Domestic Violence

“Bride tortured to death for dowry”, “School going kid succumbs to his injuries after beaten by father”, “A seventy year old man killed over property dispute”, “Harassment of men in Chandigarh…”

All these and what not, turn to any newspaper at random and you would find the reports of such kind of violence all over the country. These are all what we come to know through different forms of media. There are more such cases which go unreported every day. In fact, include the cases which we our self indulge in, or the ones which we witness in the neighbourhood but are hesitant in taking even a single step to reduce their occurrences.

In our society, violence is bursting. It is present almost everywhere and nowhere is this eruption more intense than right behind the doors of our homes. Behind closed doors of homes all across our country, people are being tortured, beaten and killed. It is happening in rural areas, towns, cities and in metropolitans as well. It is crossing all social classes, genders, racial lines and age groups. It is becoming a legacy being passed on from one generation to another.

The term used to describe this exploding problem of violence within our homes is Domestic Violence. This violence is towards someone who we are in a relationship with, be it a wife, husband, son, daughter, mother, father, grandparent or any other family member. It can be a male’s or a female’s atrocities towards another male or a female. Anyone can be a victim and a victimizer. This violence has a tendency to explode in various forms such as physical, sexual or emotional.

Since times immemorial, domestic violence has been an intrinsic part of the society we are living in. The contributing factors could be the desire to gain control over another family member, the desire to exploit someone for personal benefits, the flare to be in a commanding position all the time showcasing one’s supremacy so on and so forth. On various occasions, psychological problems and social influence also add to the vehemence. The present essay deals with the various forms of domestic violence prevalent in India. Their causes of occurrence in households have been analyzed categorically. The variation in the intensity of the forms with change in the geographical location and culture has also been addressed. The aftereffects of different kinds of domestic violence and the possible remedies have been highlighted. Finally, a conclusion has been drawn after the complete analysis of the topic with the juxtaposition of facts and figures at hand.

Different Forms of Domestic Violence in India and their Causes

Domestic Violence Against Women

This form of domestic violence is most common of all. One of the reasons for it being so prevalent is the orthodox and idiotic mindset of the society that women are physically and emotionally weaker than the males. Though women today have proved themselves in almost every field of life affirming that they are no less than men, the reports of violence against them are much larger in number than against men. The possible reasons are many and are diversified over the length and breadth of the country. According to United Nation Population Fund Report, around two-third of married Indian women are victims of domestic violence and as many as 70 per cent of married women in India between the age of 15 and 49 are victims of beating, rape or forced sex. In India, more than 55 percent of the women suffer from domestic violence, especially in the states of Bihar, U.P., M.P. and other northern states.

The most common causes for women stalking and battering include dissatisfaction with the dowry and exploiting women for more of it, arguing with the partner, refusing to have sex with him, neglecting children, going out of home without telling the partner, not cooking properly or on time, indulging in extra marital affairs, not looking after in-laws etc. In some cases infertility in females also leads to their assault by the family members. The greed for dowry, desire for a male child and alcoholism of the spouse are major factors of domestic violence against women in rural areas. There have been gruesome reports of young bride being burnt alive or subjected to continuous harassment for not bringing home the amount of demanded dowry. Women in India also admit to hitting or beating because of their suspicion about the husband’s sexual involvement with other women. The Tandoor Murder Case of Naina Sahni in New Delhi in the year 1995 is one such dreadful incident of a woman being killed and then burnt in a Tandoor by his husband. This incidence was an outcome of suspicion of extra marital affairs of Naina Sahni which led to marital discord and domestic violence against her.

In urban areas there are many more factors which lead to differences in the beginning and later take the shape of domestic violence. These include – more income of a working woman than her partner, her absence in the house till late night, abusing and neglecting in-laws, being more forward socially etc. Working women are quite often subjected to assaults and coercion sex by employees of the organization. At times, it could be voluntary for a better pay and designation in the office.

