While the city police working in the Women’s Grievance Redressal Cell (WGRC) usually get cases of daughters-in-law approaching them, alleging torture and harassment for dowry by in-laws, in the last couple of years, the cell has been witnessing an increase in the number of men approaching them as well, complaining of harassment by their wives.
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According to the statistics provided by the WGRC, in 2013, out of the 600 cases that the cell received, around 15 per cent were filed by men. This year, the number has already reached around 700 till October, out of which 200 cases were filed by men against their wives.
“With time, the nature of violence has changed and in the last 10 months, out of the total complaints received by the cell, around 30 per cent of them were from men,” said said Inspector Pratibha Joshi, in-charge of WGR cell. She added, “They file applications claiming their wife is harassing and torturing them.
In most of these cases, the women are suspicious of their husband’s activities, especially if he is found chatting on social networking sites, or by checking their call records. The husband fears that she may file a false case of domestic violence against him and so they approach us for counselling.”
According to PI Joshi, the couples believe that a third person counselling them will help bridge the communication gap, rather than them approaching the court or a private marriage counsellor. Men’s Rights Association (MRA), which has been fighting for the rights of men and against the misuse of domestic violence law, is planning to organise an event today to mark International Men’s Day, demanding equal norms for both men and women.
Pune president of MRA, Mahesh Shinde, said, “According to the 2013 data of National Crime Records Bureau, Maharashtra reported the highest number of suicidal deaths in the country. We ranked second in 2012 and 2011. Most of the cases were of men who decided to commit suicide due to divorce (35 per cent), family problems (24 per cent) and cancellation or non-settlement of marriage (33.5 per cent).
While we understand that there are genuine cases of violence against women, nowadays women also tend to misuse domestic violence law against men. This is not only our observation, but has also been noticed in the latest judgements of apex and high court rulings. Innocent men and their parents are put behind bars for 20 days for no reason. When we say ‘we are all equal before law’ then why is there gender discrimination between us and women?”
Suyog Deshmukh, secretary of MRA, added, “There is not only misuse of domestic violence, but also sexual harassment laws at work. Government organisations are all working for women’s upliftment, but are doing nothing for men. We have a sexual harassment helpline and we receive 30 calls every week.”
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