Is Being A Daughter A Curse Born To Their Families?

In the last few years she had escaped from them to her maternal home 4 times, but her parents sent her back every single time, because they were worried, what will society say?

Trigger Warning: This speaks of domestic violence and graphic gender based violence, and may be triggering for survivors.

Has anyone seen the 2016 Telugu movie A Aa? In it’s climax there’s a dialogue that translates to “Daughters are rebirths of enemies of our previous births” and what I saw proves that people really believe it. I tried hard not to write this, but I couldn’t stop myself.

Domestic abuse of an educated, working woman

I was in the police station when a woman came in with her mother and brother, she had been badly beaten up, her right arm was swollen and there were older marks turning black and blue. The police inspector left the other cases and rushed to her and that’s when we all heard the story.

This lady had been married around 8 years back into an affluent family, a graduate but when she got married her in-laws didn’t want a working woman. It had started with verbal abuse initially, but she continued to suffer just to keep her marriage intact. Then started the physical abuse, in the last 6 years she had been beaten up multiple times, sometimes by hand, but then there were other weapons used, belt, hanger, rolling pin and rod. When she told her story there was not one person not seething in anger, we all wanted to do something for her.

This was not her first time in the police station, she had already got a non-cognizable offence registered against her husband and his family when they had pushed her down the stairs a few months back and she had hit her head against the railing. She had ended up with 15 stitches and spent a long time in the hospital, not to mention the other medical consequences as well. In the last few years she had escaped from them to her maternal home 4 times, but her parents sent her back every single time, because they were worried What will society say?

That was not all, even on the day she stood in the police station, her mother was begging the police officers to talk to her husband and his family so that they would take her back into the house. She wanted the police to threaten them so that they would keep her daughter properly. Even after all that, her mother, the woman who brought her into this world wanted to send her back to the monsters and only for one reason, “What will the society say? What will her relatives say?”

Is that really a big deal? Is society more important than someone’s life?

When I had decided to leave the monster I have been married to, my family supported me, my mother still says at least you are alive, is that not enough? My parents had waited outside my hospital room until I stayed in ICU, in just 3 days they looked worse than I did back then. Yes society says that “Shadi ke baad sirf beti ki laash hi sasuraal se vida hoti hai” (after she is married, only the daughter’s dead body can leave her marital home), but this is the same society that used to say that “a woman should be burnt alive on her husband’s pyre (Sati)”.

When you condemned that custom, then why not this?

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You want to know what happened, that woman didn’t file a case, she refused because financially she was dependent on that monster and she even had a son to take care of. Her mother and brother refused to keep their married daughter in her maternal house, the place that she had once called home.

I don’t know what any one else has to say, but I say if you also believe in this custom then please don’t bring daughters into this world. Anything would be better than suffering like this every single day of their lives. The pain in her eyes when she was asked to return back to those monsters by her own family, that was a punishment worse than a thousand deaths, I wouldn’t wish that even for murderers, but she had to bear with it. You know why? because she was born with the XX chromosomes, and the ones she shared her DNA with stabbed her in the back and pushed her in the ditch she had crawled out of.

In the end, I want to mention these lines by Debashish Panda, A daughter is a curse, I hear it is told, I wish equality, not a dowry of silk and gold.

Published here first.

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