In Kerala, dowry and alcoholism make life hell for many women

Domestic violence continues unabated, judging by the 1,560 cases in which the Snehitha Gender Helpdesk has intervened in Ernakulam district since its inception in 2013

A few years ago, a 55-year-old woman from the Ernakulam countryside in Kerala approached Snehitha, the Kudumbasree gender helpline in Thrikkakara, asking for help in divorcing her alcoholic husband. and sexually hyperactive.

After suffering in silence the entire time, the woman, who was then an emotional and physical wreck, finally decided to run away from the toxic relationship after her daughter got married. But her husband categorically denied the divorce.

Snehitha helped her get a protection order so that she could stay safe in the house, and the police even locked the man in when he was at its worst. However, these appeared to be of little help to the woman as the domestic violence continued.

Domestic violence continues unabated, judging by the 1,560 cases in which Snehitha has intervened in Ernakulam since the helpline was established in 2013.

“Dowry and alcoholism remain the main reasons for domestic violence, and women facing both are reduced to hell. Violent husbands turn against wives with no place to go or no way to remain independent. Women assume or face the reality that after marrying them off at a high enough price, they were no longer welcome in their homes, ”said Kavitha Govind, a Snehitha advisor.


In cases of domestic violence triggered by dowry, husbands often appropriate the entire dowry, leaving their partners in their charge. Some of them even pressure women to bring more money or goods.

Violence born out of the husband’s extramarital affair, the husband’s unfounded suspicions and even jealousy over the wife’s acceptance into society are also among the triggers, said Shine T. Money, project manager of the Ernakulam district, genus, Kudumbasree.

“The level of tolerance of women to domestic violence remains high, with the exception of a small part of the female employees of the new generation. But even they tolerate it initially, the well-being of the children being the main reason. In addition, after prolonged exposure to domestic violence, the victims themselves develop behavioral problems, ”Ms. Govind said.

Police intervention in domestic violence cases remains mainly limited to the victim protection order issued by the court. But it takes months to secure it, when the victim would have suffered the worst.

“We are reaching out to victims through our neighborhood groups, regional and community development companies and our sustained Snehitha campaigns,” said Mr. Money.

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