Is a Known Devil really better?

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

A girl who we looked up to in college, got married (arranged marriage) to a charming man who gifted her her favourite car on their wedding day.  Then we heard she had come back home within days because he was violent. Her parents were supportive. She was divorcing him.

This became a topic of discussion. One voice insisted,A man might lose his cool sometimes! Why is nobody asking what she had done to make him so angry?”

We had wondered if this voice had seen domestic violence at home, because he also said an occasional slap was not Domestic Violence.

A close  friend walked out of her arranged marriage to escape an occasional slap. The rest of the time the constant threat of verbal and physical violence made her feel she was going to lose her mental equilibrium.

She was lucky.

Girls are generally sent back. They are told a known devil is better than an unknown one. The alternative of living a life without any devils – known or unknown, is ignored.

The victim’s parents advise her to change, to ‘improve’, to win the abuser over with love and sacrifice! But the commonly recommended tact and sacrifice do not help, because the abuser needs expert guidance, not a compliant partner.

Domestic Violence is not about the victim’s imperfections; it’s about an abuser’s complexes and his wish to control. In many cases the abuser aims to put down a better looking, more successful or more social partner.

A popular Indian women’s magazine reminds the victim that it is better to bear some abuse from a husband than to leave him and be forced to work and tolerate abuse by one’s boss and colleagues! Even if this was to be taken seriously, does one assume that only nonworking women are battered? The most visible victim, a domestic helper is a working woman.

The violence continues lifelong. One man threw out his 60 year old wife in her night clothes, and she sat outside praying nobody sees her.  (‘God of Small Things’ discusses such a case). She knew he would take her in the next morning, in time for his morning tea.

My maids have grown up with domestic violence. More than one has wished, (in a very matter of fact voice) that their husband would die.

Why not leave him then? Because anybody who has seen their lives closely would know that the man would follow, as a Right, and the society will watch them being battered in public, to retrieve his manly pride and position. So they would rather he died than they walk out.

I made them watch this Bell Bajao video. The look on their faces brought a lump to my throat. I don’t think they had ever been told categorically that Domestic Violence is not their fault. Such videos can change social attitudes.

Although there is social acceptance of domestic violence, there is still shame attached to it. If the neighbours have heard the noises, then it must be shown as a one odd case.

We went on a trip with another family once, and I heard them argue in the next room and then she screamed terribly, I wanted to rush and help and then I heard her beg him to stop or else we would hear. She suspected we heard and casually brought up the topic of how all couples had fights and how she would never believe a couple did not fight.

Was she fooling herself or did she believe that this violence was a normal fight? She showed me marks of a bangle pressed into skin and a burn mark, she said (I didn’t ask…  but I feel she needed to share.) she was ironing and the hot iron fell on her hand.

I casually talked of women who had escaped abusive relationships because they realised the violence was never going to end.

This was the closest I came to witnessing Domestic Violence and what shook me was that the couple had looked so normal (i.e. happy). They had played antakshari and dumb charades with us… and she was a bubbly extrovert, he was quiet, almost silent.

Another man had tender spells. He spoon-fed her when the violent fits were over and he gently explained to her that if she would only be a little organised/neater/more cheerful/better cook etc he would never need to lose his temper. (‘My Feudal Lord’ describes this kind too.)

Victims might feel that violence can be controlled with compliance. The fact is that most of the times the abuser is known for being ‘short tempered’, impatient, unpredictable and even a ‘perfectionist’ by those who know him well. (To outsiders he might appear quite sane.)

The worst and most debilitating is the Stockholm Syndrome.

The Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological shift that occurs in captives when they are threatened gravely but are shown acts of kindness by their captors. Captives who exhibit the syndrome tend to sympathize with and think highly of their captors, at times believing that the captors are showing them favor stemming from inherent kindness. Such captives fail to recognize that their captors’ choices are essentially self-serving. When subjected to prolonged captivity, these captives can develop a strong bond with their captors, in some cases including a sexual interest.[Link]

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110 thoughts on “Is a Known Devil really better?

  1. One voice insisted, “A man might lose his cool sometimes! Why is nobody asking what she had done to make him so angry?

    I have so much to say on this attitude. In a Malayalam movie that I watched some time back, there was a dialogue very similar to this. The man said that since he works outside and has to deal with so many people at work and due to work pressure it is only natural that he gets mad and sometimes if he takes that anger on his wife or slaps her once or twice, it is only natural. Wife shouldn’t just walk out because of that.

    I was so shocked that such dialogues still makes it to cinema and people find nothing wrong with it. Not that I am supporting any tit for tat action but would we ever hear something of the sort where a working woman comes home and gives the same ridiculous reason for slapping her husband? Would it be acceptable to general audience? If not then why such lame dialogues are still part and parcel of our hit cinema? This also reflects life. Are only people who work outside under pressure? What if the lady of the house is under pressure? Is it okay for her to go on a slapping spree? Why is such sort of violence justified?

    Girls are generally sent back. They are told a known devil is better than an unknown one. The alternative of living a life without any devils – known or unknown, is ignored.

    Girls are taught to be accommodating. While adjusting and accommodating to new way of life is good but violence is not. How difficult is it to understand? The girls who have the guts to walk out are often ridiculed and also their parents blamed for bringing up “strong” woman. Divorce and separation is still a taboo but enduring domestic violence is part and parcel of line. Children who grow up with a single parent do much better than children from homes of abusive and quarrelsome parents. The first step of course of parents is to work out their marriage and give a better home to children but staying in an abusive relationship will only do harm to children in the long run.

    One man threw out his 60 year old wife in her night clothes, and she sat outside praying nobody sees her.

    The case of Marathi woman I mentioned in my Blogadda interview is similar. A woman who only knew Marathi with no education was brought to Kerala and dumped on railway track by her husband. Now she is doing better in woman’s shelter home and she doesn’t want to go back.

    The worst and most debilitating is the Stockholm Syndrome.

    Whatever harm the man does, it is still okay to endure all the pain he gives because after all he owns us and loves us. This is a typical example of Stockholm syndrome.

    Me – Solilo it’s a common Bollywood dialogue… the woman after being slapped asks, “Why didn’t you slap me earlier my Lord?” – It’s only now that this kind of dialogues have stopped… Yes I remember the case you mentioned in your interview, of the woman abandoned so far from home!!! 😦

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    • http://www.nottopeoplelikeus.com/

      Not to People like Us: Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages is the groundbreaking book written by Dr. Susan Weitzman after many years of research on upscale violence. The first book of its kind to lift the veil of silence on abuse in upper educated and upper income families.

      Me – True. Response to Domestic violence has more to do with attitude… We hear of women amongst the poorest and totally uneducated classes walking out and we hear of economically independent women staying in abusive relationships… 😦

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  2. According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau:

    One crime against women every three minutes
    One rape every 29 minutes
    One dowry death case every 77 minutes
    One case of cruelty by husband and relatives every nine minutes

    According to U.S. Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics:

    Estimates range from 960,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend per year1 to three million women who are physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year.
    As many as 324,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during their pregnancy.
    Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.
    Three in four women (76 percent) who reported they had been raped and/or physically assaulted since age 18 said that a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, or date committed the assault.

    This is so shocking Solilo!!!

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  3. I can’t help but feel that some women are complicit in propagating the notion that men have a right to enforce their expectations by violence.
    ( Me – Absolutely Bhagwa n d Jal Park (your initials are very interesting!), I read somewhere, THE FIRST TIME YOU ARE A VICTIM, AFTER THAT YOU ARE A VOLUNTEER.)

