About 50% women in Bihar are subjected to domestic violence at home and pregnant women are the worst sufferers, according to the State Commission for Women. The main reasons behind it include the desire for male child, resistance to female foeticide and denial of physical intimacy. A large number of males also beat up their wives during pregnancy.
According to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) figures for last year, 56% women in the state between the age of 15 and 49 years are subjected to physical and sexual violence. Bihar ranked second in the country, behind Uttar Pradesh, in kidnapping cases, dowry deaths and dowry-related crimes against women in the year 2011.
NCRB records show that women in Bihar tend to marry at an early age. Thirty-eight per cent of women get married between 15-19 years.
Sources said less than one per cent domestic violence cases are reported to police. Domestic violence also includes domestic abuse, spousal abuse, family violence, and intimate partner violence (IPV), and can be broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviour by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family or friends.
According to Chandramukhi Devi, member of the State Commission for Women, women should be made aware of legal provisions to protect themselves. She added that aggressive males should also be counselled.
City SP, Patna, Jayant Kant, said, “Majority of women in Bihar still marry before reaching the legal eligible age of 18 years. In cases of domestic violence, we try to counsel the couples first, but if police find the level of violence has crossed the limit, action is taken.”
According to police records, around 150 cases of violence against women get registered with different police stations every month in Patna district. After the creation of Patna Mahila thana on June 3 this year, only five cases have been registered. The Mahila thana officials said, “Initially, many women came to the police station, but later they got hesitant and despite all odds, decided to stay with their husbands due to financial insecurity.”