Violence against young widows has also been on a rise in India. Most often they are cursed for their husband’s death and are deprived of proper food and clothing. They are not allowed or encouraged for remarriage in most of the homes, especially in rural areas. There have been cases of molestation and rape attempts of women by other family members in nuclear families or someone in the neighbourhood. At times, women are even sexually coerced by their partner themselves against their will. They are brutally beaten and tortured for not conceiving a male child. Incidents like, ripping off a woman’s womb for killing the female foetus when she disagrees for abortion have also come to light especially in rural areas. Female foeticide and female infanticide continue to be a rising concern.

Also as expressed by Rebecca J. Burns in the following lines, “When I am asked why a woman doesn’t leave abuser I say: Women stay because the fear of leaving is greater than the fear of staying. They will leave when the fear of staying is greater than the fear of leaving.” A common Indian house wife has a tendency to bear the harassment she is subjected to by her husband and the family. One reason could be to prevent the children from undergoing the hardships if she separates from the spouse. Also the traditional and orthodox mindset makes them bear the sufferings without any protest.

Other forms of physical abuse against women include slapping, punching, grabbing, burdening them with drudgery, public humiliation and the neglect of their health problems. Some of the other forms of psychological torment against them could be curtailment of their rights to self-expression and curbing the freedom to associate with the natal family and friends.

Domestic Violence Against Men

There is no question that domestic violence directed against women is a serious and bigger problem, but domestic violence against men is also increasing gradually in India. The supremacy of men in the society makes one believe that they are not vulnerable to domestic violence. Battering of men by their spouse and family members has become a concerned issue and is another form of domestic violence under purview of judiciary. In India, compared to violence against women, violence against men is less frequent but it has already taken a deadly shape in many of the western countries by now.

Males have reported incidences of assault against them like pushing, shoving, slapping, grabbing, hitting which are intended to harm them and also take their lives on many occasions. Recently, hundreds of husbands gathered in Chandigarh and Shimla to voice their opinion for men’s rights and protection against domestic violence subjected to them by their wives and other family members. It reflects the need for a special law for curbing domestic violence against men in present times.

If we contemplate over the reasons behind this form of domestic violence we would find some of the possible causes such as not abiding by the instructions of the wives’, inadequate earning of men, infidelity towards wives, not helping the partner in household activities, not taking a proper care of children, abusing the spouse’s family, infertility of men, spying the activities of partner, doubting the partner all the time and not trusting her, revolt by the wife when asked to look after in-laws etc. On many occasions the spat between men and women becomes public thereby influencing the society around especially in the villages. In urban areas such forms of violence may go unreported because of greater privacy. Also the families find their reputation at stake in urban areas.

Domestic Violence Against Children/Teens

Children and teenagers in our society are not spared from the evil of domestic violence. In fact, this form of violence is second in terms of number of reported cases after the ‘violence against women’. There is a lot of variation in the form of its occurrence in urban and rural areas and in upper/middle class and lower class families in India. In urban regions, it is more private and concealed within the four walls of homes. The possible reasons could be disobeying parental advises and orders, poor performance in academics or not being at par with other children in neighbourhood, debating with parents and other family members etc. In addition to this, factors like not being socially intelligent or as active as the parents expect them to be, abusing the parents or speaking ill about other family members, not returning home on time are some other factors.

In rural areas the reasons could be harassment for child labour, physical abuse or harm for not following family traditions, forcing them to stay at home and not allowing them to go to school etc. Domestic violence against girls is in fact more severe at homes. As the common mob mentality of India prefers to have at least one male child after marriage, the girls in most of the occasions are cursed and assaulted for having taken birth in the home. This kind abuse is prevalent both in cities and villages but is more common in latter case. Then there are cases of paedophilia causing sexual harassment of children in homes by family member themselves. In fact the number of rape cases of pre-matured girls has been rising since last few years. A survey of teens and college students found that rape accounted for 67 percent of sexual assaults in girls. Apart from sexual abuse and rape, pushing, slapping, punching, stalking and emotional abuse are other forms of domestic violence against children.