    I can understand (to a point) economically poor women putting up with this sort of treatment, but why do educated women even allow it to get as far as physical violence? I must be missing out something here since I’m sure they’re not stupid.

    If I know anything about the way such matters progress, I suspect that physical violence isn’t the very first step. The man tests to see how far he can go. Does she show humility? Does she keep quiet when he shouts? Does she have the mindset of “I must do what makes him happy?”

    (Me – Brilliant observation!! I have also heard of women being told not to ‘answer back’ to make sure he doesn’t hit the first time, because once he starts there will be a next time too. What women should be taught is what you have suggested – that those who grovel get kicked, so avoid the first time by being bold not by grovelling. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month., you could write a post on this too.)

    I’ve read about the “hot stove” response where even the smallest transgressions are met with instant and powerful repulse. If a woman for example responds firmly when small humiliations occur – like say expecting her to cook when there was no such agreement beforehand – then he should get the hint that violence is out of the question.

    Of course, the tables can be turned. We’ve had sufficient evidence that women can be violent given the chance as well. Guantanamo shocked many because it revealed women committing the same atrocities that people thought only men would commit.

    (Me – I agree, such cases are not unheard of in India either, violence is not a men v/s woman issue, it’s victim v/s abuser. )

    This is no excuse for a man’s vile behavior. He should be set straight ASAP. But I want to know why women allow small things to go without response thereby encouraging the ******s…

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    • Well said!

      Most women accept humiliation and abuse because they think it’s natural…They may have grown up with violence and think it’s a part of life…These women see themselves as perpetual victims…They often lie to protect their abusers…They blame themselves, thinking, they provoked the fight or the abuse…This is because of society’s portrayal of men as the all powerful…

      The thing about violence is that it does not discriminate – it stretches across all ethnic, racial, educational, and socio-economic lines…

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    • Yeah, my initials are a rather interesting coincidence aren’t they? Bet you thought you could simply write BJP, and then realized uh-oh!

      Also, I’m not “bhagwan”, but “bhagwad” (My wife should read this – I’d never hear the end of it :D)

      A post is a great idea. But since I haven’t really had first hand experience with Domestic violence, I don’t think I could personally do a piece on it. But if any one here would like to contribute a guest post regarding this issue on my blog, feel free to contact me – nice to vary the issues once in a while 🙂

      Me OMG! Let me correct that first!! Bhagwad!

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  4. We can say Men are inherently evil and use a punishment based approach. Or we can look into the very origins of violence.

    Unfortunately, very few educated Indian families support Parental Guidance ratings for movies and video games – the earliest contributors to violence in soceity.

    Me – Do take a look at Bhagwad Jal Park’s response above. I don’t think violence is a male or female quality at all. There are more cases of men being violent because men know they can get away with violence. Most of these men who beat their wives black and blue behave with restraint towards women who they know are in a position to give them back.

    Violent TV programmes do desensitise, but a large number of violent majority has never seen a TV, the violence that desensitises them is in their homes and neighbourhood. This a more powerful influence than any Television programme could be (though exposure to violence on TV is desensitizing too).

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    • Guarding children against violent stimulus is a good thing. Even better if mothers form pressure groups like in the west and make sure ratings (like Parental Guidance, Restricted etc) are mandatory for all TV programs and Movie. Not only will it help uninformed parents, it will restrict the market for those making such movies.
      Western UP is the highest exporter of criminals in India. It is also the largest market for Hindi movies. Glorification of crime, you see!

      I have noticed glorification of crime maald, and it is harmful I am sure it encourages violence and might indirectly encourage Domestic Violence.We should also have some ratings for serials that propagate the image of a servile/whining/clinging/crying/sacrificing/miserable woman as the ideal Bhartiya Nari. All saasbahu serials should have ratings too.

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    • True Anrosh, because Domestic Violence (DV) has more to do with attitudes than with physical strength or financial independence…

      I know of this petite girl who slapped her husband back, and picked a kitchen knife. They are separated now but he never tried to slap her again, and even praised her stand during the phases in between when it looked like the marriage would work (he remained verbally abusive, unpredictable and continued demanding dowry and divorce for reasons like the girl was not respectful enough towards his mother who had walked out of the wedding ceremony for not being ‘respected enough’.)

      This same girl also warned her mother in law against ever touching her again… don’t remember the details but the mother in law brought a bathroom mop with a long rod to beat her with, and she says she told her keep in mind that if she would reciprocate in kind.

      She also told them that she had written a letter to her lawyer and if she died in an accident, they would go to jail.

      It worked. She lived in hell against all hopes (and advice), for two more years but nobody dared to touch her.

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      • I admire this woman! It takes real guts to do something like that – especially if you’re doing it alone. If only more people would stand up like this, it would make a world of a difference.

        Me – She wasn’t entirely alone (though physically she was alone with her one year old daughter), she had got in touch with whoever could help her amongst friends and family. She didn’t want divorce, she wanted her child to have a normal family life, but I feel her parents could have made her see that her life was as precious as her daughter’s life (if the life she wanted for her daughter could be called a good life) … if she cared for her daughter, didn’t her parents care for their daughter? They were wealthy and willing to give more money, but too humble 😦

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        • She was lucky to have parents and friends to help her…Often the abuser isolates the victim from his/her friends and relatives…

          Me _ I have seen this happen Sraboney. the woman was made to feel that it was her duty to forget her own family and friends while taking care of his, she as to ‘apnao’ all his freinds and family, who only knew her through him. This very soon isolated her – nobody knew for a long time what as happening in her life. I think parents should make sure they invite and ensure the presence of their married daughters at all their functions/gatherings etc.

          Another thing that goes against this is that in Joint Familes a girl has no freedom to go meet her friends. Friends are a great support but the daughter in law is made to feel she must be a companion (an obedient and respectful companion) to the husband’s mother and other women on the family… she needs permission to go watch a movie or go shopping with friends… Surprisingly the boy has no such rules, he continues to see his friends and family, he isn’t required to be a companion to the girl’s father either.

          So this incomprehensible bias does make it very easy for a violent man to isolate the wife from her family.

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      • taking a stand ALWAYS HELPS. everywhere – at work too. i have tried this against a physical and emotional abuser, and it worked like a charm.

        kudos to the woman in the story.

        Oh yes Anrosh I have experienced this too… and in fact I am still always surprised by the ease with a Bully capitulates!

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      • Wonderful. Hats off to this Girl here. I am completing one year of my marriage tomorrow, however staying with my husband only since 3 months, and these three months has been the worst in my life yet,and many more to come. But i give him back then and there. He has never raised hand on me but shows his stupid anger for no reason at all and throws the food plate towards the wall or throws away the medicines in the water, at times i feel he is a mental patient.His mother expects me to be silent if he is angry which is impossible.Why the hell should i take his nonsense, he better takes it from me as well. Few men think that because they are earning or earning better than the wife gives them right to be proud. Huh. i just wish i can divorce him but dont know how to go about this, my family have never thought in their worst dreams that such thing cud happen.

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  5. IHM, one would think people who grow up with violence wouldn’t want to be violent themselves but this often doesn’t happen…I wonder why…

    Me – I think violence, abuse, alcohol abuse become a way of life Sraboney… a child who grows up in a loving environment learns to love, if cruelty becomes an example then the child learns to be cruel…
    But there are always exceptions.

