Ours is the land where Goddess Durga, Kali, Saraswati and Laxmi are worshiped in every household meanwhile in some households the women at home are beaten blue and black. And please never think that domestic violence is restricted only to poor households or has anything to do with poverty. A man with humanity can never raise his hand on a woman irrespective of his financial background. Beating one’s wife seems to be ingrained in many men’s mindsets as the appropriate behaviour for a strong male.
I remember my granny recalling her aunt’s plight, she used to say that her aunt was raised in such an environment that she thought that men are the owners of women and they have the right to raise their hand on women whenever they felt like doing so. I was taken aback when I heard what her aunt once told “I am so upset my husband had to beat me so hard after returning from the farm, oh! he must have been so tired after working the whole day. His hands must be aching.” Can you imagine a woman saying this? Does this even sound normal? Isn’t it unimaginable?
Well my grandmother’s thoughts were no different, even she thought that it is okay to be beaten by husbands because after a girl’s “kanya-daan” the owner of a girl is her husband. Doesn’t it make a girl a commodity? I mean “daan” Why? This is something which is running in the veins of Indian men and women who think women are of no use. Of course not all Indians think this way but even today a lot of them possess this mindset. Our women are taught to compromise, adjust and transform according to their husbands’ demands and needs because a failed marriage is a big no in the Indian society.
The ‘mantra’ of ACCEPTANCE is taught to the Indian goddess at home.
The reason apart from the family teachings, for the Indian women to remain trapped in an abusive marriage life long is the lack of empowerment. Many girls are married off at an early age because their fathers find the “suitable groom” for them and their education stops mid way. According to National Family Health Survey of 2015, only 12% of women who have suffered violence from husband have sought any form of help. Domestic violence cases doubled during the lockdown. Women during the lockdown, had to to trapped with their abusers in the same household.
I want to narrate a personal conversation with a lady who is a victim of domestic violence but lives her life with a smile on her face as if everything is in order. No one can ever tell what she has been feeling inside.
“She was talking about her children fighting with each other. Her son is sixteen and daughter eight years old, suddenly her voice softened and she said I am worried if my son’s habit of hitting my daughter over petty issues continues then he will hit his wife too. I said no, your kids quarrel like any other siblings do, relax you are just over thinking. She said, he has seen his father doing the same to me, what would stop him from doing this to his wife. And in a staunch tone she continued but I will never let this happen to any girl. She recalled an incident when she was maiden, at her home her brother once tried to hit his wife and she stood up to take her side and shouted at her brother to protect her sister-in-law.
She left me wondering… a woman like her, who has the realization of right and wrong and who is aware of the unjust done to her what made her stop from standing for herself. And I asked her why haven’t you raised your voice for yourself till now. She disclosed certain things which expressed the reason of her plight. She said, I was married when I was in the first year of my college and could never complete my graduation. I lack skills and education to stand on my own feet and feed my children. She said that her parents would never keep her with themselves because our society doesn’t accept ‘domestic violence’ to be a reason for separation. She further explained to me that her mother would be too upset to know about the misery of her daughter’s life. So, she would choose her family’s happiness over her own happiness.”
Her words made me ponder the reason for the need of women empowerment and also made me realise that not all happy marriages are happy some are just under the veil.
Dear fathers please educate your daughters enough so that she can sustain herself. May be your chosen perfect grooms may turn out to be demons later. This women did not even express any sort of dejection, despondency or desolation once while saying all this. It seems as if she has accepted her life as her fate. Our women deserve better treatment and the statistics of women abuse indicate that we have failed as a society.
A perfect groom is preferred over a graduation degree. A tortured daughter is preferred over a divorced daughter.
Don’t you think this shall change? You, me and us form the society and together we can make a difference. Our smiling daughters look way better than the bruised ones. Please teach your daughters to know their limits of acceptance. Teach them to be happy. Each day our daughters are dying a thousand deaths in order to keep the societal norms alive. Please understand that a happy daughter is above the societal guidelines. Love your daughters a little more.