Domestic Violence against Women: Statistical Analysis of Crimes across India

By Hackett, Michelle | Journal of Comparative Family Studies, March 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Domestic Violence against Women: Statistical Analysis of Crimes across India


Hackett, Michelle, Journal of Comparative Family Studies


(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

INTRODUCTION

"Charanpreet Kaur , 19, had been rrarried less than nine rrcnths when her husband and his family decided it ves tire far her to go.

According to a police ctxurent, her lnusband and his father trapped her in the bathrocm. Vhile her husband darrped his band over her rieuth, his father drenched her with kerosene and lit a natch, setting his cfeughter- in-law en fire. Charanpreet lest ccrBcicusness and was taken to the hcspital by her husband and father -in-law, who apparently believed she was cicse to death and weuld net be able to incrirranate them, the young woran7 s relatives said. But Charanpreet regained censcicusness a few hours later and gave her staterent to a rragistrate; her in-laws were arrested the sare chy . Charanpreet died fire cfcys later ." ("India,'' 2005)

After generations cf silence, ctrrestic viclence is slowly beccrrring a trrpic of pcpular media and acadaric scrutiny in cfevelcping ccuntries. Even in India, where cpncer diseriirdnaticn is still legally ccrrrned, 1 the press coverage and public outcry against "dewry death' murders cf yxong wives is rising (Borah, 2008) . The nere parete rature cf less fatal fcrrrs cf dcnestic violence, hewever , means that familial abuse still rerains, nere often than net, hieren behind clcsed doors.

The statistical literature an ctrrestic viclence in India to ette has focused an the subinaticnal scale, such as studies crer a few villages in a subdistrict or slum areas in a netrepclitan city. W ith the exeption of Atal and rfcsairbi (1993) , who atterpted to use media reports to ccnstruct India-wicfe statistics an ctrrestic violence, no ether national analysis could be found by the author . Indeed, many researchers have ncted that ctrrestic violence has net been systematically studied with bcth grall-scale and large-scale surveys in India and ether developing ccuntries (LÜejeebhcy, 1998: 300; Rjenig et al., 2006: 132; Kdsrnan, 2005: 88; Rao, 1997: 1169; Verrra & Cbllurbien, 2003: 73) . In orcfer to supplement the existing research, then, tris paper will atterpt a large-scale statistical analysis cf cbrestic violence against werren in India, using ratior-wice, aggregate "Crimes against W omen" data frcm the National Crime Records Bureau of India (Gbremrant of India, 2000).

As this paper will show, multivariate linear regressions of the crime records yield some interesting and statistically significant results. By situating these results within an ecological framework of domestic violence, we can attempt to construct some hypotheses about domestic violence in India. This paper will prppose that, in India, Dowry Death (wife murder) and Cruelty (wife abuse) crime rates depend on a state's level of development. Firstly, we find that the higher the levels cf gender equality, urbanisation, health and education in a state, the lower the rates of Dowry Death crimes (and vice versa). Secondly, whilst the Cruelty crime regressicn analyses will also reveal a connection with development, it appears as a more complex relationship between and within the Indian states. This paper will use a gendered resource theory to support the hypothesis: Social development change (e.g., changing gender roles) can exacerbate domestic violence, as observed in the discrepancies between rural and urban Cruelty crime rates across India.

In summary, this study concurs with the view that domestic violence, in its various forms, has a multifaceted relationship with the "stages of development" in developing countries such as India (Bates et al., 2004: 197; Naved & Persson, 2005: 299). The specific hypotheses presented here, however, must continue to be treated as provisional until they are supported by further large-scale studies and the confounding influences of under-reporting are better understood. Regardless, the strong statistical results in this study will hopefully lead to further analysis at local and national levels, and present an informative line of enquiry in the campaign against domestic violence. …

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