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Domestic Violence on Males in India

 Author:Aswati Sharma, D Y Patil, Deemed to be University


When we talk about domestic violence all we think about is females and children being victims of it due to men in the house as the general perception of a normal Indian citizen believes that the male of the house is stronger and tougher whereas on the other hand women are considered to be soft, expressive and loving.

The males of the house in India usually hold a dominant position and if they try expressing their emotions or try voicing up against the wrongs which they’re facing they are labelled as women or sexiest or men who can’t see women rising. In numerous films, we see a male being exploited by a female is considered to be a funny scene whereas if a man does the same with a woman that act is considered to be a point of discussion and social problem, which is constitutionally illegal.  

Spousal abuse is not something that is faced by only females but it’s gender-neutral instead. Sometimes woman also establishes a dominant position over the man of the family, not only in terms of decision making or taking over the financial control but rather over-controlling or physically harming the male of the house just because he’s a male. Excess of exerting control physically or emotionally leads to domestic violence against the man.




Domestic abuse, often known as "domestic violence" or "intimate partner violence," is a pattern of behaviour intended to establish or retain power and control over an intimate partner in any relationship. Abuse is defined as physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychic actions or threats against another individual. This includes any actions that terrify, intimidate, terrorise, manipulate, injure, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound another person. Domestic violence can affect everyone, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It can happen in a variety of partnerships, including married, living together, and dating couples. Domestic abuse affects people of all social and educational backgrounds.




Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) [2]can affect either a wife or a husband. Some of the major causes of IPV include a lack of education, middle-class values, one person earning a higher income, and so on.




Gender-based violence was experienced by 52.4 per cent of men in the current study. Males witnessed violence at the hands of their spouses at least once in their lifetime, with 51.5 per cent experiencing it in the last 12 Males witnessed violence at the hands of their spouses at least once in their lifetime, with 51.5 per cent experiencing it in the last 12 months. Emotional violence was perhaps the most common type of spousal violence (51.6 per cent), followed by physical violence (6 per cent). Physical assaults were only severe in one-tenth of the cases. In nearly half of the cases, the husband started physical and emotional abuse. Gender symmetry in physical violence does not exist in India.[3]




United States

In the United States of America 1 in 9 men experiences[4], domestic violence from their spouses in numerous ways. 1 in every 7[5] men has been the victim of physical violence by their spouse or intimate partner.


United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, men account for two out of every five victims of domestic violence. This dismisses the commonly held belief that domestic violence affects only women. According to the men's rights campaign group parity, domestic violence against men often goes unreported. Most of the time their assaulters are not punished or penalised by the police.



As per the British crime survey[6], 40 per cent of domestic violence victims were men between 2004-2005 and 2008-2009. It has recently dropped to 37.7 per cent.



Since the age of 15, one in every sixteen men [7]in Australia has been confined to domestic violence in the form of sexual or physical torture by their wives, intimate partners, or the person with whom they are cohabiting. 

Between 2012-13 and 2013-14, one man was killed every month as a result of domestic violence perpetrated by his current or former partner.


Domestic violence against men by their spouses or intimate partners is not uncommon, according to studies and surveys from around the world. Appropriate provisions should be in place to address domestic violence in a much more neutral manner.




Domestic violence against women and girls is prohibited under Indian law. However, no such legislation exists to protect men's and boys' rights.


According to Section 3 of The Domestic Violence Act 2005, domestic violence is defined as physical, psychological, sexual, verbal, emotional, or economic abuse 'against a woman' of a family by any other member of that family with whom the victim is or has been in a domestic relationship. This definition disregards a man's condition as a domestic violence victim, and thus violates Article 14, Article 15(1)[8], and Article 21 of the Constitution[9]. As the Act does not cover domestic violence against men, men cannot seek legal help if they are abused by women or other family members.


Only the Save Indian Family Movement and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Daaman Welfare Trust[10], Men Welfare Trust, Vaastav Foundation, and other brother NGOs address the issue by assisting innocent men who really are victims of domestic violence or who have been falsely accused and accused of being involved in certain case of domestic violence.


There are many factors due to which men often do not reveal the violence they face from their spouses or their intimate partners.

