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This idea of silencing a girl from sharing things at her home needs to be stopped. If you don't want anybody to know it, don't do it at all.
This idea of silencing a girl from sharing things at her home needs to be stopped. If you don’t want anybody to know it, don’t do it at all.
The shocking case of Vismaya has brought out many issues that a newly married girl faces. Amongst it all, is a key point.
The wife is often told to not get her parents involved when it comes to issues with her husband or her in-laws.
Vismaya was subjected to physical violence by the end of the first year of her marriage.
Things wouldn’t have started with beating from the beginning. It would have begun with gentle reminders about the ‘inadequacy’ of her father’s ‘gift’, to rude comments – first in private, then in front of her in-laws, to silent in-laws – watching as the show unravelled before their eyes. Vismaya feeling unsafe with the very person who was supposed to be her solace, Vismaya wondering if her decision to marry him was wrong…
Day by day so many red flags would have revealed themselves. But are we, as a society, equipped to spot these red flags? Even if we do, do these cautionary signs serve as reason enough to end a relationship before things get worse – until a physical wound finally materialises over an emotionally scarred body?
Even today, married girls are often blamed for sharing their marital problems to their parents. She is often questioned as to why she didn’t tell her in-laws first. In the odd event that she does share it with them, she is called sensitive and accused of making a mountain out of a mole hill.
What may be normal for a family may not be normal for a woman who has just come in. Older women often say that they went through the same, and that marriages are just that way. The fact that somebody accepted a certain type of behaviour from her husband when she was newly married does not mean that this girl should accept it too. Besides, blind acceptance of a certain bad behaviour does not make that act right. It’s merely a sign of resignation to the unchangeable.
But is such a situation truly unchangeable? Each of us have different ideas about how a relationship should be.
For some, if a man isn’t capable of looking at his wife as an equal partner, that is reason enough to question the relationship. For the others, it may be different. But who are we to question the correctness of a decision? It’s not our life. So what if the divorce rates in India sky-rocket? Marriage cannot be a cage we lock ourselves into.
Girls are asked to smile and hide behind a shroud of secrecy that gives out a stench so stale that it’s impossible for any human being to survive without numbing themselves to their environment.
All this, in the name of ‘family status’ and an invisible society, who by the way, believes that it’s a good idea to keep the daughter in law with the in laws while the husband goes to work in which ever place he wishes or that even meeting up before marriage is a bad idea. They often don’t even let the couple bond emotionally, but are the first to point out about the ‘lack of adjustments’ or the delay in getting pregnant. The men often don’t even have a chance to look at the girl like a real human being with feelings- their parents have taught them that the daughter in law has come to help their mother in the kitchen and to produce kids for him. The joy of love and partnership is alien to them!
Then why are we shocked when men throw tantrums about the inadequacy of the ‘toy’ that they were promised by the father in law? Their only attraction towards the girl was the toy. For, she is somebody who has come to do the household chores for his mother, and sleep with him at night. The car, money and gold was all that he was taught to value from home and from a failed educational system.
Vismaya, Uttara, Priyanka are merely the tip of the iceberg. Many women have walked out of relationships with their head held high, only to be called names by the society. Many others continue to suffer in silence, afraid of the same society that created a rift in their marriage- these are possible candidates to make it to the tip.
A solution is mandatory.
Multiple, year long counselling sessions by professionals- for the bride, groom and both sets of parents should be considered.
The moment men start loving their fiancee’s, they will be quick to realise that dowry is an act of pimping a boy out to a girl in the name of marriage and family status. Any self respecting boy with the ability to think beyond his parent’s opinions will refuse to marry if dowry is on the plate.
At the end of the day, change also needs to come from us- we are the society. If a couple chooses to end their relationship, that needs to be respected without further questions.
Patriarchal views need to be called out. Behaviour needs to be respected- not the age. It’s time to bring out the rebel in us. You see, that obedient, quiet girl that we were all asked to become? That was a trap. Break free.
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It is easy to give in to patriarchal expectations from a married woman and lose your self in a marriage, but the path to happiness is in keeping your independence.
Marriage is often described as the joining of two individuals’ bodies, minds, and souls. Upon getting married, you are expected to share everything with your partner, including time, money, and all other aspects of life. Your life should revolve around your spouse from beginning to end.
But is it necessary to spend every waking moment with the spouse? Are you not supposed to have a life apart from your spouse? And do these rules apply only to women or men as well?
Although both men and women may face this situation, women are generally expected to give up everything once they get married. Despite progress in several areas, expecting women to abandon their interests, passions, and friendships to align their lives with those of their spouses is still considered the norm.
The rising numbers of single women choosing this life shout out clear and loud that patriarchy and sexism will no longer break or chain us.
Another book on singlehood? It seems to be the season for books on the joys and freedom of being single. But Demystifying and Dignifying Singlehood: Life Journeys of Single Women Across the Globe by Uma Jain is different. The book does not glorify or glamourise the lives of single women in any way. These are real stories – with the good, the bad and the ugly, all there.
The book tells the stories of 15 single women across the world. A feeling of deep understanding and empathy fills you as you read the book and understand the challenges faced by the women who are single – by choice or chance. Some of the women chose to be single because they faced discrimination and even abuse as girl children. Some others had abusive marriages and sought divorce.
The tag line ‘Crafting pathways on rough terrains’ on the cover page is enough to tell you that this is a serious take on the issue of singlehood. If it focuses more on the rough than the smooth, that has been the reality for the 15 women.
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