“A wonderful day to spend among women in leadership” said Rashmi Karthik an attendee of Women #BreakingBarriers Bangalore. Breaking Barriers is now coming to Pune, Panjim, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Chennai. Register now to attend!
As a woman, you take the beating, crying softly in a corner, as a man you will resort to using your hands to express yourself.
You lug yourself forward. It hurts in places you did not know existed, until now. You drag yourself ahead; your body is heavy, panting like a dog in a desert. You are all alone, but that is a relief. You don’t mind dragging yourself to the bed stand, you don’t mind using the dying strength in your arms to slowly lift your upper body, and plop it on the bed. You don’t mind being alone; in fact you are positively relieved in your solitude. Because the alternative, the alternative to being alone propels you into tears of dread, misery and frustration.
You know that for at least another three to four hours, you will be alone. That time would help you lick your wounds, huddled in the corner of your bed. But before that you need to check, check your body, check your bones, check your face. No cuts, no visible wounds, no broken bones; that is your first priority; because the last thing you want is for people to notice. Your abdomen screams in pain, so does your nine months old daughter, she screams in hunger. Your abdomen can wait maybe, but not your daughter.
You turn towards her, she is howling, you are glad you are home alone. If he had been home, you were sure to get another torrent of kicks in your back and stomach for allowing her to howl longer than thirty seconds.
You pull yourself up, try to support your body on all fours, but you crash again. Because your abdomen and back, still scream in unbearable pain. You settle down to dragging your self across the bed to where your little angel lies, howling in hunger.
You are holding her, holding your breath too, because as she has latched on your breast, her roaming, chubby legs hit you exactly where it hurts. And you have found out that if your hold your breath long enough; the pain diminishes in comparison to the sense of suffocation.
As the little life in your arms sucks away at that elixir from your breasts, tears of desperation run down your cheeks. You think for the 97th time in the last two years about a way out. An escape from the monster you married, the monster who calls himself a man, but then again a part of you laughs in manic joy, because it knows you deserved the walloping. You had it coming; your sharp, wise-ass mouth and your filthy tongue was always going to be the end of you.
Isn’t that what your Daddy used to say, when he would wave his belt over you and hold your head back, clasping your long hair?
Oh…oh…do you remember what happened? That day, the day you walked into the hairdresser’s and asked her to chop your long tresses, chop them short, “a pixie cut” you said. And Daddy was furious, in fact so furious that you went to college the next day with a black eye and your right arm in a sling.
You should’ve known better than to cut your hair short like those carpet munching, bra burning abominations. Isn’t that what your husband calls them?
Isn’t that why you were forced to grow your hair longer and longer and longer after marriage, long enough for him to wrap them around his wrist and pull at you, hard?
But you tell yourself, no…no…no…no! You are a grown woman; you cannot be pushed and kicked around anymore. You just can’t!
But do you have a way out? What is it? Going back to Daddy? What would he say? Mummy, already told you to bear with it, didn’t she? Just like she did, all her life, until Daddy’s fury turned towards you. And Mummy says that last part with a strange, twisted sense of relief.
“With age, he will mellow down. Look at your Daddy now, he hardly hits me, or abuses me anymore.” She says.
You know what Daddy would say; “Women need to know their place, otherwise it becomes a man’s duty to put her in place.”
You gaze at your daughter; you have named her Merida, like that girl in the movie Brave.
Will you be your mom? You think. Will you live with it, until his fury turns to Merida? Will Merida then grow up and find a boy who is like her Daddy, just like you did?
You howl in helplessness, because where, where would you go with an infant? Who will help you, who will take you in indefinitely?
Plus…plus maybe Daddy was right. Maybe, it was your wiseass mouth that got you into trouble. Maybe, if you watch it, if you just keep it shut, he will not beat you again. Maybe, you will teach Merida also to keep her mouth shut, so that she doesn’t have to suffer the fate you and your mother do. Maybe, you will train Merida to not be so Brave, after all.
Note from author: I have been on a personal mission to educate parents about child abuse. What is child abuse? According to me, even an occasional walloping is child abuse. I made a promise to myself that I will raise a perfectly normal child, a healthy, happy and well-disciplined child, without ever raising my hand. It has been nine years, and I have kept that promise.
Because one thing I have realised over the years, domestic violence starts when you are growing up. If you have witnessed your mother being beaten up, if you have been beaten up while growing up, it is likely that you would believe you deserved it even as an adult.
As a woman, you take the beating, crying softly in a corner, as a man you will resort to using your hands to express yourself. Because that is exactly what you have seen and experienced growing up. And I don’t say this as a rule, of course there are cases of exception, but in many cases that I have read or interacted with, it is true.
Image source: pixabay
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