DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH – INDIA – 2009
October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month”. India is observing “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” for the first time this year to make it an International event for all men’s rights and fathers’ rights groups across the world.
Four organizations in Hyderabad viz. Save Indian Family Foundation, All India Forgotten Women, Rishtey and Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting, are launching this campaign on 2 October because it is the International Day of Non-Violence, an occasion meant for disseminating the message of non-violence through education and public awareness.
Beginning today, our month-long campaign will focus on educating the Indian public about how the problem of domestic violence has, for decades, been misrepresented, how domestic violence has been commercialized, and how Indian laws claiming to prevent domestic violence are actually promoting domestic violence and human rights abuses against men, women and children. We will also urge lawmakers and the Government to make appropriate reforms in laws and policies and make gender neutral provisions to end domestic violence against men, women and children.
The truth about domestic violence
Unbiased research on domestic violence the world over shows that:
1) Domestic Violence is not a gender issue.
2) Men and children are victims too.
3) Women are just as likely as men to commit domestic violence.
4) Women initiate domestic violence just as frequently as men do.
5) Men and children are less likely to report the incident when they are abused by their wives/girlfriends and mothers respectively.
6) Women’s organizations spread myths about domestic violence (e.g. Men are always the aggressors and women are always the victims).
7) Media coverage is often biased (e.g. A young married woman committing suicide is automatically reported as dowry death, and a young married man committing suicide is attributed to financial/family problems or mysterious reasons).
8) Politicians and bureaucrats find no incentive in addressing domestic violence by women against men, children and fellow women.
Indian laws against domestic violence
Indian laws against domestic violence are irrational and discriminatory, and blatantly violate provisions of the Indian Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that “everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.”
But Indian laws against domestic violence presume that the accused is guilty until proven innocent and violate universal principles of fair trial.
- Article 21 of the Indian Constitution states that “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”.
But every year, over 1 lakh innocent persons (one innocent person every 5 minutes) are arrested under IPC Section 498A, including 4,000 innocent senior citizens (one innocent elderly person every 2.5 hours) and 350 children (one child per day) without evidence or investigation.
- The Universal Declaration of Human rights states that “all are equal before the law, and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution declares that “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.”
But Indian laws against domestic violence blatantly deny protection to men against any form of domestic abuse, and every year, over 56,000 married men commit suicide due to verbal, emotional, economic and physical abuse and legal harassment.
- Indian laws against domestic violence are touted as tools for women’s protection and empowerment.
But in the last four years alone, over 1,23,497 women have been arrested under IPC Section 498A alone, without evidence or investigation, not for committing any crime under law, but only because they were related to a man.
The Domestic Violence Industry
In India, domestic violence against wives is addressed by close to 15 laws (civil and criminal) including the infamous IPC Section 498A and Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA). However, there are no laws to protect husbands, children and other family members of the husband from domestic violence by wives. The credit goes to the Domestic Violence Industry and its stakeholders (women’s organizations, law enforcement machinery, legal fraternity, politicians and bureaucrats) whose survival depends on inciting and fueling a gender war, spreading myths and false statistics about domestic violence, encouraging false allegations, breaking families, and siphoning funds in the name of women’s empowerment from National and International funding agencies.
If the problem of domestic violence is solved, would not the booming Domestic Violence Industry, which is immune to all vagaries of the economy, suddenly go bankrupt? It is no wonder that as more
and more draconian and inhuman laws are passed under the guise of protection of women, we keep hearing that domestic violence against women is increasing, instead of decreasing.
Consequently, Indian taxpayers have spent lakhs to implement draconian laws and policies in the country. And the verdict is clear – these laws and policies:
ü Trample on Constitutional Protections and Human Rights.
ü Hurt men, women and children.
ü Divert limited funds away from the real victims.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities
Save Indian Family Foundation, All India Forgotten Women, Rishtey and Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting are organizing a campaign in Hyderabad (1) to spread awareness on “The Truth About Domestic Violence and Indian Domestic Violence Laws”, and (2) to urge lawmakers and the Government to reform the present discriminatory laws, and make gender-neutral provisions for the benefit of men, women, children, families and the society.
Our month-long campaign in Hyderabad includes the following activities:
October 2 – Press Conference to mark the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
October 11 – Launch of All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA) for protection of men and boys against gender discrimination, domestic violence, sexual harassment and other forms of abuse.
October 18 – Cultural program to spread awareness regarding the truth about domestic violence, and launch of Andhra Pradesh Mothers-in-law Protection Association (APMPA) for protection of mothers-in-law against discrimination, domestic violence, legal harassment and other forms of abuse.
October 25 – National Rally in Bangalore marking the third anniversary of the inhuman, ill-conceived Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) as BLACK DAY.
We will also be doing a massive flier campaign across the city throughout the month.
Similar activities will be conducted in other cities across the country like Bangalore, Lucknow, Chattisgarh, Nagpur and Delhi.
We request members of the print and electronic media to attend our events in large numbers and take part in the Domestic Violence Awareness campaign by providing extensive coverage for our events.