From time immemorial, women have been the target of all forms of bestiality. Shurpanakha, Sita, Draupadiâ¦ The victims of the countless wars that humanity has known. We have normalized the wicked and unfair ways that have favored men unbalanced for generations. Violence against women is so deeply ingrained in us that the swear words used by men or sometimes women themselves to express their disrespect or contempt for another creature exemplify sexual violence directed against a close relative of the person. . And it happens all day, every day. In a very concrete way.
So we talked to the lawyer Ishanee Sharma, Managing partner of Law firms Ishanee Sharma to understand what all of this is domestic violence, what the legal rights of the victim are and how to find a way out of the abuse. Here’s what she had to say:
What is domestic violence?
Violence, as we talk about it now, is not limited to physical violence. Its mental counterpart is just as heinous, if not more so. The women of this country fought for their right to live, let alone others. Equal educational opportunity is a distant dream; for equal work, equal pay, sexist malnutrition, dowry, domestic violence, repeated episodes of cruelty under the guise of marriage.
The dowry, for the common man, is recognized as the fiduciary request made by the boy’s family to the girl’s family in lieu of marriage. After much upheaval, some sections of society now refer to it as the âgiftsâ given to the groom’s family by the bride’s family.
A very important facet of the dowry remains little mentioned. Most often, unsaid societal obligations, disguised as ‘vyavahaar’ on the occasion of parties, childbirths, occasions, etc. Which, sometimes, are also explicitly requested. The daughter and her parents recognize this as an accepted standard. Nobody questions it! In fact, gifts and givers are constantly watched by the takers and those around them. This too is a dowry and just as unacceptable.
We must stand up for all these women around us. Gender roles need to be redefined. This deeply intrinsic discrimination must end. This is 50% of the population of the country and the world that we are talking about. In the most horrific, grotesque circumstances of human rights violations, empirical evidence suggests that women are most often the most severely affected victims.
A relationship can be violent and abusive without physical violence. It can include emotional, sexual, and physical abuse, and can involve controlling your finances. Emotional abuse often goes unnoticed, but it can be very hurtful. Someone who is emotionally abusive towards the victim wants to undermine their feelings of self-worth and independence. There are so many cases of violence and abuse, especially women victims who don’t even know their rights, who don’t know that they don’t need âsomewhere to goâ to be able to defend themselves!
Indeed, to challenge any oppression in their marriages, they do not need to go anywhere and any external financial support to maintain themselves. They must stand up against any harm done to them, any form of abuse or violence! They have the full right to live their lives with dignity. and a bucket full of rights to support this cause, a right that they can exercise, whether they are financially independent or not!
The legal rights of a victim of domestic violence
A woman has the legal right to live in the matrimonial home, even after the death of the husband. Even if the house does not belong to the husband, belongs to his parents or is a rented apartment. In the event of separation, she can stay in the marital home until an alternative is found for him or her to go to the parental home. There is no guideline in the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA), 1955 that a married woman cannot stay in the parental home. She can stay legally, if and when she wishes.
Regarding property rights, a woman has the same legal rights to inherit her husband’s property as other heirs. She can only inherit it if the husband has not prepared a will or has not excluded her from the will. If a husband remarries without dissolving the first marriage, the property rights still belong to the first wife.
- A woman can and should report domestic violence under the Law on the Protection of Women in Cases of Domestic Violence (DV Law), 2005. This law criminalizes physical, emotional, sexual, economic and other abuse. She can claim protection, maintenance, custody, compensation and continue to live in the same house. The maintenance amount does not include Dhan Street and is established by the court on the basis of the husband’s financial and life circumstances (includes up to 25% of the husband).
- Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 gives a woman full autonomy to abort a child without the husband’s permission. The upper limit for aborting a child has been increased to 24 weeks.
- The Guardians and Wards Act of 1890 gives equal custody rights and duties to both parents. However, if the child is under five, the mother has superior rights. A woman has the right to take the child with her when she leaves the marital home without any court order. A woman can claim custody of her children after divorce or separation, whether she is employed or unemployed. She can still claim alimony from her husband.
The path to follow
In the event of an unhealthy relationship, the victim should consult a trusted professional. With their help, it would be easier to recognize the warning signs and get out of the relationship more easily. Sometimes leaving an abusive relationship can be dangerous, so it’s very important that they have a safety plan. And get in touch with the police or a lawyer, counselor, or anyone who can help you.
Their fate is beyond imagination. And what they need from the justice delivery mechanism is their basic right to live, to breathe, to eat, to survive, which has been captive under the clutches of society and ‘log kya kahenge ‘.
Finally, lawyer Ishanee Sharma, Managing Partner SI law firms noted,
Even though the laws are different in each state, people with a domestic violence problem are mostly similar in their need for information, respect, advocacy, and lawyers equipped to stand by their side with a real understanding. Domestic violence is a serious crime and every woman who experiences physical, mental, sexual or other assault must report it under the Law on the Protection of Women in Cases of Domestic Violence (DV Law), 2005, it is his right to fight against ill-treatment.
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