If someone dislocated your jaw in one of the many violent beatings they gave you, how would you like to try to live with them and win their love?
23 year old Neha committed suicide on January 1st. Her family alleged that her in laws “used to beat her up...” [Link] “Once she was beaten so badly by Dalal (her husband) that her jaw got dislocated and she also lost her job as air hostess,” Atul Ahlawat, Neha’s cousin, alleged.” After losing her job as an Air Hostess, she found a job on the Cruise liner where her husband was working. [Details in the video below.] Allegedly he continued to beat her here and one day she just couldn’t bear it any more and killed herself.
I am trying to understand what kind of compulsions could make any parents let their child go back to a spouse who allegedly dislocated her jaw. What did they say to her when they asked her to go back? Would they have said the same thing if the child being beaten was a male child?
Why was it so difficult to let this financially self reliant adult walk out of what they allege was an abusive and violent marriage? I have blogged about this in ‘When a daughter refuses to go back’. I can never understand why we don’t trust our daughters when they say they are unhappy… why would we rather they died than walked out?
Here’s the translation of what the mother has to say. I know other Indian mothers who would have said exactly the same thing. My response in red.
“My daughter tried her best. (At best the beatings would become less frequent. The fear and mental abuse will stay. At best physical pain, indignity, embarrassment, humiliation and the lies to cover the bruises will become a part of her life.)
She did not want us to face any kind of unhappiness. (What about her unhappiness? Could she say the same thing for her parents?)
Neha was being tortured mentally. Physically too. (Why didn’t she have the confidence to walk out and save her life? Did she have no faith in her parents’ love and support?)
She told me this many times but I kept explaining to her that it will all be alright after a while. (It never gets ‘alright’, the threat of violence is always there and there is always a risk of injury and death)
The last time when she gave me the phone to speak to Ankit (the son in law) Ankit did not speak to me. And I heard Neha’s pained cry… like someone had hit her or something… then the phone was disconnected.” (This is a violent crime happening, and just because the criminal is a son in law does not make it okay. The parents should rush to the daughter’s side and if she has been brought up with any self worth and if she trusts them, she will come back with them.)
I also feel violent men sense that the wife’s family would consider an odd dislocated jaw or broken bone their right as husbands. Nothing can be more encouraging for any criminal.
Dowry and Domestic Violence (DV) might lead to death by beatings or by suicide. Counselling and campaigns should be aimed at not just the victims but also the victim’s parents who see Domestic Violence as a domestic matter not a serious crime.