Often it is heard that the life of a daughter-in-law has been ruined due to the harassment meted out by husband and mother-in-law. But why is it not common to hear that a wife has ruined the life of her husband and mother-in-law. Well, it does happen but these incidents are suppressed and never make it out of the house owing to male domination in the society. Men become victims of domestic violence and compromise in order to protect the reputation of the family. This is the reason that social organizations are sprouting up for men victimized by domestic violence.
As per these organizations the poor man, if he hits his wife he is violent and if he gets beaten up by her, he is a coward; if he fights after seeing his wife with someone else then he is jealous and if he does not react then he is indifferent; if he goes out of house, he is a wanderer and if he stays at house, he is useless; if he scolds his children he is torturous and if he does not then he is irresponsible; if he stops his wife from going to job then he is of suspicious nature and if he does not stop then he lives off his wife; if he listens to his mother then he is mama’s boy and if he listens to his wife then he is a henpecked husband.
Yet, he cannot share his pain with anyone. People laugh if he does so. D S Rao, state representative for All India Men’s Welfare Association points out that the most peculiar thing about harassment of men under domestic violence vis-à-vis women, is that no one believes the man; neither the police takes up his complaint nor the Govt. has formed any national commission for men, on the lines of national commission for women. The entire incident is blown off in humor.
Some people in the society give odd names to such victimized men like henpecked husband, impotent and what not owing to which the victim feels highly undignified. Unable to bear the harassment many a men take the extreme route of committing suicide as well. We often do hear news about married men committing suicides; however, the real reason behind these suicides rarely comes out.
Vikas of Confidare Men’s Rights Community Center, another such organization, tells us that in Kolkata, the group of harassed husbands does meet up either in a public place or at some private place. When a new victim arrives, we counsel him so that his suicidal tendencies can be reduced.
Many surveys have clearly revealed that Section 498A of the IPC is heavily misused. Many husbands are falsely charged with harassing their wives for dowry under this section. In a petition numbered 583/2006 the Supreme Court had commented that many wives are taking advantage of this section and using it to threaten their husbands. As per statistics every 19 minutes a man is murdered and every 10 minutes a married man commits suicide.
It is pertinent to mention here that groups of husbands victimized by their wives have started organizing and have started protesting against the Govt. and are fighting for getting the section 498A amended to make it bailable. Govt. is thinking on the lines of amendment. These organizations are also demanding a separate men’s welfare ministry. They are creating pressure on the Govt. by making petitions supported by appropriate documents highlighting male abuse.