Violence Within

Greater Kashmir

In past few weeks we have seen some disturbing news stories about extreme cases of domestic violence. As a society it must shake us all. These cases may just be an indicator on how our families, and the pattern of norms in our society, finally operate on the most fundamental relations. All of us, as a society, are genuinely disturbed, and we have expressed our unease and resentment each time such an incident took place. But the matter needs attention beyond expression of disgust. There are two ways of looking at it. One, strictly legal. Two, broadly societal. On the first count we need to have strict rules in place that takes care of all such cases, and empower the law enforcing agencies in real sense. Here, what is also required is an efficient mechanism of the application of law. The government needs to make the concerned departments robust, and accessible for the victims. We also need to regularly upgrade our capacities to deal with such situations. But at the same time care has to be observed by the concerned authorities not to be carried away by the images on the media but focus on the actual facts on ground. Because sometimes an atmosphere created by media trial puts undue pressure on concerned authorities, enhancing chances of error.  But a deep change requires something else. Unless the mind of our society changes we cannot eliminate the curse of domestic violence.  Here we need to educate our people – children, youth and elderly. We need to understand that the basis of relationship is love and respect, not control and coercion.  What we also need to understand is that alongside a change in normative behaviour, some structural changes must happen in our family system. A confused, complex, and chaotic joint family system breeds domestic violence. If there is no genuine space for the members of a family to live with dignity, such things are bound to happen. Our society needs to be sensitised about the fact that certain changes need to be made in our family pattern. Changes that ensure space for all, and enhance relationships, not control of one over other.