ibnlive » India

Nov 29, 2006 at 07:16pm IST

Wife harassing you? Call for help

Bangalore: If you are among those husbands who spends sleepless nights worried about the recently introduced Domestic Violence Act, which empowers women to protect themselves from household violence, help is within your reach.

A group of computer savvy husbands in Bangalore, reportedly harassed by their wives, have joined hands to form a social forum named Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF).

The Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) intends to prevent intimidation by female partners against men and their families.

SAVING GRACE: The helpline was formed by a group of husbands reportedly harassed by their wives.

Formed just over a year and half ago, SIFF has emerged as a platform for harassed male software professionals fighting against false dowry harassment cases.

Till date, the SIFF has over 5,000 members across the world and has counselling facilities and help lines in the United States and the Middle East.

"Threatened by false cases of dowry harassment, people have joined hands. Internet was instrumental in this movement, as it provides a scope for anonymous identity. Thus, the harassed husband could connect each other and evolve a solution. Later, with the help of blogs and Internet chatting option, the effort gained momentum and we felt a need to coordinate it. Hence we formed an organisation "Save Indian Family," said Anil, a software personnel and founder member of the Save Indian Family Foundation.

The lifestyles of married couples have changed in the last few years. In India, many people have sensed that often social and legal concerns are expressed only for wives in the case of matrimonial disputes. Husbands and their family members are usually labelled 'criminals'.

According to members of Save Indian Family Foundation, anti-dowry laws are often misused to extort money.

"We have seen that Section 498 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other anti-dowry laws have been heavily misused. In the last one-and-a-half years, we came across many such cases where anyone can find out that the charges framed are nothing but forgery and maliciously intended," said Panduranga Katti, a software personnel and member of Save Indian Family Foundation.

"The existing laws to protect women against crime are being misused to abuse decent families. Experts' opinion also held that the laws need a change. At least, the dowry law can be made an bailable offence," Katti added.

Save Indian Family Foundation has free helpline telephone numbers for seeking counselling by men/husbands and their family members in distress in eight cities across the country. In Bangalore, it is 55334135 whereas, in Delhi, the contact number is 9871150860.

A Bangalore-based NGO (non government organisation) Asha Kirana is also part of the SIFF.

A recent survey by the International Institute for Population Studies showed 56 per cent of women justifying wife beating in India in certain circumstances.

The reasons varied from going out without the husband's permission to cooking a bad meal.

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