Domestic violence is one of the serious crimes in which the abuser is none other than the victim’s family. Domestic
violence also known as domestic abuse is physical as well as mental abuse committed by a person in the victim’s
domestic circle. In India domestic violence cases are dealt under “Domestic Violence Act 2005”. But the scope of
domestic violence is limited to female victims. But are the victims of intimate partner violence only women? Are men
always safe in their house? Domestic violence should be a gender neutral crime and equal importance should be given
to the safety of man.? Men are thought to always be the abuser but they can be a victim too as they also sometimes
suffer from psychological and emotional abuse. The covid 19 outbreak caused rapid increment in cases of domestic
violence. The paper advances our understanding with ill effects of domestic cruelty that are not just physical but also
mental. This study aims to find the reason behind domestic violence and how men can be a victim. What are laws
governing in India with comparison to international laws?
Violence is intentional use of force which leads to injury, damage, abuse. It is physical harm caused intentionally to a
person. Violence and aggression are two different terms as aggression can mostly be verbal instead of physical.
Violence can lead to physical, psychological as well as emotional damage. It doesn’t only affect the person who
experienced it but also who witnessed it, especially children. We live in a society where men are always thought to be
strong and dominating, they can’t feel the pain. The boy since his childhood is taught a male don’t cry. But are men not
human? Male and female both are made of the same blood and tissues. Violence can happen with anyone irrespective
of age, gender etc. It is not a gender oriented crime. Sometimes violence can be so brutal that overcoming it takes a
long time. Mard ko Dard Hota Hai! It is just the thing that society does not want to talk about and doesn’t want to
address the issue. Men are always kept out of the purview of the victims of domestic violence. As they are ignored by
society similarly by our legislature in which a special act is enacted against domestic violence but what it says-
“Protection of women by Domestic Violence Act 2005”, which simply indicates male cannot be victims of domestic
violence they can only be accused of domiciliary abuse.
What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence also known as ‘domestic abuse’ or ‘intimate partner’ violence is a pattern of behavior in
relationship used to gain power and control over the other. Abuse can be of any form physical, emotional,
economic, sexual or psychological. Domestic violence can happen with anyone regardless of age, gender, caste and
economic status. It is not caused by any stranger but someone from the victim’s domestic circle. There exists a close
cohabitating relationship between the victim and offender.
“Section 3 of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005” defines domestic violence as,
‘Any act, commission, omission or conduct of a person harms, injuries or endangers the health and safety of an
individual whether mentally or physically it amounts to domestic violence.’
Domestic violence and family violence are difficult to be identified as they are rarely reported to healthcare staff or
legal authorities. “Around 10 million people in the US are estimated to be victims of domestic violence every year. It is
a National Healthcare problem every medical staff every day come across the patients who in some form are victims or
suffering from some sort of domestic abuse.”
Domestic violence is thought to be a family matter and is underreported.
The “CDC” defines domestic violence as “physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression
(including coercive acts) by a current or former intimate partner.”
Who are abusers of domestic violence?
Generally whenever this question arises the answer that come in everyone mind is “man” or “husband”. But,
the abusers of domestic violence are not always men like a victim can be of anyone regardless of gender or
sex similarly abuser can also be anyone it can be woman. Why is it so difficult for our society to accept that
women can be perpetrator of domestic violence?
“In the study, 52.4% of men experienced gender-based violence. Out of 1000, males 51.5% experienced
violence at the hands of their wives/intimate partner at least once in their lifetime.”{ source- national library
of medicine}
The abusers of domestic violence in majority cases are male of young age. The main reason behind domestic
violence is low income, low self esteem, abusive childhood, witness of violence, experiencing abuse or lack
of attention.
Types of Abuse:


