CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN BY DEBARATI HALDER
Marriages are made in heaven, but divorces may not be made only in the real space. People have found cyber space a perfect platform to express views about others and this may also include ridiculous humiliation of women, including one’s own wife. Truly, off late I have been noticing many ego clashes and typical domestic quarrels taking place through online chats and emails. Not very long ago a Muslim wife was declared legally divorced by the Shariat (Islamik law) when her husband conveyed the word “talaq” three times through online chat (see “Talaq joke during internet chat may cost youth his marriage”(2010,October,27) in msn news. Retrieved on 25.12.2010 from http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4508570). The write up claims that the husband had unknowingly used the devastating word and that brought the marriage to an abrupt end. But Shariat is not the only legal source to punish such thoughtless idiotic communications which takes toll on marriages. The definition of domestic violence under section 5 of the Protection of women from Domestic Violence Act,2005, may also be cited as one of the preventive legal provisions which bars usage of humiliating, insulting words by husband or relative/s of husband against the victim woman. This law strengthens protection of women from verbal abuse hurled by their men especially when such verbal abuses are carried out by any means including the digital medium.
Sadly enough, in India, many educated men have taken to verbally abusing their wives over their work place designation, relationship with colleagues, child bearing capacity, attitude to their families and homes etc. This is especially because these men do understand that physical violence over their wives may mar their own reputation as educated, matured and modern young husbands. Hence verbal abuse through internet could be the most sorted after way to express anger and frustration over the marriage relationship. If the Supreme Court judgments over the grounds of divorce are analyzed in light of digital era, it could be seen that such via-internet mess up may include conveying insulting, humiliating words to the wife through online chat, emails, message box etc, spreading ridiculous messages about the wife to friends and acquaintances, creating fake profiles to irritate the wife etc.
No wonder, women also take to internet to abuse their husbands. Many anti-domestic violence law activists have rightly pointed out that the broad provisions of this Act supporting women almost blindly, may be misused by many women against innocent men. I do support them partly. But in a traditional patriarchal society like India once a woman’s reputation is destroyed by her husband, it is none other than the woman herself who has to suffer the brunt of the “mistake” of her husband. Cyber space must not create the war-zone between the husband and wife. Once it is turned in to so, even the law of the land may also not save the marriage.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2010), “Do not mess with your wife through cyber space; it could lead to divorce”, 27th December, 2010, published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/