Are you a domestic violence victim in India? Learn what is domestic violence in India, get to know the types of domestic abuse, and how to find domestic violence counselling helplines in India.
If you’re a domestic violence victim in India or know someone who is experiencing domestic violence, this article will help you understand what is domestic violence against women, and how to empower yourself against domestic violence in India.
You’ll also learn how to find online counselling in India and where to find domestic violence counselling helplines and support in India.
आपको लगता है कुछ गलत हो रहा है या नहीं भी लगता पर तकलीफ होती है तो वो घरेलु हिंसा हो सकती हैं। अपने शक, सवाल या जो भी बात आप पूछना चाहें कमेंट करें।
Learn domestic abuse meaning in Hindi and what is domestic violence in Hindi – भारत में डोमेस्टिक वायलेंस (घरेलू हिंसा) के ऊपर संपूर्ण जानकारी
Are you facing domestic violence during lockdown in India? With the rise in domestic violence cases in India, calls to domestic violence hotlines have increased during the lockdown.
If you don’t feel safe talking about domestic violence at home, but have access to a Smartphone, you can download the SHEROES app for women and chat with a professional counsellor on the Ask SHEROES chat helpline that is 100% confidential and secure.
If you’re experiencing domestic violence during the lockdown and want a women’s helpline no for domestic violence, connect on the SHEROES helpline to learn all about domestic abuse and your legal rights.
You can also attend regular live chat sessions with mental health counsellors and legal experts on the SHEROES app for women.
Domestic Violence Helplines In India
What Is Domestic Violence In India?
The first step to overcoming relationship abuse is understanding domestic abuse meaning and what is meant by domestic violence.
Domestic violence is not only done by husbands. It is called relationship abuse or domestic abuse even if it is by your parents, in-laws and other family members too.
Domestic abuse of elderly people also classifies as domestic violence. Dowry harassment is a type of domestic violence and often results in dowry deaths when domestic abuse turns deadly.
A young schoolgirl being touched by any member of the family, teachers or older people, on her breasts or her rear is also an act of violence. In fact, incest and child sexual abuse are common forms of domestic violence in India.
In many cases, the battered women’s own families are not supportive of what they prefer to call a “domestic dispute” because of the shame and guilt that surrounds such issues.
But no one deserves to be abused, and the law has remedies to prevent relationship abuse, but we need to know the definition of domestic violence and be aware of our legal rights.
Domestic violence is a serious threat to women in India, so you need to know the signs of an abusive relationship, how to react to the situation and how the law offers protection of women from domestic abuse.
So, is domestic violence a cognizable offence or a crime? Is relationship abuse a criminal offence? And are domestic violence laws effective in India? If you perpetrate domestic abuse, can you go to jail?
Yes, in fact, Section 498a of the Indian Penal Code, which pertains to cruelty to women, states that domestic violence punishment in India includes imprisonment of up to three years. So, perpetrators of domestic abuse can face jail time in India.
Were you asked to leave your marital home? Can you force your parents to provide for you? Are you facing emotional abuse from your husband or facing emotional harassment by in-laws? Are you facing domestic violence for dowry?
Women in India have many legal rights that can make a huge difference in their present life and future. Know your legal rights and understand the laws against domestic violence in India, so you can be confident, aware and also fearless.
Types Of Domestic Abuse
There are many types of domestic violence and the signs of domestic violence (DV) are not always obvious, so a lot of abuse against women goes unreported.
One reason women don’t report that they’re being abused is that they don’t know the signs of abusive relationships, nor do they understand what comes under domestic abuse or how to prove domestic violence in India.
In general, domestic abuse includes:
Physical abuse in relationships
What is physical abuse definition according to the law? Physical violence involves actions that hurt or injure a person using physical force.
Physical abuse often involves a husband hitting a wife, but it can also include pushing, choking strangulation, and other forms of physical intimidation.
Because physical abuse is one of the more obvious forms of domestic violence and often causes bruises or grievous physical injuries, it is easy to provide evidence of physical abuse, as long as it is recorded by a doctor.
