The article “Towards protecting women” (June 17) has lamented that nothing much has happened to alleviate the sufferings of women since the passage of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. Even if full-time, well-paid protection officers are appointed, the situation may not really improve. First, the nature of our women is such that they may not disclose the harassment they undergo at home and expose their husbands, much less go to court. This is also because many of them depend on their husbands for their living. Secondly, men may threaten women contemplating action with dire consequences — such as harm the children or their parents. Thirdly, men resort to character assassination of their wives when such cases come to court.
It is only through education, economic empowerment and awakening through continuous propaganda that women can hope to get justice under the law.
The Domestic Violence Act and Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (Dowry law) might have helped to provide relief and succour to women against harassment and cruelty. But for large sections, they have also created hardship and problems warranting a re-examination of some provisions.
The major lacuna in the laws is that they are not gender neutral. Many women and their family members, therefore, misuse them to settle scores, intimidate and harass the husband and his family. It is not uncommon to project self-inflicted injuries as assault by husbands. The police, too, sympathise with the so-called victims and remand the husband and his family to custody since the offence under the laws are non-bailable.
A crime is a crime and should be treated as such, whether it is committed by men or women. The law should be amended to punish those who misuse it.
T. Sreedharan Nair,
No doubt, domestic violence against women is punishable. But it is also true that tolerance and selflessness are on the decline today.
Women should ensure that they do not get distracted from their cultural and family values.
P. Ramu Selvam,