As Per Law, Can a Man be a Victim of Domestic Violence?

Posted On : December 27, 2022
As Per Law, Can a Man be a Victim of Domestic Violence?
Yes!! Men can be victims of domestic violence. The very simple explanation is that they also live in a shared household, and women can also be violent. It is not the sex of a person being the deciding factor of humility and gentleness. But law, apparently, does not recognize this mere fact. We as a society fail to recognize this. Explore in detail how men can be victims of violence in a household.
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“Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota” is a common saying deep-rooted in our shallow patriarchal system. Men are not supposed to feel any pain. But why? Are men not humans? Are they not part of the society? In fact, Mard Ko Dard Hota Hai!! It's just that our society does not want to address this issue and avoid the same. There is some physiological difference between men and women. But this fact does not make men any less humans. Men and women are both made of similar flesh and blood. 

When we talk about domestic violence, we as a society assume that men are physically stronger, so they can not be the victims, but only perpetrators. It takes a lot of effort for people to reach the understanding that domestic violence is not a gender based but mentality based phenomenon. A person might be physically hitting you which may be out of love and not violence, but the other might be ignoring you in the same house for no reason, thereby causing you to doubt your own importance and existence. Here is an attempt to bring light to some most ignored aspects of the society we live in. It may not help change the existing laws, but it should help in at least considering the agony of men who succumb to quietude because there is nobody who could listen.

Here is a step by step pathway to understand the real problem - “Can a Man be a Victim of Domestic Violence?”. First, we will know what is violence, focusing upon a domestic relationship, how existing laws discriminate against men, and ultimately understanding how men can be victims of domestic violence.

What is Violence?

In general, violence can be understood as the intentional use of force which leads to injury, damage, abuse or destruction. It may be against a person, his/ her loved one, property, or a community. It is well understood as “a crime that by its nature poses a substantial risk that force will be used against a person or property.” 

What is Domestic Violence?

As the term suggests, it is violence/ brutality/ cruelty against any person connected through a home or family. It may be in the form of physical, verbal, economic or emotional abuse. Examples of Violence in a Domestic Relationship are as follows:

  • Endangering someone’s mental or physical health, including life;
  • Harassing or injuring for any unlawful demands like dowry;
  • Threatening the other person in any way causing harm to such person or someone related;
  • Not providing enough means to meet day-today expenses;
  • Using abusive language for such person or someone related;
  • Prohibiting use of any shared asset or property or any such thing, which that aggrieved person may be entitled to;
  • Basically any such act which falls under the categories of physical, verbal, economic or emotional abuse.  

Domestic Violence Act 2005

The real name of law here is not as mentioned in the heading. It is “The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005”. Hence, men are not accepted as victims of violence as per the law here. Given below are some weapons granted in the hands of women, who may or may not be the actual victims: 

  • ‘Aggrieved person’ as per section 2(a) of the Act only regards a woman subjected to acts of violence.
  • The definition of ‘domestic relationship’ mentions relations by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family. The Act does not differentiate among the men and women in a shared household, but focuses upon victims of only one gender.
  • When it comes to domestic violence under section 3, physical, sexual, verbal, economic and emotional abuses are regarded.
  • The Act requires authorities to inform the aggrieved person (only a female) regarding all the rights and services available under Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
  • It also provides the ‘right to reside in a shared household’ to the woman, and that she will not be evicted or excluded from such a shared household.
  • In such cases, the authorities may even pass orders to direct the respondent to remove ‘himself’ from the shared household.
  • Apart from other restricting or directing orders against the respondent, the alleged aggrieved person is also entitled to monetary relief as well as compensation.
  • Custody of the child may also be given to the aggrieved woman or anyone applying on her behalf. 

Although everything mentioned above does not seem to be related to gender roles. However, it is not at all meant for providing any relief for men. In fact, as mentioned earlier, it has been fashioned as a weapon against husbands at the instance of minor clashes among the husband-wife or anyone in the marital household. 

How Can a Man be a Victim of Violence in a House?

If a man stays in a household among other family members, he can definitely be a victim of domestic violence. Given below are the examples:

  • ‘Men are physically strong’ does not mean a wife can not hit a husband. And when a wife hits her husband, it is also physical violence as per the legal definition. The only difference is that such violence is not legally recognized when it comes to men being victims. In such cases, even the domestic violence lawyers are of no help.
  • When a wife seeks all luxuries from her husband but does not wish to do household chores or earn a penny, while demanding everything done for her beyond his ability, it is also violence against the husband.
  • When a wife does not wish to stay with her husband’s family and does not let him serve/ take care of his own parents or family, it is also violence in a domestic relationship.
  • When a wife grabs from her husband all the money he earns, in the name of running the household making him financially dependent over her for his needs, it is violence.
  • Wife threatening her husband by lodging fake dowry case or those of domestic violence/ cruelty just to settle a record with him is also violence. Suicidal threats also count here.
  • When a wife rejects her husband in terms of sexual intercourse, or stays at her maiden home or separately just to avoid having sexual intercourse, it is just another form of abuse.
  • When a wife uses abusive language disrespecting her husband, whether privately or socially, it is nothing but cruelty.

There are so many examples whereby men are the actual victims. It’s just that we shut our eyes when men are being subjected to violence whereby women are the perpetrators. We seek adjustment from husbands when a wife is not well or just otherwise not willing to cook a meal. But we lose our calm when a man is unwell and can not win the bread and butter for his family. The willingness to earn or not is completely out of syllabus. 

Solution for Male Victims of Violence

By now, it is very clear that the The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005” only focuses upon women who are victims and ignores the perpetrators. Men, rather than hugging solitude and silence, need to prepare for their safety. Given below are the ways out for men who are victims of violence in a domestic relationship:

Criminal Intimidation

If a wife threatens her husband of suicide or any act causing injury to what is included under “person, reputation or property”, it is criminal intimidation. Such an act is not casual but a crime under section 503 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. The husband can contact the authorities and report such threats. This will also help with any further acts of the wife causing alarm or injury to self or others. If you are in Kolkata, a criminal lawyer in Kolkata can help with better understanding of how things can be proceeded with legally.


While a man is suffering from acts of domestic violence, it is also suggested to collect proof of such acts. If your wife hits you physically, medical tests can help prove the violence through injuries. If it is verbal, installing surveillance cameras will help the husband prove his stance. 


Any kind of violence in marriage should not be allowed, regardless of whether it is the husband or wife. If the same persists, it is better to part ways and look for long lost mental peace. The husband should first explore answers to how to prove mental cruelty by wife and proceed legally seeking the court's assistance. For men in Kolkata, technical understanding through a divorce lawyer in Kolkata can bring clarity over how to part ways keeping one's own interests.

It is our society or system, which firmly believes that only women can be victims. Even in public transport, there are special seats for women, elderly, etc. We do not want a man tired of running errands all day to take a seat and rest. Even if he is tired, he should be caring enough to offer his seat to any other needy person. Why do we close our eyes when such men need care? Why can’t we keep it simple and understand that men are not made of metal but blood and flesh only. Men also have emotions and they feel pain as well.

If the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 also included men in the definition of ‘aggrieved person’, could it belittle the grievance of women? If women had a hard time in our history, it is not only men that wronged women. Women themselves participated in treating fellow women badly. Then why are we exclusively punishing the men of this age, especially those who are victims themselves. It is more like promoting one wrong to treat another wrong. It’s high time that we as a society bring equality in the right manner by having Gender Neutral laws.

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