Unfortunately, marital rape is not a criminal offence under the Indian Penal Code, even though it is a form of physical abuse. So marital rape victims have to take recourse to the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA).
Economic abuse meaning
According to Susmita Barman, domestic violence isn’t only about heated arguments, physical abuse or emotional torture. There’s also economic abuse which our society, family members, male members, neighbours, relations, friends and also women and girls consider to be normal.
What is economic abuse? When an abuser takes control of or limits access to shared or individual assets or limits the current or future earning potential of the victim as a strategy of power and control, that is economic abuse.
Another economic abuse definition is when the abuser separates the victim from her own resources, rights and choices, isolating the victim financially and creating a forced dependency for the victim and other family members.
Here are some economic or financial abuse examples to look out for:
- Does he refuse to let you open a bank account or get a PAN number?
- Does he refuse to let you manage your own money, even if you’re earning?
- Are you expected to hand over your entire paycheck to your in-laws?
- Does he keep control of the finances and force you to beg for money (a power play)?
- Does he keep the status of your financial assets, joint savings or investments a secret?
- Does he say “it’s not a woman’s job” when you ask about joint savings or investments?
- Does he threaten to leave you penniless whenever you argue?
If your spouse or intimate partner shows any of these controlling behaviours, you are most likely experiencing economic abuse.
Emotional abuse meaning
Can domestic violence be verbal? Yes, emotional or verbal abuse refers to actions meant to inflict trauma, cause distress or intimidate another person either verbally or through non-verbal acts. Gaslighting is one form of emotional abuse.
In India, emotional abuse by parents is very common as many Indian parents aim to control their kids’ behaviour and force them to do what they want at all costs. So, what are the signs of emotional abuse from parents or verbally abusive husbands?
Signs of emotional abuse (also called mental abuse or psychological abuse) include disrespectful behaviour, name-calling, put-downs, and undermining the self-respect and self-worth of another person.
According to Advocate Aparna:
This abuse is a very calculated and very systematic form of abuse, as the abuser feels he has gained control over her by threatening to commit suicide, in case he is not able to get his way or act according to his whims and fancies.”
For more information, read this emotional abuse checklist.
Is emotional abuse a crime in India?
In India, emotional abuse is also called mental cruelty or mental torture, and unfortunately, there are no separate emotional abuse laws in India, so it is not easy to define.
As the Delhi High Court has noted, “Mental cruelty is not as easy to establish as physical cruelty,” as it is often subject to interpretation. However, the Indian courts are considering many more nuances of emotional abuse in divorce applications.
If you’re experiencing emotional abuse in India, connecting with a professional counsellor on the Ask SHEROES free online counselling chat helpline for women will aid in your emotional abuse treatment and emotional abuse recovery.
- 10 Abusive Behaviour Signs: What Is Abusive Behaviour In A Relationship?
- Feeling Disrespected In Relationships? 7 Signs Of Disrespect In Relationships
The cycle of violence
It’s important to understand how domestic violence affects victims and how domestic abuse affects mental health. Domestic abuse on women falls into a common pattern or cycle of violence.
If at times you feel, “My husband hates me. What do I do?” – and at other times he is very loving and caring and behaves like a completely different person, then you’re probably in a cycle of violence.
Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. If you’re being abused, watch the video below to understand the pattern you may have fallen into.
The cycle of violence describes the phases an abusive relationship moves through in the lead up to a violent event and its follow-up.
It also explores why women stay in abusive relationships for reasons beyond low self-esteem, isolation, family pressures and lack of community support.
It will help you understand why domestic violence victims don’t leave a violent abuser and why domestic abuse victims don’t report abuse or even admit that they are being abused.
According to The Recovery Village, if you’re in an abusive relationship, you may think there’s no way out. But there is, and the dangers of staying can be far worse than those of leaving. Remaining in the toxic, dangerous environment of domestic violence can put your life at risk.
Staying in an abusive marriage could put family and friends in your life at risk as well, and aside from the obvious physical dangers and emotional abuse effects, there are several potential emotional consequences to keep in mind for everyone involved, including depression.
Women who stay in abusive marriages don’t realise what domestic abuse does to a child. Oftentimes, abusers take their anger out on anyone in their path, even — or especially — children.