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  6. Had goosebumps reading this. U must certainly hv read a thousand splendid suns – I couldnt read it at one go with all that violence. A v v close and elderly relative has been a victim for over 40 years now. She was slapped in her own daughter’s wedding by her husband because she forgot something. When my mum tried telling her that she should walk out. She just cried copiuosly n walked away . Orissa witnesses hundreds of such cases evry day- it’s but normal. It’s nauseating. Verythought provoking post ihm- u must translate this in multiple languages n circulate.

    Me – Ketchup girl we must all write about domestic violence this month (October) to create as much awareness as we can.
    Imagine living with so much abuse and violence her entire life, it’s worse than dying… Not just Orissa, we are the same everywhere. I have seen DV in Kerala (I helped my maid elope with a younger man from another religion, when the police called I told them to let the couple go – and she was going to kill herself if she continued to live with abusive husband), in Delhi, in Bombay … 😦 It’s a part of life for so many people, and to think we get one life and live it like this!!

    I loved A Thousand Splendid Sons, Betty Mehmoody’s ‘Not without my daughter’ also shows what power, unaccountability and total control over a woman does to a man… it’s an inspiring eye opening book. I hope these books become a part of history and aour times are discussed as ‘those uncivilised times’ in the generations to come.

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  7. I remember a maid I once had. Her husband died of some liver problem because of heavy drinking. She was so happy!! So were her children. And about those people who say that a bit of a slap here and there is fine, I think they should experience it themselves. Only then they will realise.
    Its not only about physical violence but also mental violence. At least a slap is some sort of evidence, one can say that this is violence, but the mental abuse after marriage is also very common and I think this should also be included under domestic violence.

    Me -True Nita! This is real life. Anybody who talks of happy in self sacrifice, and ever forgiving women should meet these real women. One of my maids was envious of her sister whose husband died (of AIDS it seems) and she started a chappal selling stall, and lives comfortably (no beatings) with her daughter.

    I agree that these experiences have to be felt to be understood – I never understood how somebody could decide that not them, but another person can be beaten once in a while…

    Verbal violence can kill a person slowly…

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  8. IHM, sometimes in the plethora of stories you hear about learning from the lessons of domestic violence, a little gem makes you award someone a prize. My household help about who I have blogged, returned home from an abusive marriage 25 years ago. Her only daughter did the same 6 years ago. Today, when relatives criticise the older lady, suggest rishtas, and pressurise everyone to get the younger one married, she goes entirely by her daughter’s opinion of the prospective groom after a meeting. Instead, she has struggled to establish that girl in a semipermanent job. She also asked me How-to, and added her daughter’s name as a joint name on her own savings bank account. Her sons learn from her attitudes. But she says she cannot guarantee about the daughter in laws after she is no more.

    Learning from her own experience of domestic abuse, standing up for her daughter. If an uneducated , so called illiterate lady can do that, why are we so bound by the shackles of outsider opinion and so called “compromise” ? Is it material comforts , unsupportive parental sides, or the belief that society will always think that she is in the wrong ?

    The big plus in my maid’s life was immensley supportive parents. She, a single parent, continues and propagates the tradition.

    I read about this family Suranga, their’s is an inspiring story!!
    … and it also confirms my belief that not wealth or self reliance alone but the right attitude can protect from DV. Infact the right attitude without anything else is also highly empowering!

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  9. I think it’s time that the woman herself becomes strong and stands for her rights of being respected and understood. I mean why do we need to state that she is a woman or a man. It’s about respecting and caring for a human being.period ! We are first the living beings and then human beings and then we get sorted into males and females…no ?

    Society is taking initiatives but as you have mentioned that sometimes a woman only supports this wrong attitude of a man and hence he gets an easy escape.

    Our woman needs to be strong ! And for that she needs to be assured that she has supporters in huge numbers…so it’s a two way task..the society also takes her in with pride and she also stands strong !

    Me -For this Nu I find Bell Bajao Videos amazing!!! We need to start seeing DV as a crime and such videos make it very clear that there is only one person who is wrong in cases of DV. The abuser.

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    • I want to add to your last sentence..it’s not only the Abuser who is wrong in cases of DV..there is the one who is taking it all and then we-the onlookers-who really don’t follow the bell bajao thing !

      Me – Ringing the bell is not difficult, if we know we are right – unfortunately there are those who feel they might be interfering in a domestic matter. DV is a crime and must be stopped.

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  10. Excellent post, IHM. Contrary to the belief that domestic violence happens only ‘among the masses’, it is well and thriving even in educated families. I remember reading in Tehmina Durrani’s ‘My Feudal Lord’ of the violence in a wealthy and educated Pakistani family. While women need to have the courage to confront it, I do think it’s difficult to confront without some support from family and friends, esp if you are not earning or have never been encouraged to think that you could live alone.

    Me -Apu, I have mentioned My Feudal Lord in a comment too… the book had shaken me. So much vileness, she was like a slave and all the ways she was abused were so terribly inhuman and humiliating… till the end she continued to feel she must do things the way he approved!! I think her was a case of Stockholm Syndrome ! 😦

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  11. Great post IHM…

    I know of a girl who was excellent at academics. She was the college topper. She got married to a guy, who worked in software industry and earned a good five figure salary. Everyone said he was good and he was smart and social. After marriage they moved to Singapore.

    And that’s when the problem started. He behaved like a psycho. He tortured her, locked her in bathroom naked and mentally disintegrated her. She was in a new country, knew no one and really did not know what to do. One of her neighbors guessed something should be wrong as the girl had not come out of the house for a month. With the efforts of police, the neighbor found out what was happening. To cut the story short, the girl was sent to Chennai later to be with her parents.

    All this happened in a month. And if I say she has lost all her enthusiasm, it will be an understatement.

    And these days I listen to so many of these DV stories (though not to the extreme of the one mentioned above) 😦 You are right. We all need to speak against it.

    Me – As a society we empower such psychopaths by making it difficult for a victim to walk out! I hope she finds her enthusiasm again and I hope her family loves her and never makes her feel like a burden or like a failure. She was very lucky to have come back – I have seen happy endings – I hope hers becomes one. Thanks for sharing Bindhu!! You too could write about DV during the month of October – together we all can make a stronger statement…

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  12. Soo disturbing to read all the stats presented by u and solilo..
    very well written.. and kudos to the ladies (Or guys) who have dared to walk out of an abusive relationship!!

    I love the bell bajao initiative.. until I saw that ad, I always wondered how I could help a neighbour if she were ever in an abusive relationship. Now I know!

    ..it helps to ring the bell Shruti, and I have done it too, I went with my Son, a neighbour and two of our Society’s watchmen. Everybody had come to their windows to watch but they didn’t ring the bell, because maybe they thought it was a family matter 😦 The girl said they were both fighting… I didn’t know what to think, I have blogged about it too… but what I do know for sure is, that it stopped the violence that night..I gave enough information about myself to the girl, she did have the option of getting in touch… (she never did, and I later found he still beats her)… such men should be in jail, being beaten exactly like that…

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  13. That’s a really good ad against DV. I think what’s also important to know is that DV happens across all classes. For some reason, at least here in Aus, there is the assumption that abuse only occurs in families of lower SES. During one of my mandatory child protection training workshops last year, the facilitator mentioned to me how schools in the eastern suburbs (the richer areas of Sydney) did not think there was a need to training because “such things do not happen in families here”. Unfortunately, statistics show otherwise. Just as everyone is a mandatory reporter if they suspect a child is abused, I think the same should be made when DV occurs…whether or not there is a child in the picture. Great post IHM!!!

