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What experience does a woman go through in our patriarchal Indian family courts when she decides to move out of a marriage in this country?
Indian society has always been patriarchal, and shows no signs of changing in the near future. A depressing proposition! Here is a brief account of the prejudice women face in our patriarchal family courts while filing for divorce.
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It was a typical scene at a family court. A young woman had come to the court to file a mutual consent divorce petition. The girl had come alone as she had broken all ties with her families to marry this man, who she now wanted to divorce. The Judge did not mind judging her and told her that this was a wrong decision. Her original decision to marry this man was wrong in the first place, he presumed, proving that she was incapable of intelligent decision-making.
This kind of a scene is not unheard of in our family courts. The woman in this case, defied patriarchy. First she married somebody of her choice. Then she decided to break out of the holy matrimony. The Judge could not accept this, and thought of showing the woman her place. He did not even care to ask her what was the reason for filing for divorce and what issues she was facing with her husband. Probably it did not matter to him. He gave a blanket judgement that she was wrong.
I have seen mediators and judges at the family court attempt to talk women out of divorce by painting a gloomy picture of a miserable and ruined future without a man. But can we simply blame them? The judges and mediators in courts are after all members of our patriarchal society and a mere reflection of what it stands for.
A woman who thinks, challenges the sensibilities of patriarchy. So does a woman who exercises her rights and is strong enough to make a choice. To sum up, any woman who is not a doormat is a threat to our patriarchal society. Every day I read articles where men and even women blame the feminists for destroying our traditional family structure.
If I share my personal experience, I thankfully met a sensible mediator at the family court who was thoroughly objective in his approach. My gender had nothing to do with his advice. He successfully accomplished his job of a facilitator.
For all the women who are going through divorce, please remember there are all kinds of people, in our society and in our courts, too. Never feel discouraged and helpless. Your life and your happiness is important. You are strong enough to overcome the barriers, and it is worth fighting for what you believe in. A brighter future would await you at the end of the tunnel.
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I like to write about the problems that have plagued the Indian society. I feel
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