It started in early 1980’s when dowry cases were hyped by media and all of us shouted for laws to curb them, we got 498a in 1984.
In ‘90s domestic violence came up as a major issue in India and different surveys showed very high existence of violence in our families. Obviously these surveys did focus only on violence against women and data presented show what percent of women were ever (in their life) subjected to domestic violence by their intimate male partner. The stats did show a figure of 20-40% in different states but the results were always presented as 40% or higher Indian women (see how data for one / two states is projected as national average) are subjected to DV. Some even went ahead and quoted a higher percent of violence as no one dared to question the validity of these one sided surveys. Hence, we as a nation fought together to get DV ACT, 2005. In 2005-06, NFHS survey on domestic violence did capture some low percentage of violence against men from its women respondents but this was never taken into account or stated anywhere. Also this survey never asked the same set of questions to men and hence can be stated as incomplete survey.
Even with the gender biased DVA in force, Indian women continued to be projected as the victims and hence a bunch of new proposals for empowering women kept coming. Even though in 2010, SC ordered the govt. to bring in suitable changes so that women are held responsible for their false cases, these laws were never thought to be gender neutral and more devastating laws were planned by different women’s groups instead.
In the same year, Hon. SC also observed that India is having increased number of juvenile crime cases and stated the need of treating juveniles like adults when they commit heinous crimes (like the 2012 Delhi case). However, no matter how many Indian women have misused these laws and hence misused public resources like police, judiciary and legal machinery to ruin millions of families, remained ever guarded and a new need is developed every other day to bring in a new gender biased legislation by the women’s groups.
A section of society comprising of innocent victims of such gender biased legislations, are protesting against these family breaking laws for years and demanding these to be gender neutral and punishable for false complaints. Because these laws are used to destroy innocent families and make Indian marriages a money transfer institution only. But majority of Indians argue that India as a country is still not READY for gender neutral laws for the following reasons. The groups fighting for equality and punishing criminals based on crime and NOT based on gender also have their views shared for each one of these. Let’s look at the reasons and what the men’s groups say about each reason –
1.Patriarchal society imposes restrictions on women’s freedom – Is this done only on women? Are men free to move anywhere, anytime or wear any dress they want? Even men are not free to wear anything and everything to all the places. They are restricted to visit certain places if there is danger. It is advised to them normally as a preventive measure and NOT to curb their freedom. If men walk into a board meeting in his baby clothes he will certainly be criticized. If one walks on the street in his inners or show private parts in public, he can be attacked, ridiculed or even be arrested for creating public nuisance and that will NEVER become a men’s rights issue. So you know even if we are free, we are not totally free. Freedom only brings in responsibility and people trying to impose any restriction are only telling us to be more responsible, because that is what is first step towards civilization.
The society is NOT patriarchal because men have made it that way. It has evolved over ages to be like this. In pre-historic age when human beings used to live in caves, then it was the man who used to go hunt most of the time and women chose to stay indoors, cook food, take care of children and socialize. Men went hunting, because they were stronger and started acting like a provider and protector for women, children and elderly. They went hunting because that is what they were better fit to do. Women on the other hand became expert caregivers and lovers because that is how they found themselves best fitted to be. It was only ‘Survival of the Fittest’. That is how human race has survived over ages. Society became patriarchal because every animal species naturally accept the leadership of the strongest one who can save them from danger and lead them out of danger. Today, if we ever question patriarchy and shun it as bad, we need to be prepared for women sacrificing their lives for saving men and acting as provider for them. Is India ready for that yet?
