Shivani works as a financial analyst in an MNC in Gurgaon. Chirpy, smart and a hard working woman, she comes across as just other 24-year-old. But there's more to her than meets the eye. She tries to hide her neck with her dupatta. On a closer look, you'll know why. Bruised and in pain, she still smiles like everything's okay.
This is not just Shivani's story. Many others like her are going through hell. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, in 2013, more than 38% of crime committed against women were by their husbands or relatives.
A shocking report published by the United Nations (UN) on Monday indicates that matters have gotten even worse now. 6 out of 10 Indian men admitted to indulging in violence against their wives or partners in the report.
It was jointly published by the United Nations World Population Fund (UNFPA) and Washington-based International Center for Research on Women and polled around 9,205 men, aged between 18 to 49, and 3,158 women from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra to understand their views on masculinity, partner violence and son preference, said a Reuters news report.
1. As many as 93.6% men believed that a woman should obey her husband.
2. 76.9% of them thought if their partner does something wrong, they have the right to punish her.
3. A whooping 93% men felt that 'to be a man, you need to be tough' compared to 85% women.
4. 86.2% men believed that the most important role of a woman is to take care of the home and cook for her family, against 74% women who said the same.
5. Shockingly, 74.6% men and 65.1% women believed that if a woman does not physically fight back, it is not rape.
Let's talk about Sex
1. Around 62% of the women who were interviewed said yes when asked if a man should expect his wife to agree when they want to have sex.
2. 77% women also said that their partners expected them to agree when they wanted to have sex.
3. 54% of women said their husbands would get angry if they asked them to use a condom.
Those who admitted to domestic violence were the ones who had experienced discrimination when they were younger and/or faced economic stresses, substance abuse, poverty and conflicts in relationship.
What is Domestic Violence?
The study defined violence as both emotional and physical such as insults, intimidation, threats, pushing, punching and rape. It also included economic abuse in which a man did not allow his wife to work or took her earnings against her will. More than half the women interviewed said that they had experienced some form of violence during their lifetime, physical abuse being the most common. This included being kicked, slapped, choked and even burned.
Highest violence reports from Odisha and UP
The highest reports of violence came from Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, according to the report, with more than 70% men in these regions admitting to being abusive towards their wives and partners.
What can we do?
Feminist activist and gender trainer in South Asia, Kamla Bhasin, suggests a three-step programme that begins with bringing up children the right way on Satyamev Jayate: