Goswami and Handa 73
portentous status. It has been rightly said that from her cradle to her last breath,
she is subjected to everlasting and ceaseless numbers of violence. It is not only
predominant in developing and underdeveloped countries, but women in
developed countries are also ensnared and entwined in the perils of violence.
Violence in a layman’s language is inflicting physical2 or mental3 or both types
of harm on another person.
According to Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice4 ‘violence is a general term
referring to all types of behaviour either threatened or actual, that result in the
damage or destruction of property or the injury or death of an individual’.
Chambers Dictionary describes violence as
excessive unrestrained or unjustifiable use of force. Violence also means outrage, prof-
anation injury or rape. Infliction of injury on other people is the essence of violence.
It may be either physical or mental. On the legal level, it is the illegal employment of
methods of physical coercion for personal or group ends. The infliction of injury by
police is exercise of state’s force as long as it is legal. But as soon as it crosses the
boundary of legality and inflicts injury for lust or for personal gain, it becomes vio-
lence and is more dangerous than the violence by ill armed and ill organized collective
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, ‘violence means unjust or unwarranted use
of force usually accompanied by fury, vehemence, or outrage physical force
unlawfully exercised with the intent to harm’.6 Violence can take variety of forms.
It could be in the form of female foeticide,7 prostitution,8 marital rape,9 wife
battering,10 eve-teasing,11 sexual harassment,12 witch hunting,13 etc., to name a
2 Violence resulting in injury to body, limb or health of a person.
3 Conduct which inflicts upon the other party such mental agony, anguish and enduring.
4 4 Sanford H. KadiSH, EncyclopEdia of crimE and JuSticE 1618–1619 (1983).
5 niroJ SinHa, WomEn and ViolEncE 32 (1989).
6 BlacK’S laW dictionary 1564 (Bryan A. Garner ed., 7th ed. 1999).
7 Female foeticide is one of the most reprehensible act committed against destitute women. In it,
foetus of a woman is killed inside her womb, if it is a female. The desire to have a male child is one
of the causal factors for killing a female foetus; prevalent in the Indian society where people have
craving for the male child.
8 Prostitution is regarded as one of the oldest profession in India. One of the major causes of it is
poverty. To earn money, women sell their bodies willingly or unwillingly.
9 Marital rape is rape by husband when the marriage is subsisting. Although it appears to be very
weird, but it is very much ubiquitous in our Indian society, and the worst part is that it is still not
recognized as a crime. It is one of the forms responsible for the sufferings of women day and night by
none other than their own husbands.
10 Wife battering is a form of domestic violence where woman is spanked and thrashed by her husband
in this male-domineering society. It is taken nonchalantly and imperturbably by the society at large.
People in general do not intervene considering it to be a private family matter.
11 Eve-teasing is the sexually coloured remarks passed by males to females in a public place to cause
uneasiness and distress. It is one such act which has been taken casually and flippantly by the society,
and women are made to suffer for no fault on their part.
12 Sexual harassment is sexually torturing woman at work place; very widely prevalent. To control
this, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
13 Witch hunting is considered to be the most obnoxious crime committed against browbeaten and
subjugated women. It is also committed against men, but women are more victims of this horrendous
crime and the appalling part is that it is taken imperturbably by the society at large.