It was the usual story of girl meets boy, they fall in love, and get married. Only with him, the marriage turned to ruins after a few months and he could do nothing about it. She would treat him different, scold him, and never express love. Spousal abuse is a serious problem in India and women in the relationship are not the only ones who face it. Men are on the receiving end of this as well. Psychological abuse, financial deprivation and battering are a few examples of the victimization men go through.
According to a lot of victims, the perception of their image in the society is what stops them from reporting it or even talk about it to others. They victims say that they feel ashamed that they couldn’t protect themselves, let alone their family, which as a man, they are supposed to. Added to the pressure of conforming to the roles given by society, there is the constant fear of being held accountable legally. The impact of violence is extensive and intense, like:
- The fear of loss of safety
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Anxiety and stress
- Loneliness and isolation in the relationship
- Low self esteem
- Suicidal ideation
- Distorted sense of self
- Risk of physical injury
In one such case when the husband was being beaten up by his wife, he was ready to call the cops when his wife calmly said, “Go ahead, I’ll just tell them I was defending myself”. In a country where only the man is questioned if he misses a court hearing and never the woman, where is the provision for solace even with the law?
With theories that say that men are naturally aggressive due to the levels of testosterone and genetics, in some cases, men are abused if they are NOT aggressive towards their spouse as well. In one such case, the father of an 8-month old baby was in a state where he was ready to do anything for his abusive wife, as to make her happy. She as emotionally and financially abusive, but in the cycle of wanting a happy and stable family, he sacrificed his happiness and his definition of a happy family. Manipulation is another weapon of an abuser.
Abusive relationships are extremely hard to get out of, for anybody. There are most of us who hope for change with our loved ones, through affection, money and time. After constantly trying to get outside the loop of abuse and love and denial, it normalizes and becomes the routine. This makes it even more difficult to get out of. Men go through the same cycle too, and as a bonus, there is parental pressure and shame to speak out.
Although, there have been cases that have been positive and successful in getting out of the relationship through counseling and supportive friends and family, there is no law that supports Domestic Violence for Men. As a country, are we being progressive and equal?