    Me – they came up with one more video, this one…

    I have not seen them being aired much – I wish they were, like Homecooked suggests, in between saas bahu serials!

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  14. Good post IHM, from all the stories I have heard and read my feeling is tolerance level to household violence is proportional to the financial and social status of the family . The more rich and upper class you are more the women tend to tolerate domestic violence especially if they do not have a salary earning job. Let me try to postulate reasons for this. Poor and the lower class living in small dwellings without privacy cannot hide the domestic violence. They also do not have a big family name to defend. Women in such families always go to work outside also. So they are more confident in walking out of abusive relationships than upper class women who have never ventured out of their houses in search of work. Just my theory.

    Me – I agree Charakan. The more sheltered (and hence dependent) the victim is the lesser are the chances of her walking out… and then there’s our obsession with what the dhobi, the sabziwala and the landlord think of our personal lives!!!

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    • Am I confused! You just contradicted what you said in reply to my comment. Yes, you are right. TV, movies and video games do not explain the majority of cases of domestic violence. But isn’t it the duty of mothers to do what they can to prevent all sources of violence? Is there any doubt about their impact on impressionable minds? Do you want me to quote research studies that prove this, IHM?
      We can either react and express outrage. Or we can take the rational approach and try to do what we can by getting to the source of violence.

      Me – Maald both must go together. Take the rational approach, and spread awareness about the violence children watch on the TV or in real life- the most harmful is the real violence which no child should have to see, their own father beating their mother(or vice versa). But also ring the bell and support a victim.
      For example we have monitored what my kids watched on the TV, we have a rule that even the children do not hit each other, the children have seen no violence in their personal lives but I also rang a neighbours bell and supported my maids whenever required. The children understand that violence is wrong and that we must help where ever we can. I hope this is what you meant?

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  15. On diwali day my domestic help told me that a woman in our appartment complex had hung herself that morning. She had 2 little boys, was extremely well placed at work and her husband was equally succesful. The reason she hung herself was domestic violence. That morning her husband had slapped her hard. This led to the drastic step, apparently, beating her up after a few drinks was a common habit by the husband.
    For days I kept wondering why she took such a step? An independent working woman, she could have restarted life without her husband. Or maybe she didnt have that choice?

    Me – Shocking and so horribly sad A… No woman will die easily leaving small kids behind… she must have been living in hell 😦

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  16. women can only help themselves. The level of consciousness and sense of self-identity is so low in a woman that she doesn’t really care. She enjoys getting beaten. Well, at least it looks like it because she doesn’t complain. Also, most women don’t know about their rights.

    Men are also facing domestic violence. I swear I am not making this up. My friend’s grandma hit her husband because he forgot to flush the toilet. Would anyone believe a man?

    Me – Freya it’s true that violent people can be both men or women … and male victims need support just the way female victims do.
    I feel they keep tolerating because they have this hope that the situation will change…

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  17. Personaly I haven’t come across anything like this(abusing wife) in my real life.Probably i’m blessed to brought up in a better community.
    After comming to chennai i heard about this, like these ladies will work hard and earn money by selling flowers and working as house maids and in the night there husbands will take the money for drinking alchol(seems till mid 2000’s ).I’m told that now a days the things has been changed to a good extend and they also working hard to educate there children.
    One worst thing that is the root cause all evils are dowry .

    I know it is not realted to this post.just wannt to add this points to—.I blame todays parents and in laws for spicing up the problem between couples, rather than helping them to resolve it.For all parents there children’s are the best.If he\she is wrong also they will blame there sons’\duaghter’s betterhalf’s and there parents.I heard a lot about the same.

    Me _ Anish there’s this movie called Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd,where they have shown how the parents of a couple sometimes create trouble…

    And Anish it’s not just the poor, even the rich have DV… maybe more common and hidden to protect the family name…

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  18. Many a time, the highly educated, talented women bear all these just because even if they can stand on their own feet, they just don’t find the necessary support from their own people. However independent and strong we are, we all need a strong support system to be in place, where we can fall back, where we can look upto in not so good times. And the lack of this support system mainly in the form their own parents, force them to tolerate.

    Having said that, I have also seen thaat women often having supportive parents still hesitant to take the decision. In spite of being financially independent, they feel they would be a cause of worry for their aging parents and someone just don’t have the strength of character in spite of having everything. Why that strength of characters was not developed, may be lot to do with their upbringing.

    I agree Mustaf…Even if the parents agree to support the girl, the girl hopes to save a relationship, it is difficult for most people to end relationships… and then if she has heard her parents talk of other girls who walked out of abusive relationships with scorn, she is likely to feel unsure about depending on them… and you are right when you say, “However independent and strong we are, we all need a strong support system to be in place, where we can fall back, where we can look upto in not so good times”… without the support system they are scared to walk out (though many do, and successfully too)

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  19. I love the bell bajao videos! I wish they come up with more of these and show them during the saas bahu serials….cos I think the serials show more of the abuse stuff and how sacrifice makes the husband a good man overnight!

    I agree Homecooked, that’s just the perfect time for these videos being shown…. I can’t understand why the Women and Child Welfare Ministry is not subsidising the showing of these videos?!

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  20. The stats are frightening, aren’t they?!
    very scary!

    My friends have been victims of DV. I have stood by and watched her get beaten up because all I could do was to tell her to leave him and come.. (She is in the US)
    She became pregnant to stop the beatings… that didn’t help.
    When her parents came to know, they sent her back to her husband.
    Now, she has a son, she says he doesn’t beat her anymore…

    Pixie even if he stops beating her, the verbal abuse, the scars – specially emotional scars, the resentment, the fear .. all remain. And it started before she had a child. I can never understand such parents 😦

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  21. This post reminds us yet again to BE there for our girls,and train them up in they way should go! This is not to say that one should make them unloving or defensive for no reason-‘a rebel without a cause’ but surely strong enough to put up and hold that hand that strikes,and twist it round! Lord knows how I try to instill some passion to be smart and handle people and life situations in the resident teen here, and she I guess will learn in time and with some patience I hope! It’s our duty as parents to the next generation!

    Me – Smart people stop such situations by nipping them in the bud. Knowing her parents are always there for her gives a girl the confidence to be strong – and the truth is such girl and not the grovelling bollywood women, are respected. Being polite only looks charming when you are also strong, otherwise the politeness becomes weakness… like what choice has she if not be polite? Our little gestures say a lot to our kids… how we react to another girl walking out of an abusive marriage for example!!

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    • I guess I shd let her know how I feel abt these things and that I’d expect her to walk out too! 🙂

      Me – Indy I have talked to my kids about this, they know we are always there for them, and no society or community or pride or anything comes before their happiness for us. 🙂

      Like

  22. Is known devil really better ?

    its really a silly saying… !! basically telling us to settle with what is there rather than taking the extra pain and getting what is right…

    wonderful wonderful post..

    attitude.. !

    Domestic Violence should simply not be tolerated… ! period..

    and I think people must always support the woman if she wants to do something about it… rather than tell her to put up… !!

    Me – Loved this comment Hitchie! Well said.

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  23. Your last para summarised aptly the whole thing…..

    i think only as a last resort, walking out should be considered….

    Me – The Stockholm Syndrome? Yes it does summarise the victim’s psychology…

    But Sunder when does one reach the point of last resort? You mean if a man slaps the wife, then seh should walk out, but if he keeps putting her down, she should see if she can manage to keep her sanity? Women are known to be constantly ill, some commit suicide, some are never happy… are such lives worth living? When would you say should a woman walk out?