Adding to the above mentioned causes, there are also instances of abuse against children who are physically and/or mentally challenged. Instead of providing them proper health care and treating them politely, these children are beaten and harassed for not cooperating and attending to what family members ask them to do. They are even emotionally abused by cursing them having been in such retarded or handicapped state. In fact in poor families, there have been reports of selling body organs of the retarded children for getting money in return. It reflects the height of cruelness and violence against innocent children.

Domestic Violence Against Olds

This form of domestic violence refers to the violence which old people at home are subjected to by their children and other family members. This category of domestic violence largely goes under-reported in India. It is because of the dependency of olds on their children and having a fear of not being looked after or even ousted if the violence is revealed in public. The main causes of violence against aged people are – children being hesitant in bearing the expenses of the old parents, emotionally victimising the olds and beating them to death to get rid of them. On various occasions, they are beaten for doing something against the desire of family members. One of the very common reasons includes torture for property grabbing.

A perturbing trend is the vulnerability of ageing women to domestic violence in various forms. Given existing structures of gender discrimination, old women are prone to a greater risk than men of becoming victims of material exploitation, financial deprivation, property grabbing, abandonment, verbal humiliation, emotional and psychological torment. When they fall seriously ill, it is more likely that it is the elderly women in the family who will be denied proper health care. There is also a widespread understanding that the neglect, deprivation and marginalisation of older women are the normal consequences of ageing. In fact the plight of young widows in homes as discussed above now becomes more serious as a result of the ageing of those women. They are cut off from the society they are living in, ignored, abused, cursed, and considered as bad omens. The atrocities of sons, daughter-in-laws, daughters and husbands could be another cause of domestic violence specifically against older women. They are restrained from cooking, housekeeping, or participating in activities outside the home.

While it is difficult to accurately measure the extent of the problem on a national scale, given the fact that most families deny that such abuse but we do know that the number of old people in our midst is growing. A current estimate puts the 60-plus population at around 90 million in India and is projected to have a population of 142 million older people by 2020. Given this demographic reality an important concern is the kind of action the country can take at the individual and societal level to alleviate abuse and neglect of elderly class.

Other Forms of Domestic Violence in India

There are some more possible forms of domestic violence prevalent in India other than the ones listed above. On a serious note, family wars or clan wars are deadly forms of domestic violence across the country. The reason of such type of violence include dispute over property, physically or emotionally abusing any member of other family or clan, any religious cause or conflict arising during a religious ceremony, jealousy because of progress and financial status of other family, inter-caste marriage etc. This form of violence is common in many states like Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh etc.

One of the other forms of domestic violence is ill-treatment of servants and maids in households. In many of the affluent homes, servants are deprived of their salary and basic necessities. They are harassed and beaten and to work without even taking adequate rest. Similarly maids are molested by males in the family. Atrocities against small children working as servants are common and increasing.

To some extent media is also responsible for contributing to all the above forms of violence. The exaggerated news coverage of reports of domestic violence, the daily soaps screening the torture of a daughter-in-law at the hands of family members, the films portraying an element of violence against people of all age groups etc. are some of the menaces which media is causing. It is influencing the mindset of the viewers strongly. The problem arises when instead of taking a lesson from those news clippings, films, and television shows, people start enacting the same in their homes. Comparatively, the visual media is far more influencing than the print and electronic media in these cases. Illiteracy and mob mentality of majority of Indians misguides them in all these cases.

“Bride tortured to death for dowry”, “School going kid succumbs to his injuries after beaten by father”, “A seventy year old man killed over property dispute”, “Harassment of men in Chandigarh…”

All these and what not, turn to any newspaper at random and you would find the reports of such kind of violence all over the country. These are all what we come to know through different forms of media. There are more such cases which go unreported every day. In fact, include the cases which we our self indulge in, or the ones which we witness in the neighbourhood but are hesitant in taking even a single step to reduce their occurrences.

