Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Domestic Violence against men
  • Laws available for men who are the victim of domestic violence
  • Protection as a victim of domestic abuse
  • What is Defamation?
  • John C. Depp v. Amber Laura Heard defamation Case

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN

Domestic violence against males refers to violence perpetrated against men in their homes, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Domestic violence against men, like domestic violence against women, may be illegal, however, regulations differ by nation. Men who disclose domestic violence may endure societal stigma as a result of their perceived lack of machismo and other masculinity denigrations. In addition, men's intimate partner violence (IPV) is less recognised by society than women's IPV, which can make it even more difficult for men to report their condition. The relative occurrence of IPV against males versus women varies widely, with some countries reporting no data at all. Due to the number of males who do not report their abuse, several academics believe the true number of male victims is higher than what the law enforcement data show. Domestic violence, on the other hand, is one of the most under reported crimes in the world, for both men and women.

LAWS PROTECTING THE MALE ABUSED

THE WORLD

In an effort to combat IPV against men, police departments around the country have expanded their domestic violence programmes and response sections. In the United Kingdom, men-only shelters have been established.

The Northern Ireland Police Service had run a campaign to raise awareness of the problem of male victimisation and encourage people to report incidences. Men's Aid NI, the country's first shelter for male violence victims, launched in early 2013. "Domestic violence against men can take various forms, including mental, sexual, and physical assault, as well as threats of abuse," said Chairman Peter Morris. It can occur in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships, and, like domestic abuse against women, it often goes unnoticed."

INDIA

Men are alleged to be discriminated against in India's domestic violence laws. More importantly, The Domestic Violence Act only benefits women. In India, men do not have access to a similar legal remedy to protect them against domestic violence perpetrated by either men or women. The current legislation does not provide males with even the most basic relief of having a male or female aggressor keep away from them (a restraining or protection order).

PROTECTING ONESELF AS AN ABUSED MALE

Domestic abuse and violence can have major physical and psychological consequences. Reaching out is the first step toward protecting oneself and halting the abuse. Calling a domestic violence helpline or talking to a friend, family member, or someone else one trusts. Admitting a problem and getting help does not imply that a man or a husband has failed. Nobody will hold them responsible, and no one will regard the abused male as weak.

WHAT IS DEFAMATION

Defamation laws vary by country, but they usually concern content that harms another person's or company's reputation. Although the definition of defamation differs from country to country, in general, defamation is defined as any false remark that harms someone's reputation or leads them to be despised or avoided. In India, defamation is a criminal offence (punishable with imprisonment) as well as a civil infringement of rights(punishable through the award of damages). The civil act of defamation is punishable under the Law of Torts, whereas the criminal law of defamation has been laid down under Section 501 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 ("IPC").

John C. Depp, II v. Amber Laura Heard (CL–2019–2911)

  • It was a defamation trial that began on 11th April 2022 and ended on 1st June 2022 in Fairfax County, Virginia.
  • Plaintiff Johnny Depp filed a defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife and defendant Amber Heard, alleging three counts of defamation and seeking US$50 million in damages.
  • Heard filed a counterclaim for $100 million against Depp, alleging three counts of defamation based on Depp's lawyer's claims.
  • Depp and Heard were married for three years, from 2015 to 2017.
  • Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in December 2018, accusing her ex-husband of intimate partner violence without naming him.
  • Depp rejected the charges and blamed the op-ed for ruining his reputation and career, as well as forcing him to lose a lot of money.
  • In exchange, Heard filed a lawsuit against Depp over allegations made by his lawyer, Adam Waldman, to the Daily Mail, which were published in April 2020.
  • The jury found that the title and the two assertions in Heard's op-ed were false, defamed Depp, and was written with actual malice, and awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Due to a limit imposed by Virginia state law, the punitive damages were lowered to $350,000.
  • The jury determined that Waldman's first and third remarks were not defamatory, but also decided that Waldman's second statement was false, defamatory, and made with actual malice, awarding Heard $2 million in compensatory damages and $0 in punitive damages.
  • According to her spokesman and lawyer, Heard intends to appeal the decision.

GENDER-NEUTRAL LAWS – NEED OF THE HOUR

Gender-neutral laws are urgently needed in today's world, where males are wrongfully accused of rapes, domestic abuse, and sexual assault. Nowhere does it say that only women can be victims of domestic violence; men can also be victims and perpetrators. Domestic violence should be classified as spousal violence because it affects both men and women. Domestic violence laws in India only protect women, not men. The rate of domestic violence against men is steadily rising. As a result, additional measures and modifications are required to create gender-neutral laws that will assist victims in obtaining redress and punishment for the perpetrators, regardless of gender.

CONCLUSION

Society's values, culture, and norms have changed dramatically in recent years as a result of modernity and westernization. Previously, men were seen as defenders of their families, but nowadays, both men and women work, raise, and manage their households, contributing equally. Men have begun to open out about the domestic violence they endure, and they have begun to publicly share their sorrow, agony, and challenges. Men are no longer superior to women in terms of strength. It's past time for statutes and legislation to acknowledge their problem as a social issue or concern. Domestic abuse against men can be recognised through effective legislative changes, public awareness campaigns, and the dismantling of prejudices and preconceived beliefs including the toxic male masculinity and superiority over women.


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