Parents need to know how domestic violence affects children’s development and how the traumatic effects of domestic abuse or emotional child abuse on children’s impressionable minds can scar them for life, leading to depression and mental illness later in life.
One of the worst domestic violence effects on children is that many kids who come from abusive households start to normalise abuse and go on to attract toxic relationships or become abusers themselves.
Domestic Violence Statistics In India
Are domestic violence rates increasing due to the coronavirus lockdowns? Yes, it’s indeed an unfortunate domestic violence fact that domestic abuse increased during lockdowns.
The reason that domestic violence during lockdown increased significantly was that the change in family dynamics forced women to stay indoors with their abusers.
And since women found no respite and were confined to the walls of the house with their abusers during the lockdown period, the incidence of domestic abuse went up.
What are the causes of violence against women in India? Lack of gender sensitization, misogyny, patriarchal attitudes, and lack of healthy relationship models are the most common reasons for violence against women.
Socio-economic status, substance and alcohol abuse also lead to violence against women in India. Children who are subjected to abuse are likely to behave similarly to adults. Sometimes children who witness one parent abusing the other tend to abuse others later in life.
Acid attacks, dowry deaths, female foeticide and infanticide, rape, emotional torture, child marriage, and forced marriage are all common acts of violence seen among women in India.
Wondering in which families is domestic abuse more prevalent? Is domestic violence present mostly in poor or elite families? Contrary to popular belief, domestic abuse in India is not just a problem for the lower and middle classes.
In fact, dowry harassment and domestic abuse are common among prominent and famous people too. Also, the victims of domestic violence include not just the wife, but the children, and other family members, too.
However, there is hope for Indian women as there are strong laws against domestic abuse in India, and domestic violence Indian kanoon gives a lot of power to women.
Yes, of course, there will always be some opportunistic women who try to abuse the legal system by misusing the domestic violence act of India for their own purposes.
But, just because a few people misuse the law does that mean we should not have laws? After all the domestic violence rate in India is horrific, and it mostly represents domestic abuse by husbands in India.
According to domestic abuse statistics from the National Family Health Survey (NHFS-4) released by the Union health ministry, every third woman, since the age of 15, has faced various forms of domestic violence in India. Most of the time, the perpetrators of this violence have been the husbands.
The survey also found that 31% of married women have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence by their spouses. The most common type of spousal violence is physical violence (27%), followed by emotional violence (13%).
The domestic violence facts in India are truly horrifying and merit a serious discussion into the mind of the Indian abuser, and the learned helplessness of the abused woman. It also merits a discussion of how to provide domestic violence support and legal help to domestic abuse survivors.
What Are The Effects Of Violence On Women?
In this section, you’ll learn what domestic violence does to a woman and the consequences of domestic abuse and emotional abuse in relationships.
The physical effects of violence on women include injury, loss of speech, aches and pain, burns, substance abuse, gynaecological issues, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy resulting in abortion… and more.
Can domestic violence cause PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)? Yes, it can. Mental and emotional health problems, such as withdrawal, unsocial behaviour, multiple sexual partners, insomnia, depression and several others can also result.
Apart from this, when the knowledge of abuse reaches others in the community, abused women are often shunned and forced to live in isolation. In many cases, women suffer silently for this very reason.
They tolerate violence simply because of the fear of the consequences if they reported it and leave their abuser. They don’t realize the consequences of putting up with domestic violence in the long run.
If you want to watch domestic abuse movies with an empowering message, actor and director, Nandita Das, has released a short film titled Listen to Her, featuring herself and her son, on the rising cases of domestic violence in lockdown.
The television series, Big Little Lies, covers the cycle of violence in a way that everyone can understand and highlights the role that a supportive and compassionate counsellor plays in helping victims of domestic violence.
Interview With a Domestic Violence Counsellor
Naaree.com caught up with Barkha Bajaj, the Executive Director and Head counsellor for Aks Foundation, which specializes in domestic violence counselling in India and helps abused women deal with domestic abuse situations in Pune.
In this interview, she outlines the options available to abused women suffering from domestic abuse in India.
