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He never forced her again. She began feeling that things were getting better, until she got to know about something she'd never imagined- her husband had extra marital affairs.
“No matter what, men always have the option of blaming their wives, for the otherwise unacceptable things in this society“, wonders Shalini as she thinks about all the grief that life has thrust upon her.
Shalini used to be a convivial and enthusiastic girl, full of aspirations for her future, equipped with a lot of talent and abilities, until she got married. Although she never wanted to marry, she never thought marriage could prove to be such a bane for her.
Since she was never in a relationship before, she had never shared her bed with anyone else. She was clearly uncomfortable with that man whom she never knew before, but had all of a sudden become her husband. When she said no, he would force her and do whatever he could with her to satisfy his “sexual and biological needs”.
This happened regularly, until Shalini strongly refused and finally managed to put an end to this. And he never forced her again. She began feeling that things were getting better, until she got to know about something she’d never imagined- her husband had extra marital affairs. What he failed to get from Shalini, he managed to derive from women outside, and that too, without any force.
When she asked him about it, he said “So what’s wrong? Since you can’t give me what I want, I go outside to get it. You should be happy because I don’t force you, and that’s what you always wanted. So don’t interfere in my life, because I need it, and just can’t live without it”.
In fact, she also found out that he would even talk rubbish about her with one of those women, and both of them were planning to get secretly married! He even assured the woman that he would take care of her daughter as his own.
Shalini couldn’t believe it. She’d heard of husbands cheating on their wives, but never thought she would become one of those wives, some day. She discussed the matter with people she trusted, including her parents and her family. “Why don’t you try to please him? He’s your husband, after all. A woman should always try to save her family and household from falling apart!” was the ultimate conclusion she got from her family. She’d realised that she’d had enough.
This person, who never cared about me, who never gave me a glass of water when I was ill, humiliated me without any reason, could never see the hard work I did day in and day out, who cares for nothing, but only about his desires, should I keep him happy?
This marriage is all about him, and nothing about me. No one seems to acknowledge the pain I’m going through. No matter whom he marries, this man will even leave that woman when he sees responsibilities of family coming his way. All he wants is a slave-to please his family throughout the day, and then please him at night!”.
Many women find themselves stuck in the same situation as Shalini is. Though Shalini is fictitious, but her story is very much real, and could belong to thousands of women. Not all women have the courage to speak up against the harassment they go through; they simply accept it as their fate.
Although modern Indian society has witnessed immense changes in terms of it’s societal equilibrium and gender roles between men and women, but somewhere or the other, behind the contemporary outlooks of a society based on equality, men still harbour those orthodox, regressive ideas of an ideal wife. Only few men actually believe in equality and treat their wives as their equivalent counterparts.
Since a majority of men fall under the first category, they have those unrealistic expectations of an ideal wife, which has been passed on to them, mostly by the women of the house or maybe they learn it from the ways women around them are treated. And when they get married, they begin to think of their wives as their property.
They feel it’s their right to force themselves on their wives, and that wives should always be obedient. If they fail to force their wife, they try getting that “satisfaction” from other women, and winning all the sympathy by letting them know how painful it is when your wife doesn’t please you.
It’s interesting that even the society readily accepts this as a legitimate reason for the man to have extramarital affairs. “It’s common for men to cheat, you’re a woman, at least you should understand!”, is what everyone says to the wife.
Can someone please explain why is it so convenient for these men to blame their wives and justify whatever they do? Why just affairs, wives are also the reason why men drink and smoke, yes, they’re so fed up by their adamant and disobedient wives that they can’t help but drink and smoke. They’re not going to take care of their children as well- they’re their wives’ responsibilities.
Today, it’s very easy for a man to do all of this, and take zero responsibilities for the house. And guess what- they’re answerable to nobody!
Now imagine how convenient it would be for a woman to do the same? Women are questioned for literally everything they do. I’m not saying that it should be justified for women to have extramarital affairs, but if women are supposed to take gigantic responsibilities, even men should not escape from their responsibilities.
And the most important thing that needs to be addressed here is that why men can get away with arguments that look so unjustified, but are still accepted by everyone without a single question. While it’s men who need to justify the reason for their false pride, it’s women too, who need to ponder upon this- just because it’s acceptable, is it right?
I would request these women to please raise their voices, and also teach their boys to respect women and adopt a feminist approach.
I’ve tried to declutter feminism in this article.
Image source: a still from the film Agni Sakshi
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Int. M.Tech @ NIT Rourkela.
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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