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Violence in the Home
by Dr. Lavina Noronha

Jun 30, 2010         

Sheila joined her husband Arun in the Middle East 2 years after their marriage.  Arun worked for a bank and earned a handsome salary and they mutually decided that she would be a homemaker. Within six months, Sheila was able to learn her way around the suburban locality in which they lived. Just like any other newly wedded couple everything was hunky dory between them. As days rolled by things began to change. Arun could not digest the fact that Sheila did pretty much everything on her own and did not rely on him. She made friends quickly and soon became popular in the Indian community. Arun could not tolerate her popularity and could not stand it when someone appreciated her. He began suspecting her and questioning her intentions. He ordered her not go out shopping or visit anyone unaccompanied. He started doing all the shopping for the home. She refused to stay home and told him he was just being unreasonable.

From then on, he locked her in the bedroom and left for work and she was confined to the four walls of their bedroom until he returned in the evening. He unlocked the room in the evening and asked her cook and then he slapped her and kicked her and found fault with everything she did and everything she said. Every word she uttered made him more violent and became an excuse to bash her. He even threatened to kill her if she uttered a word to her family in India or any friends in the gulf.

This torture and house arrest continued for almost a year and a half and, one fine day, a friend of Sheila’s paid them a surprise visit. Sheila had a black eye and multiple bruises on her arms but she could not say anything as Arun was right there. Her teary eyes seemed to say “please get me out of here” Her friend called the Indian embassy and due to the timely action of the officials and a few friends, Sheila was rescued and sent home. Thank goodness for her supportive parents, Sheila is safe recovering from her physical and emotional bruises. Sheila and her family know very well that the scars will take a lot longer if at all there is healing. 

Sheila was very fortunate to be rescued on time from the clutches of her violent spouse but there are thousands of women who do not get help to come out of abusive relationships.  Domestic violence as it is commonly called is violence in the home between partners which is prevalent all over the world among all cultures. Office on Violence against women (O.V.M) defines domestic violence as “a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another person.”

Domestic Violence Facts

Domestic violence, in essence, is an outright violation of the basic right to safety and wellbeing of a woman.  Incidents of violence against women are comparatively more in countries where women’s rights are ill-defined. While education or social standing do not really provide immunity against violence, women who are economically dependent on their spouses are far more likely to be targeted than women who have an alternative means of livelihood.

Even after repeated incidents of violence women often march right back to their abusive spouses assuming the spouse has changed. Many women feel helpless as economic dependence makes it difficult to exit from an abusive marriage. Some choose to stay in the marriage for fear of being ostracized by family and society. It is truly unfortunate that instead of supporting and encouraging a woman who has mustered courage to leave her abusive and violent spouse, society shuns her further. Generally, women take a long time to say enough is enough and continue to stay with the abuser jeopardizing their own safety and the safety of their children. This is what happened to Laxmi recently. When she returned to her parent’s home and reported what goes on in the home, her mother sent her away saying “You have been married and you do not belong here. Make it work and don’t come crying anymore.” In less than two months she was stabbed to death by her husband who later killed himself and her three year old by drowning.

Reactions to violence differ from woman to woman. Many blame themselves. “I should know better, he has a temper problem, I have to be patient and understanding; I have to make sure that he never loses his temper.” There are some who blame the victim and say “it is all her fault, she nags him and instigates him; can’t she keep quiet when he comes home after a hard-day’s work?” Abusers too tend to justify their bouts of violence with lame excuses: “I hit her because she went out without informing me”, “she is argumentative”, “she is refusing sex, or “she deliberately puts extra salt in the food.”

Social conditioning is to be blamed for under reporting of cases of violence. Women prefer to suffer in silence instead of being humiliated in public. Sumi quoted a police sub-inspector who sent her away when she wanted to lodge a complaint after a violent domestic dispute:  “Just go to the clinic and get some dressing done on the wounds, after all he is your husband, he has a right to beat you, I cannot register your complaint, please go home and learn to be nice to your husband.” When the so called custodians of law and order have attitudes like this, the plight of women becomes really deplorable.

