Are Happily Married Daughters a status symbol in India?

A mother calls me  sometimes to talk about her very unhappy daughter.

This mother retired from a good job, has a supportive husband and lives a comfortable, middle class life ( a driver, a cook, a maid etc), they enjoy socializing with close friends and family, and they enjoy their beer on weekend afternoons.

She had once asked me to sign as witness, in their will, where they leave everything equally to their two children. She clearly loved both her children and both the children were provided equal opportunity to succeed. The daughter was smart, self assured and she had a good career. The proud parents quoted her opinion during conversations,  “Our daughter says we should pay our bills online, so now we can’t be bothered with standing in queues.“, or “She said the front door should be painted white, so we changed the colour.

Their son couldn’t pass class twelve, the parents seemed aware of his limitations, the mother looked content once they managed to get him a job. The son was polite, he did not smoke, he loves Pizza and Coke, and drank only during the gatherings at home.

All was fine with their world till then.

Then their daughter, then 30, married someone she liked. The parents weren’t pleased with her choice but seemed happy for her.

Then some months later a common acquaintance told me their daughter was very unhappy, her husband was beating her, “...but she chose him, it’s her own fault. The parents are so ill, at this age all this trouble for them...”

I asked if she told the mother to support the daughter and bring her back home. She didn’t because thought a marriage should be given a chance, and this would ‘sort out on its own‘.

Many months later, one day the mother called me, she sounded very old and tired. The fact that she was ready to call a near stranger to discuss what most Indians consider a very personal problem in itself was an indication. She said she came to know there was violence when she saw a purple mark on her daughter’s leg. The daughter didn’t want to go back, but she said the father felt she chose her husband so now she must make this marriage work.

At first tactfully and then quite clearly I have been telling her that this violence which has now been going on for two years, was not going to end. I reminded her of how happy they were when their daughter lived with them. I gave examples of another woman, who we both know, lives very happily with her mother, and of another woman who has separated and looks visibly happier and more confident.

The mother sought legal guidance and warned the husband with the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) and for a short while there was no violence, but now he has made her give up her job, he does not allow her to keep any domestic help, she wears only traditional clothing now, he also lovingly apologizes after most beatings which he claims are always caused because of something she did wrong – the girl is now (according to the mother) not ready to come back.

The mother, I sense, still wants this marriage to work, but she is realizing that there is little hope of that happening.

What is compelling this independent and loving mother to allow her daughter to go through this abuse? The girl can start working again so financial security is not a real problem.

Could it be that the parents like most Indian parents see a ‘Happily Married Daughter ‘ as a status symbol? Are they are concerned about what the neighbors and relatives might say?

Would it not be easier to answer or to ignore those who don’t care for their child’s welfare, than to watch their child’s life being ruined?


Related Posts on this blog:

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  • An email from an Anonymous Confused Wife.
  • If someone dislocated your jaw…
  • Feminism has gone to women’s heads. Divorce has become like selling onions.
  • Overheard at a Beauty Parlour.
  • When a daughter refuses to go back.
  • Is a Known Devil really better?
  • How important is it for a girl to get married.
  • 🙄

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    142 thoughts on “Are Happily Married Daughters a status symbol in India?

    1. It seems that every damned thing, except the actual happiness of a woman is a source of pride and a reason to uphold tradition . 😦

      Me – And this one is a modern, educated family, there was no (obvious) gender bias in bringing up the children.

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    2. Such a sorry state of affairs. We go insane with our don’t-care attitudes at all random times yet when it comes to sensitive subjects, what-people-would-say becomes all consuming. I know of many such cases in my own acquaintance. Asking them about it fetches – “we live in a society after all.” Did the society help bring your daughter up? Or did it lull her to sleep when she was a kid? Why we are needlessly bothered with people is something I can’t understand. In fact, after a certain level of gossip is exhausted, these ‘people’ are also bothered only about their own lives and skins.

      me – Exactly my thoughts Deboshree. Public memory is short and public opinion can’t be relied upon on serious issues.

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    3. I wouldn’t call it a status symbol IHM, but yes, on the one hand is the worry about what people will say, on the other hand is also a genuine feeling that a woman cannot survive by herself and hence it is better to stay in a marriage, however bad it is. People do think that their daughters are better off in an unhappy marriage (“these things will sort out”) as opposed to being divorced, with no chance of “sorting it out”.

      Me – I guess you have a point, but here the mother clearly realises, and she hates the son in law, but doesn’t dare ask the daughter to come back.

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    4. In answer to the question in the title, its a sad YES. This attitude of “You chose ur partner, u suffer if there are problems” is very prevalent here.

      Who is a mother ??? Isn’t she a woman first ??? How can she tolerate another woman being abused, that too her own daughter, thinking that the animal husband can be tamed ??? Its happening in many families now, as women choose their own life partner.

      The parents also have a argument ready – “If you had married according to our choice, then we would have supported you” – Now, isn’t it being mean to ur own children ??? And how they are so confident that all arranged marriages work so well huh ???

      Let the daughter come back home and live happily.

      Me – I wish I could say the right words to the mother – to make her let her daughter come back home and start living again.

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    5. Of course it is a status symbol! It is just another thing like my house is better than yours, my son has a foreign degree and yours does not and my daughter is well settled and yours is not. A desire to prove that “All is Well”. Sadly it ends up meaning in some cases “My daughter is a better and smiling sacrificial lamb and I have extracted the parental pound of flesh from her by throwing her to the wolves”.

      Wonder why daughters and just daughters have to bear the brunt of this kind of shit?

      Me – Maybe they think nobody knows, but the woman who told me must have gossiped with others also. What they are trying to save (their idea of status) is already lost.

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      • My daughter is a better and smiling sacrificial lamb and I have extracted the parental pound of flesh from her by throwing her to the wolves”.
        very well said Ritu !

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    6. I echo your writing IHM:)

      Me – Thank You Samyuktha. I wish I knew what to say to this mother to make her let her child feel welcome in her parental home again, without that confidence she will never be able to make a serious move to help herself.

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    7. “…father felt she chose her husband so now she must make this marriage work.”

      If she chose the husband, then why not agree to it when she chooses to leave him?? Why does the father ( or mother and others like them) feel that once you have chosen you must stick to it?? Leaving is also a ‘choice’ for that matter.

      Yes, why cannot parents in general “see that it is better (and easier?) to ignore or answer some nosy neighbors than to watch her daughter’s life being ruined” Why indeed.

      I am sad to note that now the daughter is not ready to come back. Is it really so or is that the mother’s wishful thinking?? A man (or anyone) who resorts to violence citing what the other person said/did/acted as the reason for it, needs counselling. If he does not even see that, then it is better that his wife run from him as soon as possible.

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      • Well said Shail, but I’m more concerned as to why the girl refuses to come back!
        Has she given up on her parents just as she’s resigned to her fate with her husband?
        If that’s the case, then the parents have lost face to the person who matters (their daughter) and not to the neighbors or relatives.

        In the end, was it worth it?

        me – Well said Momofrs!! ” the parents have lost face to the person who matters”

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    8. Yes, you’re right. Though I don’t know if they view it as a status symbol, but to parents of daughters, their social/marital status is vital to the existence – happy or otherwise – of parents. Which is why women aren’t really able to live for themselves. They’re living for their parents’ or spouse’s izzat.

      Me – I agree D, they probably don’t view it as status symbol, but ‘their social/marital status is vital to the (parents’) existence – happy or otherwise’ … true.

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    9. No, I don’t get the feeling that there is a status symbol involved here.

      The mother is genuinely distressed. She is to be pitied.
      Her predicament is genuine. She wants her daughter to be well treated and live a happy life, even if she chose her husband.
      But if the mother recalls her daughter, there is a danger of her marriage breaking up.
      She may have to live life all alone after the parents life time is over and there may be no children to support the daughter in her old age.

      That man needs counseling. May be his family can help.
      If they don’t then it’s not worth continuing.
      The daughter should leave him and live life alone or try her luck with another marriage after getting a divorce.

      Regards
      G Vishwanath

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      • Gosh, this is the attitude that gets women killed and burnt! And why should the woman bear the beating? “Even if she chose her husband” means what??? She made a blunder by even wanting to chose her own life partner?

