What advice would you give to a woman whose husband beats her when she does not give him lunch on time?

Or rather: What advice would you give to a woman who fears her husband might beat her if she does not give him lunch on time?

Do you think men who stab or burn their wives are non violent men who are provoked into violence by a delayed meal (or a second baby daughter)? So if the meal was served on time, would the woman have remained safe?

I also wonder if a male child could generally add to a woman’s worth, and hence her confidence, and make her comparatively safer? Do we have statistics that confirm that mothers of male children face less abuse by spouse and his parents?

In most such murders, it seems, the man has a history of violence and the wife has learnt that he is dangerous. But the cultural requirement to ‘Get Married Stay Married or Die Trying’ forces the wife back to continue living with a potential, brutal killer.

It also seems, many women first refuse to go back and then sense that staying away from the husband brings social disapproval for them and their entire families.

Do you think Human Rights for women (and everybody else) should include the Right to opportunities for Self Reliance (emotional and otherwise)? And the Right to be informed about Intimate Partner Abuse in school/via media?

We hear so much about staying safe from ‘eve teasers’ but almost nothing about intimate partner abuse. Maybe because domestic violence is not taken seriously, and it is assumed that a good Indian girl would manage to avoid being beaten.

Most Indians don’t see domestic violence as a crime, or even as wrong. There is almost no information available to the victims and those who care for them. Most parents of women in violent marriages seem to sincerely believe that it’s possible to ‘change’ (by ‘winning his heart’) a violent, manipulative and abusive man.

Do you think these two young lives could have been saved? Manju was 20, Sarla, 26.

Updated to add: These two horrifying, but very ‘everyday news’ links shared by Kavya. 

1.

NOIDA: Enraged with his wife consecutively giving birth to two daughters, an employee of a city-based export house allegedly strangled her and smothered their two girls, 2 years and six months old. Their bodies were found on Monday morning in the family’s house in Bhangel in Phase II. While the man has gone missing, police have arrested his father and two brothers.

 

“Amit used to physically abuse my daughter ever since they got married three years ago. He got more violent after a daughter was born for the second time,” said Sarla’s father Jagbeer. About two weeks ago, we brought Sarla with us because of the alleged domestic violence she had to face. She however returned to Amit’s house after his family assured her safety, he said.

2. And another,

‘Man stabs wife to death for not serving lunch on time’

Manju (20) was preparing lunch for the family when her husband Gautam (25) came into the kitchen and asked for food. Manju told him to wait until she finished cooking. An angry Gautam abused Manju and started hitting her. When she argued and fought back, he picked up a kitchen knife and stabbed her a few times on the neck and abdomen.

Seeing Manju fall on the ground bleeding, Gautam came to his senses and dragged her body to the first floor balcony. He prepared to throw it down to make it look like a suicide. By this time, neighbours had gathered hearing Manju’s calls for help. They raised an alarm and one of them entered his flat and got hold of him.

Another newspaper reports,

“Neighbours claimed that on Monday night too, they heard screams from the house. The couple always fought on petty issues, they said,” the officer added. A case of murder has been registered at Seemapuri police station. [link]

Screams from a house indicate a couple fighting over petty issues?

Why does violence stop being a crime just because the victim has been ‘married off’  to the assailant?

Related Posts:
If you had to to say something to inspire a victim of domestic violence to walk out, what would you say?
Is child murder their first crime or do they have a history of violence?
India leads in sexual violence, worst on gender equality: Study
“I always wanted my mom to get out of her marriage. I still believe she shud have.”
The father threw the baby on the ground and tried to strangle her with his legs: No case registered.
Some problems seem to have no solutions…
When a daughter refuses to go back…
An email: “But my parents, fearing the society and their reputation begged him to take me back.”
Are Happily Married Daughters a status symbol in India?
The interference of parents in the married life of their daughters…

“Someone ate without showering, someone didn’t bring mithai! These are trivialities, not social problems.”

This is how we trivialise, invalidate and sometimes even silence the voices that attempt to share the ‘mundane everyday quarrels’ that control women’s choices (or worse). The reason why these ‘trivialities’ are a social problem is that these issues are expected to solve without being questioned, challenged, discussed or ignored, by Please adjusting of less than 50% of the population. These ‘complaints’ will stop being too trivial or petty when women can afford to ignore them or deal with them the way the rest of the population does – without risking allegations of disrespect, and without being asked to rise above them by those who are not expected to share the task of dealing with the same issues (except by asking the women to Please Adjust)

IHM, I think you are being dragged these days into the absolutely most mundane, everyday quarrels people get into in their families. Someone ate without showering, someone didn’t bring mithai. Tomorrow someone will complain about who got to watch their favorite TV show and that one time someone put too much salt in the food…

These are trivialities, not social problems.