Many women are indoctrinated in families from childhood that it is perfectly okay to be violated. They consider it to be their fate and believe they have to endure it. Zubeda says “so what if he breaks my bones once in a while and bangs my head against the wall or scorches me with a lit cigarette, he is my husband. He still loves me. How can I go to a police station and lodge a complaint against my own husband?” A great number of women suffer in silence and their families, friends, and colleagues too are kept in the dark about what transpires within the four walls of a home. Ultimately, when the woman is killed by her spouse, it becomes a wake-up call that comes a bit too late.

Men Don’t Tell

Domestic violence is not exclusively a woman’s issue. There are many men who are violated and victimized by their wives although the number is not as humongous as it is among women. The woman just learns that she can control her husband and intimidate him through various means.

Eight year old Joe challenged his dad one day “What kind of a man are you? You get beaten by a woman?” Mr. D’Souza was a company executive who always wore full-sleeved shirts to cover the bruises which went unnoticed for eight years until his son shook him up and forced him to seek help.

For obvious reasons, it is more humiliating for a man to admit and report abuse than it is for a woman and so, the incidents of victimization of men are termed as exceptions to the general rule. Highly educated, professional women are reportedly more likely to ‘man-handle’ their spouses than their counterparts. All other dynamics of exercising power and control, belittling, denying and intimidation are the same for both genders.

How can you help tackle violence?

Domestic violence is a multifaceted issue that necessitates people from all walks of life joining hands in order to find a solution.  Recognize injuries, black eyes and other telltale signs of violence and encourage the woman to seek help.

Feel free to interfere when a domestic squabble turns violent, don’t be a silent spectator. “Ring the bell” campaign has helped save many lives nationwide. Bang on the door of your neighbor or ring the doorbell until the fight stops. Tell them you’re going to call the police. There are hotline numbers available in almost every city.

Teach children and adolescents that violence is not the right way to express emotions.  Lessons of non-violence begin at home and when children see their adult role models settling differences in a civilized manner, they are bound to emulate the same. Everyone needs to remember that violence is an exception, not a rule.

The abuser too needs help!

Men who beat and violate women need professional assistance as well. While it is difficult to identify men who have a violent streak in them, based on data gathered on violators over the years, a profile of an abuser has been put together by experts. The typical abuser is:

• Is less educated than the abused
• Is afraid of abandonment and losing control
• Has poor control over impulses
• Has low frustration tolerance
• Blames partner for their abusiveness
• Is possessive, jealous, and suspicious
• Believes in traditional gender roles

It does not mean that everyone who violates fits this profile. Most of them have bruised egos that need to be tended to. The damage could be due to childhood exposure to violence in the home, having a parent role model, history of physical abuse and so on. Some abusers regret being violent and apologize for their behavior but somehow fail to use restraint. Counseling, Psycho Therapy, Training in Stress Management, Anger management, yoga, and Meditation, definitely help to steer them on the right path. Timely interventions can help enrich marital relationships and save families from breaking.

Dr Lavina Noronha - Archives :  

READ 'EXCLUSIVE ARCHIVES'
Comments on this article
Rosalina Noronha, MumbaiThursday, May 16, 2013
There is this advertisement on TV for a scooter which goes like this "Why should men have all the fun". This says it all, right!! Nothing can be too much for women until they enjoy everything in life equally.
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Samuel, KateelSunday, July 18, 2010
Dear Zareena,
In response to your comment - "If men wanted only a wife to take care of the home and bear children then they should not look for brides who are educated and having well paying jobs" .... I made it clear to my would be wife as well as our families that I am not against women working but I don't want/need my wife to work. Now my wife does a parttime job just to be away from home for some time. I am okay with that. Still she is now worried that she cannot earn like other professional women and becos of that lots of tension arise between us. What do you say about that?