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      • [She may have to live life all alone after the parents life time is over and there may be no children to support the daughter in her old age.]
        Interesting perspective!
        So a woman should get married so that she doesn’t have to live all alone after her parents die and has kids.
        Is marriage the only answer to the “so called” problems like old age, companionship and the need for a good support system ? When will we accept that a woman can be single and yet live very happily and with dignity !

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        • Why does one need to be ‘legally bound’ or even ‘bound by blood’ to enjoy companion ship and support? Talk about pressures of being in some form of relationship or the other.

          And maybe there are better things to do in life than ‘try luck in another marriage’ or yet another!! arrrgghhhh… :/

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        • I wonder why a woman needs to have children (son/sons) to support her in her old age? What if she does not have sons? Just as people who do not have sons manage their old age, the single/divorced woman can manage the same way. Should we not empower our girls to be able to live on their own and take charge of their own lives, rather than being at the mercy of sons and daughters in laws?

          Recently I visited 2 old age homes (that had better facilities and care than what an old person can possibly get at home) where most residents were staying there of their accord. One gentleman had a daughter whom he visited regularly/she did the same. There were others who had kids staying abroad who led busy lives. There were still others who preferred to live in India. There are solutions for old age. One can get more respect from the next generation when they are given the space to lead their lives the way they want, without any interference from the earlier generation. Treat your children with respect and see the magic happen.

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      • @Vishwanath: What struck me was this part of your remark: “There is the danger of her marriage breaking up”. So? Is that what should be considered important? What about the danger to the daughter? Real physical danger, as evident from the frequent beatings!

        @IHM : I wonder if the father has considered what “society” would think about them if their daughter actually died at her husband’s hands. Would he then lie about it to protect their “honour” and “reputation”? Would they really be worse off with a divorced – but alive – daughter, rather than a daughter who was killed by her “chosen” husband? I really feel for the daughter’s predicament. Perhaps she doesnt want to leave her husband because she’s now afraid that her parents will not give her any support at all if she did.

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      • @G Vishwanath,

        …there may be no children to support the daughter in her old age.

        She had a good job with a handsome salery package that could cover her retirement benefits. By the time women my age will grow old believe me the so called children will not even have anytime for us coz’ globalization is not only moving capital but people too. My dad turns 70 next week he had open heart surgery last june he and my mom are by themselves, we both kids could not be there due to our life circumstances. So what kind of care are we talking about???

        …The daughter should leave him and live life alone or try her luck with another marriage after getting a divorce.
        Is marriage and making babies are the only noble things to do in life??? Leave one abuser and find another. What are the guarantees next guy will be good? Why everything has to come and rest on being married for women??

        Guess there are better things to do besides getting married. It is this thinking that a woman needs to get married and remain married that is the cause of all marital abuse against women as it closes all other options for them. Women can live on their own they don’t have to sign up for life long servitude to shut up some faceless strangers called “log” and neighbours and beget so called security of marriage against harrassing men outside the homes.

        Peace,
        Desi Girl

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      • Oh no!!
        7 readers have given me Thumbs down!!

        To all readers disappointed with my comment, I must plead that in a hurry, I did not read carefully my comment before posting and my communication has been poor.

        A simple phrase was missing in my comment.
        That omission has made it appear that the opinions which I wanted to attribute to the mother were mine. Not so.

        I wanted to state that the mother had fears of the marriage breaking up if the daughter came home. I wanted to state that the mother was afraid of her daughter having to live a lonely life. Which mother would prefer this?

        I hope this clarification exonerates me. I condemn that man’s behaviour. I sympathise with the lady and I also agree that she should not put up with this abuse any more.
        She must leave him and the parents MUST support her even if they were not responsible for this abusive marriage.

        I also accept that marriage need not be the only way for a woman to live happily and with dignity.

        I trust this clarification/retraction earns me at least one thumbs up!

        Regards
        GV

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    10. Yes, by most of our society, married daughters are seen as a social status. If your daughter is not married you and her both are to be pitied 🙂 I agree the BIGGEST problem we face is social pressure.

      We have a relative who got her daughter engaged to a seemingly nice family. But soon after the engagement, the Boys family started asking for dowry, making ridiculous demands such as the girl won’t work, will only wear traditional clothes etc etc. The girls parents were worried. We all told them to call off the wedding. After all a broken engagement and a few wagging mouths are better than a ruined life. But they were so damn concerned about the society that they went ahead and now the daughter is one of the unhappiest person I know!

      It’s pathetic and shocking the way society still controls us. Or maybe we are not strong enough to stand up to social pressure!
      I was brought up by my parents to be an independent confident person. They are very fine with my single status and I am pretty sure they won’t go to their grave worrying about what will happen to me! But it’s the neighbors, the distant relatives, the so called well wishers who make our life so difficult. You need courage and confidence to rebuke these people, and I feel that they must be rebuked!
      I might do a post about this topic (tho this comment is long enough! Incidentally I have blogged about something similar today !)

      Me – I also received an email just when I finished writing this post – about the same thing, today seems to be a day for this !! Let me read your post, and do write the post you said you might, I would like to add a link here, – for added effect.

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      • 10 Thumbs down for my initial comment.
        5 Thumbs up for my later clarification/retraction.
        5 more to be neutralized.

        Thanks Desi Girl for all that home work you have prescribed.
        That is quite a bit of reading indeed.

        I will check out those links, during the weekend.
        Keep your thumb ready.
        Regards
        GV

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    11. I believe that it is certainly a status symbol to have a happily married daughter, and also to have grandchildren. These are two instances where I have seen many educated parents also try to cover up many personal details and portray a happy facade to please every one of those nosy relatives and neighbours. Leaving a daughter to domestic violence, whoever chose the groom, is a very disheartening thing to see… I think it somehow makes the daughter ( in this case) who had some courage to raise their voice against their spouse, also sit back and just take what is coming.

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    12. Even if the girl is happy being single, unmarried, its a matter of concern… Is something wrong with the girl, that she is not getting married.. She must be hot headed, she must be having some high expectations, she must be career oriented, may be she is not a good DIL material… blah blah blah… Saying all this based on my personal experience..
      People around us generally have a problem – whether we are married or not….

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    13. This is horrifying.What indeed makes well-to-do,educated parents pressurize a daughter to make an abusive marriage ‘work’? And what in the heaven’s name has come over the poor girl? She got married to the guy despite her parents reservations. Why should she find it so important to seek her father’s opinion before walking out? Is it because she feels ‘guilty’ for not having listened to her parents and is trying to ‘punish’ herself ?Whatever makes a qualified,confident,financially secure woman allow her spouse to beat her,to make her wear traditional clothes,to make her quit her job? And to think that she is refusing to move out–she appears to have lost the ability to think clearly for herself. She is in urgent need of counselling and parental support.I hope her parents realize that before it is too late.

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      • @S,
        You just described DG, she was that woman but she had a hope she’ll be free someday but how she did not know. Yes, that is the nature of abuse it erodes your self esteem in a way that you cannot even recognize who you are any more. Abusers like terrorists play with your mind and create a horrible image of life without the abuser. It is like, “now one man who is lawfully wedded to you is raping you then it will strangers pouncing on you.” This is something kept echoing in my head, it was said by a woman in the jhoparpatti in Delhi. What was the difference between us, she lived in slums ahd negligible resources and I had highest education, good home to live in but our realities were same in the end.

        And yes, you punish yourself for making a bad choice. Even my dad said onetime “you made your bed sonow why do you complain?” It was my mother who stood by me through all this that brought about dad into 110% supportive mode.

        It helps to understand How Abuse Begins http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/all-about-relationships/how-abuse-begins/

        Peace,
        Desi Girl

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    14. It isn’t a question of the “Happily Married Daughter”. I think most people at least in the Indian society believe that a “Married Daughter” is all that they need to be “Happy”.

      All the movies, books, individual plans, life insurance policies, etc that I am aware of , plan until “bachhe parh-likh jaayein, unki shaadi ho jaye”. After that point, I don’t see anyone making any plans. So, I believe that this sheer unpreparedness of what to do after your child gets married, deters the parents from recognizing the problem of a failed marriage and then resolving it. They feel that their role as a parent is over after the marriage of their child. Very few people realize that a married daughter continues to be the parent’s responsibility. She needs to be counseled, guided, and helped through this new course of her life.

