We’re sure you’re familiar with that canard about how men have been harassing women since Mrs Caveman ensured that her hubby straightened her hair while the world thought that he was dragging her out of Cave Sweet Cave. Now it seems a reliable source has finally busted the myth, the source being women, Orissa’s State Commission for Women, to be precise. In under-the-table transactions, like dowry, it seems that the ‘victim’ and the ‘perpetrator’ are pretty well identified — the woman and her family being the former; the man and his family being the latter. After all, money and kind pass from the bride’s side to that of the groom’s.
To put a stop to this pernicious example of supply-demand economics, Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code stands boldly to thwart the machinations of the ubiquitous dowry taker. But alas, it seems that brave old Section 498A is not protected from being duped by women who, for wide-ranging reasons, use the law to send the man and members of his family to the clink. Since May 2007, the aforementioned commission has registered 38 such cases in which men have fallen victim to the anti-dowry law. If that statistic makes you conjure up images of the odd lady with her sari-end tucked in and hand raised with a rolling pin, broom or other feminine weapon of choice, munch on these figures: some 567 cases have been filed of men being tortured by women since 2002 by the commission.
In a world where women are at the receiving end of such abuse, abused men seem invisible. But don’t judge a growing trend by a possible cover-up. Thanks to a few good women, now we know the growing plight of men.