In our society, violence is bursting. It is present almost everywhere and nowhere is this eruption more intense than right behind the doors of our homes. Behind closed doors of homes all across our country, people are being tortured, beaten and killed. It is happening in rural areas, towns, cities and in metropolitans as well. It is crossing all social classes, genders, racial lines and age groups. It is becoming a legacy being passed on from one generation to another.

The term used to describe this exploding problem of violence within our homes is Domestic Violence. This violence is towards someone who we are in a relationship with, be it a wife, husband, son, daughter, mother, father, grandparent or any other family member. It can be a male’s or a female’s atrocities towards another male or a female. Anyone can be a victim and a victimizer. This violence has a tendency to explode in various forms such as physical, sexual or emotional.

Since times immemorial, domestic violence has been an intrinsic part of the society we are living in. The contributing factors could be the desire to gain control over another family member, the desire to exploit someone for personal benefits, the flare to be in a commanding position all the time showcasing one’s supremacy so on and so forth. On various occasions, psychological problems and social influence also add to the vehemence. The present essay deals with the various forms of domestic violence prevalent in India. Their causes of occurrence in households have been analyzed categorically. The variation in the intensity of the forms with change in the geographical location and culture has also been addressed. The aftereffects of different kinds of domestic violence and the possible remedies have been highlighted. Finally, a conclusion has been drawn after the complete analysis of the topic with the juxtaposition of facts and figures at hand.

Different Forms of Domestic Violence in India and their Causes

Domestic Violence Against Women

This form of domestic violence is most common of all. One of the reasons for it being so prevalent is the orthodox and idiotic mindset of the society that women are physically and emotionally weaker than the males. Though women today have proved themselves in almost every field of life affirming that they are no less than men, the reports of violence against them are much larger in number than against men. The possible reasons are many and are diversified over the length and breadth of the country. According to United Nation Population Fund Report, around two-third of married Indian women are victims of domestic violence and as many as 70 per cent of married women in India between the age of 15 and 49 are victims of beating, rape or forced sex. In India, more than 55 percent of the women suffer from domestic violence, especially in the states of Bihar, U.P., M.P. and other northern states.

The most common causes for women stalking and battering include dissatisfaction with the dowry and exploiting women for more of it, arguing with the partner, refusing to have sex with him, neglecting children, going out of home without telling the partner, not cooking properly or on time, indulging in extra marital affairs, not looking after in-laws etc. In some cases infertility in females also leads to their assault by the family members. The greed for dowry, desire for a male child and alcoholism of the spouse are major factors of domestic violence against women in rural areas. There have been gruesome reports of young bride being burnt alive or subjected to continuous harassment for not bringing home the amount of demanded dowry. Women in India also admit to hitting or beating because of their suspicion about the husband’s sexual involvement with other women. The Tandoor Murder Case of Naina Sahni in New Delhi in the year 1995 is one such dreadful incident of a woman being killed and then burnt in a Tandoor by his husband. This incidence was an outcome of suspicion of extra marital affairs of Naina Sahni which led to marital discord and domestic violence against her.

In urban areas there are many more factors which lead to differences in the beginning and later take the shape of domestic violence. These include – more income of a working woman than her partner, her absence in the house till late night, abusing and neglecting in-laws, being more forward socially etc. Working women are quite often subjected to assaults and coercion sex by employees of the organization. At times, it could be voluntary for a better pay and designation in the office.