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Liza, MangaloreMonday, July 05, 2010
Not necessarily financially dependent women go thru the domestic violence, even many educated women too go thru this and yet put up with this awful so called marriage and domestic violence just for the sake of children they swallow the bitter treatment yet live with it, so what is the solution Dr.Lavina N. There is a lady earning a handsome salary still goes thru the violence of not only domestic, even emotional, financial too. Just because their only son is still wants to remain in that house inspite of the mother being treated awfully by his father. What is the solution could you mail me so that I can help the needy.
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Gladys Mudarth, Mangalore/CanadaSunday, July 04, 2010
Reading the article and the comments, had a disturbed sleep at night. Violence in homes,  country and the world at large. There is no time for God and daily prayers.
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Zareena, ManagaloreSunday, July 04, 2010
Dear Ostin,
You seem to be living under the false notion that women who have freedom or education do not take care of their families like in the old days. I beg to defer because women are doing both a mans job as well as a womans job in todays world and you should appreciate the fact that she manages both working at home and in the office. She guides her children religously just like before and teaches them values. Generalising that women today are not obedient to their husbands is wrong, every aspect has two sides and it is sad to note that may be you have seen only one side. I believe men and women in todays world work hand in hand to build their families. If men wanted only a wife to take care of the home and bear children then they should not look for brides who are educated and having well paying jobs - which now seems to be the most important questions asked even before the man sees the girl. Men and women in todays world complement each other and only when there is huge ego problems, lack of understanding and respect for each other do we have domestic violence. Neither a man nor a woman has the right to maul their spouses for not getting their way. I think we need to grow up. Women are not a mans toy to do as they plese. Male Chauvinism stinks.
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Reena, UdupiSunday, July 04, 2010
It is not always true as whole society beleive only women are abused at home.
If women is harassed then there are laws to protect her,if man is harassed there are no laws for men,if they go to police they will not take husband complaint aginst wife.
and there are many women file false case on husband like Domextic violence, dowry law, even marital rape and court is not asking to proove it.burdon of proof is lies on innocent men
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Alban D' Souza, Udyavara, Doha QatarSaturday, July 03, 2010
Good Article, Those who read and others must enlighten from this, because the writer clearly shows how the violence can destroy ones happiness/pleasures of life . These are real facts about life happening. One should give respect to the partner man or woman may be. Life is to give and take and shareing .Cultivate understanding between the couples. One has to approach for counselling or Priest, temples Church even the elders of the family . Anything violence should bring to the notice of the society or the religious or other Organizational leaders such as Vado-Gurkar or Priest friends, Gram panchayat leader if they can help? But always share whatever suffering one undergoes and dont be silent. Silence on this is sometimes can be dangerous. Dont be shy on this matter. Treat as equal and with dignity to each other. Fighting has no end bring destruction give peace a chance and forgive as our Lord Jesus Christ brought peace to us and to the world.
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Reema Pinto, BangaloreSaturday, July 03, 2010
Gladson, you seem to be very agitated - if you are a woman - have you visited your in-laws peacefully in the last 1 year?
If the answer is yes, you will get the meaning of Ostin Pinto's statement - we don't haave to get personal and call names to each other - just learn to live and let live and we will not only end violance from either spouse, because we have seen even women violators!!!
Comment on this message

Gladson, BrahmavarFriday, July 02, 2010
Quite a bizzare comment by Ostin Pinto for a wonderful article. I don't know how many men will agree with him. But at least for me, he stinks! Despite all the education, progress, migration, we are still hanging on to these patriarchal ideologies. Somewhat a few like Ostin cannot tolerate not with the freedom that women have got but perhaps with the success of womanhood. So they choose every single opportunity to trample them. Ostin bear always in mind that 'woman falls only when man is not strong.' After all how much of freedom have we given to girls? Just giving them education and allowing them to work is not freedom. It is their basic right. Are we giving them freedom of decision? I think we aren't. Even highly educated girls are bound by the compulsions of her brothers, parents most of the times. Secondly don't use the so called 'excessive freedom' (your words) as an excuse to justify violence against women. Violence for whatever reasons and in whichever situation is wrong and unlawful. Values of family are only for women to follow? What do you mean when you say that men cause violence by instinct? Are men animals that they live with these kind of instincts? If someone has these kind of instincts, he is a blot to humanity leave alone manhood. Being manly isn't instinctive but it is all about controlling the instincts. If a man cannot exercise control over his instincts, he better live alone in island and not in family.
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Lavina Cornelio, Udupi/USAFriday, July 02, 2010
Very nice article.Now a days it happens because both husband and wife try to climb up in the corporate ladder. There could be many misunderstanding only solution is to keep quite when other is angry, arguments leads to quarrel which shatters the domestic harmony.
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George D'Cruz, USA/MangaloreFriday, July 02, 2010
Very good article by Dr. Lavina. We need to bring such incidents to light to the benefit of our own society. Also i certainly agree with few comments written by readers. "There is no smoke without a fire". Whether you agree or not this is the universal truth. who lights the fire is the question? When a girl walks into the groom's house she should know that she is not the family member yet! All eyes are upon her. Moms teach your daughters patience,tolerance,adjustments, sacrifice for achieving something good in life, give respect to others and take take respect. Please send your daughters with good baggage and leave all unacceptable baggage in your house, since there is no place to unload this in new house where she walks into. With good family values and good culture I do not think there will be any problem in the groom's house where people will accept her with honour and respect always.
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amrit, KSAFriday, July 02, 2010
Violence is the second nature of every living creature, it is the preservation of the self against the perceived onslaught or threat from the other. Psychiatric help is the only method of resolving incidents of domestic violence (IDV).The context of the protogonist moving to the Middle East? beats me. IDV can occur anywhere, its needs just two people!The world and Human Society as we know it exists withing a loopsided Machiavellian construct. This is what needs to be addressed first and foremost.
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Vasudha, MangaloreFriday, July 02, 2010
Very Nice article by Dr. Lavina.. all men and women must read this article.. It gives encouragement to the people who are suffering from such voilence to fight against it.. Thanks for the article.
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Muzaffar, Mangalore-Riyadh Saudia ArabiaThursday, July 01, 2010
Nice article need of the hour to debate well said
Dear Ostin Pinto, Muscat /Sasthan  if everyone live with this valus there won't be any such voilence exist in the society
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Judith L, MumbaiThursday, July 01, 2010
Dear Rekha,

