Bengaluru Police Stations and help desks for harassed husbands have been receiving at least10 complaint calls from distressed men, seeking respite and solutions from their spouses and in-laws.
However, a Supreme Court ruling on Friday said dowry harassment cases (498A) now allows bail to prevent misuse of the law. It also said that bail petitions will be heard on the same day as the complaint is filed. “This is a small step which will help harassed husbands to an extent. The threat of being thrown into jails is not much and there is scope for anticipatory bail. However, we still need men to be included under the domestic violence act,” said K Ajay Kumar, an assistant commissioner of police, Control Room, Bengaluru City Police (BCP).
When most people hear the term “domestic violence,” they often assume that a man is the aggressor. Spousal abuse is certainly a serious problem however, it is not just faced by women. While news of dowry-related harassment and crimes against women are reported extensively in the media, there are a growing number of men who are at the receiving end of harassment, and face physical and psychological abuse at the hands of their wives.
It’s tough to figure out how many men are suffering abuse. The gender-biased attitudes towards the victimised men reduces the seriousness of their problems faced from their spouses in the eyes of the enforcement agencies. What’s worst, in many cases, the humiliation and shame of this act going public forces them to keep mum.
“We have come across cases where the husband was beaten up with a rolling pin, stabbed with a knife, had hot water or food poured on their hands. At times, women approach us with complaints of dowry harassment. When we investigate, we find that it is a false charge and she was, in fact, caught having an affair by her husband,” Kumar said, adding that greed for property is also often a motive.
Talking to City Express, officer Kumar said, “Fathers and husbands have come and cried in front of us, saying they want to commit suicide, unable to bear the harassment and torture at home. When there are visible injuries, we register a medico-legal case, but there is no legal provision for domestic abuse where men are victims.” “Even culturally, people are not ready to accept that women beat men. They ask, ‘How strong can she possibly be?’,” he said, adding that courts too tend to lean towards the mother for child custody rights.