Violence against young widows has also been on a rise in India. Most often they are cursed for their husband’s death and are deprived of proper food and clothing. They are not allowed or encouraged for remarriage in most of the homes, especially in rural areas. There have been cases of molestation and rape attempts of women by other family members in nuclear families or someone in the neighbourhood. At times, women are even sexually coerced by their partner themselves against their will. They are brutally beaten and tortured for not conceiving a male child. Incidents like, ripping off a woman’s womb for killing the female foetus when she disagrees for abortion have also come to light especially in rural areas. Female foeticide and female infanticide continue to be a rising concern.

Also as expressed by Rebecca J. Burns in the following lines, “When I am asked why a woman doesn’t leave abuser I say: Women stay because the fear of leaving is greater than the fear of staying. They will leave when the fear of staying is greater than the fear of leaving.” A common Indian house wife has a tendency to bear the harassment she is subjected to by her husband and the family. One reason could be to prevent the children from undergoing the hardships if she separates from the spouse. Also the traditional and orthodox mindset makes them bear the sufferings without any protest.

Other forms of physical abuse against women include slapping, punching, grabbing, burdening them with drudgery, public humiliation and the neglect of their health problems. Some of the other forms of psychological torment against them could be curtailment of their rights to self-expression and curbing the freedom to associate with the natal family and friends.

Domestic Violence Against Men

There is no question that domestic violence directed against women is a serious and bigger problem, but domestic violence against men is also increasing gradually in India. The supremacy of men in the society makes one believe that they are not vulnerable to domestic violence. Battering of men by their spouse and family members has become a concerned issue and is another form of domestic violence under purview of judiciary. In India, compared to violence against women, violence against men is less frequent but it has already taken a deadly shape in many of the western countries by now.

Males have reported incidences of assault against them like pushing, shoving, slapping, grabbing, hitting which are intended to harm them and also take their lives on many occasions. Recently, hundreds of husbands gathered in Chandigarh and Shimla to voice their opinion for men’s rights and protection against domestic violence subjected to them by their wives and other family members. It reflects the need for a special law for curbing domestic violence against men in present times.

If we contemplate over the reasons behind this form of domestic violence we would find some of the possible causes such as not abiding by the instructions of the wives’, inadequate earning of men, infidelity towards wives, not helping the partner in household activities, not taking a proper care of children, abusing the spouse’s family, infertility of men, spying the activities of partner, doubting the partner all the time and not trusting her, revolt by the wife when asked to look after in-laws etc. On many occasions the spat between men and women becomes public thereby influencing the society around especially in the villages. In urban areas such forms of violence may go unreported because of greater privacy. Also the families find their reputation at stake in urban areas.

Domestic Violence Against Children/Teens

Children and teenagers in our society are not spared from the evil of domestic violence. In fact, this form of violence is second in terms of number of reported cases after the ‘violence against women’. There is a lot of variation in the form of its occurrence in urban and rural areas and in upper/middle class and lower class families in India. In urban regions, it is more private and concealed within the four walls of homes. The possible reasons could be disobeying parental advises and orders, poor performance in academics or not being at par with other children in neighbourhood, debating with parents and other family members etc. In addition to this, factors like not being socially intelligent or as active as the parents expect them to be, abusing the parents or speaking ill about other family members, not returning home on time are some other factors.

In rural areas the reasons could be harassment for child labour, physical abuse or harm for not following family traditions, forcing them to stay at home and not allowing them to go to school etc. Domestic violence against girls is in fact more severe at homes. As the common mob mentality of India prefers to have at least one male child after marriage, the girls in most of the occasions are cursed and assaulted for having taken birth in the home. This kind abuse is prevalent both in cities and villages but is more common in latter case. Then there are cases of paedophilia causing sexual harassment of children in homes by family member themselves. In fact the number of rape cases of pre-matured girls has been rising since last few years. A survey of teens and college students found that rape accounted for 67 percent of sexual assaults in girls. Apart from sexual abuse and rape, pushing, slapping, punching, stalking and emotional abuse are other forms of domestic violence against children.