Social Embarrassment

Men usually feel subject to discrimination for speaking up about the violence they face as they feel afraid of their masculinity being judged and labelled as prissy and unfeminine. They believe that their fight against violence will be in vain due to the persistent gender-specific laws and provisions in the Constitution of India. Society sees man as a protector and woman as the one who needs to be protected

Fear Gender-Specific Laws

Men due to the fear of losing custody of their children and leaving their families prefer not to disclose this type of information. As men feel that reporting a case of domestic violence will cause them undue inconvenience, and they do not want to face legal consequences as a result of our Constitution's gender-biased or gender-specific laws.

Because of the biased regulations in the Indian Penal Code that favour women, there is a myriad of false instances where women unjustly accused a male of rape or domestic abuse, and the unfortunate part is that these biased laws inherently presume that a guy can never be the victim. Women are not required to provide any proof of their legitimacy. The biased laws believe them to be true animals.

Societal and family pressure[11]

Even after marriage, the majority of Indians persist to cohabit. Men are embarrassed to talk about violence because of this factor. Society also plays an important role in perpetuating gender-biased laws and stereotypes against a specific gender.


Most individuals believe that domestic violence only occurs between women. And they remain in denial once they realize that men can be victims of domestic violence as well. So, in general, no one wants to talk about it.

In our culture, males who express their pain are considered despicable. The fear of appearing 'feminine' or not manly enough prevails, and this eventually affects men, causing them to become distressed and reluctant to express their true feelings to others.

Domestic violence is one of the primary problems, according to Kimmel M. (2001) in his book 'Male Victims of Domestic Abuse,' and men are also victims of domestic violence at the hands of their wives or intimate partners. Domestic violence prevention efforts and successful implementation have resulted from years of research and lobbying on behalf of victims. New laws, police procedures, and medical and forensic studies have all improved the lives of males who have been victims of domestic violence. Domestic abuse has become a hot topic among activists, people, and many organisations in recent years.[12]



Gender is a social construct that is impacted by race, caste, country, class, culture, sexual desire, abilities, traditions, and other factors. Gender roles are extremely rigid in many South Asian nations, including India. This rigidity breeds gender biases and conventional ideas. Men who face domestic abuse at the hands of their spouses or intimate partners, these attackers, who are mainly women, are immune to the provisions of the country's penal provisions, i.e. the Indian Penal Code.

Only a man can be held accountable for cruelty to his wife, as per Section 498A[13] of the Indian Penal Code 1860 whereas there are no such sub-sections which held women accountable for the same act toward men.

According to a World Health Organization survey from 2002, women consider suicide more frequently than men, whereas males commit suicide more frequently. Continuous exposure to violence can result in a variety of medical and mental illnesses, including depression, suicidal ideation, and chronic bodily conditions such as cancer, heart attacks, HIV/AIDS, and others. [14] Even laws related rape as well should also be made gender neutral.

In Rajesh Sharma v State of UP[15], the Supreme Court issued some directives to prevent abuse of the current rules that protect women. In order prevent abuse of Provision 498A of the IPC, the Court ordered that all complaints under the section and associated concerns be handled by a single investigating officer. Furthermore, in circumstances when no obvious death or harm has occurred, the accused's bail should be completed on the same day, if possible.


Suit for defamation against the wife under Section 500 of the IPC, criminal conspiracy under 120B, Section 191 for filing false evidence, and criminal intimidation under Section 506 of the IPC are other possible remedies.




Sushil Kumar Sharma vs Union of India and Ors.

The Supreme Court ruled in Sushil Kumar Sharma vs. Union of India and others that the aim of Section 498A of the IPC is to avoid the menace of dowry. The court, however, concurred with the petitioner's contentions, pointing out that countless incidents have come to light in which complaints were not genuine and were lodged with ulterior motives. It went on to say that in such circumstances, acquittal does not always remove the humiliation he faced during and before the trial.[16]

Dastane v Dastane

In Dastane v Dastane[17], the Supreme Court ruled that the wife's actions, including threats to commit suicide, verbal abuse, and other acts, constituted to mental cruelty.




