Domestic Violence,A Selective Approach Of Civil Society

In India, issues of class, gender and caste create barriers for protecting poorer women from domestic violence

The Opinion illustrative image
The Opinion illustrative image

 Although the home is undoubtedly the safest place for some, I might not call it for everyone. With the great pandemic still on board, a large number of women are exposed to domestic violence. Ever since the national lockdown began, there has been an increase in the number of domestic violence cases. There’s no doubt to wonder why. The answer lies within the word ”lockdown” itself. Giving a sense of being in a cage, projection of stress in the form of violence, leaving the victim vulnerable and much prone to recurring actions. I don’t intend to only bring out this concept which we are already aware of but a much-twisted theory that lies in the depth of this inhumane act which is prevalent not only in India but all over the world. I recently came across the term ‘intersectionality’ which fascinated me to the core as it develops a pathway to understand so many concepts inclusive of domestic violence.  

One of the critical race theorists, Kimberlè Crenshaw has been credited with the espousing theory of intersectionality and its impact on marginalized sectors. This concept investigates covering or crossing social characters and related frameworks of abuse, control, segregation and related systems which include oppression, domination or discrimination. It implies that women experience abuse in shifting designs and in changing degrees of force. Such patterns of abuse/oppression are interrelated as well as are affected by those interrelations.

This theory basically gained shape out of black feminism which eventually led to the advancement of drawing attention towards different invisibilities that exist in feminism. It propels us to take care of various parts of intensity that not every person encounters. Now, this is one way to cause us to notice what has been eradicated from our accounts, what we have to unlearn, what we have to challenge. All the more critically, it encourages us to notice the different manners by which force is supported and constrained to such a specific position/class/race/sexual orientation in the public eye and how oppression consequently works and function.

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Violence is a physical and mental provocation which is inclusive of types of torment, hurt, insult, abuses and many times in other subtle forms. Women by and large experience this sort of violence not only in India but almost all over the world. Although, the role of women in changing in India over time, women are still forced into roles of inferiority and submission. Even now, the notion of brides being considered as properties is prevalent in some parts of India where dowries are expected. If the bride’s families are not able to provide sufficient dowry, the bride often faces physical assault and retribution.

In India, issues of class, gender and caste create barriers for protecting poorer women from domestic violence. Poor and lower caste women face difficulties in reporting incidents of domestic violence because of their marginalization where this type of violence has been widely accepted as an integral part of patriarchal social culture in India. 

 This intersectional approach is both enriching and challenging for the framing of domestic violence and proposes that we should try contemplating various forms of oppression and treat women as a heterogeneous classification where components like position, class, district and various other factors influence women and there is no single or one type of oppression. For example, the issue of Dalit women is totally unique in relation to upper-caste women. There is a propensity to regard women as a homogenous classification and distorting their oppression as something which influences women of all classes in a similar way. This reductionist approach questioning women oppression later leads marginalization of marginalized resulting in a new form of discrimination which ultimately impacts lower strata of women and hence their problems remain unheard and unanswered.  

Despite the fact that social predisposition against women in India remains a significant factor in the lack of enforcement of laws relating to domestic violence and dowry deaths, I would like to encourage that it is the need of the hour that more emphasis is laid on contemplating the intersecting dynamics of caste, class and gender in producing domestic violence.

(Views expressed are strictly personal of the author)




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