      Actually, I believe that this parental guidance after marriage, is required for all children, not just daughters.

      The day these parents go back to being the folks who told their children after any childhood mistake:

      “It’s ok. It was a wrong decision on your part. Anyone can make a mistake. But life goes on after this. Let me help you fix this and make it better.”

      That day that these parents will realize that their daughter just stumbled, and needs their support to stand up on her own and run again.

      Me – Very true Roli. You summed it up –
      “It’s ok. It was a wrong decision on your part. Anyone can make a mistake. But life goes on after this. Let me help you fix this and make it better.”

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    15. Somehow parents teach children everything except the fact they have a choice to stand up for themselves. This is true in case of modern educated families too. They would rather their child suffer but raise a voice. I have seen many parents talk about supporting children but when it is time to make the ultimate decision they grow weak. Its sad and majority of the times daughters pay a higher price for this.
      😦

      me – Very true, this applies strongly to girls – they are taught to please everybody. If girls were prepared and guided to identify a control freak or an abusive man, it might help, but no Indian parents would want to do that, because that means she actually has a say in who she marries.

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    16. Pingback: Friday Links | Cultural Fascinations

    17. Isn’t it funny? When people drink and party they are talked about. But they are ready to ignore it because its a symbol of status or i don’t know what. But when it comes to a daughter (who is educated and has a great career in front of her!) its a shame to have her with you.

      If I were her, I would walk out (without caring about what the parents have to say), get myself a job and rent a place away from people I know and lead my own life for my own good. I really think she should so that. I am sure when she does that and succeeds in life, all those people she feared would talk bad about her will come to her with love and support! And the parents will be proud of her too…some day…

      Me – Well said LifenSpice. The kind of parents who don’t stand by their child in her time of need, don’t deserve her concern with making them proud. She has done nothing for them to be not-proud. Maybe now they should do something so she too can be proud of her parents.

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    18. For someone who has seen this happen at close quarters, I can’t help but comment here! Everyone says the wife should leave. What if there were children involved! I guess no parent will want to break up their child’s marriage. They have grandchildren to worry about too! In a society where marriage is considered the ultimate decision in her life, it is unfortunately a decision she has to live with! And yes HE has broken her self confidence! What can a parent do especially if the child is not helping herself!

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      • I have had plenty of friends whose parents stayed together “because of the children”. Believe me, the children are even worse of in a fractured marriage, and in a violent one, they are physically in danger. My friends often said of their mothers – I wish she would just leave. I have two friends who are now grown up and trying to help their mum’s to leave their abusive fathers. Maybe these marriages should break up “for the children’s sake”.

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        • I agree with the Bride. A single parent, happy household is better for a child than an abusive 2parent house.

          Me – Yes absolutely, I agree too. It’s not the number of parents/care givers, but the attitude and the environment that matters.

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      • Jyothi, children also suffer in abusive marriages, they often grow up accepting the abuse as a normal part of life (sons become abusive and daughters accept violence as a woman’s destiny). And also often the abuse is obvious before the children are born, but families advice the woman to have a baby, to solve the problem. It’s true that most parents don’t want to break their child’s marriage – but would you call this a marriage? The mother agrees that her daughter is very unhappy, and that the man has a problem – but she wants her to somehow make it work. Domestic Violence is not something a victim can ‘cure’ by her good nature, tolerance etc or by ‘adjusting’. The abuser needs serious counseling and the victim needs to get away. I know of a victim whose hearing was severely affected because of such beatings, I blogged about a woman whose jaw was broken – and this girl has purple marks on her legs. Verbal abuse also destroys self confidence.

        It’s true that the girl chose her partner but why does that mean that her parents need to no longer support her? Was it wrong for her to choose her own partner? If an arranged marriage had turned out to be abusive there is no doubt that the girl would have been advised to ‘please adjust’ – she would have been told she must have done something to provoke her husband.

        It is very difficult for abuse victims to help themselves, please do take a look at the videos here, https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/an-ordinary-fight-with-wife/

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        • If she got married at 30 of her own choice, and she is being beaten up before having kids, why is she still there? Why does she need her parents help? When she was working and had the full authority to leave, why did she go to her patents? Why not just leave. I think there is more to this story.

          Kids from broken up marriages don’t end up extremely well either! They have adjustment and commitment issues. There is no guarantee on what kids grow up to be! It’s not that only sons of abusive parents turn abusive! Normal sons do too. It’s a disease and has to be reported and cured. If it continues the woman should leave!

          My question again, why does a mature woman like her need parents help!

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          • Intimate Partner Abuse completely shakes the victim’s self confidence and self worth. Financially secure victims also don’t leave the abuser, often for years. I blogged about a 60 year old gynecologist who is still not able to live with the abuser or leave the abuser. ( https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/sixty-and-nowhere-to-go/ ) Hers was an arranged marriage but she was sent back when she did try to escape. And then she could not leave – now she is 60, her son is not doing well, she is lonely and the violence continues.

            Do watch the video Jyothi. I have added it here in the comments so it’s easily available.

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      • @jyothi: “think about the children, and try to make the marriage work” is another reason given to the woman/man, to try and make the marriage work. I am saying this from personal experience, When my parents were in a abusive marriage, life for me and my sister was hell. Believe me when I say it was not fun to watch my mom being tortured in front of my eyes. I think we were the happiest people after my parents divorced. It felt as if our childhood started ‘after’ the divorce. The years we spent (and are spending) without my dad, are some of the happiest years, and the ones I remember. So please stop making children the scapegoats to save a already broken marriage!! children raised by single parent are better off than the ones raised in a abusive relationship.

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        • Hey Neha, Sorry to hear about your father’s attitude. I can understand your situation dear. But the thing is, everybody’s situation is different. So you are a product of both abusive parents and separated ones. How old were you and your sibling when your parents separated? The ages of the kids matter too! You know your father’s attitude. But imagine if you were way too small to understand him. Are you sure you would grow up and feel the same way about separated parents? Of living without a father? Its not easy my child. Like I said, every situation is different!

          No one has a 100% successful marriage, if anyone tells you that, please don’t believe them! When things go out off hand thats when you need to worry. Just now, when I saw this video, I felt that I have been abused too! Thats the effect of the presentation. But every individual has a different set of issues. Someone who got married at 21 and someone who got married at 30, have a whole lot of different set of problems. I was just trying to figure out what made her stay. It couldn’t be the same as in the video, because this one tried to get out of it once before, but her parents sent her back!

          Its true, the parents need to get her out of there! And IHM, if you can , I think you must get involved. Since the mother has come out with it, its no longer a secret anyway! You should find out her email id. She needs support from within herself first, she needs to see these videos. She needs to hear the other Neha’s story. Her brother, father should get involved. You need to push her mother too!

          Personally, I would drag my daughter out off that house, even if she was against it! Any one can find a job to sustain themselves these days. Not thrive but at least sustain.There is no need to fear or suffer just because you are unemployed either!

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    19. Hmpf! You are so v right abt it… But welll I dono how true it is… But isnt it more to the story… Look at it from the girls shoes… Its a chooice she made.. so coming out it would imply telling the world her choice is wrong n tht paints a ‘Loser’ image b4 her frnds n family.. So possibly even she choose sthe option of putting up with all of it silently n painting a ‘Happy-couple’ picture to the entire world!

      me – The girl was keen to come back when the violence started but now it seems she has accepted it as her destiny. But what kind of life is this? What kind of family will she raise if she children? She has a seen a better life, how is she going to accept house work and beatings, and nothing else, as her destiny. He picks and drops her where ever she goes. He has cut her off from her friends, and up to a limit, from her family too. Do take a look at this amazing video in this post, where this woman talks about how violence started in her married life – https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/an-ordinary-fight-with-wife/

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    20. Although status is apparently a big deal in Indian families, in this case I think it’s more the parents are of the type who genuinely believe “marriage is sacred”, “should be preserved at any cost”.

