• The Forgotten Gender: Men

    Avadesh Yadav was a bank employee who, like most young men, was eager to get married. He did. And it became his life’s biggest mistake. His wife filed a false dowry case against him. She also filed a molestation case against his father and brother. Such were the repercussions of this, that the young Avadesh committed suicide. [Feature Pic Credit: Telegraph]

    In his suicide note he said, “Please save my family. Investigate if we were really wrong.”

    Milind and Prashant were two other victims of the misuse of law by women. A woman told Milind to marry her or face rape charges. He refused to marry her. She filed false gang rape charges against him and his friend. The two boys spent 14 months in jail. The woman then asked him for money to remove the false charges. Three years later a trial court acquitted the two Amity University boys. But their reputation and life were forever tarnished.

    Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj, who is a journalist and documentary filmmaker, read these stories with alarm. She realised that a smattering of women were using law as a weapon instead of a shield. They cried wolf and wrecked havoc with crime statistics. They trivialized actual violence against women.

    “How do these incidents help the case of woman’s rights? They are counter-productive,” says Deepika. “It is legal terrorism.”

    One law she highlights is Section 498A. It is an anti-dowry act that can be slapped by any woman on her husband, without evidence. This means that whether or not a husband has asked for dowry, his wife can book him and his family for dowry harassment. She needs no proof, just her word.

    “Section 498A was made to save lives. Instead it has taken many lives,” says Deepika.

    A husband cannot file a case against his wife of domestic abuse or adultery. A male employee cannot file for sexual harassment at work. There are very few support systems in place for men dealing with abuse and almost no help lines.

    “While everyone is speaking about women, no one is talking about men,” says Deepika.

    No wonder then that Deepika has begun speaking out about the issue of men’s rights and the abuse of one-sided gender centric laws in the Indian Penal Code. She is now making a documentary called ‘Martyrs of Marriage’ on the same topic.

    “You don’t need to be a woman to fight for women. Similarly, you don’t need to be a man to stand up for men,” she says.

    If men are always seen as perpetrators and never as victims, does this not bring to the fore a pertinent question in India today: is equality a myth for women and sometimes also their men?

    Meghna Pant is the Features Editor of SheThePeople.TV