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Domestic abuse doesn’t always mean physical abuse which leaves visible scars. Some scars are not visible.
“I can’t believe you can’t even make a decent cup of tea! You are absolutely useless!” He yelled throwing the tea on the floor.
Her self-worth shattered like the cup.
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She admired herself in the mirror, her carefully applied make-up, the neatly draped saree, the painstakingly matched accessories… and waited for him with bated breath. He entered the room and after just one look at her, smirked, “Ma’am, we are going for an official party and not your second wedding. Go and change into something appropriate … or you can’t do that too?! Do I need to pick out an outfit for you?!”
She wiped off her lipstick… and the lone tear.
As she headed towards the door, she heard him shuffling inside, “Where are you going?” he asked from the bedroom.
“I told you yesterday only, I am going to my mother’s house,” she smiled.
“Didn’t we just meet them?!” He asked and her smile disappeared.
She could sense the irritation in his voice.
“We met them 10 months back,” she said slowly. Then, as an afterthought, added in a whisper, “Today is Rakhi.”
“So?” he came outside, yawning.
“But, today is Rakhi.” she said again.
“I heard you the first time! Give the damn thing to me, I’ll courier it. There’s no need to visit them everyday; Now go and make some breakfast for me. I am dying of hunger.”
She buried the packet of rakhi inside her bag… and her anger inside her chest.
“Can you recharge my phone?” she asked as he was leaving for work, “there is no balance in it since last week.”
“I don’t have any money, it’s the end of the month. Can you use your brain sometimes, if it is not too much trouble?!” he said adjusting his new watch.
She smiled a fake smile, while her heart cried in pain.
“I have a job interview tomorrow,” she said excitedly as they got ready to sleep.
“You have decided to make me the bad guy in front of everyone, haven’t you?!”
“What? I don’t understand,” she asked.
“That’s the problem that you don’t understand. Just tell me this, why do you need to work?! Don’t I provide for you? Do you have any shortage of clothes, make-up, shoes or even food?”
She shook her head.
“Then, why the hell do you need to work?! You want people to think we can’t survive without your salary?!”
The rapid questions took her by surprise.
“B-B-Because what?!” he imitated, “You can’t answer these simple questions, how will you clear an interview?!” He sniggered, “Go to sleep, this job-shob, interview-shinterview is not your cup of tea. You’ll thank me one day for saving you from the humiliation. Sleep now.”
She turned off the lights… and her feelings.
They were at a party where everyone was complimenting her sense of style.
“Thank you,” she said shyly.
“Mrs. Malhotra, you don’t have to lie,” he interjected, “you are the one who is in with the style, she doesn’t even know how to match her clothes with her shoes,” he guffawed.
“Tonight also, I have picked out her outfit for her, right baby?!” he put his arms around her waist and glanced at her, expectantly.
She nodded with her head bend low.
“But, I love her the way she is,” he kissed her on the cheek.
She smiled at his sudden display of affection.
He read aloud the news of the recent high-profile domestic abuse case in the papers.
“See, what women around the world have to go through! You should thank me and your stars that you are in a happy marriage where I don’t even lay a finger on you and take such good care of you,” he said, smugly.
She stared at the pictures of the bruised actress, thinking, ‘Some scars are not visible.’
Published earlier here.
Image source: sad woman profile by Shutterstock.
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This story is an excellent portrayal of domestic abuse which is so often swept under the carpet by everyone. Too many people marry or stay married for all the wrong reasons. Marriage is a partnership. To be fair and supportive of each other is not an act of charity but rather of responsibility for each partner. Whether it is verbal or physical, abuse should be seen as a severe failing on the part of the abusive partner and cannot be justified or trivialised. The age old established notion that one has suffer in silence is ridiculously unfair, false and unnecessary. The abused person must be strong and honest to stand up for themselves or seek help to do so at the earliest. Families and society have to be supportive too, to censure and stand up against abusers. Abusive behaviour easily becomes addictive, so victims should be wary at the first instance and not remain passive but look to take action quickly. Abusers too must be forced to face certain negative consequences for their behaviour so that there are deterrents to not repeat this type of behaviour.
So true. The worse kind of abuse is the one which leaves scars on a woman’s self worth.
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