What about girls who are not very academic? Must they be condemned to forced marriages?

A Guest Post by Wordssetmefreee

Are freedom and fundamental rights only reserved for those who are academic or enjoy professional success?

Aarti brings up a good point in her comment in response to this post – How can forced marriages be prevented when the person being married off is dependent on the people forcing them to be married off?

What about girls who are not very academic? Must they be condemned to forced marriages? Are freedom and fundamental rights only reserved for those who are academic or enjoy professional success?  This does not make logical sense – every human being must have the same rights – but let’s look at how this is possible in other societies and what the barriers are in India.

In Western societies (I live in the US and can speak for the US at least), a girl who is not very academic can still be independent, make her own decisions, and enjoy the same fundamental rights (as others who are academically or professionally successful) because she can,

–      Work in McDonalds or Target or Walmart along with numerous other girls like herself, without anyone making unwelcome advances, passing rude remarks, checking her out, or making her feel uncomfortable.

–       She can work as a nanny, babysitter, or tutor or a cook without fear of getting harassed by the kids’ dad or other male members of the family, who could get reported for harassment.

–       She can clean houses without relatives and family judging her to the point of disowning her for bringing shame on the family.

–       She can deliver pizza, drive a bus or work for a limo service, because the companies that hire her are focusing on the business not on her physical attributes and they want reliable drivers with a clean driving record, so again because she can be safe doing what numerous other women are doing.

–       She can work on an assembly line along with hundreds of other male and female workers.

–       She can work in multiple part time jobs.

–       She can work late hours along with numerous other people who work the night shift to make ends meet, and not have people think she’s ‘asking for trouble’.

–       She can go out by herself in public places, shop, spend her money, use the ATM, etc., without street harassment.

–       She can rent out her own space without landlords and landladies giving her a hard time.

(For all those who think I’m trying to say Western society is perfect and devoid of sexism or misogyny, I’m not.  I’m only talking about work options, public spaces, and non-academic work environments for women.)

Now, why can’t an Indian girl or woman who is not academic or professional do this? 

I keep asking myself this question – why is this email writer in the grip of her parents/relatives/family etc?  Why can’t this email writer have the same freedom and fundamental rights that Nina (my baby sitter when my kids were little) or Steph (the lady who cleans my friend’s house) or Amanda (the 20 something girl who works at the McDonalds near my house) has?

Trying to answer some of my own questions here.  Indian women don’t have the same options because –

–       No safe working environments in non-academic jobs

–       A sense of ‘shame’ (‘Such jobs are only for the poor.  Middle class women, if they are not professionals, must get married to be financially supported’)

–       Lack of acceptance among families who will actively oppose a daughter’s decision to take up a job in a factory or as a nanny or at a restaurant.

–       Lack of employers who will focus on the business and productivity and will  be interested in hiring productive workers regardless of gender etc.

–       Lack of supportive work environments (even if the employer is supportive, male co-workers can engage in sexual harassment and get away with it).

–       Lack of strict laws against sexual harassment or lack of proper judicial process in such cases.

–       General resentment when women enter unconventional fields for the first time (‘she’s taking away jobs from families’)

The above barriers are twofold. One set of barriers are created by our society and our way of thinking.  Another set are created by our government (judicial processing of harassment cases).  The latter are much harder to overcome.  We could at least start with the former?  We can start by changing our attitudes, perhaps?

In changing our attitudes, we must,

–       Overcome class differences and class feelings.  Respect anyone who has a job and is using an honest means to make a living.  Respect every job.  Respect every human being, no matter what their job is, because they are doing what they need to do to survive.

–       Be willing to be uncomfortable and not always expect a cushy life supported by parents (here in the US, kids who grow up in middle class families, when they finish high school, some of them go to college, others go on to jobs.  Both sets of kids struggle on their own initially to pay bills.  They may not have a lot of comforts until about 5 to 7 years later.  They expect to go through this struggle before they stand on their own two feet.)

–       Make public places and work environments safer for women.  Speak up!  If you are being harassed, yell at the person, shame him.  Then that person is somewhat unlikely to harass someone else in the future.  Nothing is gained by remaining silent.  ALSO – Stand up for other women being harassed.

