Sexual Harassment. Rape. Domestic Violence. Why do these words stir up images, only, of victimised women? Are we gender-biased when we talk of domestic violence? Have we, thus far, discounted the possibility that abuse BY women, AGAINST men, is very real?
According to a report, first published in The Guardian , over 40% victims of domestic violence are actually men.
Those might be the global figures, but the numbers in India only support it. In a survey carried out by Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) and MyNation, it was found that 86% more married men committed suicide as compared to married women.
SIFF receives 1,00,000 distress calls from men, across India.
32.8% respondents fell prey to economic abuse, making it the most common kind of abuse.
Sure, the signs of intimate partner abuse are less obvious when men fall prey to it. Was it that time she publicly humiliated you? Or, that time she was too drunk to see straight and shot words at you, like arrows? Did she make you feel worthless? Did she lash out at you, hit you, because you had the nerve to refuse to do the dishes? Nonetheless, the signs are there.
But, more often than not, they go unnoticed.
Maybe our blatant dismissal of abuse against men comes from a place of deep-rooted patriarchy. The word ‘man’ has been injected with dangerous implications of power and superiority. There’s no way HE could be overpowered or violated by the feeble fairer sex.
Or could he?
In light of how ignored the subject of domestic abuse against men is, here are some questions that we feel need some serious mulling over.
1. The Domestic Violence Act of 2005 applies only to women. Isn’t an update long overdue?
2. Don’t we need to consider the possibility that both men and women are equally likely to turn violent?
3. Why are our reactions so different? How has it come to be that abuse against women met is with disgust and horror but abuse against men, with ridicule and amusement?
An experiment conducted by Mankind Initiative throws light on this rather unfortunate reality.
Abuse of any kind is despicable. Against men, against women – it’s the same thing. And every victim deserves justice.