Domestic Violence : Meaning, Causes and Types

Domestic violence has been greatly neglected by the psychologists and sociologists. The issue came much into the mainstream with the television program called Satyamev Jayate titled” danger at home”. According to a survey done by the Ministry of Health and FamiWelfare, Government of India and the planning commission in 2013 it was revealed at around 40 to 80% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence is universal.It is not connected with age, sex, race, culture, religion, education employment, marital status.

According to WH0 report released in 2013 one-third of all women aged 15 years and above have suffered intimate partner violence which includes both physical and sexual attacks. The rates of abuse are much higher in sub-Saharan Central Africa where two-thirds of women have been victimized. The victim loses the power of independent decisions making and lives in a world where even the basic Human Rights are denied.


According to Ganley and Schecter domestic violence is defined as a  pattern of coercive and assaultive behaviors that include physical, sexual verbal and psychological attacks and economic coercion that adult/ adolescence used against the intimate partner.
Here partners can be anyone either they may be married or unmarried, Heterosexual, gay or lesbian, living together, separated or dating.

The protection of women from domestic violence act 2005 defines domestic violence as domestic violence includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse that is physical, sexual verbal, emotional and economical. Harassment by the way of unlawful dowry demand to the women of her relatives would also be covered under this definition.

The following are the forms of abuse committed.

  1. withholding money
  2.  stopping  A spouse from getting a job
  3. threatening physical harm
  4. sexual assault
  5. name calling or put-downs
  6. keeping the spouse from contacting one’s family or friends

 Types of domestic abuse:

The following four types of abuse were recognized one criminal or physical assault that maybe by hitting, pushing etc second sexual abuse which can happen with the use of unwanted or forced sexual activity third is  emotional or psychological abuse  and the fourth is economic financial abuse which can lead to criminal violence

1.physical violence

WHO defined physical violence as the intentional use of physical force or Power, threatened or actual, against oneself another person or against a group or community that either result in or have high likelihood of resulting in injury , death, psychological harm Mal- development or deprivation.
It also includes denying the victim  medical care whenever needed or depriving him or her of sleep or other functions necessary to leave or forcing him or her to engage in drugs or alcohol use against his or her will.

2. sexual abuse

sexual violence  is a situation in which one forces or pose a threat to obtain participation in unwanted sexual activity It is also considered equivalent to rape .coercing a person to engage in sexual activity against his /her will even if that person is a spouse(spousal or marital rape) or intimate partner with whom consensual sex has an occurred is an act of violence.

3 . emotional/ psychological abuse:
emotional abuse mainly happens from Verbal means .It includes controlling his or her partner making oneself feel that they are of low Esteem, withholding information, blackmailing, denying money or other basic resources and necessity required to carry out day to day activities, etc.The abuse make oneself suffer from depression which ultimately leads to an increased risk of suicide ,eating disorders, drug  and alcohol abuse.

4.: Economic or financial violence

This includes controlling his or her partner from acquiring economic resources. the main motive behind this is if one is made   deprived  of economic resources then he or she will definitely depend on the controlled person .This also includes a close watch on ones spending using one’s money without their concern or creating a havoc in  resource acquisition ,limiting the amount of resources ,denying employment opportunities available to them maintaining or advancing careers. All of these can be termed as examples of economic violence.

 what are the probable causes for domestic violence

According to the UN Commission on state of women in its Vienna declaration based on empirical evidence the following can be sorted as a reasons for domestic violence check out national integration

  • . the control in the family matters primarily by men against women
  • the imbalance is committed against the weakest one of  sex or age of physical fitness.Even the dependency relationships mainly in terms of economic or employment status determined to a large extent in determining domestic violence
  • the in balance of power which is making the weaker lose the control on basic Human Rights fundamental freedoms dignity and right to peace and security and acts are mainly due to  the patriarchal  orientation of the society at large.
  • the childhood socialization,   previous experiences of abuse in relationships, psychological disorder of anger sadism, sense of insecurity in marital Bond or frustration at work also responsible for domestic violence.
    domestic violence is not legal in india-bharat-hindustan
    domestic violence  in India

 Domestic violence in India

India in recent decades is making a quick move towards education and awareness .despite of this only one fourth of the domestic violence cases are being registered . This is evident from the ncrb record from the Government of India .among the 244270 registered cases 106527 were related to cruelty by their husband or his relatives. The problem in India is that the victims do not feel victimized.This is because of the social upbringing that Indian women’s were been into. For the first time, the Indian National family and health survey-3  in 2005-06 addressed the domestic violence and its  concerns. It officially recorded the data pertaining to the domestic violence in the country.  This has shown that  the  violence is more among those who were in the first 2 years of the marriage,12 to 15% of the women were found to have been reported with marks of being dragged, beaten up or something threw up on them ,1 in 3 married women reported to have been slapped by their husband and  1 in 7 married women have suffered physical injuries as a result of spousal violence , 10% of the women report that there were forced to have sex with their spouse.

Conclusion: Domestic violence  laws in our country

The domestic violence is recognized as a criminal offense according to the Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code of 1983. This applies to the domestic violence in any act of cruelty to the husband or his family towards his wife. till 2006 there was no separate civil law addressing the specific Complexities associated with domestic violence.But in 2006 the protection of women from domestic violence act came into force. the following are the salient features of the act are:

  • it applies to those women who are in relationship with abuse by the way of marriage consanguinity ,adoption etc
  • the act makes the provision for the right to secure housing to the women who is domestically abused for this purpose a residence order is passed by a court which which decides whether a women can reside in matrimonial or shared household or entitlements for  separate living.
  • the app provides for appointment of protection officers and NGOs
  • to provide assistance to women regarding medical examination ,Legal Aid safe shelter etc

the act has prohibited marital rape and also included the mandatory provision of protection and maintenance as and when required to be provided by the husband when if he is treating his wife emotionally physically economically subjugated.

Apart from the above-suggested measures ensuring women to be provided with shelter homes, short stay homes, Legal Aid, counseling and child care facilities when a woman undergoes domestic violence can help emotional, material and legal support to the survivor enables her to rebuild her life as well as that of her children’s. Efforts to raise the communication on neighborhood opinion against domestic violence and the mobilization of the entire community against the violence can promote human dignity especially in a society like India where the women themselves feel justified to be beaten up by their husbands.

In UNICEF’s Global report card on adolescence 2012, not just Indian men but even adolescence in the 15 to 19 age group feel that wife beating is justified.
The courage of women to same no to the domestic violence ensures the protection of oneself. This should be coupled with a change in the attitude of men towards women in India.There is a paradox that is the women safety is spoken about in public spaces but when it comes to individuals the opposite happens. Until and unless serious efforts are taken women will not continue to be provided with justice.

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