Domestic abuse laws in India solely protect women but not men which creates a lot of wrong and false impressions about men. Men cannot only be perpetrators but they can also be victims too.  False impression about men. Men cannot only be perpetrators but they can also be victims too. Domestic violence against men is steadily increasing. For which special measures and modifications are required to create gender-neutral legislation that will assist victims in obtaining recourse and punishment for the perpetrator, regardless of gender. Domestic violence, which is still pervasive in our culture, requires certain laws and reforms to protect both couples. Hence, gender-neutral legislation is urgently needed.

Due to modernity and the influence of western culture, societal values and conventions have altered dramatically in recent years. As mentioned earlier as well, men were regarded as family protectors, but in today's era both men and women work, raise, and manage their houses equally, contributing equally to their salaries. Men have begun to open up about the domestic violence they endure, and they have begun to publicly share their sorrow, agony, and challenges. Men are no longer physically stronger than women.














[2] Intimate Partner Violence

[3] A Cross-sectional Study of Gender-Based Violence against Men in the Rural Area of Haryana, India





[8] Article 15(1)

[9] Article 21




[13] Section 498A


[15] Rajesh Sharma & Ors. v State of U.P. & Anr.

[16] Sushil Kumar Sharma vs Union Of India And Ors on 19 July, 2005

[17] Dastane V Dastane AIR 1975 SC 1534


  1. Have touched all the aspects, really informative

  2. It's true that every time men are not at fault and Johnny Depp's case is live awaked example in front of us. There should also be provisions/act for violence against men in our country. Let's hope to see one really soon. Overall, nicely written article.

    1. Thank you for supporting my write up with an example, means a lot!!

  3. In India 51.5% of males have experienced some sort of torture or violence at the hands of their wives or their intimate partners in their lifetime.

    1. Thanks for mentioning the data, helpful for the readers.

  4. It was an Informative article and presenting men's side in the argument on domestic violence is something new and fresh

  5. It is true that we need gender neutral laws in India because it is the need of the hour as there have been many miss uses of the that were made to empower women. According to National Crime Record Bureau report 2022 out of 3093 cases of Dowry deaths 297 were false and 1022 cases were acquitted.

    1. Thanks much for mentioning the data, really means a lot!!

  6. It is a fact that no matter the gender, people are victims of domestic violence and this article splendidly portrays the male side of the coin.

  7. Domestic violence against men in India is not recognised by the law. The general perception is that men cannot be victims of violence. This helps women get away scot-free. Hence we need the strict gender neutral laws.

  8. Men has started opening up which is required for being neutral or gender neutral. This article is quite informative and simplified. It contains every part of domestic violence's that men are facing. Well written.

  9. the fact is the matter is not about women and men at all! but it is about wright and wrong. our India has given some power to women to protect themselves but they misuse there power which leads to a great difficult to men and they suffer a lot. Article seems to really interesting and impressive.

    1. Completely agree with you, thanks much for the motivation!!

  10. I wish I could be as dedicated and passionate about writing, just like you.

    1. I'm sure you're very dedicated and passionate, thank you very much for your kind words!!

  11. very informative article and good topic to read on. thankyou for this.

  12. Really enjoyed reading this article, speaking out which is often left unsaid, i can really relate to this article as I've been following the proceedings of the Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard case, equality goes both ways, men deserve to be protected just as much as women do.

  13. It is hard to find research articles about domestic violence against Men especially in India. Its time that men should open up about this in order to obtain a better social and domestic environment of our country. I strongly agree that gone are those days when only the women in a marriage was considered as a victim.


  14. This article shows two sides of a coin otherwise one side is elaborated more as compared to the other side in many articles. very nice keep it up...

  15. It is a very bold topic to pickup in India, to talk about male domestic violation, because India being a Male dominated society since generations has developed a sense of men not feeling pain like the saying in Hindi "Mard ko dard nhi hota" or man does not feel pain, but we need to realise that pain is a very real thing for men as well and we need to acknowledge it that men are as prone to domestic violence as women are.

    1. Thanks much for putting forth your opinions over this article. Completely agree with your words.

  16. Very well written! In India there should be laws that must protect the interest of Men against the domestic violence they face in the society.

  17. This article is written in a very exact way and also appreciates the writing skill of the author that attracts the readers, in the present era very few people are talking about it and you explain it very well.

  18. With the current advancement we surely wish to update the current DV laws and this article surely brings out the essential drawbacks of the Act. Well written!

  19. I have found it extremely helpful and wonderful information. It is so appreciated!!


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