“She called me on the very day she committed suicide. She said that she was being battered so badly by her husband that she no longer wished to stay with him. But I persuaded her to give the marriage some more time.”[Link]
I received Momofrs mail while writing about why our gender ratio will not improve until we start ‘respecting’ women. Respecting women would mean we acknowledge that women are equal citizens, human or people. Just like the rest of the world.
Meaning, we don’t respect them because they brought us into this world (so if they don’t want to be mothers, they don’t deserve respect?)
We don’t respect them because they sacrificed for us or because they are stronger and more loving, ‘they make a house a home‘, ‘they complete men’ or they are beautiful ( 🙄 ), they are wiser etc. We respect them even if they are none of these things, just because they are people, just like everybody else.
Respecting women would mean we acknowledge that they are the best and only people who can decide if they should stay in a marriage. Their word would be enough.
Yes it comes as a shock to their parents who have thought of nothing but her marriage all her life, maybe spent all their savings as dowry in the hope that she is treated humanely by her in laws and spouse.
Yes there are other problems. The neighbour’s third cousin will point a finger at the upbringing. Why do the parents care? Because they fear she will not find another match. Why not stop seeing Getting-married-and-Staying-married as the only goal in her life? A huge number of a woman’s problems are solved once marriage becomes an option instead of being the only goal in her life.
This might just save her life. Not only from abusive spouse or in laws, but also from her parents before or soon after she is born.
And even if her life is not at risk (let’s assume) then doesn’t her happiness matter? She has one life, if she is unhappy why wait for her to get used to abuse and unhappiness and for her spirit to break? Yes, nobody is perfectly happy, yes her grandmother and mother suffered too, but that’s no reason for her to not be given every chance to lead a happy, fulfilled life.
If she is matured enough to be married, then she is matured enough to decide if and when she does not wish to stay married. Here we hold her responsible even for crimes against herself, but we don’t trust her to take that one of the decision that concerns her more than it concerns anybody else.
Why don’t we take it seriously when a woman says they do not want to live with their spouse? Why isn’t her word enough?