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      • Sigh.. the meaning of the above lines got lost somewhere I think 😦

        What I meant was – the question is a very valid one. It got me thinking…
        When should one decide when to walk out?
        And as you mentioned, what is considered as the last resort?

        I hope this clears the air…

        Me – I think a woman should walk out after the first slap. Simply because after that slap the threat of another slap, of behaving in a way to keep the man from slapping again is always there.
        If he slapped her he knew he could either get away it, or he didn’t care if she left. Staying on would confirm his belief that she could be taken for granted/has nowhere to go/is emotionally dependent on him/is too weak/etc.

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    • First why i said, a woman should think of saying Good Bye as a last resort…..as i mentioned in one of your previous post, somehow woman ( because of society) feels better to live with her husband inspite of cheating etc etc etc, than to live alone……unless this changes, seperation will not be treated as a first option….

      ok my answer would be…..first resort….to find does the husband really regret hitting her? and takes concrete steps to stop …..
      If the answer is no , she should immediately leave….In reality it does not happen that easily…

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  24. Is a known devil really better is just a silly saying as Hitchwriter has rightly said.. people just use it as an excuse.. its like sayin – get married to him, i know he will hit/abuse you, but we dont know what that other x person might[not] do..

    A lady i met once told me – My hubby is nice sweet, but doesnt make too much money, whereas my sis’s hubby earning tonnes , so what if he gets drunk and beats her up every now and then…. i was stumped when i heard that.. how can people be so casual about it??? this woman seemed to be focussed on one and only one thing- money…

    The closes i’ve come to witnessing DV is when a college friend said yes to marrying a guy she met thru an online portal just bcos he said “No dowry, come as you are”.. ,Met him one day, got married the next, flew to Canada to discover he had lied about everything… she;s a smart girl, got job, started earning [more than him].. he couldnt deal with it, started abusing her- verebally, physically and told her to cut off all contact with her parents.. with help of a friend she came running to Chennai, stayed for a mth, was sent back [since the guy promised to change and care for her, etc… all that BS…], but then it all resumed.. she got preg, used that as an excuse, had her mom come there, and came back with aunty and the baby, and hasnt gone back.. Divorced that SoB, remarried and is happy now..[touch wood..].. cant imagine what the trauma must’ve been like!!!

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  25. I’d say no devil is better than a known or unknown one. Men get away with acts of domestic violence simply because we Indians are such a judgemental lot and don’t look at a woman who walks out on a bad marriage very kindly. Single women and divorcees still have a stigma attached.

    We need to empower the women in our lives to stand up to men and draw the line and not groom them into meek submissive, helpless beings..Its often women who don’t draw the line or don’t set boundaries for acceptable behaviour who find themselves at the receiving end of emotional and physical violence.. This must be nipped in the bud as everyone’s rightly said and yes the statistics are indeed very disturbing.

    Me – Absolutely liveonimpulse!! Meek submissiveness works in old bollywood movies, in real life needs women must stand upto violent men. Girls should be raised as confident, respected, happy people who are used to being valued and cared for – who can’t accept violence, verbal or physical, so either they ensure it never starts, or they walk out and continue to live happy lives 🙂

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  26. “Domestic Violence is not about the victim’s imperfections; it’s about an abuser’s complexes and his wish to control. In many cases the abuser aims to put down a better looking, more successful or more social partner.”

    IHM in some cases the above is true but in most cases it is the result of years of social conditioning.. else why do even the educated ones, having a good salary etc. etc. resort to DV, verbal or physical? nd if the men has been conditioned an equal number of women also has been conditioned to accept this violence as normal…

    creating awareness and teaching our own children to respect and accept without any gender difference is the only way.. Maybe a finishing school is required for men and women to teach them some do’s and dont’s..

    nd as Charakan commented, those from the lower strata of the society has a better chance to walk out and it is mostly those from the middle class who suffers silently..

    Me – I agree Happy kitten, social conditioning makes men feel they have a right to beat women into submission or compliance, or teach her how to live her life. Same social conditioning makes a woman feel he is justified in treating her like that … 😦

    Middle and upper class does suffer silently, … and many times nobody, not even the neighbours know about it.. 😦 When they know they aren’t able to do much because the victim is also suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome.

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  27. yes the upper class too…

    nd the society continues to tell the men that they should rule the world and all in it.. if not they are not “real” men…

    in some cases, if it was not for the society the man would be happy being himself and maybe even being “ruled” by a loving wife 🙂

    Wish one could liberate them.. a happy society we would have…

    I won’t say ruled (I feel nobody should be ruled) but there is no doubt Happy Kitten that men and women would be much happier if they had no such roles and moulds to fit it… men need liberation to work from home or to be stay at home dads.. and to dress in colouful clothes (Indian men are luckier here), men need freedom to be able to cry or show fear and express emotions (India is cool here too)… or to be homemakers!

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  28. well written…

    domestic violence is more rampant than one would like to believe and I would also like to point out that at times even women do it.

    I personally know some who frequently hit out at their spouses and later ask forgiveness sayin g they lost their cool. The spouse at times retaliates at times stay calm hoping the tirade would be over sooner that ways.

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    • i have a “live” example in my neighborhood. But then Her father also is very abusive to everybody – the servants , the wives. A very wealthy man in delhi who keeps 2 wives in 2 different cities and very politically connected – there story can be equivalent to the “the great gatsby? – what is the correct name.”

      The constant NAGGING of women is also called verbal abuse and emotional abuse.
      And hundreds of women engage in it.

      Anrosh women’s nagging is hyped. Men and women both nag – ask any adolescents and they will remember the father nagging.

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  29. excellent post. people in general fail to understand the concept of abuse. no one teaches a woman to say no. they are taught instead to be subservient and to compromise. they don’t realise when it’s going too far.
    i spoke to many survivors of DV while i was doing a research project two years back. there are narratives i still cant forget. and in each case, there was only one thing that stopped the abuse. putting an end to the tendency of fooling yourself- no, he does not love you…no, he isn’t just a little angry or drunk…no, he has no right as a husband…no, it is not ok- no matter what. they learnt to say no and moved on with their lives.

    it is sad though, to see the number of women who abuse the DVA (2005) for petty gains and lodge false cases against husbands and their families.

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  30. IHM, the stand against DV has always been a cause very close to my heart. No one deserves to live a fearful / scared life within their homes where they’re supposed to feel the most safe.

    It’s bullying.. and bullies are always without exception, cowards and complexed people. All it takes is to take a stand against them. But why is it so difficult to take a stand? It wouldn’t be, if acknowledging it was easier. The victim finds it difficult to accept that she/he’s being subjected to DV. They are afraid to come out in public and say they it happens in their home.

    Afterall, you only hear folks talk about it as something that happens only to people in the lower strata of society.. it never happens in respectable and well cultured families of good backgrounds. And no one wants to tell the world that it happens in their homes n expose themselves to unwanted ridicule, right?

    It’s sad. If only we were more considerate. If only we were more human, as a society.

    Me – I agree usha 😦 I feel we need massive campaigns which shift the shame from victim to the the one who deserves it. I found Bell Bajao campaign is very effective but for some reason it isn’t shown … just saw once long ago.. I wish it could become like the Jago re campaign… although we hear it didn’t succeed, I personally know of many people who became registered voters after this campaign. Bell bajao is brilliant …if only it could become an alarm for the bullies.