I sympathise with your niece same like you. But only sympathy cannot help. support her and be at her side alongwith other relatives and your community see that she get her children back and her spouse is banned from society, so that he doesnot cheat other innocent girls.
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Margarita, Hosabettu / MumbaiThursday, July 01, 2010
Dear Mr. Santhosh Bhandary - good one encouragement to the people who tolerate abuses in any relationship..
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Bhavya , kul/ Mangalore Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Very nice article. thanks for Dr. Lavina for highlighting the life of a lady. i agree with the comments of Ms. Dsouza and Mohan Naik. A lady however successful she is in her education, in her career she stills cares for her family , i.e is her husband, children. but still the male dominates her saying that she is weak.
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Poonam, USAWednesday, June 30, 2010

Firstly, the author certainly has done a very good job in wording this article. Most people know of relationships where domestic violence exists but do very little towards helping the situation. In olden days we blamed illiteracy and alcohol as a reason for physical abuse and in modern times we blame it on stress. Well the reason we give excuses instead of correcting our actions, is because we never think we humans can never do something wrong. Well here’s news - Nothing can justify when humans start behaving like animals.

Unfortunately animals behave that way since they do not have the gift of language, but when human beings behave that way it is just that we have no control on ourselves and in other words we are worse than animals, so we certainly do need help, call it ‘Anger management’ or whatever. 2 people under the same roof normally cannot think alike differences are just a part of life however that does not mean forcing my will on the other by physical abuse is going be the end of all my problems. I think these days we actually give our kids so much love and comfort of course part of the reason could be that our families have grown smaller in sizes and our kids are the apple of our eyes.

We do not teach them that life does present us with situations where we do not get what we want. We do not teach our kid’s patience, tolerance and love, it is just selfishness. Being gentle doesn’t come from outside, it is something we must cultivate throughout our lifetime.

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Ethan, Florida/MangaloreWednesday, June 30, 2010
Most of the time, Women cannot co-exist with another women ( Mother in Law, Sister in Law Etc) for which again she blames her husband...anyway time will tell about what is going to happen as very soon there shall be many broken families/homes and juvenile delinquent children..so people please think without being prejudice, and try to help the couples to cope up instead of separating them, as when this people decide to get married they were loving each other so on the way relationship strains, so they need help not conflict, no one is perfect in this world so whoever comments just look into your own life and see how many fights you had before commenting on others.
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adshenoy, mangloorWednesday, June 30, 2010
Human beings are born to exist with egos. Some satisfy their egos others fail. Marriage is a convenient union to seek these egos. Equality fight and domination and powerplay and rights and control are root causes for this phenomenon.
Society considers and indeed says women are weaker sex and violence is aimed at them but in reality violence is a two sided coin.
Women in general consider money and materility is the future rather than relationships and living. Men on the otherhand consider fatherhood and motherhood are are equal but not equal everyway. A household has to be run and there are division of roles and responsibilities. Those who understansd this live relatively with low conflicts in a family. One mind set, one goal and only Give and take works very well. Violence is avoidable but not entirely where two human beings are way a part in their thinking.
Violence free relationships are two way street and not one way at all.
Comment on this message

A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.Wednesday, June 30, 2010
It is a very interesting narrative
of reality at the modern times.