I think you are better than this and your blog is better than this. Indian feminists deserve better.

When filial devotion proves useful, it becomes hard to control.’

From Rabindranath Tagore’s Gora, here’s what the father of a daughter experienced: 

“This (proposal) is my good fortune, my glory!” he (the prospective groom) cried.

I asked him about money (dowry). He at once covered his ears and said: “Forgive me, but please don’t mention such things.”

“Very well,” I said, “I shall discuss these matters with your father.” I went to his father as well, and found a big difference between father and son. The father didn’t block his ears at the mention of money, not at all. Rather, he started saying such things, I almost had to stop my own ears.

The son, too, I found to be extremely devoted to his father in these matters—regards his father as absolute divinity—so it will be no use asking him to mediate. This time liquidating my company assets will not suffice. Anyway, you too must discuss a few things with Abinash. A word of encouragement from you …’ ‘That will not reduce the sum of money to be paid,’ Gora interrupted. ‘I know that. When filial devotion proves useful, it becomes hard to control.’

The same rule applies to some of these ‘mundane, everyday quarrels’.

What do Kalita in Guwahati, Rana in Punjab and a constable in Bangalore have in common?

Would you say that some of the news today was more about society’s lessening tolerance towards crimes against women, and less about increasing crimes against women?

1.

Guwahati molestation: Amar Jyoti Kalita, 10 others convicted; TV reporter acquitted.

… Those convicted included the prime accused Amar Jyoti Kalita who was seen in the footage of the incident, filmed by a local television journalist Gaurav Jyoti Neog, leading the maddened mob. NewsLive journalist Neog, who was made one of the accused in the case, was, however, acquitted by the court on grounds of benefit of doubt. Kalita, say sources, has been sentenced to two years in jail and fined Rs 2,000, while the others have been sentenced to one year in prison and fined.

Two years and Rs 2000/- Nobody thinks this is harsh on Kalita and a lesser number asked, ‘What was the girl doing outside her house after dark?”

2.

Akali Dal leader arrested for allegedly killing Punjab cop who protested daughter’s harassment

Ravinderpal Singh’s daughter had reportedly complained to him that Mr Rana and his associates frequently chased and harassed her…  When the officer, along with his daughter, went to Mr Rana’s house to warn him, the politician allegedly shot him in the legs. On the way to hospital, Mr Singh was waylaid by Mr Rana, who allegedly shot him in the chest with a rifle this time.

A police station was close by, but nobody turned up to help Mr Singh.

3. “You don’t know Kannada. You don’t belong to this place.”

Woman groped by mob, slapped by constable after accident

“I tried to explain to the policeman that the rider was at fault, but he was rude.” She quoted the policeman as having told her, “You don’t know Kannada. You don’t belong to this place.” Worse still, he then turned to the erring rider and encouraged him to leave the scene. Through all this, the mob that surrounded her continued to humiliate her, …

Not willing to let off the rider so easily, she mustered enough courage to physically stop the man leaving. At this, the policeman dragged her to the side and slapped her. The woman immediately took out her mobile phone and started taking pictures of the motorcycle rider. Her ordeal then turned worse, when the mob started pulling at her clothes and jeering at her.

While one among the crowd removed his shirt, another man, wearing a lungi, exposed himself, she said. Many in the mob made indecent gestures, she said. In the melee, the rider escaped.

Her trauma lasted some 15 minutes till a patrol vehicle reached the spot and the crowd melted away.

I hope these Supreme Court directions to States do make a difference to the way cases of stalking, molesting and street sexual harassment are treated.

Related Posts:

Plain-clothed police officers, warning signboards, cancellation of permits, helplines: SC directs States to take serious steps to curb Street Sexual Harassment.

Did the posters threatening acid attacks on women wearing jeans surprise you?

Didn’t we see it coming? What have we not done to encourage attacks of all kinds on Indian women ?

We have taken very lightly (repeatedly) what should have been dealt with firmly – disrespect for equal citizens Constitutional Rights.

When equal citizens attempted to protest peacefully (slut walk) – we actually stopped them because the protests displeased those who had no respect for the constitution.

Those who should have been supporting the victims, continue to do everything to silence them with shame and blame.

This is how Rape Culture  thinks (Shared by Sharmila)

Posters threaten acid attack on women wearing jeans in Ranchi

RANCHI: Posters put by an outfit in the Jharkhand capital have threatened acid attacks on girls and women who wear jeans or do not wear a dupatta. The police said it could be a case of mischief.
The handwritten posters, put up by Jharkhand Mukti Sangh at several points in the city, including St. Xavier’s College and Albert Ekka roundabout, read: “From 20/8/2012 (Aug 20), jeans have been banned for girls. Any girl will be found wearing jeans and moving without dupatta will be attacked with acid.”

