Stop Domestic Violence

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The most common form of domestic violence is that of men assaulting women. Surprisingly, human beings are the only species that indulge in this kind of violence. Other animals do not have this need to dominate females. The unnatural assumption, supported by religion and culture, that men are superior to women is the root of this problem. The symptoms of domestic violence is well studied but there is no attempt to understand or cure this universal disease.


A  woman is usually at a loss about what to do when she marries an abuser. Even if she comes from a family that has seen domestic abuse, she has no clue about how to deal with the situation. She feels a sense of shame  about marrying a man with the problem and keeps quiet about it as long as she can. If the woman comes from a family  which has no history of domestic violence then there is also shock mixed with shame. No religion talks  about domestic violence and what women should do if they have to deal with it. There is much talk about how to lead a happy married life.  But beyond closed doors, across class and cultural structures, there are millions of weeping women hurt by the very men who are supposed to protect her. And there is no option for the woman except  to leave her home behind. A tough choice to make and the woman typically stays.

Why don’t parents, before sending a girl to a stranger’s home, tell her what she must do if she went to  a violent home? Everyone knows this is a possibility. Surprisingly, the society expects women to suffer a violent husband if her fate serves her one. Let us consider the case of a village woman whose husband beat her in front  of all the neighbors. She would bleed and end up in hospital after every fight but no one could do anything  about it. The fights were accepted as her destiny. These violent fights were also a joke to some. But when word got out that she was involved in an extra marital affair, the whole village gathered to throw the couple out of the  village, the very same evening. Why did they not act similarly when she was facing violence? You never hear of a man having to leave town because of adultery. An adulterous married man is even considered funny and subject of many movies. An extra marital affair shocks society way  more than a violent husband. The reason being domestic violence is more common place than extra marital affairs. Society is desensitized to this crime.

Domestic violence patterns are well studied. The serial abuser will find any excuse to belittle and physically assault the woman involved. These acts are not random but planned and executed. The abuser itches to start  a fight after a brief interval and is satisfied  only after his desire  is met. Women are often advised to not anger a violent husband. But no one is paying attention to the fact that it is not her behavior but his that leads to violence. Men brought up in violent homes typically  indulge in domestic violence. But there are instances of men, who never saw violence in their homes, also participate in domestic abuse. Why do men  do this?  What are the signs of this disease? Is this disease curable?

Economic independence of a woman will help big time. No one wants to take up the financial  burden of an abused woman. This is similar to children hesitating to leave an abusive home fearing that foster homes may be worse. The choices for the abused woman is limited. Especially when violence is not too bad, then it is considered  better the  woman takes a few blows than leave home. This attitude must change. Women must strive to be  economically free so that they can live grown up lives. Pursuit of happiness is a fundamental right of Americans. I do not see why it should not be a fundamental right all over the world.

No woman must allow a man to hit her. These problems must go to a counselor first before it reaches the police. More families will be helped if they do not fear that their sole breadwinner will land up in  jail at the slightest hint of trouble. A woman must flee when she senses violence and neighbors must help her do it.

The message must be clear. Every one must be  decisive in saying no to violence. We must strive to create  happy and non violent families. The greatest culprit in this problem is society’s compliance of this behavior. This must change. Domestic violence must be  discussed in the media and the parliament, frequently, till the problem is under control. Let us spread awareness. Let us bring change.

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