Domestic violence is not only physical abuse but can be economic or emotional and that needs to be recognised, a women’s rights organisation said in a campaign launched on Wednesday.
The campaign consists of three 25-second films in English and Hindi that talk about the “many faces of domestic violence”. They tell stories of women denied financial independence and subjected to mental abuse, something that many women identify with but are unable to recognise as forms of violence.
One film shows a woman’s appointment letter being burnt.
In another, a woman is unable to account for household spending — a reality in many homes where the woman has no financial independence. The message of the film: “Men controlling and questioning expenses, that’s a form of domestic violence.”
The third film shows a man throwing a bowl of curry at a woman because he doesn’t like it. The message: “Men expressing their anger violently, that’s a form of domestic violence.”
Many of the forms of violence in the films are forms that women don’t think are violence, said Anuradha Kapoor, director of Swayam, the organisation behind the campaign.
“Most people associate domestic violence with physical abuse. There are many other forms of domestic violence that people don’t talk about. These are mental, sexual, economic and these forms of violence are actually as debilitating if not more....We want women and society to understand that this is abuse.”
Swayam partnered with Ogilvy India to conceptualise and create the films. Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar’s Rising Sun has made the films. Mansi Kadnehas has directed them.
Kapoor spoke about women who had approached Swayam, unable to understand that they were victims of violence.
A woman, married for 10 years, cooked, cleaned and did all the housework but not a single family member would speak to her. She would even eat alone in the kitchen.
A man, after a few months of marriage, made his wife sever contact with her friends.
Not all domestic violence takes place in marital homes but also in parental homes, Kapoor said.