The cruelty of domestic violence is not a new story being brought to light. In this menacing world, where a soul — whether man, woman or child — is subject to brutality, hushed cries resonate in the thick walls of the society. 

She dreads the green-eyed monster breathing inside him; afraid that it will rise up again and threaten her. Maybe it’s intoxication, maybe it’s a distress call or maybe it’s the vile temper that stirs up his malicious side. But it’s not the motive; her uneasiness lies when he holds a leash in his hand.

Women have been exposed to domestic violence for centuries. The patriarchal system gushing through the veins of our society have often been labelled as the culprit for a man’s menacing act of hitting the woman of the house. Driven by spiteful jealousy, sometimes hungry for power; the murky shadows of the disturbing mind strikes on the deepest, darkest nights. She’ll hide her bruises, remain quiet and sometimes surrender even her life.

Our world is increasingly becoming smaller with wireless marvels connecting people from two separate ends of the globe. Yet, in an era when smartphones are getting slimmer and science is rolling out novel ideas to live a better life, we find a prominent part of the society, cut off from the rest that continues to hold firmly to its archaic laws. Men in some countries have the legal right to punish their wives; beat her if she unknowingly does something unacceptable. With no protecting arms, she is repeatedly struck by lightening. But he doesn’t repent it.

Yet, women aren’t the only victims. On the other side of the fence lies the helpless male — the man who endures pain and injustice. The unspoken words often drowned in the social stigma he would face if he opens up in front of the world. How could the king fall down on his knees? How could the lion be tamed? And the silence shapes into trauma, eventually turning him into an emotional casualty. The society, shrouded with the fact that women are the only victims, turn a blind eye to the man, who suffers and struggles to cope in a relationship.

An alarming rise has been seen on the rise of male victims. Laws pertaining to domestic violence against men are being ignored. Cultural stereotypes often hold him back, and like the woman who suffers through trauma, the man here turns vulnerable.

And the child; a young soul still grappling with the innumerable and sometimes ridiculous laws of the society is blamed, beaten and pushed into the fire of agony for innocent mistakes. More often than not, a child witnessing the act, is exposed to domestic violence, giving rise to bigger problems. Tender minds are twisted, who grow up with behavioural disorders, while some even tread on the same path as the abuser.

Victims of domestic abuse are a part of a living hell. Powerless, trapped in a room, the feeling of helplessness overcomes and engulfs the prisoner. It’s like living in a four-walled room without a key. Their graves are dug and they are forced to retreat in a corner. Physically and psychologically abused, the anguish is etched deep in the scars across their body and mind. And with each blow, the wound scrapes deeper through the skin; a wound that someday might not heal.

While some have risen above from the situation, many have been silenced for life. No one deserves to be abused — no man, woman or child. To err is human but to punish is not another mortal’s right. But our society seems so busy either protecting or ignoring the victim’s plight that no one has stopped and looked at the problem. Domestic violence is viewed only from the victim’s eyes, not from the abuser’s standpoint. Our society needs to tackle the problem as a whole. While on one side it’s vital that we to tend to wounds, on the other, we need to find out the reason for the abusive nature of the so-called sadist. The perpetrators of the crime, who often tread the line of denial, see themselves as victims. It’s about control and intimidation and power. Putting the abuser behind bars will drive away the problem temporarily, often triggering a more violent behaviour. It needs a concrete solution. Deep psychological scars from a troubled childhood or insecurities burst open in most cases leaving the abuser with a hatred that builds over years.

Much like any other obsession, abusing someone is an addiction. And like any problem, it can and needs to be treated. While hitting is completely unacceptable, the society cannot and should not ignore the abuser. There is a reason for every action, and before the clock ticks away and a petty quarrel becomes a reason to take another life, the society needs to solve the crisis for the tormented invisible souls walking among the crowd.

Esha Chanda, Columnist (Our World)