Swarup shared a link that made me wonder – what are the chances of an Indian woman’s in laws visiting her at her parents’ place, finding her alone, having a disagreement with her and beating her?
The woman, mother of a 3-year-old daughter and hailing from Rajahmundry, said that her husband and his family had harassed her for additional dowry. She claimed her parents gave her husband Rs 15 lakh as dowry at the time of her marriage. According to her, he had quit his job because of mounting debts in Visakhapatnam. Though her parents brought the couple to Rajamundry, he ran into debts there as well. When she objected to his bad ways, he beat her, demanded Rs 5 lakh more for clearing the debts and went away to Vizag, she said. … The judge in his order said that beating a woman in her native place in the middle of her friends and relatives by her husband’s family looked improbable and unnatural and quashed the case initiated by the Rajahmundry court.
What do you think? Is it possible for in laws (not just the husband) to beat a daughter in law at her parents’ place (in the parents’ absence/presence)?
Husbands beating their wives in their maika (a married woman’s parents’ home) is not unheard of.
In one case, the husband (from an educated family) asked the wife to touch his feet and apologise for misplacing a bunch of keys. They were in her parents’ house, she did as she was told. Her family did not ‘interfere in the couple’s personal matter’.
A maid of mine was beaten by her husband in her native village (in Pune, where they had moved in circumstances similar to those in the link) and when her family attempted to intervene, they were pushed away and threatened with violence too [link].
Another educated family watched their daughter being abused by her husband, in their home; but again they thought it was not a good idea to ‘interfere in a couple’s personal matter’. They believed (or tried to believe) they should support their daughter if she was ‘trying to save her marriage’ [link] This man was abusive towards the wife’s family too.
In another case the husband came to the wife’s maika to take her back with him. The wife (then 20) had found work and decided never to go back because she had learnt that he had another wife and child. The husband said the other wife was physically disabled and beat the 20 year old in front of her family and extended family. Her family felt that following the wife to her parents’ village and beating her was an indication that he wanted her back, and so she must go back. She was sent back. The family felt that since this was an arranged marriage, she was a ‘respected wife’ even if he had another wife; also it would have been difficult for them to find another husband and to arrange more dowry.
Another husband and his brother (in Karnataka) ‘broke a woman’s head’ (not really broke, but this is how their eldest daughter described it. The woman had to have stitches) because this mother of five children was trying to prevent her husband from marrying again. She had told the family of the prospective second wife, that the man was married and had five children. I am not sure where this violence took place. This man also attempted to burn his family alive and for this he was blamed by the entire village. Probably it was felt that beating was okay, but setting his house on fire while the wife and children slept inside was not.
It seems many Indians hold women’s disobedience, bad upbringing or bad karma responsible for violence and abuse by their husbands or in laws.
But, what are the chances of a woman’s in laws beating her in her native place – in presence and in absence of her parents and family?
This post is not about anti-dowry law – only about the likelihood a woman being beaten by her in laws in her maika. Do you find it improbable?