A spate of sensational domestic violence cases with tragic consequences has been reported from Kerala of late. The suicides of young wives like Vismaya Nair and Mofia Parvin and the horrifying murder of Uthra by her husband by letting lose a snake on her have shook the public conscience.
Instances of domestic violence in several Kerala households, despite high education standards and favourable sex ratio, are concerning. The direct involvement of husbands rather than the in-laws in the domestic violence is more worrisome.
According to the findings of the latest National Health Survey 2019-20 (NFHS-5), 10 percent of married women in Kerala have experienced physical or sexual violence and 1 percent have experienced both forms of violence.
Spousal violence continues to be a major concern for women, the most common perpetrator in several cases being the husband.
While 10 per cent of the married women have experienced some form of physical violence from their husband, 2 per cent have experienced sexual violence and 7 per cent have experienced emotional violence from their spouse. While 7 per cent reported being slapped by the husband, 6 per cent reported being pushed, shaken or having something hurled at them.
Spousal violence has also shown a significant correlation to factors like education and intake of alcohol. About 19 per cent women reported that they have experienced spousal violence sometimes when the husband is drunk. In such cases often the husband committing such acts had less than 10 years of education, the survey found.
Moreover, 37 per cent of the married women experience physical or sexual violence when the husband gets drunk often. Nearly one-third of the married women who experienced spousal violence reported suffering from the injuries inflicted by the husband.
According to the statistics made available by Kerala Police, 11,124 cases were registered by the police as cognizable crimes against women this year till September. Among these, the most number of cases (3,252) were owing to husband's cruelty. This is considerably higher than the statistics for the years 2020 (2,707) and 2019 (2,970).