When you hear a word like domestic violence, you picture a fight between husband and wife, beating, screaming, neighbours watching, someone crying. Bollywood has made an impact, and most of us would have seen an incident or two personally. But is it all that domestic abuse is? Here I would like to elaborate on elephant in the room, that is not acknowledged.
What if your boyfriend/girlfriend is abusive?
If you belong to a conservative Indian middle-class family, answer from your elders would be you are not supposed to have a boyfriend/girlfriend. We cannot get a real figure or statistics on people being abused. Not many people are comfortable disclosing their love life.
Lack of awareness, as it is not a topic which is discussed in house, or college, with friends or in movies. Many wouldn’t even know that they are being abused. And we mostly relate it to a partner being physically abusive. Mental, phycological, sexual, financial abuses are in the back burner. Below are some of the tips on what can be done when you are facing abuse.
Walking out of such a relationship is easier said than done. Breaking up with a narcissistic personality is a task in itself. There are incidents of acid attacks, rape, stalking, harassing which we hear frequently in the news. Victims are already isolated from their friends and mostly prefer not to tell their family. Whom to turn to if the abuse gets severe? If you or your loved ones are in such a situation, know that there is always a solution if you look for it.
You need an exit plan
Option1: File for an injunction, which means the person is prohibited from contacting you. Note that sometimes it can be a time-bound prohibition. As you know your abuser well, you can decide on what case you want to file.
Option 2: File an FIR – Be aware that you are making serious allegations.
Its always better to consult a lawyer and file an injunction to be on the safer side. You can file an FIR and use injunction as proof for further investigation.
Know your rights
Let’s discuss on some of the common problems…
Stalking: online or offline – It is an offense under IPC Section 354D. Hate comments, identity theft, or any other online harassments are punishable.
You are in a live-in relationship and if there is physical abuse, is it domestic violence? According to the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, two people living in the “same household” are said to be in “Domestic relationship”, So the same law applies to you as per the domestic violence act.
You are working in the same company, you are being harassed by your ex – Many of the companies have rules related to relationships in the workplace(Like not supposed to work in the same project/dept/company). Find out and make sure you are complying with them in the first place. Here you can know more about Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace
Blackmail, Eve-teasing, bullying are all punishable offenses. Whatever be the relationship, past or present. You can register a complaint, or also WhatsApp NCW
Women Helpline – 1091 and Domestic Abuse Helpline – 181
Canadian Women’s Foundation has come up with a hand signal for domestic violence for victims who are restrained from using mobile phones. It doesn’t have to be restricted to Canada.
It seems that we are afraid of our parents and neighbours more than our abuser. Even after having a MeToo movement in India, we all know how many people were trolled, abused, not taken seriously. This is the bitter truth. Most Indian parents’ solution to this problem would be to get you married. It’s not always an ideal solution. In such a case, approach an elder who can understand and can help you out of this situation.
You may be doing it thinking that you are helping him, or thinking that he/she may stay back in relation if you keep them happy with gifts. But trust me, you need more help than them. You wouldn’t even realize when it will turn into blackmail.
Never give control of your finances to your abusive partner, because this is the only thing that will keep you independent even if you continue to be in this relationship. Also know that withholding or depriving economic resources or asking to quit your job is also considered as forms of Economic abuse under the Domestic Violence Act.
Emotional abuse is one of the leading causes of depression, anxiety, mental trauma, and suicide. Such medical conditions can have serious long-term implications. If you think you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, please help yourself by calling a psychiatrist. There are free consultations in most of the online forums.
If you are facing any form of abuse, there are online forums such as Vidhikarya, wherein you can post your questions anonymously and seek out options. You can learn more about Free legal aid in the following link.
All that I want to convey is, there is always help if you can draw some courage to ask for it. No matter what situation you are in, you can still come out of it if you are willing to.