‘My World’ is a series of insights on gender issues by the people for the people.
Adv Kamalpreet is a Chandigarh based lawyer who is practicing in Punjab and Haryana High Court for last 15 years.
BY MISS KAMALPREET ADVOCATE.
The right to be safe and live free from violence is a fundamental human right. But not all people are lucky enough. Home is considered to be the safest place to dwell but not always. There are situations when violence creeps into homes making life miserable. The term used to describe this exploding problem of domestic abuse, family violence or intimate partner violence used to gain or maintain power or control over the victim through fear or intimidation within our homes is Domestic Violence. Today it has reached epidemic proportions and has become an alarming public health problem accompanied with problem of homelessness and poverty. In common parlance it is normally understood to be comprising of physical assault, but actually it includes a range of abuses namely physical, sexual, emotional , psychological, financial or economic and stalking victimization.However Domestic Violence is still under reported in our society. Normally women make up vast majority of victims, though in few cases men, children and even parents are victims of Domestic Violence.
Being a lawyer I have come across several cases of Domestic Violence. A famous quote says , “Only a wearer knows where the shoe pinches”. The domestic violence experience can only be best described in the words of a victim. Normally all victims explain their harrowing experience by using the same phrases such as ,‘the abuser slapped them, pulled their hair, kicked them and all they could do was cry and scream as they could not muster enough courage to retaliate’. Most of the times the victims are not even aware as to why the victimiser got mad at them. The victim is so instilled with the fear of future violence that he/ she allows the abuser to take control of the victim’s life and circumstances.
A glorious quotation by Robert G. Ingersoll isindelible. It says “ No nation founded upon injustice can stand”. Concept of equality, human right and social justice have given rise to several legislations in our country too which deal with the menace of domestic violence of various forms against various genders.Whenever the victims of domestic violence approach me in the court seeking legal remedy against the same I always try to give them strength by quoting a saying:
‘Never be a prisoner of your past, it was just a lesson, not a life sentence. Life goes on’.
However personally I am of the view that a few legislations are not enough to tackle the problem. The bigger challenge is to enforce them in true sense. Mere statutes alone cannot prevent domestic violence though certainly they will act as a deterrent. What is actually needed is change in mindsets. Concerted and co-ordinated multisectoral efforts are key methods of bringing about change and responding to domestic violence at local and national levels. The problem of domestic violence should be brought into open and examined as any other preventable health problem and the best possible remedies available should be applied. This is where NGO’s can contribute immensely in resolving the problem. They have the power and resources to protect the victims and also to provide the victims legal aid, medical aid, financial and other assistance. Rehablitationof a victim of domestic violence is still bigger challenge which requires a lot of assurance, rebuilding confidence of the victims, and showering lot of personal attention to the victims who are completely shattered by the agony undergone by them. I firmly believe in a very famous quote from a poem of Percy Shelly , “ if winter comes can spring be far behind”. The poet in this quote wanted his dull and dead thoughts to be scattered like dead leaves by the West Wind, so that new thoughts could regenerate in him. This is exactly required for a domestic violence victim. Several NGO’s are already doing excellent work in achieving this goal and I personally believe this is one of their greatest contribution towards humanity and mankind .
Finally I will conclude this article by suggesting that in order to eradicate this horrendous type of abuse we all need to stand together, make tougher laws and have a zero-tolerance attitude towards the victimiser so that we can seek the goal of complete elimination of this evil fromthe society. This vicious cycle must stop and we should work towards making our nation great and illustrious civilised society free from this menace.