Not sure what else we could be doing to make our country better for women.  Any further ideas and suggestions are welcome.

Related Posts:

This 27 year old woman could not be forcibly married off or silenced or shamed.

A comment: One more thing, had I been financially independent I would have never got married.

“You can listen to your parents and be unhappy or you can go against them and feel guilty – those are your choices?”

Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

At what point should educated, 21st century women who can think liberally for themselves, take responsibility for themselves…

“This man is openly threatening his daughter and is instigating others to burn alive their daughters.”

“I know my dad is short tempered but he was never this aggressive until my relatives started making him over think about my marriage.”

My father says study but not without your FIL’s permission.”

 

“Her husband has told her she can leave if she wishes, she does not have a steady income of her own.”

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An email: Is it okay to make someone give up something they love to do, because we want them around?

Is it okay to make someone give up something they love to do, because we want them around?

And is it possible to remain truly happy after giving up something we loved to do?

This happens all the time.

My mom would never ruffle feathers by going back to work, when she knows my dad prefers her to be at home.

It’s obvious that the functions are enjoyed by those who want everybody’s presence there, but why are weddings and family functions considered more important than personal happiness/interests of each family member?

The problem (for them) being that she wouldn’t take leave to go for weddings and other family functions. They thought it doesn’t make sense for her to ‘struggle’ so much when they are supposed to ‘enjoy life’ at this age.

Traditionally men have been discouraged from doing anything except ‘bread winning’ 😦

‘Retired men who have no passions or hobbies, who know not what to do with the sudden abundance of ‘spare’ time, and drive their wives crazy (!) and go into depression.’ [Traditional  upbringing of boys. – Starry Eyed]

Sharing an email. 

Hi IHM,

I have been struggling with an issue for a while and felt maybe sharing it on your blog might give me some perspective. I would really appreciate if you could share this email on your blog to see what your readers have to say.

My parents have lived abroad for over 30 years and came back to India a couple of years ago after my dad retired. My mother was working as a teacher for about 10 years. She started working, perhaps, when we were in high school and before that she was a stay-at-home mom. When some of her friends started pursuing a teaching degree, she also decided to join. She is now an internationally certified primary school teacher with substantial experience working in an international school.

The issue is  that it was my dad’s decision to retire and come back to India. He was ready for a quiet life. However, since they have moved back they have quite a (what I call) boring life. My mom just cooks and cleans and they attend the occasional wedding and family events. They watch some serials at night and then go to bed early to begin the same routine again.

However, my mom is not that kind of a person. I feel very strongly that my mom should still be working. There is no reason for her to live the life of a retired person when she is still willing to work. However, that decision is difficult for her because with my dad at home she feels guilty going out to work.

A few months after they moved to India, I had helped her find a job in a nearby school. The pay was nominal but the school was so excited about having such a qualified teacher. The few months my mom worked, she finished all the work at home, made breakfast and lunch. kept lunch out on the table for my dad and then went to work. She would then be back in time for evening tea.

However, it seems my dad was getting bored home alone because he is really not used to being without her. When the topic came up, our extended family (though they don’t live together but they are all neighbours) also felt that she was spending too much of her time and energy on her job. The problem (for them) being that she wouldn’t take leave to go for weddings and other family functions. They thought it doesn’t make sense for her to ‘struggle’ so much when they are supposed to ‘enjoy life’ at this age. Moreover, none of them understand the idea of working because you want to do something productive and because you love it.

Eventually, she decided to leave the job though she had made a few friends there and the school really tried to convince her to stay.

It’s been almost 2 years since then and it’s been taken for granted by all that she won’t go back to work. But I have this nagging feeling that she is not happy. She is a traditional woman who thinks it’s her job to take care of the house but sometimes when we are talking she will let slip in a very mild manner that she is getting bored. Just to clarify, I live in another city and visit them once or twice a year and my sister lives abroad, so neither of us are really around for her to talk to, take her out etc.

Now my problem is that I feel no one seems to see that there is so much more she can do. My dad is the typical man who will do things around the house if he is asked to. But if he is not asked to do chores he will assume my mom can handle it on her own. And my mom is the kind of person who will never ask him to do chores around the house. She feels strongly that he should do it because he wants to, not because she has asked him to.

