The national lockdown imposed last year due to coronavirus had reportedly witnessed a rise in the number of complaints from women about domestic violence, abuse by family members, psychological disorders, emotional outbursts and other issues.
But counsellors say that they have been observing a trend over the past few months in which men are increasingly coming forward to complain about a host of issues, including strain in the relationship with spouse and work-related stress as a large number of professionals continue to work from home due to the restrictions during the second wave of the pandemic.
Officials and the counsellors from Pune police’s Bharosa Cell that was set up to offer help to women, children, and senior citizens in distress, said since September last year, men are increasingly coming forward with complaints.
Assistant police inspector Sujata Shanme of the cell said that it had received a total of 2,074 complaints in 2020.
"Of these, 1,283 complaints came from women, while in 791 cases the complainants were men. In 2021, till April, we have received 729 complaints from women and 266 from men," she said.
Advocate Prathana Sadavarte, one of the counsellors with the cell, said that during the strict lockdown last year, they started receiving more complaints from women about domestic violence abuse, emotional outbursts, psychological confinement, and husbands and in-laws’ tendency of taking them for granted.
"But post-unlock (September onwards), complaints from men also increased and they were about mostly work-related stress and extended working hours due to work from home mode,” she said.
She said that if both the spouses are working, they are generally are sympathetic towards each other's job responsibilities. However, if one spouse is not working, then he or she may not get full idea of the hardships that the other one is facing on the professional front.
Giving an example, she said, "A male professional had approached us saying that he has been working from home since the last lockdown. He complained that just because he is at home, his wife expects him to help in household chores.” The husband had failed to communicate to her his work-related woes, as a result of which both of them started arguing. While counselling them, we realised that both of them had not given space to each other which was required, she said.
"During the counselling sessions, we asked them to start giving compliments about each other’s work and spending more time with each other,” she added.
Sadavarte said that there is a perceived notion that such cells and helplines are generally women-centric, but the lockdown has changed that notion and men have also found a platform where they can share their emotions.