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    • yeah, right.. i had blogged about the bell bajao campaign sometime back, and had quite a lot of friends/ acquaintances ask me: ‘are you mad or what? aise thode hi kisi ke ghar pe jaake bol sakte hain’

      which is true too, as I had witnessed this happen next door just about an year back. As I knew the couple, and from as much as I knew them, I assumed that the woman would be the first person to scream at me, if I knock the door. I feared she herself might tell me off that “unmarried people like you better stay away from things they don’t know about”. So we did the next best thing which was to contact the house owner who stayed a couple of blocks away, as well as tell the elderly (married) woman who stayed on the ground floor. The good thing is, she walked out of the marriage after filing an FIR against the guy.

      But what surprised me was my attitude towards it, you know.. it takes a lot to go out there and knock at that damned door. I’d say, if two/three neighbours just decide to go ring the bell, then it should work. But we may just be able to silence these bullies for a while.

      What is required is that mothers make it a point to educate their sons and daughters that it is wrong to suffer/ commit/ witness in silence the act of DV. Instead, we were always taught to keep ourselves away from issues, and not take any unwanted panga by interfering.

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  31. i am speechless by reading your post. this is what most of the women undergo. there will be very few who are luck enough to escape this .In our society it is taken for granted that husbands are superiors and an occasional burst of temper, or little bit of insults are part of life. a woman should learn to ignore such small incidents rather they should thank God for giving her the husband who has given her a financial secured life, all material comforts, a place in society ( pl forget about mental peace, emotional stability, self esteem, they are mundane things as compared to all the material comforts)
    at one time or other most of the women face such situations in their lives, but their upbringing, the values which has been fed into their system of being submissive, understanding, compromising, adjusting makes them take everything in their stride, and they learn to live with the inhumane attitudes of their husbands and live with it the way they live with all the furniture around them.
    very few have to courage to raise their voice against it or come out of it. fear of society, fear of hurting their parents, their siblings, financial insecurity, falling in the eyes of their known group forces them to bear every thing.
    I just want to ask every one who feels so strongly about this topic including myself WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT, EXCEPT FOR WRITING OR MAKING OTHERS KNOW ABOUT IT?
    ARE WE AS THE ENLIGHTENED, CONCERNED MEMBERS ABLE TO DO OR ARE WE DOING OR ARE WE CAPABLE OF DOING ANYTHING FOR SUCH VICTIMS.
    WHAT WILL BE OUR REACTION IF SOME ONE COMES TO US TO HELP THEM? WILL WE BE ABLE TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL SECURITY TO HER AND HER CHILDREN, OR WILL WE BE ABLE TO SUPPORT HER.

    Me – Anju Gandhi supporting is not as difficult as it seems, provided we really want to help. I rang the bell once – the girl denied there was any violence. I had blogged about it too.
    The toughest challenge is getting the woman to accept that there is abuse and that she is not to be blamed and then to walk out.
    A daughter in law rushed into a friend’s open door and begged to use their phone (their phone was locked) to call her parents, who were not very supportive. The friend couldn’t help hearing the conversation and she intervened – she got the girl to get back to work and then to live in the quarters that her job provided and to ask her husband to move in with her or divorce her. He dilly dallied and visited her but didn’t have the courage to move in with her, she divorced him and married again and is happy. The man married a simple girl from a small town (I guess so that the girl’s family doesn’t find out about his past…), and now she accompanies the elderly relatives wrapped in heavy sarees… I have never seen her initiate or join in a conversation, or to speak unless she is spoke to… I wouldn’t wish this life on an enemy.

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    • i have also witnessed the last part of your mail
      a multi multi millionaire family , women drooping in diamonds, latest models of cars ,foreign vacations every year but the women have no say in the family matters. even the household items like crockery, napkins are bought by the men, women are not allowed to give their say in the family matters

      i was witness to another incidence where husband made it a point to tell the wife daily that you are here because of me. i am responsible for your status, see how i encourage you to pursue your talent, i let you go out with your friends, i have given the control of my house and my finances to you
      every thing boils down to I I I

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  32. What blows my mind is that women are asked to count their blessings, what if he is violent, does he not give you food and shelter? Emotional abuse is very controlling. Controlling or possessive behavior is very elusive. The abuser bring flowers and other gifts to woo the victim to patch up. He begs for pardon in the most convincing way. Women often fall into the trap that they are so endearing and abuse is part of that belonging. It is very hard for them to leave such marriages, being in an emotional turmoil. There needs to be atleast one very STRONG/RATIONAL well wisher to help them understand.
    I did not quite understand these signs when I saw this among some of my close relative families when growing up. Once I saw it happening with friends, we started reading up, in order to better offer help.

    Me- You have explained it so well Lakshmi!!! I find the biggest deterrent is the woman’s unwillingness to acknowledge the abuse!!

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  33. I think its the acceptance of the occasional slap/beating parents give to their “disobedient” children in our society that has led to this attitude.
    Our college hostel was a big rented house where the landlord and his family also used to live. The uncle used to drink daily. Theirs was a love marriage but there were 2-3 times when we heard sounds of quarrel and heavy beating. 😦 😦

    Me – True, in India it’s common to hear parents complain about the western culture where children can complain to the police if the parents beat them! We really don’t think thrashing a child is wrong. No wonder we raise such perfect generations.
    I have intervened many times and I realised mothers sometimes beat a child to make a point, and are relieved, even grateful when you stop them.
    Fathers’ response was arrogance, somehow he seemed to feel beating a child to improve him was his right and duty. (There can be no generalisations – I am only speaking from my personal experience with domestic helpers here, I may be wrong.)

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  34. DV always makes me angry IHM. How can any grown person beat/abuse another grown person? I cannot understand how anyone can hurt their spouse? How can you be happy if you are making your spouse unhappy? I really havent understood domestic violence at all. It beats all commonsense.

    Me – The abuser is a miserable person himself, happy people are kind and balanced… it’s the ones with complexes and issues who become violent…

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  35. IHM, I have so much to say on this.. Agree with everything you’ve said – will be back later to comment properly.

    Me – 🙂 Please do, I would like to hear what you feel….

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  36. I read the comments too and each one above have said something on my mind.. from what little I know from my maid.. it is largely about the man’s need to show dominance, and I don’t think that it is limited just to the poor… it is the same thing with educated, well earning lot too!

    In provoked, in the last scene when being questioned by the media, she says something on the lines of “as mothers it becomes our duty to tell our sons to respect women, there is nothing more we can do” and I completely agree with that!

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  37. Pingback: Let it out. « Just Speaking My Mind

  38. Im short-tempered, at times impatient, donno about the predictability factor, and some of my friends also call me perfectionist. Oh nooo !!! Am i one of those ??? 😉 Can never be ! Im afraid of normal violence itself; I cant even watch a lion chase a deer on discovery !! 😀 😀 😀

    Me- I also can’t watch cruelty. What I meant by perfectionists was people with ideas of ‘perfection’ which they want their families to follow, most of all the spouse. Now who is to tell these people that violence, cruelty, criticism and controlling are imperfections…?

    I guess even this violent nature of a man has only to do with his upbringing. If he had see his mom being a victim once upon a time, he would take it out on his wife some day ! I am aware of such people in my family itself ! Respect to women is something that has to be instilled right from your childhood; if you had seen only suffering women throughout, it gets registered in your mind that women are weak !