[Link shared by Deepa Duraisamy )

Related Posts:

Rape and clothing: How it’s all dressed up – A guest post by Praveen Talwar.

How did we make Indian criminals believe that they have 7 khoon maaf if they can claim to be teaching Indian women a lesson in Indian values?

This is what rapists do when there is no fear of punishment.

School says, no shorts for dads, no maxi-nightie for mothers.

Be a wife like Sita, wear a sari but don’t get abducted.

The way a woman dresses…

Why do some women see western clothes and being able to flaunt their bodies, without fearing being called sluts, as empowerment?

“So why do we wear clothes again??”

Those charged with our safety should have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise.

A Sari to make you a Respectable Indian Teacher.

Can’t end marriage over sari 😉

What women ‘choose’ to wear…

Provocatively Dressed

No Jeans For Indian Daughters in Law.

Which city in India, do you think is the safest city for women? Do women in that city stay at home after dark?

Man kills daughter for hanging out with boyfriends.

Police said the murder took place “in the heat of the moment“.

Thapa told us that a number of locals had told him about his daughter’s activities and advised him to keep her ‘under control’. He was very tense over this,” Jaiswal said.

(Does it sound like the police understands the father’s being ‘tense’? Maybe they are also ‘tense’ that a clandestine, and irresponsible, affair may prove dangerous?)

Delhi Police Commissioner BK Gupta has more reasons for why women should be home in time.

You can’t travel alone at 2am and then say Delhi is not safe. It would be ideal if a woman takes her brother or driver along. It’s wrong to say the Capital is not safe for women.” (Daily Bhaskar)

Bride explains how such statements harm the society.

“The suggestion that women enlist a brother or employ a male driver to escort them is not only distateful it is dangerous. It promotes the erroneous idea that women need protection from men, that a woman without a brother or a husband is exposed and vulnerable, that girl children are a big responsibility (this is what many women are told when they give birth to a girl child) and by extension a liability.

 Bhagwad explains why women have as much right to personal safety as anybody else,

“Now the commissioner might say with some justification that he doesn’t have the resources to police every single woman at night. But does this mean every single woman in the day time is safe? What’s so special about night? Moreover, he must admit to the failure of the police department if he can’t give such a guarantee. He mustn’t claim (as he did,) that the capital is safe for women. He must come out and say “We don’t have enough resources to keep most women safe at night. We need xyz funds to do this.” Either that or he must admit that he’s incompetent.

And wasn’t this 18 year old home when she was killed? Over 70% crimes against women take place inside or close to their homes, the assaulter is generally someone known to them and the crime is generally premeditated.

Also, are more women assaulted at night than during the day? Are there cities where women are safer – night or day?

What makes some cities in India safer for women? Can the safety of women be  compared to the the overall law and order situation in a city? Like Delhi has high rate of crime and it is unsafe for women too.

Bombay and Pune are safer for women. Pune has almost no street sexual harassment (Eve teasing). And Bombay locals, including the General coaches, were generally safe for women when I traveled last.

I also feel generally bigger cities allow women more freedom and Delhi does that too, but the crime rate against women is the same as the overall crime rate – very high.

Do you think conservative small towns have more, or less crimes against women? (reported or unreported)

What do you think makes some cities safer for women and some others so unsafe? Which city in India, do you think is the safest city for women? Do women in that city stay at home after dark?

One rapist let off with a few slaps, another rapist allowed to kill for family honor.

A five-year-old student of Class 1 was raped by her 19-year-old cousin.

The girl’s mother said the child was lured by her cousin, Om Pal Giri, to an isolated plot near her house. “When I went looking for her, I saw Om Pal sexually assaulting her. He ran away after I hurled a brick at him,” she said. The family elders reached a compromise and “slapped the man in front of our relatives and allowed him to leave”, said father Mangu Giri.

The girl’s condition deteriorated in school. “We took her to a local doctor. She died by the time we reached district hospital,” her father said.

Ghaziabad Police circle officer Kapil Dev Singh said the family didn’t inform the doctor about the rape. Mangu said, “We didn’t tell anybody as the matter was settled between the families.” [From here]

(Thanks for the link J)

We don’t take women’s lives, and any crimes against women, specially sexual crimes, seriously. 

Except when women are suspected to be willing partners. 

In Rohtak, Haryana, a 23 year old rapist, out on parole, killed a neighbour over allegations that she was having an affair with his aunt. A crowd of 7000 people collected, nobody called the police, nobody interfered.

When the widowed mother of an 8 year old girl died, the convicted rapist rushed to the house of his 35-year-old aunt Shakuntala, dragged her out and started beating her mercilessly.