2. Women are more unsafe today than they were in early independence era – Really? This conclusion is drawn from ever increasing media reports on crime against women. We go by the media reports so easily, but never consider the ever increasing false cases that these groups are concerned about. What about increasing Indian population, increasing corruption, and increasing difficulty in lifestyle contributing to crime? Why suicide rate of married men is always higher compared to women for last two decades? Why is this rate increasing at an exponential rate in recent years (please check NCRB stats) and it is currently almost double the rate of suicide of married women? If women are unsafe, then why are men committing suicide? If women are unsafe because of men, who are saving them? We have seen how in a recent case in Delhi all Indian men have stood up for an unknown and unrelated woman in Delhi (on 16th December, 2012) who was assaulted by six men? Due to this incidence, protesting men termed themselves as rapists, criminals and some celebrity men have come forward saying ‘they are ashamed of their manhood’. These incidents show HOW MUCH Indian men cared for women around them. But we have never seen the same happening when a man is cruelly murdered by a woman or two. Well if you didn’t know, during same time Delhi incidence happened, two men were cut into pieces by women and an entire family of a man committed suicide due to legal threat from their DIL. Most of us don’t even know that these are happening every day. We have not seen any woman coming forward and protesting atrocities against men unless they are affected by these laws. No woman celebrity ever said ‘she is ashamed of her womanhood’ for any crime committed by a woman or a gang of women?
Do you still think only women are unsafe? If women are unsafe anywhere, men around them always come forward to protect them, no matter whether they are known or unknown to them but the contrary is almost never true. And this is the reason any cruelty against women is over reported but the same happening against men is NOT reported at all. Suppose on 16th December 2012, a man was brutally lynched by some criminals and two women were murdered at their home and cut into pieces – would the media have reacted the same way they did recently or would our Govt, have modified the domestic violence law instead?
3. Most of the women are subjected to cruelty / domestic violence by their in-laws – This notion prevails because media is projecting this picture? Does it mean men are not at all at risk from intimate partner violence? How many such women have you seen in your life? Or you think women in villages are the tortured lot? When we have seen that all Indian men stood up in solidarity for women’s safety, how can most Indian women are still unsafe? Or they are unsafe from women themselves? Or the entire story of women being unsafe is false? Because if this is true, then that shows that the culprits were hidden among the men (and women) who stood up for women’s safety. That in a way proves the double standard of the feminists who never wanted women to be safe and secure, but were more interested in only doing politics with our plight. If the DV data as projected by media is true, then why do the women still get married? They are empowered, educated and can provide for themselves, so why do they need to get married at all? And when a marriage doesn’t work, invariably the husband becomes at fault. And again the educated women want maintenance from those cruel husbands. Patriarchy is never construed as bad when it provides free lunch to women or incriminates men just for being ‘MEN’.
4. Women are murdered in womb, as infants – You may be thinking that neutrality today is a joke, as you still hear about wide female feticide and infanticide. Not direct cases but the decreasing ratio of female to male is shown as an outcome of feticide. Normally, termination within 20 weeks and solely on medical ground or for saving mother’s life is legal. But we have also seen how abortion is sought as women’s rights today. Do you see a double standard there?
Let’s consider the following situation – when parents have the first child a boy they don’t want a second child, but when the first child is a girl they want another child a boy, Why? Is this preference for boys a social bias against girls? Let’s look deeper –
Today under normal circumstances a girl gets married and goes to her husband’s house. So she is normally not able to look after her parents in their old age. This insecurity for old age drives the parents to go for another boy child who will in future protect the parents. Is there any feticide or infanticide here to reduce the ratio? When we think of feticide, we almost instantly think of father the being responsible for the feticide, but we never consider the following factors – one night stand of the woman, unwanted pregnancy, financial constraint or maybe simple abortion. Recently cases of women aborting without informing their husbands are increasing. Today, many husbands crave to see the face of their newborns but only hear about miscarriage. It is also a form of empowerment that says – ‘My body, My choice’. So will this problem ever be resolved? With women being more open to sex (including premarital sex) if one becomes pregnant, then there is one choice – abortion. It is not feticide; it is a women’s rights issue.
