Stereotypical assumptions often lead to the denial of the truth, leading to increased consequences and limited precautions- one such stereotypical notion is that of the issue of domestic violence. India, being a patriarchal or male-dominated society makes it impossible to believe that even men can be the victim of domestic violence; making the issue gender-specific which is incorrect. Yes, it is true that on an average calculation the number of domestic violence cases against women is on the higher side but that does not indicate that for men it is negligible. It is not only true to mention that the adult members of our nation face this issue but also the children, who have to bear domestic violence at increased rates on a daily level irrespective of their gender or family status. The emergence of domestic violence is a predominant issue in third-world countries due to the lack of stringent laws to safeguard children from such maltreatments. So here we will discuss about the domestic violence faced by male and male children and the laws relating to them.
Domestic violence, male, victim, stereotypes.
The term domestic violence is used to denote the abusive behavior pattern in any relationship to maintain control over the other. It might include:
- Physical abuse in the form of hitting, slapping, punching, burning, biting, etc.
- Emotional abuse in the form of invalidating, lowering the sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
- Economic abuse in the form of restricting financial support and taking away every access, etc.
- Psychological abuse in the form of invoking fear, threatening, etc.
As mentioned before, earlier any form of domestic violence was attached to the women in our society but now the definition not only includes that of women’s abuse but also includes:
- Spouses (thus broadening the concept of violence against men)
- Sexual/ dating/ intimate partners
- Family members
Domestic Violence against the Male Child
Domestic violence against a male child includes all forms of violence against the child who is below 18 years of age by parents or other caregivers. The types include:
- Maltreatment (including violent punishment)- is when male children and adolescent boys are physically harassed or harmed by their parents and caregivers.
- Sexual violence- includes non-consensual sexual contact or the attempt of sexual contact against a male child who is unable to refuse.
- Emotional/ Psychological abuse- It includes restricting the movement of the child, threats, comparison with others children, constant bullying, lack of freedom and privacy, etc.
These terrific actions of the parents and caregivers have a lifelong negative impact on the male child which ultimately disorients his sense of living. It includes:
- Death- over 80% of victims are boys who died out of these causes
- Severe Injuries- due to physical harm
- Improper brain functioning- tender age exposure to such violence disrupts brain development, also damaging parts of the nervous system.
- Negative Coping Mechanisms- Forcing children to get involved in smoking, drinking, drugs to get rid of their anxiety, depression, etc. Sometimes it even leads to increased rates of suicides.
Several surveys and researches put forth the scenario that every child’s perception level is different and thus the consequences of facing domestic violence vary in each gender. Studies point out that such boys who are traumatically being exposed to domestic violence exhibit more vulnerable behavior patterns and turn out to be more aggressive and violent as compared to those boys unexposed to such pathetic actions.
It is not only the physical trauma that a child has to go through but also the permanent negative mark on their mental health, leading to the problems of anxiety, depression, self-harm tendencies, etc from a very young age and are often found to be separating themselves from the mainstream society out of a habit of living in fear. It is no uncommon fact that boys who experience such actions from an early age end up being involved in illegal activities and criminal actions as a sense of being left out in the family and living a love-less, and emotion-less life being handed over to them by their parents.
And the worst possible outcome of this is the increased rate of suicides in boys as a result of such treatments at the home and being unable to bear and cope with it.
India’s Legislative Measures
India has taken a very bold and strong step towards the protection of children from any form of violence over the last few years. But explicitly no law has been passed for providing protection for children against domestic violence.
The acts are:
- Juvenile Justice Act, 2015
The act provides protection to the rights of the children whose rights and privileges are infringed. This is the fundamental law that is enacted in India for the purpose of providing protection for children against such practices.
- Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012
This code of law provides protection to children who faced sexual assaults or harassment by anyone. This law prescribes rigorous punishment to the people who are responsible for infringing the rights of the victim.
Comparison of Domestic Violence against Male Child and Female Child
In the case of female child domestic violence cases, they are mostly sexual abuse and emotional abuse whereas in the case of a male child it is mostly physical abuse. Though in today’s time gender is no longer a barrier for causing violence but still the rate of domestic violence in the case of a female child is more than that of a male child.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 bought several changes in the laws regarding the protection of children in India. The bill mentions that in the case of rape of a girl child, an investigation regarding such an act must be completed within a period of two months. These cases must be tried in the fast-track courts and such trial shall be disposed of within a period of six months. However, the bill has not proposed any amendments in the matter of rape of a male child; the punishment for the culprits in such cases remains the same as earlier. This bill has proposed various amendments which have created a massive difference in the quantum of punishment directed toward the concerned convicts.
The issue of domestic violence is not that of a particular origin and any child can be subjected to such actions irrespective of the family’s income, religious beliefs, caste, color, creed, etc. but the prevalence of such is more among the further stated environments-
- As compared to parents belonging to an older age group, the tendency to practice violence against children is higher among parents belonging to a lower age group.
- Uneducated or unaware parents often end up being more abusive in nature.
- The exposure of children to domestic violence, being brought up in poor families is much higher than that of rich families.
- Parents who themselves are involved in practicing violence end up exposing their children to such horrific actions.
- Long family history of violence can also be one of the biggest causes.
- A drug addict or alcohol addict’s parents or guardians tend to show a tremendous amount of violence against their children, often to fulfill their own unfinished desires to get their own jobs done without even considering the perspective of the children.
- Parents suffering from physical trauma or mental trauma puts down their frustration on the child in the form of violence.
These actions must be prevented in order to provide a child with basic human dignity and care and be treated inhumanly out of the whims and fancies of their parents or guardians. The rights and liberties of not only the adult members of our society matter but also that of the child thus it is of utmost importance that the proper upbringing of a child as a responsible and important member of society be maintained and protected.
Certain methods by which they can be protected are as follows:
- Every parent or guardian is dutifully bound to show empathetic behaviour towards their child, giving utmost priority to his wellbeing and understanding his frame of mind.
- A child being deprived of basic human needs such as food, sleep, care, etc causing mental trauma to the child amounts to violence.
- A child being addicted to drugs and alcohol must receive help from various NGOs and other organisations to overcome such issues which might affect society at large.
- It is appropriate for parents to discard using obnoxious or foul language and expressions that might also have a negative effect on the child.
- It is advisable that parents should discipline their children in a fair, reasonable, and just manner.
- To spread awareness among parents regarding the appropriate behavior towards their child.
Our Indian society is a cluster of problems and issues accumulated together over the ages but the issue of domestic violence has overshadowed most of the other issues making it one of the primary problems which need immediate focus and action. Though in the last few years India has made certain strict legislative reforms to protect children and their wellbeing, it has not yet been that impactful due to the lack of enactment of a law that explicitly addresses and resolves the issues and problems regarding the domestic violence that are faced by the children. And thus, in conclusion, it can be stated that until and unless such stringent laws be passed to protect the children from such cruelties, these malpractices and emotional tortures will continue making the children suffer for their whole life, sometimes even leading to the commitment of suicide.
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