How severe is the problem of domestic violence in India?
It is quite severe – 80% of our calls are of domestic abuse. Also, a lot of violence in India is not looked at as violence. As it is a patriarchy a lot of violence against women is expected and accepted.
What has been your experience with women who call in for help with domestic violence situations?
They need support more than anything else. There is a lot of self-blame, confusion, guilt and shame as they love their partners but are also fed up. A lot of them feel helpless and hopeless as they feel stuck in their situations.
How do the Aks Foundation and other organisations go about helping such women? What kind of support can women look to you for?
We provide 24/ 7 support through our crisis lines. Within Pune, we also provide legal support and advocacy where our volunteers go with the domestic abuse survivors to the hospital or police station.
One line is dedicated to domestic violence counselling services. We also liaise with other NGOs or look for other relationship abuse legal services in India if the call is outside Pune.
What is your advice to women who are suffering from domestic violence and dowry demands? What is the first thing they should do when faced with such a situation?
If they’re facing domestic abuse by in-laws and want to leave, the law is strong and they should use legal channels. However, the first thing is to tell someone they can trust and get support. Don’t hide it and suffer alone.
How can women be aware of signs of controlling men and those prone to Domestic Violence? Can we take clues from how his parents treat one another?
Well, there are red flags, for example:
- Extreme jealousy
- Isolating behaviours
- Controlling – who she sees, what she wears
- Intimidation and threats
- Emotional manipulation – making you feel guilty all the time
Power and control wheels are available online – which show you strategies used by perpetrators. (You can download a printable copy of the power and control wheel here to help you understand what you’re going through)
Women often overlook red flags, thinking they can change the man once they are married to him. What would you like to tell such women?
We can only change ourselves and we cannot change someone else unless they want to change. Trying to rescue and change abusive men is a lost battle.
What change in mindset is required, for women and their families, to avoid getting into a situation involving domestic violence?
Education – gender sensitization, talking about gender in general and gender-based violence. This should be part of all school curriculum.
What parting advice would you like to give young unmarried women in India?
How To Empower Yourself Against Domestic Violence
My biggest life lessons have come from the realisation that people treat you the way you ALLOW yourself to be treated and that your relationship with others is a reflection of the relationship you have with yourself.
Watch this TED Talk where Katie Hood reveals the five signs you might be in an unhealthy relationship — with a romantic partner, a friend or a family member.
One step of the cycle of abuse is the fantasy that the abuser will improve. Please understand this – THEY WON’T!
- Don’t live in the false hope that things will get better someday.
- Don’t look to other people to save you from your abuser.
- No one can help you if you’re not willing to help yourself.
- Only YOU can take action on your own behalf – legally and emotionally.
An abusive partner regularly reinforces the idea that you can’t escape, and that you can’t manage without them, because this is what they want you to believe, so they can keep control of you.
So what to do when your husband beats you? You must get financial, legal and emotional help to get out of the situation before you become another domestic violence statistic in India.
Financial Self-Help Guide For Domestic Violence Survivors
Most domestic abuse survivors also experience financial abuse, which is often used as a tool by the abuser to keep you in his control so you lack the financial independence to escape from his abuse.
In this comprehensive financial self-help guide for domestic violence survivors, you’ll learn financial tips for keeping your financial documents safe, how to inventory your assets and debts, and ways to start setting aside some money of your own.
While you can consult a financial lawyer to find out how much money or property you’re entitled to after the divorce, it is always best to work towards creating financial independence on your own.
Here are some ways that you can achieve financial independence, become a strong, independent woman and recover your self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Start your online shop with SHOPonSHEROES
- Download the best work-from-home apps in India
- Best online jobs for students to earn money at home
- Find work from home opportunities for women in India
- Find work-from-home jobs without investment
- Find work-at-home business ideas for women in India
- Become an online tutor with online teaching sites in India
- Don’t have a degree or experience? Become an insurance agent
Do you have corporate work experience and want to return to work after kids? The MARS Partner program helps women get certified as remote professionals.
