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Misogyny is so deeply embedded in our society – as seen in the personal stories of these women who are survivors of domestic abuse, told in their own voices.
These are snippets from the lives of women I have known, who have survived domestic abuse, personal and professional challenges, and have prevailed over the most trying times of their lives.
Today, as I look at them, none of them seems bitter and /or holds grudges against the people who made their lives a ‘living hell’. Yet, my take-away from their stories is they accepted things they could not change and tried with all their might to change things that they could. Finally today, they have let ‘peace prevail’!
Here are their individual stories in their own words.
Every festival I was asked to get gifts from my maternal house. I had a well-paid government job which I had to quit as my MIL refused to take care of my child. Though we did not live with my in-laws, they would indulge in calling me names, ridicule my parents, favour their children over me.
In later stages in life when my MIL was bed-ridden, she lived with us. Her daughters and sons would not even visit her neither would they inquire about her. She was still verbally very abusive towards me sometimes spitting on me, throwing away food, pinching me. However, I fulfilled all my duties.
I was a topper in school and college, a double-graduate, a national level swimmer and a trained classical dancer. I was asked to give up my passions and profession if I wanted to start a family.
My husband had studied and worked abroad. So I assumed he would be independent. His version however was that all his late teens and early adulthood he was working abroad, living alone, managing things on his own. So marriage for him was getting someone to take care of him. As a result I till date am handed over his plate and glass for washing.
By the time it was my turn to sit down to eat dinner, all the items cooked would almost be over as my in-laws, my husband and my children used to eat before I do.While I was eating no one even bothered to check whether there was anything in my plate. And my MIL refused to cook sufficient quantities that would suffice for the entire family. I could not say much because my MIL agreed to take care of my children while I continued to work after marriage.
One day he just resigned from a secure government job. Our daughter was still in school. I was worried about our finances. I continued to work. He helped with house-work but strictly monitored my social life. My time spent in office beside work, in terms of office gatherings, outings with colleagues were all forbidden, since that was considered as an indulgence on my part. Mainly because he was at home so “how could I waste time in all these social outings?”
Then once I decided to retire, he would not let me take a small-time job/activity to keep me engaged. He would not like my friends/colleagues calling me. He said I should ‘rest’ at home. I have accepted my life as it is.
I was the second of three siblings. I was told that I was very pretty and I would get a good match. He was also the second of three siblings and was into business. We married and within a year were blessed with a daughter.
Suddenly one night he disappeared only to return the next afternoon. He started having episodes of forgetfulness, panic attacks and seizures. I took him to the doctor. He was diagnosed with a mental illness.
Later, I was told by the neighbours that he had been like this since his late teens. The family hurried for getting him married, assuming that “shaadi ke baad sab theek ho jayega”.
Nothing changed. I have became the sole bread winner. Yet, I am the one looked down upon for not taking good care of him.
His mother does not say anything to him when he hits me, pinches me or pulls my hair. He drinks and physically abuses our children too. When I protest I am asked to go back home. At home my mother and my brother have no inkling of this. I do not want to go back and become a burden on them.
I was brought up in a protected middle-class environment. My two elder siblings were married at the right age. When the hunt for a groom for me began, it was discovered by an astrologer that there was some ‘fault in my stars’. So though many proposals came none went ahead as I was considered to be born under an inauspicious star. With my siblings settled and my parents leaving for the heavens, I stay alone for no fault of mine.
Image source: graphicstock
Life happens, everyday. Of everyday life stories.
These women are all passive sufferers– there are a lot more of these than fighters. Many have given up their economic value and also have no backing from their parents or husbands. So it is not easy to fight the situation. For these husbands, one wife is as interchangeable as another so long as she takes ‘care’ of him. Unfortunately, women are expendable in our country as time has proved again and again. Unless government and society comes up with some economic and legal support for them, this situation will likely continue.
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