Naresh Kumar, the rapist then went to the police and surrendered, saying he had killed the two women to save his family’s honour. [Click here to read more.]

In one case villagers let a convicted rapist talk about honor and in another he was let off with a few slaps. 

The first comment below the first article reads – “The parents must be charged for abetting and hiding a criminal offence.”

Then should the village heads in the second case also be charged with abetting and hiding a crime?

What about the rapists? Should they be, along with jail terms – not given some information about why they are in jail?

It doesn’t look like the villagers or the families,or even the police realise that rape is a crime.

Should religion be seen as a personal matter?

Mixed with politics, religion stops being about god or personal beliefs, and starts being about taking control over lives and choices of those who follow or don’t follow it.

Religion empowered can redefine rape in the US. “Rape is only really rape if it involves force.” So an  incest victim, or an unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to resist person, should not be seen as a rape victims? [Link, ‘Yes Means Yes!‘]

All the hard work to create awareness about sexual crimes, to be undone to prevent women from having a choice in a decision that can’t be easy anyway. If it isn’t rape, then there is no justification for an abortion.

*

Religion allowed a 14 year old child in Bangladesh to be killed for ‘adultery’, when at 14, she could only have  been a victim of child abuse or rape by her 40 year old, married cousin. The rapist ran away. The 14 year old ‘endured about 80 lashes before collapsing‘.

*

Religion allowed a seventeen year old boy in Pakistan to be ‘arrested under Blasphemy ordinance for writing unpleasant remarks about the prophet’.

…Chairman Intermediate Board of Karachi… admitted that he was aware of the severe repercussions.

“It was the boy’s neck or mine. I was aware of the harsh consequences which the boy and his family would have to go through, but we could not do anything… or else we would be in hot water. The professor who checked the papers had sent reports … to other places. My hands were tied.”

*

Religion could be behind Ugandan gay rights activists, David Kato, being beaten to death.

“David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S. evangelicals in 2009,” At his funeral the presiding pastor called on homosexuals to repent or “be punished by God” and when they protested, the pastor refused to conduct the burial. [Click to watch the video]

*

Presence of religion in politics allowed some to find justifications for Graham Staines and his two minor sons to be burnt to death while sleeping inside a station wagon at Manoharpur,” the intention was to teach a lesson to Graham Staines about his religious activities”

[The Bench later deleted this passage, click to read details.]

*

Without religion being in power, this graphic video of flogging of a Sudanese woman by policemen who are laughing at her pain, would not have been possible. It seems she was to be given 53 lashings for indecent dressing.

*

Not very different from,

Two years ago, hooligans in Mangalore used religion to object to what they claimed was indecent dressing and behavior, by beating and molesting innocent citizens. Their sentiments were hurt when they were compared to the  likes of the policemen in the video above.

Of course there is a basic difference. The victim in Sudan was legally an offender.  Indian law and society saw the violent, attacking mob as the criminal.

Not sure if they have been subjected to any kind of, what is described above as ‘teaching a lesson’.

If he were a woman, he would have filed a case against a man everyday.

British student Kaya Eldridge alleged that she  was molested by the local plumber  in her flat in Ahemdabad.

I am not surprised that the defence lawyer allegedly wanted to know if she drank or smoked, I have no idea if he wanted to know what she was wearing… but I would be surprised if he didn’t.

But what puzzled me was that they allegedly spoke to her in Gujarati.

Elridge found the “experience in court ” “intensely humiliating.  [link]

‘Even public prosecutor J S Joshi left the court during cross examination to attend hearing in another case, she complained.’ [Link]

‘Eldridge broke down in the court and pleaded for privacy in the trial after alleged hostile questioning by the defence lawyer. “I felt powerless and helpless–as if I did not have a voice. Nobody was listening. I felt as if I was not being respected. I felt as if I had been stripped of dignity.’ [link]

Why is this so easy to believe ?

She also said, ‘Everyone in the courtroom was laughing at me.'[link]

So I am glad she is strong and says “It is important to come out and say that this is unacceptable behaviour. I will stay in India till the end of the case. I don’t intent to be chased out soon.” [Link]

Made me want to clap. My best wishes to Kaya Elridges.

‘The girl’s lawyer Meena Jagtap strongly objected to defence lawyer Sanjay Prajapati’s remark: “If I were a woman, I would have filed a case against a man every day.” The Bar Council of India has also reportedly decided to file a case against the defence lawyer.’ [Link]

I agree with Indo Canadian, a commenter, “The level of sexual abuse attacks in India is disgusting. A woman can’t even walk down the street without having strangers grope her, it’s even more horrifying when a man does this in her home. Indian culture needs to develop respect for women.” [link]

It really does.