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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Chai Wai Series- Gender-based Violence in the Global South: South Asia and Beyond: Marriage & Divorce

This guide, built in collaboration with Julie Laut's History 365 class, is a detailed annotated bibliography and a companion to a library outreach event on the topic of gender-based violence in South Asia.


This LibGuide covers a range of resources, from governmental practise to the private stories of domestic abuse victims and divorcees, which reflect the dichotomy between official discourse and the reality of Indian family structures. The resources on this page relate to the question of domestic violence and divorce in India. Both issues are small-scale examples of the gender hierarchy in India, where women are ultimately viewed as subordinate to the men. Domestic violence has been a prevalent issue in Indian culture given its patriarchal traditions. Women are considered property of husbands, thus men are in a position of far greater power in this relationship, and a number of the books and articles included give shocking figures on the frequency of domestic abuse in India. There is also considerable material regarding the legislation enacted to try to counter this and its limitations, particularly Article 498A which punishes violence by men and their families towards wives. The source list includes a number of personal narratives in film documentaries, newspaper articles and books, to explain the personal trauma and emotional difficulties women face with an abusive husband. Societal pressure and lack of support has rendered many women silent regarding this abuse, which calls into question Indian gender hierarchy. Similarly, divorce still holds a strong social stigma in India and whilst divorce rates are rising, the institution of marriage remains largely inflexible. In our research we discovered women are increasingly willing to stand up to the injustices against their sex, demonstrating the growth of female empowerment in India. In the films Pink Saris and Post498A we see women’s organisations fighting against the mistreatment of women in India. Yet there is still much work to be done.

Films and Media

Web Pages


Newspaper Articles

Scholarly Articles