Domestic Violence: Definition, Introduction and Types of Domestic Abuse

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Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of coercive and assaultive behaviour that include physical, sexual verbal and psychological attacks and economic coercion that adult/adolescence used against the intimate partner. - Ganley and Schecter.


  • Universal violent social statement
  • Includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse that is physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economical
  • Built on male superiority and female inferiority
  • sex stereo typed roles and expectations
  • Economic, social, and political predominance of men
  • Dependency of women
  • Men՚s superior physical strength

Types of Domestic Abuse

Types of Domestic Abuse

According to a survey done by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, and the Planning Commission in 2013 it was revealed that around 40 to 80 % of women in India are victims of domestic violence.

Causes of Domestic Violence

  • Personality traits
  • Gender inequality
  • Economic inequality
  • Women perceived as an “object” rather than a “subject” and gives her low status in society.
  • Female socialization
  • Feminist theorists blame the patriarchal structure of society -- systematic domination of females by males
  • Gendered social structure. Gender here refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviour, and expectations
  • Means of controlling women

Can be classified in to three subheadings:

  • Against girl child
  • Against married women
  • Against elderly women

Against Girl Child

  • The violence begins before birth if the foetus is female.
  • Low value attached to girl՚s life due to preference for male child
  • Child abuse within the family includes physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect
  • Superstitions - having sex with an infant or a virgin can cure a man of impotency
  • Marital conflicts – vulnerable environment for girl child
  • Children՚s lack of knowledge and information about sex
  • Child marriage

Against Married Women

  • Battered child syndrome
  • Dependency in relationship
  • Imbalance of power and authority
  • Socialization - Patriarchy seen as positive and manly
  • Lack of education
  • Demand for dowry
  • Lack of awareness (of rights too)
  • To exert power and dominance
  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Negative attitude towards women in general
  • Adherence to stereotypical models of masculine and feminine behaviour
  • Unawareness of basic human rights and other legal rights of women
  • A wall of silence, denial and neglect, and cultural acceptance of domestic violence
  • Ego clashes with in-laws and authoritative behaviour by husband and in laws

Against Elderly Women

  • Vulnerable
  • Physically weak
  • Social isolation
  • Dependency
  • Generation gap – individuality
  • Imbalance between roles of caretaker and receiver
  • Stress – medical bills, care
  • Neglect
  • Lack of awareness – economic and legal rights
  • Cultural issue – sacrifice – tolerance

Way Ahead

  • Define and conceptualize domestic violence
  • Raise the awareness of violence against women in intimate relationship
  • Integrate various violent behaviour into mainstream debates on crime
  • Laws and schemes
  • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005


Q. 1. Which of the following is not a form of domestic violence?

(1) Dowry deaths

(2) Sexual Abuse

(3) Abduction

(4) Wife battering

Ans: (3)

Q. 2. Which of the following statements is true to describe domestic violence?

a) In domestic violence the only victims are married women

b) Girl child are only vulnerable to domestic violence

c) Domestic violence includes physical, sexual, mental, and verbal abuse of a person in household setting

d) Domestic violence is an indication of progressive society

Ans: c)

#Socio-Cultural Issues

#Family disharmony

#Domestic violence


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