I realize that at their age, neither of them is going to change. My mom is not the kind of woman who will put her foot down. And I worry that unless she says something herself, no one is going to take her unhappiness seriously. She is also the kind of Indian woman who thinks it’s ok to be a little unhappy, as long as everything else is ok, because that’s just how life goes.

The obvious solution would be for me to speak to my parents, but the issue there is that I am an infamous feminist and all in my family know it. If I bring this topic up, everyone will think this is just me “being a feminist” and finding problems where there are none. Till my mom herself says that she wants to work or do something productive, no one will take me seriously. And she would never want to ruffle feathers by going back to work, when she knows my dad prefers her to be at home. I can’t think of any other elder in my family who will understand the issue enough to speak to both my parents so that they understand each other’s side of the story.

I know the solution is that my mom needs to stand up for what she wants but we have to remember that women of that generation were never trained to think that way. And keeping that background in mind, I’d really like to hear what you all have to say about this situation. I tears me up to know that she is unhappy and to not be able to do anything about it. How can I get her to be engaged in other things so that she is not so bored/unhappy/demotivated? I want her to feel good about herself and make friends with whom she can have intelligent conversation with. I want her to have something of her own that she has built on her own and is not tied to her life as a wife and mother.

thanks.

Related Posts:

I could not sing after my marriage and I am really sad about it, but women have to ‘adjust’ to see their family happy…

Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

“But it is so frustrating to see her almost dying every day with hard work, mental stress, apathy…

How can the society ensure that marriage (and homemaking) does not result in women becoming financially dependent on their husbands?

Why Scandinavian women make the rest of the world jealous.

“My husband says he can’t go against his family. My father says study but not without your FIL’s permission.”

“A Hindu woman derives immense pleasure in sacrifice for her husband. The white man will never ever understand this.”

‘This ‘I, Me, Myself’ culture that most of you on this forum are propagating itself is hypocrisy.’

“My in-laws don’t hate me at all. But ‘love’ isn’t about all this. ‘Love’ is about letting your loved one ‘live’.”

My Dreams Are More Precious Than Yours?

What kind of company policy puts a husband-wife couple in a boss-employee relationship? Doesn’t matter which of the two is on top.

DG of girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com shared this video – where the wife is the boss who asks the husband to stay back in office and finish an assignment while she goes home and cooks a meal and shares the pictures with him – and suggests he tells the boss that his wife is asking him to come home.

Take a look.

What is the ad trying to show? That when women are empowered, hierarchies are created (or reversed) and they become their husbands’ bosses in offices?

Here’s a comment in response to the video above,

I really like the ad… that man doesn’t mind his wife being superior to him even when it comes to profession and also respects his wife’s post. This contradicts the typical Indian man thinking where one cannot bear that a woman, especially his wife, is more successful than him…! [by Thanvi Vishishta]

Would you say that men who would rather not work with their wives as bosses are misogynists?

This ad reminded me of this email:

I feel bad to think I will have to stand at her door and ask my wife, “May I come in Madam”

And I agree with this comment:

“What kind of stupid company policy puts a husband-wife couple in a boss-employee relationship (doesn’t matter which of the two is on top)? There are proven detriments to that sort of work relationship. I wonder if this is just a troll writing a fictional letter to IHM.” [Nish on January 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm said:]

Also, what if the roles were reversed? Would the husband then be shown to go home, cook and then share videos/photos of the dinner?

Maybe the wife needed to prove that the boss stays in office, and like Indra Nooyi – a woman is always a wife and a mother first?

Do you think we need hierarchies in relationships where equals are involved?

Related Posts:

Absolutely loved this one – Boss

“I always wanted my mom to get out of her marriage. I still believe she shud have.”

Sharing an email.

Hi IHM

I follow your blog religiously, in fact it’s the one huge saucer from which i can quench my thirst of my deeply feminist sentiments. Everyday.

I am 25 years old, a doctor pursuing my MD. Apart from that, (coz i m quite bright!!), i have a lot of hobbies and am passionate about a lot of things. I dream about my future, opening a clinic, travelling the world, buying a car, helping the needy…….So…err….. what’s my problem…??