      However, I don’t see how a parent can see bruises on their child’s body and not do everything in thier power to get her out of that situation, let alone not go after the guy and give him a taste of his own medicine. I think you should tell this woman – “one day he might kill your daughter and you will never be able to forgive yourself, so stop dithering and act now.” Also, can’t someone talk to the girl directly and get her to move out herself, even if not to her parents.

      Me – The girl lives in another city and the mother didn’t give me her email address, I wanted to send her a link to some sites that might help her at least understand what is happening.
      I did tell the mother about cases where if not intentionally the abuser has killed the victim accidentally or caused severe injury. She sounded worried but continued to say the girls doesn’t want to come back. In the beginning she had told me they did not want her to come back – but now she says it’s the girl who wants to make the marriage work.
      This man’s father is also abusive, so he has never seen any other kind of family I fear 😦 He is probably astonished that his wife’s parents are threatening legal action.

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    21. I have one question for you

      What do you think is the right age for a person to live up the consequences of the decision he/she made?

      I believe in that girl’s case getting married was her decision, facing consequences of that wrong decision is her and to take action what she thinks has been done wrong to her is upto her. I am sure if she can marry against her parent’s wishes it should not be difficult to file for separation with or against her parent’s wishes.

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      • Prats she is human and she made an error in judging this abuser. When she first wanted to leave him, her parents pressurized her to continue to live with this man. Maybe if they had not misguided her she would have walked out right then?

        Intimate Partner Abuse is complicated, the abuser often controls the victim completely – do take a look at the video in the comment section.

        What are our famous Indian Family Values for if we don’t support each other in times of need? How and why would the parents want to put their peer group before their child’s happiness?

        Was it wrong of her to choose her own spouse? Of course not. And she is the one who will face consequences anyway – if she separates or divorces or lives with him, she will be the one living her life.

        Do you think Indian parents are overly concerned about their peer group’s (biradari)’s opinion,often more than their children’s happiness? I would like to know if you disagree or agree.

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      • @Prat
        You said: ‘I think it is a case to case basis, you cannot generalize things.’

        Thousands of women beaten,mauled and driven to killing themself or killed by families, and still not enough to make any generalizations? http://www.icrw.org/publications/domestic-violence-india-part-2

        Here on this blog itself, in this very post at least 5 women have reported they experienced abuse in marriage (love) – it means nothing? Do you believe there is a justification for abusing one’s marital partner or anyone?

        Peace,
        Desi Girl

        Like

    22. Its not just in India IHM. We all grew up with fairy stories where the girls “lived happily ever after” with their princes. “Happily ever after” is a fluffy, warm place in our imaginations that all girls are meant to achieve, just by finding their Prince charmings (or having Prince Charming found by their parents).
      Then shameful reality happens and we (our parents) go into denial – this wasn’t part of the fairy story – it wasn’t a part of the deal – go back and make it work, damn it – you (daughter) are supposed to be living “happily ever after”! And if you’re not, then at least make it look like you are, so we can save face and hold our heads up high.
      Bah! If a marriage sucks, then separate and move on. If your parents can’t accept it and carry on like dramatics actors, then divorce them too and find some fun friends – friends are the modern day family anyway. Move on. We each have one life to live – its too short to carry the burdens of obligation and expectations that are not our own.
      I guess that my grandmother said that I have “cold blood” in my veins (she meant that I was uncaring and disloyal) because I refused to care what “other people” thought.

      Me – I agree. I think instead of teaching girls to not have choice-marriages (or love-marriages) they should be given some guidelines about what to watch out for. And how to make right decisions. But in India the parents would not like to lose control over their children’s life, it’s a matter of honor (girls) and support in old age (boys).

      Like

    23. Yes, unfortunately parents still want their girls to be happily married and in husbands house, and the girls also want the same, unfortunately in spite of education and jobs and having grown up in equal environment a girl’s self confidence is very fragile, whenever she gets thrashing from her husband she thinks it might be her fault, things are worst in love marriages as the properties which might have been defined as a sign of love and affection becomes a sign of possessiveness and then obsessiveness after marriage. Also a girl would not like to feel defeated as it was her choice and she knows it will take minutes to leave and go but in future everyone around her will say after it was her own choice. Yes, unfortunately we human being are very inhuman. I don’t know how men think on that, I mean did they ever love the woman or their love is thrashing inclusive. There is a big psychological, social and cultural understanding needed here. Beating is looked upon as a normal control method for bringing up kids even in today’s India. And beating gets worse in case of boy child specially by their fathers. I have seen parents taking out their kids outside for many minutes (even if it is dark outside) and let them cry for being naughty (may be not listening for a while to their parent’s demand). Such a child when grow up might consider thrashing as a control method and above all he would like to control his spouse because he was being controlled in his childhood for not behaving. And he will not be open to behaviors he has not seen before because he was always allowed only to walk a tight rope of choices in the name of discipline and parenting.

      Me – Yes, for such victims of violence in childhood, this is the only way they have seen of reacting to any disappointment or frustration in life 😦 There are signs to watch out for, to identify an abuser. A man who tries to protect or is too jealous or is trying to change the way the woman dresses or tries to control who her friends are – somebody who does not respect her intelligence and choices. In the video she talks about how he started with how she dressed, and then what subject she studied, it goes on to how she laughed, sat, what she read, who she interacted with – and in the end this victim describes she just wasn’t sure if she did anything right at all.

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    24. Girls are forced to stay in such marriages most of the times because of the expectations of them to nibhao things.. or the girl/victim has to be courageous enough to just walk out and stay independent even if there is nobody to turn to for a lil support either in words or actions.

      Its sad and the family/peer/societal pressure works at both the levels – parents as well as the victim herself..

      one needs to get out of these mindsets to give us/our loved ones a push into better possibilities.
      Hope this girls gathers the courage required.

      Me – True Tara… it is very difficult to walk out even with support, an abuse victim is known to lose confidence and self worth… Did you like the video?

      Like

      • yes, I watched them some time back.. but i dunno if i liked it.. it saddens me to see the irony..
        love is amazing… its confusing… cowardice it may seem but its easier to not think about this subject. i think it was emotionally disturbing for me to watch this video.. what do u think?

        Me – I understand Tara… It had made me angry (with the man) and also made me glad that it is there for someone who might need it. I was also glad that this woman realised what was happening…

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    25. True IHM we do need someone to back up in such situations and naturally its mother who we think of then first…having faced one for a brief moment,i understand totally!!!but luckily i hv gt a family who know m suffering before i do !!!its high time society rises up from sucha mindset.,we waste our lives thinking abt such things even on knowing the truth – “only love is real”!!

      Me – Support from family can, I feel even ensure that abuse never happens. Most abusers look for easy victims, they will stay away from a woman who has her family’s support.

      Like

    26. There is something gravely wrong with this world when a parent lets their child get beaten by someone and does nothing about it.
      I don’t have children of my own, but if anyone harmed my best friends daughter I would be ready to strangle them with my bare hands.

      Me – Yes Broom, I too can not understood how something like this is tolerated, no matter what excuses parents make.

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    27. i am live example for it (mental abuse) -“Most abusers look for easy victims, they will stay away from a woman who has her family’s support”

      i hv a better marriage now, though hardly 6 months into marriage saw a lot!

      Me – The saddest thing with abuse victims is that a girl is made to feel responsible for something she needs support with, and the abuser is allowed to go scot free, if his parents and the girl are dependent on him (emotionally, financially) then it gets worse. If a girl atleast understands what is happening is not her fault, she atleast can stop him from making her feel like she is worthless/at fault /responsible for his behaviour etc. Self confidence can be very strengthening.

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    28. Well the mentality of the daughter is PRAYA DHAN and belongs to other home needs to change ..

      as usual Me being a man would first get that silly brother to get up and do something for his sister, what is he doing watching this happen to his own sis.. anyone touches my SIS is DEAD simple no second thoughts on it …

      Again I go on a tangent here The mother needs to speak up and get her daughter out of that mess, yeah she married of her own choice so what , everyone makes a mistake .. the daughter did and SO is the mother making now seeing all this voilence .. GET the daughter out of there..
      and Someone above mentioned that she made this choice so let her decide when to come out of it WELL EXACTLY dont u think she may be ashamed and now scred ot get out of the marriage.. ALL The more reason for parents to help her
      and her brother , I dont see any mention of him …

      We all make mistakes and we will continue doing so till we die.. so its not end of world The parents shud do something to hell with the world society and there stupid idols and values …

      Me – Loved the last lines above!! The brother can help the same way the parents should – by welcoming her back instead of saying, ‘she herself doesn’t want to come back’.

