The Unsafe Home: An Analysis of Reported Domestic Violence in India
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Violence against women has been acknowledged both nationally and internationally as a violation of women's basic human rights, an issue which weakens the overall development of women globally. India enacted the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act in 2005 in order to address the issue of domestic violence. This work examines the impact of the law and women's education and economic status on reported cases of dowry deaths and cruelty by husband and his relatives in 28 states of India between the years 2001 to 2016. My study hypothesizes that the states' female literacy rate and female workforce participation are negatively associated with the rate of reported cases of dowry deaths and cruelty by husband and his relatives. This study supports the ameliorative hypothesis that higher literacy rates and advanced economic and political status help reduce the victimization of women. Also, variations are seen among the 28 states for the cases of reported dowry death rates and cruelty by husband and his relatives' rates, suggesting that rates of dowry death are significantly higher in the eastern region and rates of cruelty by husband and his relatives are significantly higher in the south and the west (compared to the north).
General Audience Abstract
Domestic violence is a global issue. It can be understood as arising from patriarchal values and gendered norms which relegate women to a subordinate position to men. India is the world’s largest democracy, and India is a place where crimes against women are highly prevalent. India enacted the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act in 2005 in order to address the issue of domestic violence. This study examines the impact of the Act after 14 years of its passage. Domestic violence takes different forms ranging from physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological violence. This study focuses on two forms of domestic violence: dowry deaths and cruelty by husband and his relatives against the wife. It focuses on the analysis of reported cases of the two crimes. In this study, data from various Indian governmental websites have been collected and analyzed to demonstrate rates of domestic violence for all the states of India. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of women’s status—operationalized as female literacy rate and female workforce participation—on the number of reported cases of domestic violence in Indian society from 2001 to 2016. This study supports the ameliorative hypothesis, which argues that places in which women have higher status report lower rates of victimization.
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