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Scope of the Issue within Cultural Settings

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Abstract

The United States and India are both democratic states and consist of a variety of cultures with very different systems of beliefs and traditions. A comparative study of the domestic violence laws of these two countries can illuminate the critical issue of intimate partner violence through the lenses of two similar, yet different, societies. While many might view the domestic violence in India as the product of cultural groups who are “too ignorant, too primitive, too backward to know any better” the same violence is characterized as rare individual and deviant behavior in the United States. There is a greater emphasis on the situation in India to be a signifier of cultural backwardness. “They burn their women there” as opposed to: “We shoot our women here” The domestic violence murders in the United States are just as much a part of American culture as dowry death is a part of Indian culture.

Keywords

Intimate Partner Violence Domestic Violence Intimate Partner Supra Note Cultural Setting 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See Sally F. Goldfarb, Reconceiving Civil Protection Orders for Domestic Violence: Can Law Help End the Abuse Without Ending the Relationship?, Cardozo L. Rev. Vol. 29 (2008), 1487, 1500.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    See generally Volpp. See also A. Suneetha and Vasudha Nagaraj, A Difficult Match: Women’s Actions and Legal Institutions in the Face of Domestic Violence, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 41, No. 41 (Oct. 14–20, 2006) 4355, 4357.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    See Volpp, 1183, 1187, & 1191. (Volpp goes on to explain how in both countries a different answer is given for the same question of why women return to their batterers. In India women are perceived to have returned for cultural reasons, as they felt bound by their culture. In the United States the reasons given are emotional and financial.) In reality, a combination of a sense of cultural duty, emotional ties, and financial incentives is probably responsible for women remaining with batterers in both countries. Cf. Kanchan Mathur, Body as Space, Body as Site: Bodily Integrity and Women’s Empowerment in India, Economic and Political Weekly 43 (2008), 54, 55.Google Scholar
  4. 13.
    See Volpp, 1191. See also, Mathur, supra note 4, at 61–62 (Explaining that activism in India is not all urban, western, or middle class. In many instances the movement’s backbone is comprised of poor, low caste, working, and rural women. Examples of women’s exigency include environmental issues and alcohol laws.) See also Martha R. Mahoney, “Victimization or Oppression? Women’s Lives, Violence, and Agency” (describing “the challenge of analyzing structures of oppression while including an account of the resistance, struggles, and achievements of the oppressed”), in The Public Nature of Private Violence: Women and the Discovery of Domestic Abuse, edited by Martha Albertson Fineman and Roxanne Mykitiuk. USA: Routledge, 1994, 59.Google Scholar
  5. 15.
    See Diane Mitsch Bush, Women’s Movements and State Policy Reform Aimed at Domestic Violence Against Women: A Comparison of the Consequences of Movement Mobilization in the U.S. and India, Gender and Society, Vol. 6, No. 4, (Dec. 1992) 587, 601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 16.
    See Volpp, 1196–1197. See also Mathur, supra note 4 and 9, at 55 (“a woman’s modesty signifies the masculinity of her community... the common denominator that cuts across all communities and often classes remains female modesty.”). See also Pami Vyas, Reconceptualizing Domestic Violence in India: Economic Abuse and The Need for Broad Statutory Interpretation to Promote Women’s Fundamental Rights, Mich. J. Gender & L. Vol. 13 (2006), 177Google Scholar
  7. 19.
    See Volpp, 1217. See also Diane Mitsch Bush, Women’s Movements and State Policy Reform Aimed at Domestic Violence Against Women: A Comparison of the Consequences of Movement Mobilization in the United States and India, Gender and Society, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Dec. 1992) 587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 20.
    See, Robin Archer, American Communalism and Indian Secularism: Religion and Politics in India and the West, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 34, No. 15, (Apr. 10–16, 1999), 887, 891.Google Scholar
  9. 22.
    See L.S. Holden, Custom and Law Practices in Central India: Some Case Studies, South Asia Research, Vol. 23, No. 2: (2003), 115–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 23.
    See T. Karanjawala and S. Chugh, The Legal Battle against Domestic Violence in India: Evolution and Analysis, International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, Vol. 23, No. 3 (2009), 289–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 25.
    See A.M. Koenig et al., Individual and Contextual Determinants of Domestic Violence in North India, Vol. 96, No. 1, Am J Public Health, 132 (Jan. 2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 37.
    Jason Palmer, Eleventh Annual Review of Gender and Sexuality Law: Criminal Law Chapter: Domestic Violence, Geo. J. Gender & L., Vol. 11 (2010), 97, 98.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sudershan Goel, Barbara A. Sims and Ravi Sodhi 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Supreme Court Bar AssociationNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Mars Hill CollegeUSA
  3. 3.Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar AssociationChandigarhIndia

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