      Like

      • Even i think that the responsibility of bringing her back is with the father and the brother as well . Also , if the girl is feeling guilty for her choice , she still has been a loved daughter… I think the father is the deciding authority in this household ( as always) and the mother feels helpless despite being aware of the situation..( she needs to be a sensible human being more than a loving proud mother)..

        Very very unfortunate and still very prevalent.

        I have seen parents being similarly ‘proud’ of a son’s ‘well off’ status ( well off status includes a nice bahu and happy married life)…and even after they realize there is something wrong with their son’s behavior they ‘arrange’ another marriage for him ( if the girl decides to move out).
        In this case even the son in laws’ parents should take action ….but who has seen that happening???

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    29. In no country it should be allowed to beat a woman. I know we have husbands here in Europe too who beat their women, it must be a worldwide problem.
      My advice, leave the men, file a complaint, file for a divorce and start a new life.

      Me – Gattina, absolutely agree.

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    30. wait! IHM, your title is all wrong and clashes with your post. Make it “Does the status you pretending your daughter is happily married, make you happy?”

      And to continue…Does her being beaten black and blue give you sleepless nights? Do you then go put on a face to ‘society’ about how happy she is? How does it make you happy? And did your role as her parent, supporter and protector end when you ‘gave her away’?

      And frankly IHM, we are ignoring the woman’s father (is he still around?) Why is he so passive about his daughter’s safety? Why isn’t he going and getting her out to freedom from abuse?

      And this woman is not a ‘girl’, she’s not a ‘child’, but the parents are definitely acting like she’s a possession whom they handed over to this man to beat up and murder if he wants to.

      Me – Yes you are right Starry, it should be clearer… I was being sarcastic, which I feel is not as good as being direct. I wrote about the mother, because I only know her version and how she feels. I think they are generally in agreement over this – they feel 1. she chose, now she suffers. (I have no idea if they were planning to arrange a marriage for her) 2. “She herself does not want to come back.”
      The mother is very unhappy but she just doesn’t know what to do – she is terrified of bringing her back, she was once upset because she heard her cry, when the phone got suddenly cut – means he doesn’t care if they know he is beating her.

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      • My God, I got chills reading that. I hope, hope, hope they come to their senses before she is utterly broken. As for her not wanting to come back, that’s common, isn’t it, in spousal abuse…it takes a long while and in most cases, a lot of support to leave. 😦

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    31. Keeping daughters married…not necessarily “happily” does seem to be a main point with many people in our society. Sometimes daughters are educated so that they will get a “good husband” in the future.
      The whole notion is that being married is ultimately needed to give meaning to a girl’s life.
      I am not sure if this is the case with the mother you mentioned but I have seen many people like that. But even if parents are trying to help with a failing relationship there are certain things which absolutely should not be tolerated and violence is definitely one of them . It is also heartbreaking that the daughter feels she needs to go back since her father thinks she should bear the consequences of her decision…how can anything else be more important than the safety of their child…..it seems like the daughter’s self worth must be at the lowest levels right now that she is actually tolerating all this..i really hope she finds a good support system to get out of this and sees the injustice she is doing to herself by staying in such a marriage…it would be so much easier if parents stood by her no matter what….

      Me – Parents can make so much difference if they just decide to stand by their child PD. I agree it seems everything in her life has been done with just one thought in mind, that she should get married at the ‘right time’ and then she must stay married or die trying 😦 I blogged about it too – ‘How important is it for a girl to get married?’

      Like

    32. I had an abusive marriage..I tried to work it out for five and a half years, but gave up in the end as I didn’t see things changing..I had fears too, fear of the society, fear of what my parents will do, what will I do if I don’t get any support even though I am independent and have a stable career and no child/children, fear of the future, fear of unknown and unseen and on and on..but when I thought about the reasons behind staying in such a marriage, I realized that all I want is to be happy, and all of us want that. I was unhappy there. Maybe after divorce I would still be unhappy; but that unhappiness would at least be abuse free.

      It’s all about taking a stand. My family supported me when I told them that I wanted to separate. They knew I had tried enough and there is no way things can improve. I live with them these days. 2 days back my divorce got finalized. Yes there are moments of sadness, but there is always a hope for a better tomorrow. I live with pride and dignity today. there is no one to abuse me or my family.

      Yes, people talk, they question, gossip; but they never came to console when I was going through a difficult phase..then why should we care about them?

      It’s your life. you live to be happy. If abusive life makes you happy, live with it. If not, then leave such a life behind. you are born not to please anyone but you. seeing you happy, your parents will be happy too.

      Me – I wish it was possible for this woman to read your comment – she needs to see that there is hope after an abusive marriage.

      Like

    33. Its scary, I hope the girl walks out before its too late. I was told by someone once, if a man raises his hand on you once and gets away with it, it will never stop. I dont know how true it is, but yes domestic violence is a vicious circle. I know of someone who walked out of a bad marriage after 17 years and the violence started in the 1st year of the marriage. But the parents wanted the girl to carry on and adjust. The abuse she went through is a horrid story, and I still get shivers when I hear it. But the fact is our whole town knew about the bad marriage, beating & abuse. So if the happily married is a status and badly married a stigma, then might as well take the stigma a lil further and walk out. Dont know if am making much sense 🙂

      Me – A lot of sense!! The parents in this case are under the impression that somehow their family name is ‘untarnished’ by this ‘failure’ but somebody had told me about them, much before they did, I am sure she told many others too – more people than they would imagine seem to know about it. Might as well take the stigma still further and help her live again.

      Like

      • … if a man raises his hand on you once and gets away with it, it will never stop…

        It is true to every word in sense and practice. Research shows once a man physically abuses his partner he’ll repeat it again because he knows there are no consequences for what he did. It is also a way of shifting the blame on to the victim that they caused/instigated the abuser to lose control.

        Partner abuse is a learned behavior and is a choice abusers make. There is no excuse for abuse. At work you disagree with something, take a time out and rephrase what you want to say, you don’t go around beating people and throwing tantrums and you also do not resign. But in a domestic partnership you beat people or you give them ultimatums do this or else… So this explains it is a choice.

        Peace,
        DG

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    34. Thanks for posting this, IHM. There are two things that strike me; the first relates to what you have written about; and the second relates to some of the comments that I see are posted.

      I am struck firstly by the fact, as you are, that the mother would call a near stranger to talk about what is happening to her daughter. That indicates how bad the situation must be that the mother would talk about something that must normally be an ‘internal, family matter’. But surely if the parents have trusted their daughter’s opinion in so many things, including eventually her decision to marry a particular person, then surely they must also trust her judgement when she says she needs to end the marriage. Further if they could support her on all earlier occasions, then surely this situation has an even greater call on their support. Absolutely nothing justifies violence, except self-defence!

      For all the people who have posted comments saying that since she chose her partner she must live, I have to say I’m quite aghast by the sheer insensitivity of that stand. I have worked with a number of women who have faced and survived violence and it is impossible, for somebody who has never been in that situation, to understand the sheer helplessness that the situation creates. Any woman (or even man) in such a situation constantly hopes for the situation to change- what creates the hope is the constant apologising and usually a ‘honeymoon’ period following each outburst/ beating. This results in the hope that that will have been the last beating, but there is always another one.

      To the people who say ‘why does a mature, educated woman like her need her parents’s support?’- I wonder what you or I would feel like if we went through these cycle of beating and hope- a very unpredictable cycle at that. We would probably constantly be living on edge hoping not to provoke the next beating and somehow please the partner. In that state, living from moment-to-moment, it is virtually impossible to plan your life and decisions.

      S

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    35. I know what the girl must be going through IHM. When I decided to walk out of my abusive marriage (the abuse was more mental than physical), the thing that made my decision easier was the knowledge that I was always welcome in my parents home. Once my parents were behind me, the so called ‘relatives’ and ‘society’ fell in place and didnt bother us. I think walking out of such a marriage was the best thing I did for myself and have never been more happier.