5. People fighting against these women friendly laws are women haters, insecure – Unfortunately, it is construed that people in these groups are women haters. They are the real criminals who would have committed the crime and now shouting for shelter. However, this is not true. A deep dive into these groups’ composition will tell you that they all are educated individuals from different walks of life. Their problem is that they do not have the political power to bend rules in their favour or the criminal mindset to eliminate the root cause. They also do not have enough money to buy justice for them. All they know is they have these ‘criminal’ cases against them, because they are associated with some Indian man who got married. Probably the only fault they had is their marriages did not work. These are the men who spend money from their pocket to help victims in need, give them free legal consultation or take leave from work to stand by the innocent families jailed under false 498a. These are the people who shed tear with victims, jump in joy when someone gets custody of his child or stand by the woman who is raped by another woman but can’t get justice because the rapist is a woman. (remember Pinki Pramanik case, the victim never got justice because the rapist was a woman. Womens’ groups in this case fought for the rapist not for the victim).
These are the rights groups who are hated by most simply because they don’t support the popular practice. Because they believe they don’t need to support gender bias to be considered valued by women around them. They know real women will always favour them as they NEVER support any criminals, unlike the women’s groups that suggest one sided laws to cover-up for women criminals. These are the men who are fighting today, so that tomorrow their sons never face the same fate, or their daughters never have to commit suicide or strip in public (recently Chinese women had to, because men are not marrying there today) for want of a suitable groom. Most of them are the visitors to their own child and some of them have to support their adulterous / bi-gamous wife or her illicit child for life. These men can’t retire from work, because the day they stop paying maintenance to their non-existent wife or child they may be sent to jail. These are the men who are thought of as the rapist of their own wife, abuser of their own child and the drunkard who tried to seduce every woman they have ever met but may actually be the most wonderful lover, most loved dad or may be a teetotaler. These are the men who are law abiding, middle class Indian citizens who want peaceful legal justice.
6. Men are physically stronger, so don’t need legal empowerment – These two are completely different aspects of life. If we eat well, does that mean we don’t need to sleep well to stay fit? Men are NOT supposed to use their physical strength against women anyway because that is a criminal offence. They can’t fight legal battle with their physical strength. They need to have legal strength for that. So the myth around men being the physically stronger sex, do not need legal empowerment is completely wrong. If this is the assumption to create gender biased laws, then these are actually expecting men to use their physical force against women. This is dangerous as this will lead to more violent crime against women which is NOT desirable. So men need equal legal empowerment to not to commit crime or suicide. Also when these men undergo such extreme cruelty in different forms, How will these men ever save women around them? They are killed every day by the social bias, by hyperbole media, by the complex and stringent legal process and rejecting society. They become dead, much before they die.
7. Even with women friendly laws, women are insecure today. They will be endangered if our laws are neutral – Well, gender neutrality will not take away women’s rights or safety. It will only ensure that innocent people are not punished, and anyone related to a man gets justice. If women are not criminals or they are not at fault, they will not be touched. But this will also ensure that all those innocent men, women, children or senior citizens get justice or at least expect justice. Also very often we mix up women’s physical security with their legal security. If they need to be physically secured there may be compulsory physical training, or self defense training for them instead.
8. Stricter laws will ensure no one commits the crime – people demanding gender neutrality and punishment for false complaints believe that punishment should be commensurate to the offence made. And it should encompass everyone irrespective of caste, creed, religion or gender. If the basic premise of any law is to consider a particular sect (be it religion/gender or anything else) as innocent and other one as criminal then as a society we will only create a rebel class who will gradually go against the society. Men, women, children, senior citizens all will suffer. The women, who are empowered today as a wife, may have to see their sons’ suicide because of this bias. They have to see their daughter involved in a hi-profile sex racket (Hon. SC in 2011-12 took a note of this problem as asked govt. to have a check on this) as marriages becoming extinct fast..
Overall if this situation persists, India will see continued injustice to all its citizens. Men killed by these legislations, will not be in any position to protect and provide for others around them. Women not fighting for gender neutrality will also not be trusted as there is no magic formula to pre judge one person. NO ONE knows which woman will NOT misuse these laws to her benefit and destroy a family in future. This will lead to men shunning marriages and increase in lonely frustrated people, increased drug abuse, violent crimes, prostitution (both male and female) and widespread cheating and corruption. If this situation continues, India will surely be destroyed as a nation. So as an Indian citizen please come forward and act fast.
To know more about WHY as an individual who is not affected by these changes still need to fight for gender neutral legislation. Click here to find out your reason.