the desires to their valued male counterparts. In Indian tradition, a woman is taught to quietly suffer any inconveniences, hardships and even insults without complaining and raising their voice against the male partner in order to make marriage a success. Men, on the other hand, are trained to dominate and guide their female counterparts. This inequality of power in Indian Society 3
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