      Me – I wish there was some way for this girl to read such positive comments. I totally agree that the so called relatives and their third cousins’ nephews all shut up once the parents are there to support their daughter. And just in case they don’t, they don’t matter.

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    36. The sad part is that a divorced /single woman in our society is seen as someone who is available. I don’t blame the mother, its all of us spineless indians who are to blame.

      Like

    37. “but now he has made her give up her job, he does not allow her to keep any domestic help, she wears only traditional clothing now, he also lovingly apologizes after most beatings which he claims are always caused because of something she did wrong – the girl is now (according to the mother) not ready to come back.”

      Sounds like the girl is being emotionally abused and manipulated. Especially if the husband has a ‘reason’ for each of his transgressions, and that reason is always ‘i did it because u made me angry’, sounds like a perfect abuser. She needs to get out of that relationship!

      Like

    38. Most of the parents find it too pressurising in answering everyone around as to why their daughter is back with her parents. According to them, it is easier said than done, irrespective of how ‘modern’ one is in their outlook. In this case even the father believed that it’s the girl’s responsibility to make things work since she chose the boy. I clearly see this as taking the support off the girl when she needed it and the girl is smart enough to understand this.

      As for the girl as well, we are brought up to believe that after marriage, the husband’s house is ‘home’ and we are responsible for how happy the home is; we have to make things work. This thought somehow prevents us from going back to parents (in case required) for the fear of bringing shame to the family and bringing trouble to parents at an old age.

      This is probably what has happened in this case and may be the girl has taken this as her ‘fate’ which is the result of her ‘karmas’.

      –Delhi Girl

      Like

    39. The timing of this post is impeccable. I live/work in the US and I just got off a call from my mother (in India), steaming about a conversation very similar to the one in this post. My parents are both doctors, well-educated and trained in places like US and Australia, even back in the early 80s. For most parts, they are very liberal. Growing up, my parents presented me with all the opportunities to succeed and make something out of myself. They would always ask me to boldly question things and critically analyze any situation and to make your own judgments. However, all these liberal aspects of them seem to vanish when it comes to my marriage. I really don’t know understand. I am a 30 year old who has been in an abusive marriage for the past 5 years. Even though for most parts it’s just verbal abuse, there were so many instances where it had turned physical. My mother cries about my life and marriage almost every day, but she’s never once asked me to walk out, she’s always asking me to make it right. Or worse, praying. My husband would hit me and then cry apologizing and my mom say something like, ‘He’s crying, that means he’s sorry. Forgive him and everything will be ok’. But, the hitting or the verbal abuse has not stopped just because I forgive him.
      I am not saying my parents are weak. But, if this is the case of seemingly well-educated and worldly-experienced parents, I dare not imagine how similar situations will be handled in lower- class families.
      IHM, I am very pleasantly surprised by your understanding of domestic violence /victim insights related issues. Most people going thru DV or some kinda abuse wouldn’t be able to articulate so correctly. Your posts have been such an inspiration for me, as I am sure it is for most readers.

      Like

      • Dear Maya, abuse, physical or not should never be tolerated. You sound like an educated, smart woman, you need to take care of yourself and not wait for someone else to do things for you.
        My heart goes out to you. Walk out before you are a statistic of domestic violence victims.

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    40. May I state that this post incensed me!!! Why on earth does the girl have to live with her choice, if it has proven to be wrong? Even if she did not work and her parents were uneducated, unlike the situation here, parents have a moral duty to protect the child they brought into this world, not leave her to suffer! God!! I am fuming! And to answer your question, I seriously don’t think they should be!

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    41. Neha i cant agree more to you wen u say this-It’s your life. you live to be happy. If abusive life makes you happy, live with it. If not, then leave such a life behind. you are born not to please anyone but you. seeing you happy, your parents will be happy too.

      Happiness is our divine entity,nothing can stop us from feeling that feeling!!!!

      P.S- hats off to you!!!!

      Like

    42. I have seen many such cases. Nobody can guide or help us here. The person/victim can only take a strong and bold step to decide, because better than they nobody else knows the real picture. The people who support will always do.

      Nice one IHM. Take care.

      Like

      • Rang the victim NEEDS support. Desi Girl wrote, “the nature of abuse it erodes your self esteem in a way that you cannot even recognize who you are any more. Abusers like terrorists play with your mind and create a horrible image of life without the abuser. It is like, “now one man who is lawfully wedded to you is raping you then it will strangers pouncing on you.” This is something kept echoing in my head, it was said by a woman in the jhoparpatti in Delhi. What was the difference between us, she lived in slums ahd negligible resources and I had highest education, good home to live in but our realities were same in the end.”
        Also read Aparna’s comment above – she too could take a bold step because she had support.

        Like

        • I agree with you IHM, however, eventually, it is us, the victim who needs to take the step. Take an example, if I have a long journey to walk, and find myself alone midway, my supporters might help me for some distance, some faithful ones’ might cover an appreciable distance, but finally it’s me who has to reach my destiny. If I get tired and lost, and think of giving up at one point, then companions may help me and motivate me as long as they have the energy, but when it comes to taking decisions, your pick is first.

          No doubt support is required, till the point where the victim himself/herself is able to step forward and stabilizes after that.

          Like

        • Not always, IHM. I walked out of an abusive live-in relationship myself, and my parents were not around to help me or even support me. It is very hard, especially when everything is joint and you have to start life again from scratch, but it is true that the first step has to be taken by the woman herself. Mine was more mental than physical, though.

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          • Fem if women are not as strong as you are, don’t they still deserve every possible chance? To reach the point of thinking of taking that first step… Maybe the weaker ones need even more support.

            Like

      • I do agree with you that she ought to be supported. I am just making the point that IF her idiotic and selfish parents do not feel the need to support her, she ought to still try and move out and start her life on her own. I do not know how her friends are, but even if she finds a little bit of emotional support from them, she may find the courage to take the first (and most difficult) step.

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    43. Wow, this is an interesting discussion. I just wanted to point out, in regards to the comments that the woman should simply leave. Honestly I can’t believe some of the comments here.

      It’s not that simple. As IHM points out, the victim self confidence is low and feel they deserve abusive treatment. Another thing to considered, is there are actually situations where if the victim tries to leave, her life actually may be in more danger. This isn’t to say she should remain and suffer, but it’s more complicated.

      So yes, in a lot of situations the victim will need as much as support as she can get. Even if she decides to leave.

      Like

    44. Pingback: How to Talk to an Abused Daughter « A Desi Girl's Guide to Relationship Survival

    45. Yes, they indeed are.. IHM.. the title kind of took me through the past 3 years of my life.. so much of horror, humiliation and struggle to get back to life. No, I was not looking for help from any corner I just wanted to be left alone and still do but no I am not…

      Your coming back is a reflection on my upbringing, people will point on it.
      I have been in an abusive relationship all through my life for the sake of society and NOW you ruin it all by coming out of yours, you SHOULD BEAR IT ALL…
      We are suffering a lot in this ripe old age answering everybody’s questions when this is the time we actually should retire.
      How can I leave you like this to your fate, the society will term me a bad mother even if you dont care I am with you or not?
      It is your choice, you got married to the person you liked, so you have bear the consequences and stay married.. it is your choice you did marry.. now it is our choice you stay in it.
      We cannot leave you to your fate and just ignore, we are your parents after all and it is a shame to accept that you do not pay heed to what we have to say…

      Yes… these are the things I hear time and again……

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    46. Your title holds the answer to the question too….on why it is so important for (some) parents to keep their daughters in marriages….whether happy or not….
      It’s a social status issue….less to do with the family happiness or even the poor girl’s. I’ve seen this happen in my mother’s case with my grandparents and took a stand when I became old enough to understand ….
      She now lives happily with her second husband…and I visit often. I rest my case.

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    47. I have been along time reader of many of your blogs (though I wish I culd read all).
      This post somehow comes at a time when I am trying to make a most important decision of my life.
      If you all ladies can answer one question without taking the feminine side or bashing me, I will tell you my story, since I really want to get a perspective- from a feminine side.
      My question is simple-
      What is termed as abuse. In other words, what extent of any fight, verbal or physical can be termed as abuse. I know the answer is very broad, but I want to get an idea..
      secondly, I have read each and every comment and most cases I read were pretty bad. I wonder, have you ever thought if a guy is subject to some form of abuse?
      If the male is a MCP and thinks he is a superior class, yes it clearly is a case of abuse whether or not he does anything that i read so far..but do you guys ever think if there is something from a girl’s side that drives even a perfectly sane individual do /say somethings he will repent all his life?