    Me -Absolutely Vimmuuu. In fact most abusers have watched violence at home as kids! Not all children from violent homes become violent, but I think they risk growing up believing that this is just one of the unpleasant realities of life…
    We all have heard of, if not seen such cases, even if the family tried to hide them. I never thought about it earlier but once I heard the woman I mention scream and her embarrassment later – the horror of it sank in… 😦

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  39. For some reason, I am able to make parallels with cases like this and people who take money as bribes forcefully. I guess, we are brought up not to question authority, and that attitude continues till we become authority ourselves – after that, we expect the whole world to be under us! It’s a strange way for a society to operate, but if you have seen closely – there is always an oppressor and always a victim – many of us would have played both the roles at some point of time – I am surprised at how blind we turn to our own actions, sometimes… it is always better to get the opinion of a third person… and yeah, humility and patience are good qualities to develop – at least we don’t become oppressors (again) that way!

    And you are right when you say that bullies are vulnerable – I guess, it is more due to their fear, that they start bullying than any strength…

    Destination Infinity

    Me … We can also have some non-negotiable rules, like No violence and Live and let live. No trying to tell those close to us how to live their life … I mean advise is fine, but only when asked for! Putting someone down is never fine.

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  40. Well shouldn’t we ask ourselves what is the origin of this violence? The other day I saw a documentary about Haryana women..its obvious that kids pick it up from their father and think it is the right thing to do…the best way out should be to make these sort of things part of our literacy/education programmes…we know enough that in India, social evils never die, they just go dormant and surface here and there(of course this is quite popular)..I remember one of my mom’s friends used to face this, she left for the US with her child after a while..

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  41. Hey there IHM. This may sound like a throw away comment – but ALL ‘devils’ are bad. The ones we know and the ones we don’t. And may our daughters never have to spend any time with any one of them.
    The Bell Bajao campaign brought back a memory from my youth. I was at home one day, preparing for my final high school exams. I heard a sudden thud from our upstairs neighbours. It was so loud that my room shook for a second and I feared the ceiling was coming down (seriously!) Next I heard a woman screaming, a door slam and the woman came thumping down the stairs. A man (her husband) came running down the stairs after her, screaming abuse. They ran outside into the shared courtyard where he proceeded to beat her and she screamed the place down.
    I felt really annoyed that they were carrying on like this and disturbing my study time (yes, I was only thinking about myself and failing my exams). So I walked outside and said to them, “Stop this right now. Stop hurting your wife. Stop screaming. Get back in your house and live quietly. If I hear you hurting your wife again, I am going to call the police.” (Pretty brave, no? My mother told me later that it was very stupid! She said that he might have beaten ME up! But I had my Swiss Army Knife in my pocket…just in case!!!) They were so surprised by my appearance (normally, I would have been at school at that time of day) that they just quietly went back upstairs to their house and I did not hear a peep out of them for some time.
    My father backed me up though. When he came home from work and heard what had happened, he first told me off for “being so stupid” and then went upstairs to the neighbours and told him that if he ever heard him abusing his wife again, my father would call the police straight away – no questions, no excuses. I was impressed!
    I am vehemently opposed to violence in any form. I have never even ‘smacked’ my own children if they misbehave. They lose privileges if they misbehave, and they get it – I never want to set them up to think that it is okay for ANYONE to hit them or hurt them in any way. Ever.

    Me – Absolutely sioneve! That’s why I wrote, “The alternative of living a life without any devils – known or unknown, is ignored.”

    You were courageous but I feel so terrible for that woman… what made her rush out of her home when she knew everybody would learn about it? What kind of man would go on hurting a woman like this? I am with you for saying an absolute no to violence in all forms – children included. I feel verbal violence is also a crime.
    I have interfered a few times, somehow I didn’t think any man would hurt us, I feel he actually believes that the wife is his to treat as he likes and also he realises that she has nowhere to go. He know you and I have no reason to fear him.
    But my heart breaks at the thought of the woman being humiliated and hurt like this, and the loud thud! …maybe she fell? She must have rushed out to escape and must have hoped she would find some help, which she did …!!
    Your father was so right to warn them!!

    Nearly all of us have encountered DV .. shows how much more common it is than we realise 😦

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  42. I hv a related post in my draft folder IHM! One of my friends hs walked out and we r nw working for her divorce! Her own father is against the divorce! We all r trying to protect her from his lectures so that it does nt influence her decision! The husband’s neighbours themselves called my friend’s family and asked them to take her away! Why does the father worry more abt the society than his own daughter! Am happy she hs stood by her decision and is not listening to him or is worried abt the society!

    Me – You have this inspiring story in your drafts Swaram? This is DV Awareness Month- if you publish it it might motivate some victim going through the confusion, trauma, social and family pressure… You are being her friends in the truest sense Swaram, hugs to you all, do blog about it!! Absolutely proud of you all !!

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  43. A maid I once had was so scared of being divorced by her husband that she would do anything to please him. He never actually touched her, just kept the Damocles sword of divorce eternally hanging over her and kept her grovelling and servile. I wonder if this can be categorized as domestic violence?

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  44. IHM, This is a subject I feel so strongly about. And it is something that affects every country, every society irrespective of education levels or economy levels.

    I used to think, once upon a time, that this was a low income group problem, because we used to know how some of our domestic help used to be badly abused. My mother used to take a stance that any family living in out out-house would have to leave at any sign of domestic violence. Our maid who lived there was forever grateful to my parents for that. Apparently her husband was very violent to her earlier, but spared her because he was scared of losing his house. I have no idea what happened to them after my parents moved from there – but I did realise that we can all make a difference, in some way or the other.

    When I was pregnant here, the health visitor asked me if I faced any domestic violence – apparently it is a very common thing, here in the UK as well. I remember how they ran a very hard- hitting campaign on domestic violence. I was reading books on how girls who grew up in abusive families grew up thinking that it was the norm! How they thought they deserved it. And this was not just among the uneducated people. Sometimes, women are also too ashamed to accept that they are being abused.

    In India, of course, society does not even give the girl a chance. Parents send their daughters back to abusive families, saying that they must have done something to ‘deserve it’, to try and make the man ‘happy’ and things will change…

    The most important fact about abuse is that it is just another form of bullying. The bullies normally back off once that they know that the victim is not going to take things lying down – but when most victims do not have a support system to fall back on, it becomes difficult for them to stand up for themselves. It is so important to create awareness about this, so that women know of initiatives like the Bell Bajao campaign, and they know that they can and should put an end to abuse. Being in an abusive marriage and bringing up children in that environment is far far worse than being a single parent and providing the children with a secure and happy environment.

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  45. The stats are so shocking! I agree its mostly due to conditioning and attitude! And surprisingly education has failed to bring in awareness! The Bell Bajao videos are good. I too wish they were aired instead of the fairness commercials!
    I’l do a post too, and link all the videos.

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  46. I was shocked to hear that mental cruelty does not count as a cause for divorce. I notice that there is a lot of mental and emotional abuse in many marriages even among the educated and affluent sections of society. What bothers me is the acceptance of it as normal and not seeing it as it should be.

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  47. Do you know that more than 50% of women agreed to the fact that some sort of domestic violence is good as reported by Commission for women. I read this in paper and was shocked.

    I suffered from Stockholm Syndrome and not ashamed of accepting that I did. Now, I am out of it though. It was a totally different phase, it kills you from within. Your future relations/your behavior in the world outside gets totally changed…

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  48. This is one of the real bad aspect of the society IHM.. always asking the women to bear the pain… they have equal rights in a marriage relationship and their parents first preference was society, then only their girl….

    once that attitude changes, then this will be reduced.. I guess IHM…

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  49. Bell Bajao was a good initiative but unfortunately does not have sustainability.