  1. Physical Abuse: Physical abuse is the most recognized form of domestic violence. It includes physical aggressive
    behavior or use of physical force causing physical harm or threat of causing hurt. It includes kicking, punching, hitting,
    choking etc. The “domestic violence act” defines domestic violence as any act endangering the life of the victim.
    Example: A wife beating her husband everyday causing severe bruises on his body due to his incapability of working
    because of his disability. It is a form of physical abuse.
  2. Emotional Abuse: It is the most type of abuse suffered by men in domestic circles. It is a kind of abuse which
    violates or destroys self-worth, character, security, vulnerability etc. It is often caused by insulting, humiliating the
    victim. It is most dangerous as physical abuse is easy to point out but understanding emotional abuse is difficult. Even
    for bringing criminal proceedings emotional abuse is not enough as it is difficult to prove someone’s mental intention
    or harm without any physical injury.
  3. Psychological Abuse: It is a fear causing or threatening behavior. A one time event is not enough to bring a court
    case. There is no specific way of causing psychological abuse. Some examples are as followed:
    ● Preventing a person from talking to person
    ● Restricting his movement or locking inside the room
    ● Emotional blackmail
    ● Making threats of physical harm
    Example: A girl after breakup blackmailing her boyfriend with some of their private pictures to upload on social media
    or of filing a false case of rape against him if he didn’t pay her or marry her. Then it is a kind of psychological abuse.
  4. Financial Abuse: It is a kind of abuse of controlling a person’s access to financial resources. It is denying or
    threatening victims or their family access to financial resources. This may include making the victim lose his job or not
    allowing him to work, keeping secret accounts or financial secrets, limiting his spending or access to family funds.
    Example; A wife stopping her husband from giving financial support to his parents by threatening to harm his child.
    Legal Provisions Regarding Domestic Violence Against Man:
    Existing legislation predominantly focuses on protecting women from domestic violence.
    While these laws acknowledge the gendered aspects of violence, they inadvertently reinforce societal
    perceptions that only women can be victims.
    In India there are provisions for protecting women from domestic violence. “Section 498 A of Indian Penal
    Code” deals with provision of cruelty by husband and his relatives. This provision is meant to punish the
    husband and his relatives who are abusive, cruel to the wife for unlawful demands such as dowry.

Section 498 A states that, “Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects
such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and
shall also be liable to fine.”
The provision clearly states that being the husband or a relative of the husband, but there is no mention of her
being the wife which simply means that the wife has the right to be cruel to her husband and his relatives, but
if they are, she can go to court and have them punished.
But our society and legislature can never accept the man being a victim of domestic abuse. If a man tries to
raise his voice he can’t as there is no provision protecting his rights.
Even after already existing provision regarding domestic violence a special act was formed and enacted known as
2005.” The name of act in a clear way states that this act is only for protecting women from domestic abuse a male
doesn’t lie under the purview of this act. As he is strong, he can’t feel pain so how can he be a victim? He is always an
“aggrieved person” means any “woman who is or was in a domestic relationship with the respondent and who claims
to have been subjected to any domestic violence by the respondent”
Domestic abuse against a woman can only be committed by a man, according to IPC section 498A. This law
contains no subsections that make women accountable for domestic violence.
Men do not have any direct remedy to protect them from domestic violence, but one option is divorce under
Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act, which allows separation on grounds of cruelty after solemnization of
IPC also contains some provisions which can be used for this purpose such as sec 319 deals with bodily
harm, disease or infirmity in case of domestic abuse and sec 320 deals with causing grievous hurt.
Effects of Domestic Cruelty:
Effects or suffering of domestic violence are not always physical; it can be mental and
emotional too. Mostly, the male victims suffer from emotional or mental breakdown. As they
don’t speak up about their problem due to society pressure. The suicide rate amongst male is
higher than women because woman has legal as well as social support to protect themselves.
But man needs to prove it they are victims which is not easily accepted by society.


