Statistics from World Health Organization (1997) indicate that on a global scale, one out of every three women has experienced violence in an intimate relationship at some point in her life. Various statistical reports published by both governmental and non-governmental organizations indicate that physical abuse of Indian women is quite high, ranging from 22-60 % (ICRW Summary Report). Every year the number of women suffering from the impact of domestic violence is increasing. However the number of women seeking help for domestic violence or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is extremely low. It appears that women often hesitate to seek help or raise their voice against domestic violence or Intimate Partner Violence.
There are a lot of myths associated with domestic violence, which often prevents one from seeking help. Besides the myths, there is lack of awareness. Victims of Intimate Partner Violence often struggle to come out of abusive relationship because of misconceptions and lack of resources present around them. Let’s look at some of the reasons that prevents women from seeking help and ways to resolve the same.
Perceived lack of legal remedies
Statistics suggest that only 2 percent of abused women have ever sought help from the police in India (NFHS report). Victims have often spoken about how the legal system always works in the favour of the abuser. There is a major misconception around legal remedies present for victims of intimate partner violence. The legal act implemented in 2005 to protect women from domestic violence has been a breakthrough. In fact, there are multiple welfare organizations that work towards spreading awareness about rights and legal remedies available for victims of Intimate Partner Violence. To know more about the welfare organizations, click on the following link: Welfare Organizations for Abused Women. Access to legal services and safety measures for the victims are some of the things that the law mandates for victims of intimate partner violence. To read more about the legal act, click on the following link: DV Act 2005.
Justification of violence
About 54% women and 51% men believe that it is alright for a husband to beat his wife under some circumstances such as disrespecting in-laws, neglect of house and neglecting children (NFHS report). It is quite unfortunate to see that there is a distorted perception of marriage. As individuals, we form our opinions and perceptions by observing others around us. Having witnessed unhealthy marriages around, individuals tend to believe that this is how marriages are supposed to work. After seeing repeated violence in marriages of parents, one tends to believe that violence is justifiable in marriage. As one internalizes this belief, violence becomes acceptable. Unfortunately for something that becomes acceptable, help is rarely sought.
It is even more important for us to challenge the status quo and continually educate ourselves to understand how healthy marriages work. To learn more about how healthy marriages work, read the following article: Formula for a Great Marriage.
Lack of support system
Victims of Intimate Partner Violence often find themselves in a difficult place because their loved ones are often not willing to support them. Societal norms often consider it a taboo to discuss marital discord. Close family members and friends also find it difficult to console and comfort the person who is being abused. Often they find themselves feeling quite confused and do not know what exactly they should tell the victims. With the lack of support, the victims of IPV find themselves socially isolated and helpless.
If you have been trying to cope with intimate partner violence or know of someone who has been trying to cope with abuse and violence in their household, then reach out for emotional support and help. It could become overwhelming for the person to cope with such levels of distress. Hence it is extremely beneficial to seek help.
To speak with a qualified counsellor for further support, please call on 1800-270-1790 or 080-48130142.