It is very sad but true that there
is a strong spirit of jealousy
among some couples, on the other hand the spirit of dominance.

When the husand and wife start
doubting each other for every silly
thing, that will be the beginning of great problems ahead.

Everybody likes to move with the
society, but if the husband or
wife expect the application of
the old "conservative system"
while moving in the modern society,
is very hard to adjust.

As the author has stated, even through the majority of suffering
people are the women, a few men
are suffering with this problem.

When my wife joined me 35 years back, she was confused with the
way, some of my American friends (women)
greeted me with a hug. So I had to
explain it, and later on she became
a far better than me in hugging
our friends. I have watched some
men and women starting arguments
in front of other people due to
the misunderstanding of talking
with the opposite sex. This problem, even can lead to divorce
and a broken family.
Comment on this message

Ostin Pinto, Muscat /SasthanWednesday, June 30, 2010
Dear Roshan, what do you think, in western countries, such violance never exists ?
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K, IndiaWednesday, June 30, 2010
Well i feel bad for things like this, i dont know why men are grown to be sadistic and why this nature continues even after they are being educated, after times have changed and Woman have really worked hard having to multitask and all these sacrifices they make, they still have to face this Physical violence.
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Ostin Pinto, Muscat /SasthanWednesday, June 30, 2010
Fine Dr.Lavina,we agree that domestic violance is wrong, but just think about those spouses, without their patience towards the other one, what might be the situation in our society. I still blame it on the women side, not because I am male. It is because the freedom, more than requirement given to girl child in a middle and upper class families now a days. Those were the days, when our mothers, grandmothers used to take charge of the entire family and lead the children to a hardworking & religious life. Being humble and obedient to their husbands.
And now where we are ? Just because girl child is given some education, should they forget the values of a family & womanhood ?
In such cases, violance tend to take part from a man by his instincts.
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Roshan, MangaloreWednesday, June 30, 2010
The Indian sentiment of sticking to the same husband irrespective of whether he loves his wife or not should go now.Atleast here we should follow western culture.
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Lydia Lobo, KadriWednesday, June 30, 2010
Domestic violence is wrong. However, is separating the couple only solution available ? Are we not supposed to find out what lead to such violence and abuse ? We are aware that both a man and a woman, are incomplete without each other. There is no respect in the society for a man who left his wife or a woman who left her husband. We are already facing rising divorces. Its time to make use of corrective measures available such as counseling and psychiatric treatment. We humans have a brain sharper than all creatures of the world. It must be put to creative use than fights that lead to separations.
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Christopher Roshan Lobo, Kulshekar/ BahrainWednesday, June 30, 2010
Good article in current times. Whether it is male or female, there is no use in bearing the tortures just for the sake of keeping the relationship. Try to convince your partner to change. Certain cases need medical attention try to seek medical help. If the spouse does not change still, it is time to say good bye to him/her. Everything has limitations. Stop bearing the humiliations/ tortures. Every human being has self respect. Let him/her know that no more he/she can continue taking advantage of the other person just because she/he is silent. Times have changed. We have seen the older generations suffering just for the sake of keeping the relationship. I do not think many of the current generations agree any more with this concept.
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Rekha , MangaloreWednesday, June 30, 2010
Here is one more story (Intercast marriage). My niece left her family (everything) and married a man trusting on his promises. Now it is 5 yrs with 2 kids and she came to know that this man is still giving promises to many young girls and using them by acting he is not married. Kept their kids with his parents and always in night clubs and involved with mafia gang. Now his wife is desperate. Now he is telling her to leave her job and go and stay with his in parents. He is saying he will not give kids, not allowing to talk to them and he says will divorce her. What to to do with this type of animals. Life is gone by trusting.
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Mohan H Naik, MangaluruWednesday, June 30, 2010
Yes, women who are economically dependent on the spouse are victims of domestic violence.Every girl child if indoctrinated by her parents right from child hood to face boldly such domestic violence,and continue to support her as and when required, i think helps.
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Santhosh Bhandary, Surathkal/DubaiWednesday, June 30, 2010

In view of the above I would like to comment as below. It is wrong to torture or abuse your spouse or anyone else for that matter. Never accept violence and oppression whether it is home, office or school. No one can make you feel inferior or weak without your own consent. Human rights have to be protected at all times and at any cost. It would be a bigger blunder if you accept the abuse and suffer in silence without retaliation.