Adding to the above mentioned causes, there are also instances of abuse against children who are physically and/or mentally challenged. Instead of providing them proper health care and treating them politely, these children are beaten and harassed for not cooperating and attending to what family members ask them to do. They are even emotionally abused by cursing them having been in such retarded or handicapped state. In fact in poor families, there have been reports of selling body organs of the retarded children for getting money in return. It reflects the height of cruelness and violence against innocent children.

Domestic Violence Against Olds

This form of domestic violence refers to the violence which old people at home are subjected to by their children and other family members. This category of domestic violence largely goes under-reported in India. It is because of the dependency of olds on their children and having a fear of not being looked after or even ousted if the violence is revealed in public. The main causes of violence against aged people are – children being hesitant in bearing the expenses of the old parents, emotionally victimising the olds and beating them to death to get rid of them. On various occasions, they are beaten for doing something against the desire of family members. One of the very common reasons includes torture for property grabbing.

A perturbing trend is the vulnerability of ageing women to domestic violence in various forms. Given existing structures of gender discrimination, old women are prone to a greater risk than men of becoming victims of material exploitation, financial deprivation, property grabbing, abandonment, verbal humiliation, emotional and psychological torment. When they fall seriously ill, it is more likely that it is the elderly women in the family who will be denied proper health care. There is also a widespread understanding that the neglect, deprivation and marginalisation of older women are the normal consequences of ageing. In fact the plight of young widows in homes as discussed above now becomes more serious as a result of the ageing of those women. They are cut off from the society they are living in, ignored, abused, cursed, and considered as bad omens. The atrocities of sons, daughter-in-laws, daughters and husbands could be another cause of domestic violence specifically against older women. They are restrained from cooking, housekeeping, or participating in activities outside the home.

While it is difficult to accurately measure the extent of the problem on a national scale, given the fact that most families deny that such abuse but we do know that the number of old people in our midst is growing. A current estimate puts the 60-plus population at around 90 million in India and is projected to have a population of 142 million older people by 2020. Given this demographic reality an important concern is the kind of action the country can take at the individual and societal level to alleviate abuse and neglect of elderly class.

Other Forms of Domestic Violence in India

There are some more possible forms of domestic violence prevalent in India other than the ones listed above. On a serious note, family wars or clan wars are deadly forms of domestic violence across the country. The reason of such type of violence include dispute over property, physically or emotionally abusing any member of other family or clan, any religious cause or conflict arising during a religious ceremony, jealousy because of progress and financial status of other family, inter-caste marriage etc. This form of violence is common in many states like Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh etc.

One of the other forms of domestic violence is ill-treatment of servants and maids in households. In many of the affluent homes, servants are deprived of their salary and basic necessities. They are harassed and beaten and to work without even taking adequate rest. Similarly maids are molested by males in the family. Atrocities against small children working as servants are common and increasing.

To some extent media is also responsible for contributing to all the above forms of violence. The exaggerated news coverage of reports of domestic violence, the daily soaps screening the torture of a daughter-in-law at the hands of family members, the films portraying an element of violence against people of all age groups etc. are some of the menaces which media is causing. It is influencing the mindset of the viewers strongly. The problem arises when instead of taking a lesson from those news clippings, films, and television shows, people start enacting the same in their homes. Comparatively, the visual media is far more influencing than the print and electronic media in these cases. Illiteracy and mob mentality of majority of Indians misguides them in all these cases.

We know that domestic violence is the major cause of injury to women and that a woman is battered every nine seconds in this country. We also know that hundreds of thousands of women and children are turned away from shelters each year because there isn't enough room. Did you know that there are more animal shelters than facilities for battered women and children? Unbelievable, but true.

Here's some advice, especially if you're not sure about your situation: Visit a women's shelter and talk to the women there. See if your situation is similar. If it is, you must get away from him now. Many of our clients tell us that the abuse has steadily escalated. Maybe a slap or kick rapidly becomes a beating with fists or objects. He may choke or rape you.