  1. Mental Effects:
    ● Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): This is a condition that happens when a person has
    experienced a traumatic incident, such as violence, abuse, or the prospect of injury. Flashbacks,
    nightmares, intrusive thoughts, avoidance, emotional numbness, hyperarousal, and negative ideas
    about oneself or the world are all signs of PTSD.
    ● Depression: Persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest. Depression is a mood disorder that
    causes persistent sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think and act and can lead to
    various mental and physical problems. You may find it difficult to carry out normal daily activities
    and feel that life is not worth living.
    ● Low self-esteem: Abused men may have a bad perception of themselves and their talents. They may
    be ashamed, guilty, or embarrassed to have been assaulted by a woman. They may also blame
    themselves or believe they deserve the assault.
    ● Anger: Men who have experienced domestic abuse may feel angry, resentful, or disappointed. They
    may struggle to control their emotions or express them in appropriate ways. They may also get violent
    or strike out at others.
    ● Anxiety: Men who have experienced domestic abuse may have nervousness, fear, or panic, as well as
    difficulties concentrating, breathing, or relaxing. They may also acquire phobias or obsessive-
    compulsive behaviors.
  2. Physical Effects: The physical effects of domestic abuse can be serious.
    ● Bruises, fractures or internal injuries: Victims may suffer from serious physical injuries such as
    various kinds of wounds or damage to organs. It may also lead to permanent disability.
    ● Chronic Health Problems: Men who are abused by their partners may suffer from serious health
    problems which may interfere in their day-to-day activities such as long-term headaches, back pain
    ● Sexual Issues: Men may suffer violence or coercion in their sexual relationship which may lead to
    sexual dysfunction.
  3. Behavioral Effects: Behavioral effects can harm victims personal as well as professional life.

● Alcohol and Drug Consumption: Many victims start consuming drugs and alcohol to reduce or
temporary forget their pain. But it is really harmful for their health and may result in chronic health
● Lack of Concentration: Many victims are not able to concentrate on their work, sleep and other
activities which reduce their productivity.
● Running Away: The easiest way people think to deal away with anything is running away from that.
Many victims try to escape from their home or office to avoid the abuse. Which leads to loneliness,
isolation etc.

  1. Economic Hardship: Men who are subjected to partner violence may have financial hardships as a result of
    lost wages, property damage, medical costs, or attorney expenditures. The stress or injuries brought on by the
    abuse may also make it difficult for them to get or keep a job.
    Reasons for Underreported Cases:
    India has strict laws and legislation to protect women and girls from domestic abuse but there is no
    legislation available to protect rights of man and boys. Men additionally undergo intellectual cruelty in
    addition to bodily cruelty however both they may be ashamed to proportion approximately the violence they
    may be dealing with or fear that no person will consider them and rather humans are going to make fun of
    them. It isn’t smooth for guys to be available at the front and inform people about the violence they may be
    dealing with due to their respective companions and if a person makes a brave pass and documents a
    grievance towards the abuser then the investigating officer and people will no longer consider it or will
    forget the situation. Nobody will take a stand for him. Apart from laws, there are many other reasons such as
    societal assumption that men are strong and hard to cry. It is considered disgraceful in our society for male to
    express their suffering. The fear of feminine and not man prevails so much that it stops men from sharing
    their situation to others, often leaving them distressed.
    According to the web search results, some of the reasons why male domestic violence cases are unreported
    ● Fright that reporting abuse by a female will cause the male victim to be perceived as weak or effeminate
    ● Feelings of remorse for allowing abuse by a woman
    ● Reports of distress or abuse will not be believed or taken seriously
    ● Fear that seeking help will lead to secondary victimization or negative treatment by professionals and
    ● Fear of losing social respect, reputation, or legal rights
    ● Fear of damaging the relationship or harming the abuser
    ● Lack of awareness or access to resources and support for male victims


The crime is crime and abuse is abuse whether the victim is male or female. Both are humans and feel the
same pain and emotion. Similarly domestic violence is gender neutral crime it can happen with anyone
irrespective of their gender or age. But domestic abuse leaves a long lasting effect on physical as well as
mental health of a victim. There are lots of provisions and laws for protecting women from domestic violence
but there is no act to protect men. To protect man there is no support from legislature as well as society
which often made them drastic step like suicide as there is no way they can raise voice. If someone takes a
step to raise voice there is no one to hear his voice instead everyone makes fun of him. Many men are
suffering from emotional abuse and India needs gender neutral laws to punish the offender irrespective of
their gender. Men are not always wrong. Gender neutral laws are need of an hour.
● Domestic Violence Against Men: Underreported? | LY Lawyers
● Why Men Who Are Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Report | Psychology Today United Kingdom
● Domestic Violence Against Men in India – Juris Centre
● Domestic Violence and Men’s Mental Health (Chapter 17) – Comprehensive Men’s Mental Health ( ,
● Can Men Be Victims of Intimate Partner Violence? | Psychology Today

Name : Bhavika Makhija
Institute: Indore Institute of Law

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