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After a girl in my locality came home after suffering in a broken marriage, I understood how easily society victimises and shames the victim!
I remember reading and hearing a proverb as a child. It said, ‘whether a leaf falls on the thorn or if a thorn falls on a leaf, it is the leaf that suffers.’ In this case, the metaphorical leaf is the woman.
I usually ignored it and never gave it much thought since it felt silly and stupid. However, it wasn’t until I had a close encounter with it that I understood its importance.
There used to be a girl in my locality who left her house to marry a drunkard and that didn’t turn out too well for her. So she was brought back to her house and the family filed for a divorce.
The boy would beat her and his mother after getting drunk and the abuse was never mentioned. It only came to light after he came to the girl’s house to take her back and tried to beat her parents up too!
The marriage, in itself, was a huge scandal in the locality. People knew that the boy was an alcoholic but they had never expected the girl who was so silent and who ‘never raised her head to smile at anyone’ to run off with him.
After all of this, everyone kept blaming the girl and the boy told everyone that he wouldn’t be taking her back. It was after all this and after almost everyone accused her and her family that I realised that the victim was being victimised.
The boy roams around freely, people around him behave as if nothing has happened and that he didn’t abuse the girl. Meanwhile, everyone blamed the girl without thinking about why she did what she did.
She was a single child from a broken family, who had never been anywhere but her house. All her childhood, she was glued to TV romances and tried to find the same happiness and freedom outside her house.
I have seen that it is always the girl the society points fingers at. The men can be awful, abusive and yet walk around without the burden of accusations or blame. I think this is incredibly unfair and it reminded of the old proverb which also victimises the victim!
The girl’s resilience amazed me. Instead of shutting herself down, as society expected, she came back to her normal routine very quickly. She was a leaf that wasn’t torn by a thorn and neither did she wither away. And that was the lesson she taught all of us.
Picture credits: Still from Hindi TV series Imlie
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