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Domestic violence is the unfortunate reality of our times. Must a woman ‘forgive and forget’ if the man apologizes? This insightful post takes a look.
We have known each other since we were ten or eleven, and have forever remained the best of friends, breaking all conventions of friendship etiquette. No friendship band, no regular calling, mailing, sms-ing, chatting, … nothing. We never find a bridge between us to cross over, we were always on the same side, yet always on one’s own end.
I am writing about her, not to depict the love we share, but for her unusual strength that I admire.
She fell in love sometime during her teens, following the fascination and infatuation which germinated during high school days. She was beautiful and he, truly handsome. She loved him with all her childish innocence. They married after thirteen years of her being in love with him, which he never knew of.
I still remember my friend, who jumped with joy, when she heard about his marriage proposal. She was so naïve then. The evening before her wedding she whispered to me, that she feels that the marriage would end in a separation. The love was strong, and matters were fixed, and they got married.
She being superior to him in talent, skills and calibre – personally, socially and professionally – the male ego haunted her unreasonably and purposely to crush her under its big foot. She had her own style of managing worries, but always stood with her principles and self-respect.
She continued loving him, getting hurt, silent tears, joy at mending up… with more ugly patches and a total lack of support from the counterpart. Financially and emotionally, she ran the home alone – fathered and mothered her children, held a high profile job, gained a trail of admirers wherever she moved. She was one terrific woman.
She told me that he had beaten her for the first time, and that she was going to put an end to the marriage.
Well, yesterday she told me that he had beaten her for the first time, and that she was going to put an end to the marriage. His act was a show of pent up anger, suppressed irritation at her cool, steady, unaffected posture in life, and restlessness as a husband who was banished from the mind and body of the woman who had loved him all through her innocent years. She had decided to ask him to move, as she believed she should feel secure in her own home.
Unfortunately, their son had witnessed the damn episode, which they realized after the abuse – physical and verbal – was over. I was more affected with this fact and told her to comfort the child by telling him that the fight happened by mistake and that all would be fine.
She refused, and told me: “If I tell him that, he would consider it ‘okay’ for a man to beat his wife, the lesson he may carry forward in his life. Let it not be so.” I was awed by the moral, strength, and foresight in these words of my dear friend. She is indeed right. I looked out for immediate comfort to the child, but she was guiding him into a humane person.
Once the decision of a separation (legally or not ) as declared by her, he began begging for forgiveness, willing to undertake any conditions she may put forward. She has none.
The big social issue is – if for once the husband beats his wife, and begs for forgiveness – whether the woman is bound to forgive and forget the incident, especially since the man is asking for forgiveness? It is very unfortunate that every mother, every sister and every friend in our land would advise her to forgive and forget, and move forward in life.
It is very unfortunate that every mother, every sister and every friend in our land would advise her to forgive and forget, and move forward in life.
This perspective arises out of the prejudice, society has built in through generations, that (a) it is okay if a man beats his wife, irrespective of whether he apologizes or not; (b) Since he is apologizing, she is supposed to ignore the matter; (c) as long as it is not a regular incident, it is better that she forgives, mistakes do happen in a family; (d) In any case, a woman is meant to be all forgiving or ‘Sarvamsaha’ (tolerant of everything).
In short, whatever maybe one’s level of tolerance regarding such an issue, it invariably reflects the misogynist tradition that, after all, she is a woman and the MAN is on his knees! It is this undue tolerance that has allowed violence against women to grow, stabilise, and establish itself in our families and society.
Law Teacher. Law is my passion and writing a catharsis.
True…. instead of being considered a strong and sensible woman, she’d be targeted by the society as a “disdainfully snobbish” personality having no interest in sustaining family ties. She will be reminded of her ‘mistake of not forgiving’ at all crucial points of her life , from each and every quarter of the society…… It is more or less a woman’s ‘duty’ to forgive then, as just another mundane fact of life ….. in the process carving her own son/s into another stereotype of his father is not at all a question to reckon with…And the end result:- the story of wife batterers and ever so tolerant wives go on and on…for generations to come…. !!!
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