While umpteen literature and corresponding social acceptance about women’s rights is available, there is an equivalent or probably larger gap for men’s rights. In fact, the very term, “men’s rights” comes as a misnomer for many.
The common misconception is that the concept of men’s rights is relevant only for those men who are wronged due to “misuse” of gender biased laws like Section 498A (dowry law), Domestic Violence Act, Section 125 CrPC (maintenance laws), Section 376 (rape law), Sexual Harassment Law, etc.
But, as truth is stranger than fiction, the concept of men’s rights is relevant for each and every man, each and every male. While one may argue, that the trigger of emergence of men’s rights movement has been due to innocent men being trapped in false cases, however, the underlying abuse of men is much deeper and ingrained than it appears.
It’s the gross injustice that men are subjected to, by the society merely because a woman has complained against the man that forms a larger chunk of abuse of men. Apart from this, the fact that the society does not believe in punishing abusive women compounds to the abuse of men as women continue abusing men unabated.
Let me share some real life examples here:
Society does not believe in punishing abusive women:
The couple has been married for a long time and since her marriage, the wife has never treated the husband with love and care because of her abusive nature. In fact, she keeps on threatening him with suicide and under that fear; the poor man tolerates all her abuses, tantrums, whims and fancies. Due to this, the husband normally moves out of his house to have a cup of tea.
One fine day, he was just having tea and his wife called him inside. As he went in, he was pushed by her and abused. And, when this incident was being narrated as part of a family gathering, the audience was having a hearty time laughing. Thus, the pertinent questions that arise are,
- Is it not abuse of a man?
- Is it laughable?
- What, if it happened with a woman?
- Should not the abusive woman be punished?
- Should the man’s pain be trivialized?
Judiciary reflects society:
In an interesting turn of events, as an appeal of a high court order reached the Supreme Court, it not only refused to entertain the petition but also imposed high cost on the husband for filing a petition against his wife. In this case, the wife had trapped the husband and his family in a false dowry case and in that case she openly made false statements of “giving dowry” to husband and his family. Realizing, that as per law, giving dowry is also an offense; the husband filed a case against wife for “admitting to giving dowry”.
However, wife moved the High Court against this petition and the High Court quashed the case saying it did not find any merit in the case. Feeling aggrieved, the husband filed for an appeal in the Supreme Court and in that appeal, Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act was challenged asking the Govt. of India that if it does not intend to punish dowry givers, why to keep the law. Why not amend it and punish only dowry takers?
Supreme Court, upon hearing the petition, got enraged and asked, “So, you want a wife to get convicted?”
Supreme Court dismissed the petition saying, “Under no circumstances, can a wife be ever punished?”
Again, some pertinent questions that arise are:
- Are all women saints?
- Who will punish abusive women if judiciary does not do it?
- Are we not abetting violence against men?
- Are we not promulgating crime in the society?
- Are we not cornering men beyond extent?
Above two examples merely tell us, how, as a society, we are so very tolerant of abusive women and we have created no mechanism to punish an abusive woman.
In such a situation, if a man is abused by a woman, he has no platform available for him that can save him from the abusive woman and punish the woman for her abuse. Either, he has to tolerate the abuse or end his life. Unfortunately, some men do not end their lives harmlessly. They first kill their abuser and then commit suicide and some also prefer to go jail after killing their abusers.
Such a woman pampering social mindset corners men into committing crimes and such crimes are preventable. Provided, we as a society, mature up and provide some semblance of a protection to men from abusive women. There are millions of men who are suffering at the hands of abusive women and abusive families and they do not have any door to knock or any forum to look forward to.
It’s these men who need men’s rights. Those men, who have already been wronged by the law and have been at the receiving end of injustice are merely doing their duty to spread awareness about abuse of men in the society and intend to reduce the insensitivity towards abused men.
They aren’t much to gain by the establishment and recognition of men’s rights in the society. It’s the men who are suffering silently and are not aware that there is a forum available for men, are the ones who need it and given the current social mindset, it appears, every man needs to understand the concept of men’s rights because at some point of time, every man is abused in his life and he just tolerates it because he is trained to believe that “it’s manly” to endure pain.
Traditionally, the protector role has been accorded to men. And the role of a protector is a tough one as one needs to rise above oneself and sacrifice his life for the sake of others. This is something which only a man can do selflessly. And that is why, the primary role of breadwinner is accorded to men and also in times of emergency or any calamity, its men again who take upon the role to be the protectors taking upon all risks onto themselves and providing a safe environment to women, children and elders.
However, ironically and unfortunately, the protector’s shield is unprotected and in absence of recognition of men’s rights as a mainstream social concept, more often than not, the protector forgets to protect himself and that’s not a very healthy sign.
As men are always trained by society to be protectors, men must be educated about the dangers of protector role and thus, the concept of men’s rights is important for each and every man, not only those men who are reportedly victimized and have developed the spirits to speak up.