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Mohi | Updated: May 24, 2019 | Category: Criminal Law

Violence Against Women in India

Violence and abuse affect all kinds of people every day. It doesn’t matter what race or Culture you come from, how much money you have, how old you are, or if you have a disability. Violence does not discriminate.

Abuse can be physical, mental, and emotional. Violence against women in any form is a crime, whether the abuser is a family member; someone you date; a current or past spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend; an acquaintance; or a stranger.

Violence doesn’t only mean physical violence. It can be in the form of mental, sexual, emotional. The behaviour of any person which is causing damage, injury, etc.… in the form of physical or psychological can be termed as violence.

Violence against women can be divided into two categories

  • Violence within the community- it can be physical, psychological, and sexual which includes, Rape, Sexual harassment at workplace, forced prostitution, Girls or women trafficking, etc.…
  • Violence within the family- This is the worst scenario when women don’t feel safe inside their home. It includes wife battering, sexual abuse of girl child, incest, emotional violence i.e., humiliating everywhere, marital rape, etc.…

Forms of violence

Physical violenceIt includes slapping, punching, beating or any injury
Sexual ViolenceIt means forceful sex or abusing sexually like inappropriate touch etc.…
psychological Violence It means controlling anyone by threatening.
Emotional ViolenceIt means disturbing anyone by making them feel worthless, and keeps on humiliating at a public place
Cultural violenceIt means degrading or making a joke of someone culture or persons being harmed on the basis of Culture
Verbal abuseIt means abusing someone by Using foul language or statement whether in written or oral form.
Financial abuseIt occurs when someone misuses or control the financial resources of any person without his or her permission
NeglectIf somebody needs special care and attention and the responsible person is not fulfilling duty and neglecting that individual, it’s a kind of violence. Elderly abuse is an example
Spiritual Violence It means dominating, manipulating someone’s spiritual belief and not letting that person follow his belief

Types of Violence against women

Violence knows no age, socio-economic, religious, gender, or educational barriers. As in all patriarchal societies, here too, violence against women is an extremely powerful instrument for the suppression of women. Violence against women may take the form of wife battering, marital rape, dowry deaths, psychological harassment, infanticide, and foeticide etc… I am illustrating here few:

Female foeticide

Female foeticide is the beginning of the suffering of a woman in the course of her long-suffering from the womb to the tomb. It is a paradox that on the one hand the Indian Culture and tradition consider womanhood as sacred and sacrosanct and on the other hand Indian women are killed in the mother’s womb. It is perhaps one of the worst forms of violence against women where a woman is unable to enjoy the basic fundamental right i.e., “the right to life”.

The phenomenon of female foeticide in India is not new, where female embryos or fetuses are selectively eliminated after pre-natal sex determination, thus eliminating girl child even before they are born. A general attitude of Indian people is that ‘Santan’ means a son not a daughter.

To combat the situation the Government of India had enacted Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 which regulate the use of this test. It can be used only under the circumstances like to detect genetic or metabolic disorder, any sex-linked disorder or any chromosomal abnormalities etc… There is strict punishment for the doctor and person

Female Infanticide

In rural areas most people are not aware of the sex determination test facilities or even if they are, then they can’t avail that service. So, what they usually do is that they wait till the birth of a child and when a daughter is born, they kill that baby by strangling or giving her poison or throw newly born into the garbage, burying alive or starve that child etc… This is one of the heinous crime against the girl child.

  1. Child sexual abuse  and Incest

Child sexual abuse is very common nowadays. They are easy to target for sick-minded people. Not only stranger or known can target them in fact an area in which there is little available research is that of child abuse within the home. There is utter silence around the sexual violation of the girl child in the family by her own relatives. Incest is one of the most ghastly crimes. There is penal provision under IPC for this.

  1. Dowry Death

In India, marriage continues to be universally regarded as essential for a girl, irrespective of a class, caste, religion and ethnicity.A girl born and brought up in her natural family when given in marriages has to leave the natural setting and come into a new family. She has to be getting used to a new kind of relationship. For this requires proper guidance and love from their in-laws. Yet this does not happen and brides are harassed, beaten up and murdered, or are forced to commit suicide. This has become such a menacing reality that parliament has to make dowry-related death as a crime. It is the worst form of violence wherein many married women have been killed at their matrimonial home by her husband and relatives out of greed for dowry. It is considered to be the gravest social evil of today immoral society in this materialistic age even rich, elite and enlightened people are badly engrossed with the idea of dowry.

There is a Special Act, which deals with dowry matters i.e The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. Asking for dowry and giving dowry both is punishable under this Act. Section 304-B of Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with Dowry death.  

  1. Domestic violence

Dowry death is also kind of Domestic Violence against women about which I already explained. Domestic Violence does not only include an occasional argument, fighting, or hitting only but also includes beatings, threats, and stalking or other forms of intimidation, harassment, neglect, and physical, emotional, mental or psychological and sexual abuse. Domestic violence can be both verbal and through action. The literal meaning of Domestic Violence is violence against women within the premises.  The consequences of domestic violence can result in physical mental pain and suffering and can be serious as causing even death. Domestic violence not only makes women feel insecure at home but also endangers their independence self-development and human right. It questions the very understanding of the marriage. It shatters the faith the women has in her husband and betrays her very understanding with the spouse.

     The legal remedies are available in our country against domestic violence. There is a special act enacted to deal with domestic violence i.e The Protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 which not only includes married women but it also includes Live-In-Relationship matters.  There are other provisions in IPC to deal with cruelty, dowry death, incest, marital rape, abetment to suicide etc…

  1. Elderly abuse

In the context of elder women, domestic violence encompasses abuse and neglect by children and also mental, as well as physical assault by their male partners.

It has been defined as the infliction of physical, emotional or sociological harms on an older adult. To this, many prefer to add mal-treatment., neglect, including self- neglect; sexual abuse; a financial abuse.


In the ultimate analysis, I have an opinion that there is a need for stringent laws, sensitive judiciary, effective law and enforcement machinery and vigilant woman groups to deal with such atrocious crime against woman. But what is needed more is the total change in the thinking process of society.

For further details you can contact our team of expert lawyers at LawyerInc.

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Advocate Mohi Kumari has got 9+ years of experience in practicing law independently all over India. She has completed her Master in Laws from Rajiv Gandhi National University Of law, as well she has done Post Graduate diploma in Cyber Laws from Asian School of Cyber Laws and Diploma in Corporate Laws from Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University.

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