It is even said in our ancient epics that the person who accepts such abuse is more at fault. So the bottom line is people have to be strong minded and get out of this so called tyranny or abuse or violence and take the person to task thru various means at the earliest possible. Times have changed, so please wake up, and get out of this suffering sooner than later.

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Hanik, MangaloreWednesday, June 30, 2010
You have put only one side of the story. Definately the dominant males wanted to enslave their better-half. But there there are cases of few worst-halves in the society who instigate & provocate her better-half to build-up frustration and go out of control and ends up turning into a beast.
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Alex D Souza, Mangalore/DubaiWednesday, June 30, 2010
Dear Margarita,

It is indeed true that Dr. Lavina has articulated the issue in a nice way and this sacrifice of time for the sake of community and society welfare is commendable. It is through such articles I learnt a lot. Let me say, I am also from a family of abuser/abusee given that in olden days, financial troubles coupled with reasons for misunderstandings and intentional trouble mongers created a lot of war-like situations. I could not understand the essense of Christianity till I was enlightened by such writers. I was also reduculed for reading like a women on issues partaining to society and particularly women.

Having said the above, I was fortunate to come out of the rut intop a progressive city like Bombay (now Mumbai) and thereafter to many shores abroad. This further allowed me to understand the cultural differences and form my openion for better behaviour.

Having witnessed my own life changed for the better through such articles as these, I heartily thank and congratulate all writers such as Dr. Laveena for their public spirit. Those who read this article will do well to go deeper to understand the psyche of the other person involved and adopt accordingly.

ALL THE BEST.
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Ms. Dsouza, MangaloreWednesday, June 30, 2010
All said above is very true. It is said "The one who supports the crime is the one encouraging the crime".
It is sad to know that well educated youth abuse their spouses. Parents play a very important role in the entire episode.
Parents need to teach their children be a girl or a boy on how to treat their spouses. Generally Indian households ignore such education. Academic education is not everything.
We need to highlight this issue. Be open to your respective families and very important "never to tolerate violence be at home or work".
If you are being abused, REMEMBER
You are not alone
It is not your fault
Help is available.
Domestic violence can take many forms and variations and can happen once in a while or all at the same time. Domestic violence can be Psychological Abuse, Social Abuse, Financial Abuse, Physical Assault or Sexual Assault. Violence can be criminal and includes physical assault or injury (hitting, beating, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse ( forced sexual activity), or stalking.
Around two-third of married women in India were victims of domestic violence and one incident of violence translates into women losing seven working days in the country, a United Nations report said.
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Jerry Moras, Kuppepadavu, CanadaWednesday, June 30, 2010
Domoestic violence in Canada not tolerated. Here is another real incident one of my known friend. He would drink only during his weerk-end upto 3o beer cans and call night back home (India). Last week, he (Ciby) hit his wife due to some conflict between them and children screamed. Neighbours called 911 for assistance due to domestic violence. Before police arrive, Ciby ascaped from home and within 24 hrs left country and now living in India. Now, his wife and 3 children living in shelter home. This is what happens. He not only lost his job but family including children. Conclusion : one of us has to shut up even if your wife or husband talks non-sense (you think it is non-sense). Yet times, it is not easy but make an effort to leave your house for some time and come back later when your partner gets settled. Seconldly, yet times we dream to kids or plan something for which your partner is not cooperative - stop and think - may be she or he is right.
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Margarita, Hosabettu (Gurikanda)Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Dear Dr. Lavina Noronha, thanks for your article "Violence in the Home" Hope all women and men read this article and stand for their rights and support who suffer silently. You have put down facts so nicely everyone can understand / aware what is going on in day today life. It is really helpful who suffer silently because of society, children etc.. Thank you once again... Margarita
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