Directions for next ten questions: Each of the two passages given below is followed by five questions. Choose the best answer to each question.
A multi-sectoral survey done by the International Clinical Epidemiologists Network (INCLEN) has found that country to popular belief, domestic, violence in India cut across social and educational status. Economic and gender relations are undergoing changes, with an increasing number of women entering the formal and informal labour markets. This casts the woman in the role of breadwinner as opposed to home-market, leading to increasing use of violence as a mechanism to subjugate her.
The study found that women-educated and illiterate, from rural and urban areas, engaged in paid and unpaid labour-suffer varying degrees of physical and psychological violence by their husbands. Two out of every five married women reported being hit, kicked, beaten or slapped by their husbands. Fifty percent of the women experiencing physical violence also reported physical abuse during pregnancy. A respondent from a slum colony in Bhopal said that she was beaten not only by her husband but also by all members of his family.
In the lower economic strata, abused women typically lead a complicated life. They work as domestic help, which often means unsympathetic employers. Add to this small children who need attention and alcoholic husbands, and it is a vicious cycle.
Why do women face violence at the hands of those who are supposed to provide them security? The range of â€˜causesâ€™ varies from not cooking on time to mismanagement of the household to neglect of children. In short, non-adherence to gender roles and responsibilities leads to violence, or the threat of it, is used very often to ensure â€˜disciplineâ€™, which either maintains gender roles, or prevents changes in gender relations. For example, alcohol and dowry have long been associated with violence, but then, why is it that men beat only their wives and children after drinking? Why is it that women have to bring a host of material possessions to establish and maintain their status within the matrimonial homes? Both these phenomena reflect womenâ€™s subordination within marriage, a strongly endorsed gender role in society.
One arena in which gender roles are undergoing rapid change is the economic sphere, with increasing numbers of women entering the formal and informal labour market. The study found that Nagpur, over90 percent of the women who had reported experiencing violence were involved in paid work. The Nagpur data revealed another significant point. More abuse if their husbands were unemployed. This suggests that working women suffer more abuse if their husbands are also unemployed. Gender gap in employment acts as a further trigger for domestic violence.
This should, however, not be interpreted to mean that providing employment opportunities to unemployed men would automatically ensure reduction in violence in against women. On the contrary, violence is frequently used as a mechanism to deal with any attempt at reversal in gender role, which pits â€˜man-the â€“bread-earnerâ€™ against â€˜womanâ€“theâ€“home-marketâ€™. In a similar vein, the recent National Family Health found that women working for money are more likely to have been beaten in the last 12 months. A respondent from rural Lucknow, sharing her story of marital abuse, said, â€œHe insults me in front of my relatives and neighbours. He used to beat me also but for the past year that has stopped, mainly because he is now in a better job and earning better.â€
It is also important to view these findings against the recent trend of employed women seeking help. A recent study by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, found that the number of employed women seeking help at the special cell for women and that women and children went up with increasing year of experiencing violence. Case-workers at the special cell hypothesise that women in paid employment probably have a wider network of support, which enable them to explore alternative options over a longer period of time. That women in regular employment are turning up for counseling and help suggest that they are less willing to tolerate domestic violence.
Economic forces are opening at two dichotomous level that expose women to the risk of violence. Liberalisation has resulted in increased entry of women into the labour market- albeit in the informal sector- leading to a re-negotiation of gender roles. However, the same economic forces are also promoting a consumerist lifestyle that reinforces regressive gender roles, placing women at greater risk as regards domestic violence.
Middle-class women today are being increasingly targeted as the ultimate consumers. The message is to aspire to a lifestyle of acquisition; and women are positioned as instruments through which such acquisition possible. This acquisition is projected by an image of the savvy working wife or a wife who is able to bring all this into the matrimonial home through dowry. In the changing economic scenario, dowry has entered into societies where it was hitherto unheard of. A whole body of literature documents this emerging phenomenon in various parts of India, like Kerala and Tehri Garhwal. For example, the INCLEN survey found some of the highest rates of dowry dissatisfaction and the reporting of new dowry demands in Thiruvanthapuram in Kerala.
It is essential to take cognizance of the wide prevalence of domestic violence, especially as a response to changing gender roles- roles that are being both challenged and reinforced by rapid social and economic transitions. Yet planners and policy – markers position many of these transitions as inevitable consequences of development.
Is domestic violence, them, an inevitable fallout of development? The answer is a categorical no. A development paradigm in which domestic violence is a â€˜by-productâ€™, is antithetical to the very goals it seeks to achieve. If, as Novel laureate Amartya Sen says, development is the realization of human rights, then the existence of domestic violence is a fundamental barrier to development.
Chances of domestic violence are higher in case of …...... wives and …........ husbands.