Domestic violence

seminarAt a Rotary Club seminar in Bangalore speakers called for empowerment of society to prevent domestic violence.  Police woman Kiren Bedi,  citing a UN report said India ranked third in the world – behind only Poland and Japan – when it came to incidence of domestic violence. 

trichy-trip-0151I wonder what the seminar speakers would have done,  had they been a witness to the scene in this picture.  Domestic violence here, involving an old man and a couple, is being played out in a roadside slum close to a rail crossing at Srirangam, Tiruchi.  The reality here cannot be  neatly summed up  in a seminar paper.  Nor do the recommendations  made  at such gatherings seem actionable on ground. 

There was  a sizeable traffic hold-up at the level crossing, waiting for the train to pass through. We watched the  old man, no less aggressive in his intentions,  being smacked by a couple at their door-step. The elevated road was at a height from where we couldn’t intervene physically.  Shouts and threats to call the police didn’t deter the young man bashing the old man.

 A couple of auto-drivers in the crowd were heard saying it was pointless  calling  the police , who, they said,  invariably arrived after the event , and that too , ‘to milk money from both parties’. So much for the public image of the police. Besides, incidents of domestic violence  are said to be  so commonlace that  society’s response is usually to let the feuding parties have it out among themselves till  the cops come to take them away.
trichy-trip-014Anyway, the feuding slum-dwellers were still at it as a freight train passed by the crossing ; and we move on as the rail barriers were lifted.


6 Responses

  1. You are right.
    The gap between the recommendations at such gatherings and and the reality is very wide. Even if these people were present at such incidents, they can only be a silent spectators.

  2. Domestic violence is not just restricted to Tamil Nadu or India. We find it even in the US and Europe; only at a different level.

    Only genuine consciousness on part of both men and women can put an end to it. How you achieve is by sensitzing people. But how much of success it has been achieving is anybody’s guess.

  3. Truly; one is left at a loss while witnessing such encounters. Should we interfere in somebody else’s domestic problems? We really dont know all the outs and ins of what is going on and probably dont’ want to know. We might get chased off with a few choice words. We may not want to spend time on the situation . Turn a blind eye is the route most of us take altho we are disturbed but not the best solution.

    How did you take such a candid photograph? 🙂

  4. Mr Sunder, Seminars, to be meaningful, should take cognizance of the varied levels/layers of domestic violence (Mr Pradeep has referred to). Maybe, Ms Bedi and other rights activists ought to think of holding street-corner meetings and in slums close to rail crossings, if they want to relate to the grass-roots level where we more often witness domestic excesses of such physical kind.
    The specific case I came aross, I believe, relates to a quarrel between people in adjacent huts. I heard someone mention that it all started with a plantain-leaf on which someone had had food being discarded in front of a neighbour’s hut.
    When the feuding parties got physical, they moved out , close to the road. I found myself watching the scene from the road, at an elevated level. That’s how I got the picture.

  5. That woman frightens me. 😦

  6. […] Domestic violence March 2009 5 comments […]

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