As a MARS Partner, you can apply for legitimate remote work opportunities in various roles – including customer service, sales and lead generation, content creation, recruitment, travel, remote sales jobs in the insurance industry and more.
Emotional Self-Care For Domestic Violence Survivors
When people believe that they are powerless to control what happens to them, they start to act helpless. After enough conditioning, the person will stop any attempts to avoid the pain, even if they see an opportunity to escape.
Learned helplessness is a phenomenon in which someone has been conditioned to anticipate discomfort in some way without having a way to avoid it or make it stop.
You can overcome this habit of learned helplessness to achieve greater autonomy and break free of the limitations or the beliefs implanted by family and society that imprison you and keep you from choosing the freedom you deserve.
What you need to remember is that you have the power to change. You can extricate yourself from bad situations and negative people who hold you back and abuse you. Find out how to overcome learned helplessness and improve your life.
Do you lack the courage to leave an abusive relationship? Chatting with a counsellor on our free online domestic abuse helpline for women may help you develop the inner resources and find the courage, support, and help to leave an abusive relationship.
Legal Help For Domestic Violence Survivors In India
What are the domestic violence laws in India and how can a victim of domestic abuse get redressal with the help of a domestic violence attorney? Are there women’s shelters or women’s refuges in India where a domestic abuse survivor can stay?
How can you lodge a domestic abuse complaint? SHEROES Champion, Adv Megha Batra, offers some answers to commonly asked legal questions about domestic violence laws in India.
How to file a domestic violence case against a husband in India?
What’s the first legal step that women should take and where to file domestic abuse cases in India? At the time of the abuse, you must complain to a police officer immediately and get the medical report done, as this will be used as evidence.
If you’re not in a condition to go for a written complaint, Dial 100 (police helpline) as soon as possible, as the complaint is recorded automatically and this will help you proceed with legal action.
A domestic violence complaint recording the mental or physical violence can be filed in court anytime, but at the time of filing the complaint, you need to list every fact and incident of abuse and torture.
Be smart and record everything using your Smartphone audio or video, if possible. Do not delete abusive texts, emails, or anything that can be used as evidence in court. Click here to learn how to document emotional abuse so you have evidence to show in court.
Section 12 of DV act pertains to the filing of a domestic abuse complaint. Read more about Section 12 Domestic Violence Act.
What are the duties of the Protection Officer?
Domestic Violence Act encourages Protection Officers to be appointed to provide medical, housing, legal, therapy, and other support services to abused women.
The Protection Officer is responsible for assisting women facing abuse in relationships in making use of such services and assisting them in securing the correct order under the Act.
What is a woman’s right of residence under the Domestic Violence Act?
According to a Supreme Court residence order under the Domestic Violence Act, an aggrieved woman has a right to reside in a house even if she or her husband do not own the premises jointly or singly or might have taken it on rent jointly or singly.
In other words, a woman facing domestic abuse has the right to reside in a ‘shared household’ once she files a complaint under the Domestic Violence Act, even if it is owned or rented by her in-laws and the husband has no legal right in the property.
Can I claim maintenance under the Domestic Violence Act?
On May 15, 2019, the Supreme Court of India substantially enhanced interim maintenance for the wife in a domestic abuse case even though the wife was well educated and capable of earning.
According to recent domestic violence judgements, an aggrieved woman can seek maintenance under provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, even if she has already been granted maintenance under any other law.
What to do when your father beats your mother?
Have you considered reporting the abuse to the police? It is best to seek protection from the police and file a police complaint.
What rights do daughters have if they are being abused by parents?
Daughters have the right to take protection from the court and an unmarried daughter can claim maintenance and other residential rights from her father. She can file a complaint against them as well.
Domestic violence cases can now be resolved out of court, with the help of NGOs, counsellors and police who can counsel a woman “concerning the course of action which she can take including joint counselling or mediation with her spouse or her family members and in-laws.”
The guidelines further state that a violated woman must be informed about her right to choose her future course of action and that she must be guided concerning her legal rights under the Domestic Violence Act 2005.
To learn about the DV act, domestic violence complaint format, and how to file a domestic abuse case, connect with a domestic violence lawyer for free legal help in India.
