Divorcee: Until recently, the word referred only to a divorced woman. In India the term is still used negatively.
One hears about a divorcee’s children, specially daughters, being harmed and stigmatized by her divorce. Such warnings play a part in keeping women in abusive marriages like this one. Such warnings also influence our divorce statistics.
(Some Indians change the meaning of Ms from being a term that does not indicate a woman’s marital status to using it to indicate a woman is divorced or widowed.)
The message below was a comment in response to An email from a daughter whose mother endured everything because she did not want to ruin her daughters’ lives.
You should know that there are thousands and thousands of similar cases where the husband is a crackpot (and women have walked out and made a life for themselves and their children).
In such circumstances one has only two options-
a) decide to take a stand- be it walking away or ensuring that the guy behaves
b) decide to keep quiet for one is concerned about how the society will react.
My dad was a similar crackpot. He used to work in my mom’s office as a cameraman whereas my mom was a senior editor in one of India’s best media houses. This is somewhere is the late 80s.
My mom should have realized that he was crazy, for no man says that I’ll jump in front of a bus if you don’t marry etc etc. But she got scared and agreed to get married.
This guy was a money-monger and so was his entire family. Like parasites they started draining all my mom’s wealth buying jewellery, furniture, telephone (in the 80s a telephone or a gas cylinder in one’s name was a HUGE thing) etc.
My mom condoned all these thing but after my brother was born things took a real bad turn. He became more and more aggressive plus splurged more and more of my mom’s income. He would gift his sister and mother electronic appliances and even gifted a house plot to them from my mom’s salary and savings.
He and mom would regularly have a fight over these things and them he’d get violent. There were days when mom had to turn up in office with bruises all over.
Even after I was born nothing changed despite her kicking him out a couple of times. He’d always come back begging for forgiveness.
When one day he tossed me in the air my mom decided that it was over. And she did this for OUR SAFETY. For our sake. She knew that with a crazy guy like him we’d never be able have any peace so she kicked him out of her house. But before he left he ransacked our house, the joint locker and everything she had including her photographs.
So there she was a single women with two very small kids, without any family support (they expected her to compromise or whatever) and with no money in her bank account but she carried on. There were days that she’d cry and get frustrated but there hasn’t been a single thing that she ever deprived us off. With whatever income she’d get she would run to CP to buy us the best imported chocolates and amazing pastries from wengers. She’d do and continues to do everything for us.
Today I’m in India best college for arts and bro is the best engineering college. She put us in various sports and helped us become who we are today.
But the journey hasn’t been simple. People will judge you, family might even disown you and call you the black sheep. If you have a crazy husband like my mom had then he’ll create problems for you everywhere – office, society, neighborhood. But you have to get past that.
Before mom got the divorce he converted to Islam and got married and then moved to Dubai. He filed false allegations against her but she didn’t have the money nor the time or energy to fight them back so till today in her divorce decree she has those allegations against her. She didn’t get a penny from him nor did we, his kids, get.
But what we did get is a lot of peace of mind which is necessary for proper growth and development.
Trust me its not difficult for your mom to walk out even today. You are there to support her. My mom was in her early 30s when she walked out with 2 little babies. She sacrificed her super awesome career, even today when i meet her colleagues they tell of how amazing a journalist she was. You or your mother have nothing to loose.
I wish the very best for you and your family.
Edited to ask:
Do you know of women and families where the mothers did walk out of abusive relationships? How many of them wish they had stayed with the abusive spouses?
Do you know of any women who have stayed in such relationships – are they satisfied with their lives and decisions?