Even today, women in India and also in other countries, continue to be tortured and beaten behind the closed doors of the house. Women are vulnerable to domestic violence because of the existence of orthodox ideology that they are weaker, both physically and emotionally than men. The reasons for such violence could inter alia be demand for dowry, repeated birth of girl child, refusal to have sex, indulgence in extra-marital affairs, not looking after the in-laws, higher earnings than the male counterpart, mental instability or alcoholic behaviour of the other half or infertility.
Despite of the husband exerting his commanding character, the spouse usually remains quiet and continues to bear all the pain for the reason of securing a good future of her siblings and also for the social customs existing in the society which prevents her from stepping back from such a relation.
In year 2015, 461 cases (8.2% of rise) of domestic violence were registered, of which maximum were from Bihar as per NCRB Reports. Various agencies, both public and private, have come into picture to improve the present state of affairs.
Earlier, in 1983, section 498-A was introduced into the Indian Penal Code recognising domestic violence as a criminal offence, punishable with 3 years of imprisonment and fine. Later, in 2005, the parliament enacted Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, which aimed to protect women against intimate partner violence. It protects the women against physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuses, irrespective of whether it is committed by the male counterpart or his relatives. This statute not only protects the women who are subject to domestic violence but also those who are likely so to be subjected. The Magistrate, under the Act, can order to provide place of stay to the aggrieved person or to pay rent or to leave the shared possession. The court can order the officer-in-charge of nearest police station to provide protection to the aggrieved. Magistrate, while exercising its discretionary powers, can also direct the offender to pay compensation and damages for the mental torture and emotional distress or/and other monetary reliefs, consistent with the standard of living to which aggrieved is accustomed to, so as to meet the expenses incurred and losses suffered. Not only the aggrieved but also any person who apprehends such violence against some third party can also raise voice with bonafide intent.
The present day scenario is reversing as the victim is now, in many cases, is reported to have become the victimizer, making wrongful use of this Act to coerce the male spouse and also his family members.