      Me – Krishna, like DG says, “No one is responsible for abuse but the abuser. It is a choice abuser makes and then tries to justify it by laying blame on others.”
      and
      “Partner abuse is a learned behavior and is a choice abusers make. There is no excuse for abuse. At work you disagree with something, take a time out and rephrase what you want to say, you don’t go around beating people and throwing tantrums and you also do not resign. But in a domestic partnership you beat people or you give them ultimatums do this or else… So this explains it is a choice. “

      And lastly, I have read all incidents when the female/male are in their 30’s- pretty grown up.
      What would you say if say 10% of what IHM mentioned happened when they were young in early 20’s?

      You might think I am trying to take the male side since i am a guy. The answer is NO!
      I am a pretty avid reader, have strong views against female fetocide, female abuse, and atrocities against females.
      I have a sister and a daughter whom I love dearly. So I need to know if what I am thinking and about to do is correct.

      Thank you IHM for hosting this post. I always learned a lot from each of you, but this topic is actually taking me to home-front.

      Like

    48. This post rang so many bells, IHM. The only reason my mom didnt walk out of her marriage earlier was because she had zero support from her parents (very well(?) educated and well to do). She finally did leave her husband, but I feel she could have saved so many years of her miserable life if she had walked out earlier. We, her children were supportive of her decisions, but her own parents could not understand her. The effects of a divorce (what people say about you et al) are there, no doubt, but they are definitely easier tolerating, than tolerating the abuse of a person.

      What I dont understand is why is it a big deal if a child makes a mistake. We all make mistakes. So what, if the daughter chose a wrong husband?! Is it the end of everything? Is one mistake punishable to the extent that she has to endure it life long? I think ‘mistakes’ must be seen in a more constructive way, and should not be a taboo. I think it should be taught from a very young age that making mistakes is OK. You can fix them. The first thing my mom told me when I married the guy of my choice was, “that no matter what, you are my daughter first, then after that someone’s wife, DIL, etc. And I will get full fledged support from her, no questions asked!”

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    49. Not entirely related to this post but this writer make a great point on Mr. Sheen’s history of abusing women: The Disposable Woman

      The privilege afforded wealthy white men like Charlie Sheen may not be a particularly new point, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears are endlessly derided for their extracurricular meltdowns and lack of professionalism on set; the R&B star Chris Brown was made a veritable pariah after beating up Rihanna. Their careers have all suffered, and understandably so.

      This hasn’t been the case with Mr. Sheen, whose behavior has been repeatedly and affectionately dismissed as the antics of a “bad boy”, a “rock star” and a “rebel” .

      Like

    50. Perhaps as a non Indian, I should butt out of this one, but perhaps I can provide a slightly different perspective.

      It seems to me that the necessity of having – or pretending to have – a happily married daughter is the same impulse as that which causes so-called “honour” killings. The girl is the keeper of the family “honour” and so has the obligation of being happy – or pretending – no matter what happens.

      *The battering by her husband, we all know, is caused by her imperfections, the husband is just exercising his rights as her husband. If she were a good wife, he wouldn’t have to beat her.* THAT WAS INCREDIBLY SARCASTIC, but the whole honour thing lays all the blame on her.

      I think that old evil, izzat, is at the bottom of this. It ought to be put in a rocket ship and shot into the sun where it can be burnt into nonexistence.

      Like

    51. Excellent post IHM. Just don’t know what to comment since I have heard this story a thousand times before and every time I hear it I feel tired and disheartened. The problems for this battered woman do not begin with her parents lack of support after the ‘love’ marriage began to go wrong. The problem began with the way they brought her up. An atmosphere was created whereby being obedient, being ‘good’, being ‘simple’ and ‘homeloving’ were acceptable ways of being instead of the bad words that they actually are. Which woman actually wants to be any of those things? The parents made her soft as putty in the hands of any abuser who came along and married her so she accepts it and doesn’t want to leave him even though her life is possibly in danger now. It is the parents and society who have created this girl and the many like her who go through this hell and accept it when all they have to do is make a big noise and leave.

      Like

    52. Is it just marriage IHM? I beg to differ. We as a society frown upon anything that hasn’t worked out to the societal approval levels. In the West, people change careers and ‘move on’ when they find that something is not working properly. There is no shame in it and no failure. But not so in our country. Here if after investing a few years you realise that either the career is not working for you or that you are not able to adjust to the people there and god forbid, you chose it rather than go with the traditional doctor, engineer, MBA, teacher route, parents are too shocked when you say you want to take a break and decide what is it you want to do with your life. Of course, some people are getting the chance to do that, but it still is rare.

      What I am trying to get at here is that as a society we are very closed to the idea of anything not reaching some sort of perfection. We would rather pretend the problem doesn’t exist, or tell our children that they should just work harder. The problem is an inherent rigidity and an inability to accept the human tendency to make mistakes. We would rather continue our mistakes for fear of coming back home as ‘failures’ be it work wise, be it marriage wise. There is an excessive amount of responsibility towards maintaining everything just so.

      Me – Yes… I agree, cheesychic30.

      Like

    53. Pingback: The dichotomy of the ‘liberal’ Indian parent « The Leftover Pizza

    54. you are right. v are more concerned about what people say, how will we face the world than the well being of our own daugther. i know of a family who took the bold step of bringing back their daughter about 40 years back when she was in the similar situation , this bold step resulted in their loosing out good match for their other children in the society, constant fingering in all the societal functions. finally when they managed so called good matches for their children then they heaved a sigh of relief.
      even now, although we have advanced, we are more independent but still the looks in the eyes of neighbours/ frnds and relatives do bother people.
      and this is a common misconception that initially every one needs adjustments and compromises so the girls should adjust but what about boys? don’t they need to adjust to the girl

      Me – Like another commenter put it – What happens in the name of the ‘adjustment’ is that the girl’s spirit is broken and she learns to live with unhappiness and abuse. She stops complaining and the neighbour’s third cousin’s nephew stops complaining.

      Like

    55. It is SOOOOO frustrating for me to hear this! I get really REALLY angry when people say ” It is her own fault, she chose the guy”.

      SO WHAT?!! So what if the girl chose the guy? Isn’t she human? Isn’t she allowed to make mistakes? Are they implying that if the parents made the same mistake and got her married to some nasty abusive guy, they’d bring her back cos the mistake was their’s? How is that right? HOW is that fair? HOW is it that people are satisfied to let the woman suffer cos she chose the husband?

      How can people be so heartless towards their own children and just let their damn egos make the decision? I wonder how some people say Indians have stronger family values than western cultures. If observing your parents’ wishes is the only criteria to judge this, then it’s total BS don’t u think?

      Me – It is. Indian Family Values seem to be basically about unquestioning obedience from the younger female members.

      Ok, sorry for the rant, but women’s rights is a very sore issue with me. As is what “parents are due” by their children.

      Me – //Are they implying that if the parents made the same mistake and got her married to some nasty abusive guy, they’d bring her back cos the mistake was their’s?//
      Of course not, millions of girls are asked to ‘not let the parents down’ and for that they must continue to live miserable lives – and to accept unhappiness as their destiny. These are just excuses.

      Like

      • As a child, I used to get riled up when they said ” It’s a man’s world”.
        Now, I see what it means. We need to struggle so much more for everything don’t we?

        In a developing country like India, it’s about the izzat. About keeping up the family honour.

        In western culture too, women are still abused (look at Charlie Sheen, Chris Brown and the likes) and even the ones who aren’t have more issues to deal with, sexual harassment at work, image issues etc.
        We’re not happy with the way we look, cos society has put certain images in our head of what a beautiful woman should look like. Wide hips and muffin tops are a big no-no. Breast implants, nose-jobs and botox are the norm now.

        And even if you are naturally beautiful, it is aGAIN a problem- I read abt this woman who was fired cos she “looked too good”.
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/3775708/Woman-fired-for-being-too-good-looking

        What a world we live in eh?