Focus On Healing & Rebuilding Your Life
Yes, you’re angry and bitter at being subjected to domestic abuse. But, do you really think that the best way to make a fresh start is to waste your precious time and energy trying to get revenge on your abusers?
Instead of obsessing about what domestic violence punishment in India you can get for your abusers, stop and think. Is that really the best way to spend your life?
Focusing on punishment for domestic abuse in India and trying to take revenge on those who tried to harm you is a futile and endless journey.
It will rob you of your peace of mind and your freedom, leaving you and your loved ones much worse off than if you pick up your things, leave, and put all your energies into building a new life for yourself and your children.
It’s better to be grateful that you managed to leave a bad relationship and focus on healing yourself and your children – not on punishing your abusers.
Moving forward and healing your emotional wounds is the ONLY way to get your life back.
Get free online counselling for depression, online relationship counselling, online marriage counselling and more on the Ask SHEROES free online counselling chat helpline for women.
Read more articles on domestic violence in India:
- 7 Mindset Changes You Need To Leave A Bad Relationship
- Emotional Abuse Checklist: Learn The Warning Signs Of Emotional Abuse
- Feeling Disrespected In Relationships? 7 Signs Of Disrespect In Relationships
- 10 Abusive Behaviour Signs: What Is Abusive Behaviour In A Relationship?
- He Always Puts Me Down. Am I In An Abusive Relationship?
- How To Deal With A Bully Husband
- How To Deal With Your Angry Husband Without Sacrificing Your Dignity
- 3 Crucial Domestic Violence Laws In India: Know Them And Protect Yourself
- The Indian Woman’s Guide To Property Rights Of Women In India
- Domestic Violence As A Human Rights Violation
- Breaking Codependency: Is Your Codependent Marriage Ruining Your Life?
- 5 Relationship Tips To Get Over One-Sided Love Or Unrequited Love
- 5 Steps To Recover From A Serious Heartbreak
- How To Forget Someone You Love Deeply: 8 Practical Tips
- जिस व्यक्ति से आप प्यार करते थे उसे भूलने के आसान तरीके
- Toxic Relationships: The Jilted Lover Syndrome
- Toxic Relationships: How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved
- Working Women Less Prone To Domestic Violence, Say Legal Experts
- How Should We Respond To Rape And Misogyny In India?
- Child Sexual Abuse: Healing From Incest As A Child Molestation Survivor
- How to Deal with Domestic Violence? – Your Safety is Important!
- Domestic Violence in Hindi: भारत में डोमेस्टिक वायलेंस (घरेलू हिंसा) के ऊपर संपूर्ण जानकारी
- What are the Constitutional & Legal Rights of Women In India? [Updated Sept’19]
Inspiring Domestic Violence Survivor’s Stories
You may have seen domestic abuse examples or experienced abusive relationship stories in your own life, but the domestic abuse stories and emotional abuse stories featured below are intended to show you that there’s life after domestic abuse and divorce.
So, don’t lose heart! Take courage from these inspiring domestic violence victims stories and go from being a domestic abuse victim to a domestic violence survivor. As Donata Joseph wisely said, “Use the darkness of your past to propel you to a brighter future.”
How Can We End Domestic Violence Against Women In India?
Ending the cycle of domestic abuse means finding strategies and solutions for how intimate relationship abuse can be prevented in India. Learning about domestic violence facts in India and increasing domestic abuse awareness is important.
Promoting the education of the girl child and giving importance to financial independence for women are the first steps towards increasing respect for women and creating a better society with fewer incidents of domestic violence against women in India.
Campaigns aimed at men and boys to increase awareness, wipe out misogyny, and change attitudes about gender equality are also effective tools. As individuals and responsible citizens, we can spread awareness and report any act of violence against women around us.
Did you find this domestic violence article useful? Get free online counselling for women in India, learn what is counselling, how it can help you and what it can’t do for you.
Get more information about domestic abuse and discuss domestic violence topics on the SHEROES app for women where safety, empathy and trust are built into the platform at every level.
Connect with a professional counsellor on the Ask SHEROES free online counselling chat helpline for women.