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Ours is a country where as many as 55 percent of the women face domestic violence. Isn’t it time we spoke up and did something about it?
Ours is a country where the percentage of violence and injustice against women is highly prevalent. Thus, it is no longer surprising to see women being considered the weaker gender- both emotionally and physically. This, even in the age when women are doing their best to walk shoulder to shoulder with the men.
I am fiercely passionate about doing something against the violence women face in this country since it is an issue very close to my heart. And I am constantly looking for ways to be a part of solutions in creating awareness for this. My blog is one step towards this cause.
So today, let me give you a glimpse of what goes on in the lives of women who are the silent victims of domestic violence and never talk about it. Behind closed doors, women are constantly tortured.
And this isn’t something that happens only in the rural areas, it happens just as much in towns, cities and metros too! Ironically, we are mostly unaware of these things because women are good at wearing masks and hiding these problems very well.
The statistics of the increase in crimes against women is shocking. Right from foeticide, infanticide, medical neglect to child marriage, dowry killings to sexual abuse and sexual harassment at home and at work. Crime against women seems to only be increasing every day.
We need to be asking ourselves, what are we doing about it! What is the government doing about it?
In India, more than 55 percent women are victims of domestic violence. This happens, especially in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and some northern states. So let us get an understanding of the various forms of abuse women go through in our country.
Physical abuse by in-laws and the husband in the house. Many factors make it difficult for women to seek help in India.
It is ingrained in them from the beginning that they have to adjust to whatever their issues are. And since marriage is a must, and for life, your husband is akin to a god to you, and that without him you’re nothing.
This programming is so effective that a number of women also find wife-beating justifiable under certain circumstances. And these often including failing one’s domestic duties- not cooking, neglecting the house and even disrespecting the in-laws.
Manifesting in the form of threats, verbal abuse- name-calling, degrading, blaming, stalking and isolation. It leads to disturbingly high occurrences of suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Newly married brides suffer from physical abuse if they don’t bring enough dowry. Some cases end up in suicides by hanging, self-poisoning or by fire. It is a gift demanded as a precondition for a marriage.
Marriages at young ages, suffering from a double vulnerability: both for being a child and for being female. Child brides often do not understand the meaning and responsibilities of marriage. Causes of such marriages include the belief that girls are a burden for their parents
Indian women are conditioned early on to submit to unfair treatment. The conditioning is so effective that a number of women, find wife-beating justifiable under some circumstances. Beatings are considered acceptable by more than 50 percent of both sexes.
“Women are considered good or bad according to how well they fulfil their expected duties and responsibilities,” says Nayreen Daruwalla, a Mumbai-based counsellor, and social worker.
“A good wife is one who cooks food doesn’t confront the husband or his family. She never speaks up, lets her husband take all important decisions, and allows him to have sex with her whenever he likes.”
Is domestic violence prevalent only among the poor, uneducated class? This as the lack of financial independence is viewed as the main reason for uneducated women tolerating abusive marriages? In reality, it is equally prevalent among the financially well-off, educated class.
Urban women face both verbal and physical abuse for years without anyone knowing about it. They prefer to maintain the false image of a ‘perfect marriage.’ Even their families and close friends are unaware of dark secrets.
The bigger question here is, why do they hide the reality for years? What forces them to tolerate such abuse and not complain? Societal and family conditioning, economic reasons and the fear of being judged are few of the reasons.
One of the most common reasons quoted by many women is stability and the kids future. Women feel that their kids are better taken care of by their well-off fathers and will have a more stable future. They endure all the abuse for their children. This leads to a hostile family environment, where children suffer mental trauma and may end up with many behavioural issues.
And the entire situation has a boomerang effect. The boy child will grow up assuming that the violence is ‘normal.’ And they won’t hesitate to follow their father’s footsteps.
On the other hand, girls will grow up believing that it is ‘normal’ for women to endure the abuse for the children behind closed doors. If they are victims of abuse, they will let their husbands do what they want while silently suffering it all.
While there isn’t much you can do if your friend refuses help or even to acknowledge the abuse, you can try to help the ones who want it.
You an also help to try and end the abuse meted out to women. It may not end it all, however, it may help one person, at least.
There are a number of NGOs in India who are willing to support you if you are a victim with no family to aid you. You need to remember that you aren’t helpless or alone. I’ve looked up some of them which you can approach in Bangalore, else you can find one online for other cities in India.
I want to sum up the key pointers for women out there, who think they are helpless. You need to remember the following points to ensure they do not face these situations –
If you’ve managed to keep these basics in place, I guarantee you a life filled with dignity, success & happiness!
Having said all of the above, I want to make it clear if a woman is happy in her marriage and is in love with her spouse, I am happy for her. The issue arises when she is not comfortable with certain things in her relationship and needs freedom or feels stifled with her man.
That’s when I suggest finding ways to resolve matters. I am all for women getting their space & freedom to function normally in a relationship.
If this blog resonates with you and you know people in your circles that can benefit from it, I request you to forward it to them. Let’s strive to make the world a place safe for women. One that gives women a world that’s safe, secure, equal and gives her the freedom to be the person that she wants to be.
Picture credits: Still from movie Thappad
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Sarika Tainwala is a corporate marketing professional with 6+ years of work experience in Client
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