    There should be strict measure against domestics violence whether its against wives or daughters.

    You can sort out the differences provided it is done amicably and not in a hostile manner.

    Sad, we are a nation worshipping Goddesses like Durga, lakshmi, kali and saraswati but such a disrespect for our women!

    Ekta we do have laws against domestic violence, but the crime should be at least acknowledged and reported first. And then the girl should realise that sh eis a victim and she can never be blamed for being beaten, how do we have a society that at least sees this violence as crime? Through campaigns that show even young boys protesting against DV. Through campaigns that make women see the abuser as the villain. Without a change in attitude nothing will help. We still belive that DV is a family matter 😦 this should change. It has been seen that (read Suranga’s comment) that uneducated women who believe they do not deserve to live in such hell also walk out of DV, while educated and economically independent women dare not. This can change with campaigns like Bell Bajao. Bell Bajao should be seen on every channel just like the Jago Re campaign was.

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  50. BTW Known devil is better than Unknown angel, in many ways:)

    me – But here I mean the abuser by known Devil 🙂 Girls are told they are better off being battered all their lives than they would be if they walked out.

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  51. It is indeed ironical, that as much as human race claims to have evolved and developed, just that much it gets baser and animal like with each passing day. Shameful, disgusting, scary and indeed sad!

    Me – I fear we were always the same, but now we are talking about it… I have heard of women driven to commit suicide because the man has many other women in his life, or women being killed for suspected infidelity in Indian villages. In these same villages daughters are killed by neglect and malnutrition and if they survive then for honor, revenge and if they survive this stage then for dowry or by repeated abortions (also used as regular contraception)… it’s a sad life – some of the stories they don’t tell, they slip out and then they clam up. But now at least we acknowledge that this is horrendous GM, so we do have hope…

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  52. Very thought provoking post. I had a colleague who was so traumatized by the violence she witnessed between her parents that she refused to even contemplate marriage. And she belonged to a so called “highly educated” family. Domestic violence only happening among the poorer classes is total nonsense.
    Very interesting blog. I also read Choker Bali and loved the writings there.

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  53. DV is the most horrible thing I have seen in my life. My own uncle used to beat my aunty after having drunk. There was nothing my grandparents could do and I was just a kid those days. Now after he is dead, his family is happy and everyone else, though my mom lost her brother 😦
    Drinking liquor and getting provoked by frens is the main reason that disturbs a man psychologically and allows him to commit to such things!!! Anyone can lose temper as a matter of fact, but who thinks twice before doing anything should be called a MAN.
    Now after looking many such crimes, I just cant trust the word “marriage” and how far it gives women her freedom and values and respect. Sometimes women are bound by the society and rules and parents happiness…where she is just lost in that trance and cant think if she is making the right decision.

    Ring the bell is a very good idea!!! People should wake up and stop DV even if its happening in the neighbourhood.

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  54. Agree completely about abusive relationships. As has been said above, its generally the victim who doesn’t always stand up for herself.

    And interesting discussions in the comments IHM. But I guess, everyone does understand that everything is relative. One slap doesn’t necessarily mean the spouse is abusive. What if my wife slaps me in a fit of rage? Should I just walk out? Obviously no.

    Rakesh the victim is conditioned to believe that she should ‘adjust’, so it’s difficult for her to stand up for herself. I know of this doctor who escaped her husband’s house in Delhi and reached her parent’s place at the other end of the city late at night, and she was sent back. The man has some mental problem, another of our friends worked for this couple (still together) and she described his behaviour to be unpredictable rages followed by PDA, then again sudden bursts of anger. He also isolated the woman from her family, he doesn’t work (although he is a doctor), she works from a clinic in their house, and he monitors her movements… if a girl was sent back in such a case, where she could support herself, imagine how terrible is our conditioning.

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    • No no IHM, I’m not saying he / she should adjust. What I’m saying is that its not as rigid a rule as ‘One Slap’ and it’s over. I’m not talking about extreme mental cases.

      But nowadays, I don’t see parents telling their daughters to go back. Actually I’ve seen parents who threaten the boy that if he lays even a finger on their daughter, they’ll see him in court. 🙂 Maybe I’m living in a different time zone and as I’d said once earlier on your blog, I don’t seem to relate to a lot of things on your blog. It seems as I’m reading a 90’s blog. Not saying that something wrong with you or your blog, just that maybe i’ve been lucky not to witness this.

      Me – Rakesh, I write about what I see around me, and this is actually happening 😐 I wish it didn’t …
      I wrote about this girl who married in 2000, and went through hell, didn’t want a divorce, although we talked to her, finally separated, and has no life… she is educated, smart, very much a today’s girl, but lived in total hell for years, her child has some fits – caused by trauma during pregnancy, she has no reason except social conditioning to stay with her husband who doesn’t respect, care or want her… (says she doesn’t want the child to be a single mother’s child!).
      I have heard of a girl’s parents warning the boy, this girl’s also did, but that’s all they did, no action 😐
      I know of other cases where all they did was threaten. And my maid went to the police station they sent her back without even writing a complaint. There are so many women, and we all seem to have seen many such cases, we can’t all be ill-informed Rakesh…
      We are still a very biased society…

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  55. Hello all,

    We came across this blog and just had to re-publish it on the Bell Bajao website. Please visit the site and share the love.
    http://www.bellbajao.org.

    IHM, we just want to tell you once more how much we appreciate your blogs.

    Me – I am a big fan of the Bell Bajao campaign!! Honored and delighted!!! 🙂

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  56. precisely,IHM!most of the abused endure all the tortures because they have been conditioned to think they deserve it.They dont realize that they have every right to stand up against it and live a normal happy life.

    Me – Deeps that is all they need to believe!! If we realise that we have a right to live a happy life, problem is half solved. In fact chances are if we are that sure and strong the violence may not start. I have seen strong women are always respected.

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  57. I can truly understand when you said you were shocked at the lady who tried to cover up for her abusive husband. When I was in Delhi working among such abused women the toughest job was to convince them what their husband is doing is wrong and it would never end like she thinks it will. Many of them after innumerable counselling sessions sadly went back to their abusive husbands and refused to file a case against them. Their take on it was always “How will me and my kids live if he goes to jail?” I remember coming back home most of the time in tears after listening to such stories on a daily basis and felt so so helpless. I used to forget the fact that we were able to save many women from such a miserable fate when we failed to make one woman stand up for herself.

    Me – Sakshi you have worked for abused women?! yes that must have been very upsetting for you! Emailing you.

    Like

  58. After reading your post, I went through all the Bell Bajao campaigns on youtube. I think they are all brilliantly made. But have they been aired yet? I haven’t seen a single one on TV yet.

    And this entire topic needs more coverage. If Oct is really DV awareness month, where is the awareness? Where are the newspaper articles? Where are the hoardings? Where are the regional language reports? Where are the infomercials on TV???

    Sirf bell mat bajao, shor machao!

    Me – I agree, this needs a lot of shor!!!!!!!!!!! Love your slogan, ‘Sirf bell mat bajao, shor machao’ !!

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  59. Pingback: Domestic Violence Awareness : Learn to say NO « Nogenderinequality's Blog

  60. I’ve linked this post to mine.As my luck would have it your visits to my page have dwindled 😦 Thought you’d get the pingback. and come by.

    Have a good day,IHM

    Deeps, for some very weird reason I just don’t get your updates, now I will make it a point to follow your comments!

    Like

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