Seeking Safety: What to Do If Your Husband Abuses You? (A guide to tackle Domestic Violence)
In a perfect world, every relationship would be built on love, respect, and trust. Unfortunately, domestic violence remains a distressing reality for many women, including those in India. If you find yourself in a situation where your husband hits you, it is crucial to take immediate action to protect yourself and seek the necessary support. In this article, we will discuss the steps you can take, in accordance with Indian laws, to ensure your safety and well-being.
Prioritize Your Safety
Your safety should be your top priority if you experience physical abuse from your husband. Consider the following actions:
Call the Police: If you are in immediate danger, dial the emergency helpline number in India, which is 112. The police can provide protection and intervene in situations where violence is occurring.
Reach Out to Trusted Friends and Family: Inform someone you trust about the situation. They can offer emotional support and help you access additional resources.
Create a Safety Plan: Develop a safety plan that includes identifying safe areas in your home, keeping essential documents (passport, identification, bank statements) in a secure place, and having a bag packed with necessities in case you need to leave quickly.
Seek Medical Attention
After an incident of physical abuse, it is crucial to seek medical attention for any injuries sustained. Visit a hospital or consult a doctor to ensure your injuries are properly documented. Medical records can serve as essential evidence if legal action is taken against your husband.
File a Complaint with the Police
Filing a police complaint is an important step towards seeking justice. In India, domestic violence is a punishable offense under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, and the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Visit your local police station to lodge an FIR (First Information Report) detailing the abuse you have experienced.
Ensure that you provide a detailed account of the incidents, along with any evidence you may have, such as photographs, medical records, or witness statements. Remember, it is your right to seek protection and justice.
Obtain a Protection Order
In cases of domestic violence, you can apply for a protection order to ensure your safety. In India, the Domestic Violence Act (DV Act) provides for obtaining protection orders, which prohibit the abuser from approaching or harming you. The DV Act also has provisions to secure your residence, maintenance and custody of your children.
Seek Legal Assistance
Engaging a lawyer who specialises in domestic violence cases is highly recommended. They can help you understand your rights, assist in filing necessary legal documents, and represent you in court, if required. Legal aid services are available for those who cannot afford a private lawyer. Reach out to organizations such as the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) for guidance and support.
Access Support from Helplines and NGOs
Several helplines and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India provide support to survivors of domestic violence. Organizations like the National Commission for Women (NCW), the Women's Helpline (181), and local NGOs offer counseling, legal advice, and shelter options. Their trained professionals can guide you through the process and provide you with the necessary resources to regain control of your life.
Experiencing physical abuse at the hands of your husband is an extremely distressing situation. However, it is essential to remember that you are not alone and that there is support available to help you. By prioritizing your safety, seeking medical attention, filing a police complaint, obtaining a protection order, seeking legal assistance, and accessing support from helplines and NGOs, you can take steps towards reclaiming your life and ensuring a safer future. The DV Act is not limited to physical abuse, it also recognises mental, financial and verbal abuse as domestic violence.
Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Do not hesitate to reach out for help, as there are people and resources ready to support you through this challenging time.