        Me – In India we deal with everything you mention and also with the problems that the women face in the west. There was an attempt to forbid the teachers from wearing Jeans in Madhya Pradesh for example. Many South Indian colleges have discriminatory rules for their adult female students. One way in which the women in the West are more fortunate is the wrongs are more easily acknowledged and protested against in the West. Indian women with ‘westernised ideas’- or basically women who are able to think for themselves and have a strong support system, are able to fight this discrimination better.

        Like

        • oh i KNOW how it is in S Indian colleges. I went to one! It was horrible! We were allowed to wear only salwar khameez, no jeans were allowed at ALL, (not even with kurtas) and they used to pick on me for walking with my head held up instead of looking down and walking “as a girl should”.

          I remember someone commented about me saying ” She thinks she’s a man”.

          It was the most horrible 4 years of my life and the stuff I had to go through there (from both men and women) was just terrible.

          I used to hate the people there for the longest time cos of it. Please note that the operative word here is “used to”. :o)

          I’ve seen more of life and become wiser since.

          Like

    56. It’s not an economic status symbol. It’s a combination of moral-cum-social status sysmbol. The parents otherwise are guilty of producing and bringing up a daughter who fails all traits of the ideal womanhood – failure of marriage is failure of the woman to make her marraige work. Anyone in the family who suggests that a daughter of the family walks out is anathema to the rest for instigating or encouraging breakup. A damn sorry state of most families, urban or rural; rich, mid-income, low-income or just plain poor.

      Me – Yes Nisha, because a woman is the one who makes a house a home, others have no responsibility. Have you seen the Star Plus Anthem?

      Like

    57. I think it sure is considered as a status symbol these days. My sis’s marriage din work either, and she chose to walk out. We as a family stood by her decision, but her best friends walked out of her life… Cousins, aunts, uncles – none of them openly supported our decision. Days were really hard, sometimes it still is for a single mom n to her family (more for the former ofcourse)… But to us if at the end of the day, she is happy n safe – that is all that matters 🙂

      I hope this gal finds her happy place real soon.

      Me – “But to us if at the end of the day, she is happy n safe – that is all that matters ” Absolutely Sulo!

      Like

    58. Pingback: Remember the Anonymous Confused Wife? « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

    59. I feel very sorry for this girl. I know exactly what she is going through simply because I’ve been going through the same for the last 10 years. She is lucky that she has a mother who kind of seems to be supportive of her … I hope she reads this post and realises that the abuse will never end and it will just get worser with time. I pray she will get out asap before the situation will ruin her health .

      From my observation I have come to believe that certain Indian men have a firm rooted belief that a woman who marries for love is someone who cannot be respected. I have relatives and friends who have boycotted marriages because the girl has chosen her own groom and hence is a threat to society and should be avoided like the plague else “our kids will also try to follow in her footsteps”. She is made out to be a monster , a contagious disease that must be avoided at all costs. This idea is soon spreads like the plague and soon the guy comes to belive it to …esp if its whispered repeatedly by his parents and relatives. I donot think any guy would physically or verbally abuse anyone (male or female ) he respected. Once the respect is lost its difficult to gain it back ….. so get out before the abuse gets worser.

      I am 33 yrs .Today I have nobody to support me & that is my strenght . The knowledge that I have to battle it out by myself has made me stronger. I am not battling a sour relationship anymore… its the side effects of being in a toxic relationship that I am fighting. Nothing else matters. After my first shockingly violent attack from my husband in front of his parents I fell very sick . I was hospitalised for a minor heart attack . I was put on many medications that just made me sicker. Episodes of severe Asthma attacks followed and finally last year I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I under went treatment for an year and last month at the follow up I was told that my cancer has come back. I am tired of fighting for my life … but I know I must go on .

      I donot think its any coincidence that all my diseases are in the chest area . I have been walking around feeling as if I have an elephant on my chest all these years. I know my poor body has suffered from all the stress and negativity. I donot have an ounce of hatred or anger at anyone . I am not writing this for sympathy either . I have opened up with my story in the hope that that girl will read this and understand that the only thing that truly matters in this world is your health – mental & physical health. If you are in a situation where your health is being threatened … get out of the situation asap. Nothing else matters . Truly nothing else matters. All the courage u need to face the situation is in your hands alone. Dont wait for the mother or friend or the neighbour …. Donot wait till its too late. Act fast . Act now.

      Like

    60. @Shruti,

      …I am tired of fighting for my life …

      Yes, this fight and flight over time costs your adrenals your first response to danger. You are me just that I got out alive but with exhausted adrenal gland. Do not know what to say, may be there is nothing to say cause you know it all. You are one brave woman who deserves better. Your suffering has a meaning coz’ your one comment on this post sums it all for so many women out there.

      http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Health%20Consequences%20of%20Intimate%20Partner%20Violence.pdf

      Desi Girl will keep you in her thoughts and prayer list. You have to come out victorious because so many women need to draw inspiration from you. Stay strong sister, just don’t give up yet.

      You are welcome to join our survivor’s support group ping DG on girlsguidetosurvival at gmail dot com.

      Peace and love,
      Desi Girl

      Like

    61. Absolutely it is! And what is more..if the son or daughter decide to not have kids, the parents are not ready to accept that either. Because ‘log kya kahenge’ ?
      India has so many prejudices, people poking their nasty noses in every body else’s matter.
      My mom is often chided by her friends and relatives because she ‘let’ both her daughters live outside of India.
      Education and money cannot do anything to help any of these issues. I have said this before, woman are hindering the growth of Indian women. I don’t think there is a bigger irony!

      Like

    62. “..but she chose him, it’s her own fault. “, that rankles! Really? Haven’t we heard of these things in arranged marriages. People make mistakes, that does not mean they have to stew in the consequences forever! May be the parents are too ill now? People seem to mellow with age. Ailments make things worse. I hope the woman leaves before her spirit is completely broken.

      Like

    63. Some time back, a friend of mine and I were discussing things and she came out with the statement, ‘ The best thing about India, is that once we marry, nothing can make us walk out of it’. And I asked, what if the marriage is unhappy, abusive, and the husband and wife are not happy – surely people do separate. And she says, ‘That is very rare’, and went on to give her sis-in-law’s example. Apparently she is in a very abusive marriage, and very unhappy, and yet is staying in the marriage for her daughter. And apparently her father is very proud of his daughter for doing everything to save the marriage.

      I just wish they could see this post and the comments. I find it difficult to believe that being married is more important that being happy for that woman. How would she walk out of the marriage when all her parents and siblings tell her that the right thing is to stay in the marriage? And as you and others have said, the confidence level of an abused woman must be rock bottom. How on earth can she take a step like stepping out, when she gets no support from any quarter..

      Hopefully slowly, people will realize that their children’s happiness should be more important than what the society thinks.

      Like

      • and the woman who walks out of an abusive marriage is called “a person with no sense of moral values and concern to others”.

        But indian values dictates one can be unhappy ! DAMN INDIAN values.

        the father-in-law said to me ” how dare you ask about finances. the MIL continued , ” we cannot show our face to our society, because of the questions you ask “. The FIL continued , ” the money is my sons”. But when they were in Bombay and meeting my parents for the first time – they came for food and silently expected that breakfast and food to be sent to the hospital. They self invited themselves into our house and after we came back I heard all above over the phone “. According to them I am rude for asking these questions. I ran all around town to buy things . Such shameless people ! And they have an ivy league educated son whom they emotionally blackmail for marrying me “! well – when my book will come out you will know the rest !

        Like

    64. It’s definitely a status symbol. Parents love to boast about their children’s success don’t they?

      A successful man in our society is one who scores well, gets a great job and has a great career ahead.

      A successful woman is one who gets married, adjusts with everyone and sacrifices herself. If she walks out of her marriage, no matter how abusive, she is a failure her parents need to hide at ANY cost.

      Why are ‘log’ so important to us?

      Like

    65. Pingback: A marriage arranged by the parents is better because they have experience. « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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    70. This article has it backwards, married daughters are seen as relief (usually associated with the ability to sleep at night & all that rubbish). It is the married sons that are seen as status symbols ……

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