Where To Get Help

Domestic violence reports have increased since 1994. Along with this has been a rising awareness of the crime among law enforcement officers, who are more ready to prosecute these cases to the full extent of the law. Many men are receiving jail sentences, with or without the woman's cooperation. In some counties and states in the U.S., the police can file domestic violence charges even though the woman is afraid to "cross" her husband.

It's important to understand that the definition of domestic violence includes verbal abuse. Our clients tell us that this can be as harsh as a beating. Unfortunately, law enforcement can be less helpful in this area because it's difficult to file charges if there are no visible signs of abuse.

Much is at Stake in your Domestic Violence Defense

It is extremely important to understand the high stakes associated with domestic violence charges. Your reputation, your job, your standing in the community and your ability to obtain credit in the future may all hinge on the outcome of your domestic violence case.

A Private Investigator May Help Build a Strong Case in your Defense

With the support of professional private detectives and investigators, our firm will undertake a probing, detailed domestic violence complaint investigation on behalf of our clients. In order to construct a strong defense for clients, these private investigators conduct in-depth witness interviews designed to uncover any valuable or vindicating evidence.

Does Your Complaining Witness have a History of Dishonesty?

A privately conducted domestic violence complaint investigation often enables Attorney Hoff to present a compelling case for clients. A strong domestic violence defense sometimes hinges in part on evidence uncovered by private investigators, including:

  • A complaining witness has a criminal background involving crimes of dishonesty
  • A complaining witness is apparently motivated by a desire to retaliate in the course of bitter divorce proceedings

Discuss the nature of the complaint against you with an experienced domestic violence attorney. Learn how a privately conducted and carefully focused domestic violence complaint investigation can strengthen your defense.

Hiring your own private investigator is important. A domestic violence investigation should be started at least as soon as the interview tapes are obtained. The police dispatch tape containing the victim’s initial report of an incident should be obtained before it is destroyed. The goal is to preserve statements and physical evidence that can help your case. The police frequently don’t preserve evidence in cases, especially where it might help your defense. If you are injured during the incident promptly document your injuries with photographs and see a doctor. The closer to trial your case gets, the more drastic the prosecution’s facts will become. It is important to take witness statements early before the magistrate conducts follow-up interviews to build a stronger case against you.

Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence
A global perception survey has named India as the fourth most dangerous country in the world for women, with female foeticide and human trafficking being cited as the major reasons. Informing this in the Rajya Sabha today, Minister of State for Women and Child Development, however, said the Government was not aware about the content and methodology adopted for the survey and can therefore, “not comment on the credibility of the conclusion it has drawn”.
Domestic violence
Domestic violence

Indian women and children who are victims of domestic violence are most likely to suffer from chronic malnutrition, a new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found.

The study involved 69,072 women between the ages of 15-49 years and 14,552 children between the ages of 12-35 months from the Indian National Family Health Survey of 1998-99.

Data, including body measurements, blood samples, exposure to domestic violence in the past year, was collected. The process also involved face-to-face interviews by trained personnel.

The researchers found that women who had experienced domestic violence in the past 12 months had a 11 percent increased likelihood of having anemia and a 21 percent increased likelihood of being underweight, with the same being found true for children.

The data suggest a relation between domestic violence and malnutrition among women and children in India.

The authors believe that one possible explanation is that in India, the withholding of food as a type of abuse could be what causes nutrient deficiencies that lead to anemia and underweight.

"This is strong evidence that domestic violence is linked with malnutrition among both mothers and children. In India, the withholding of food is a documented form of abuse and is likely correlated with the perpetration of physical violence," said S V Subramanian, associate professor of Society, Human Development, and Health at HSPH, and co-author of the study.

The second possible reason is that domestic violence and nutritional deficiencies may also reflect the effects of psychological stress. Women and children who experience domestic violence tend to have higher levels of psychological stress, which has been associated with anemia and being underweight.

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