I don’t dream of a relationship….I never dream of marriage…

It’s not like I think of these as a ‘MUST HAVE’ in my life, or anybody else’s.. for that matter. but it’s only human and normal to want that. My problem is, I know that deep down i want that, but i shrink away from it, i block it out. and finally i have figured out why.

The most important reason is the dynamics i have seen at play while growing up, in the marriage that created me. My mom (a doctor) left her MD midway because my dad and his parents wanted her to ‘come and be their bahu’. My mom is a superlatively intelligent woman, soon after, she began her practice as an MBBS doctor in the tiny town we live in (as opposed to a big city she always lived in), and naturally, her kindness and brilliance paid off, her practice began flourishing.

My dad, on the other hand, became distracted with politics and other stuff, even with an MD, his wife earned more, became more popular. He being a typical Indian Male chauvinist could not absorb this, and so began the endless emotional abuse that haunts me even today.

He’d pick a fight without any reason with mom. he’d taunt her with ‘bahut kamati ho, iska matlab ye nahi mujhe daba sakti ho. mujhe jahan jaana hai, jo karna hai, karoonga, samjhi’. He’d yell at her if she asked why he was so late to dinner. he’d spend the entire day outside and expect her to not ask where he was. he’d yell saying how atrocious the food was and what a bad cook she was. he screamed if she asked for groceries for home, medicines and stuff for clinic, saying there was no money for ‘all this stuff’. He kept all the money she earned and gave her monthly pocket money. if we went out shopping and my mom forgot her mobile or purse, he’d scream at her and her irresponsibility, of course, it was perfectly ok for him to have forgotten any damn thing. when he entered the house, there was a silence of apprehension, of an upcoming war, yet again. When he was out, I would cry, only because my mom was being hurt everyday.

She could not go out when she wanted to. Her social circle shrank every day because of him. She could hardly ever visit her own parents. he’d roam all over the place, but she had to ‘see patients and earn money and look after the house’. Her 25th college re-union happened. She really really wanted to go and all uncles and aunts requested my dad to come with her. But HE was adamant, and SHE COULD NOT go.

He never cared about her happiness. He wanted her to find all happiness in him. He hated seeing her happy with her own family, friends or colleagues. he had a short temper, a sharp tongue, and a way with taunts. and of course, he had the moral police attitude. TYPICAL.

It tore my heart to see my mom. It was good I studied in a boarding school and college. That put me off-scene, but it was worse to imagine her alone with him. She could have been anything she wanted, she could have had it all. She is the kindest, nicest, most amazing and brilliant person. not just me, a lot of people around her confer to that.

In the past few years, things at home have gotten better. Much better. but that cannot make up for all those horrible years of torture. I always wanted my mom to get out of her marriage. I still believe she shud have. but, as we know, getting out is never really an option for the ‘married Indian woman’. Stupid, mean, cruel world.

Anyway, it’s evident now why I don’t fancy marriage very much. What I saw, what I went through, it twisted something inside me, it probably broke something within me. I am actually quite an open-hearted, happy, warm person. Just like my mom. she has survived all of this because of her amazing strength. SO HAVE I. But along with inheriting that, I’m afraid i have also inherited a little cowardly and (forgive my use of the word) doormat-ish attitude. sometimes I m extremely accommodating, eager-to-please and a bit of a pushover. I know my weaknesses, and work on them.

But I’ve never mustered the courage to think of having a relationship, let alone get married. I’ve built a hard stone wall around me. I WILL NEVER GO THROUGH WHAT MY MOM DID. I know of a lot of great, equal relationships and marriages. I know a lot (or atleast a few) men out there will be progressive, romantic and nice. I know I can find a good guy. Problem is, I m too afraid to attempt to even look for one. It’s always like ‘what if he turns out to be a jerk?’, and that ‘WHAT IF’ chills me, stones me, denies me. It’s paranoia, and i know it. Inwardly I love romantic movies and books (am even writing one) but I am afraid of letting love, (paranoid it will be coupled with misogyny) into my life. Lest it ruins my freedom, my aspirations, my dreams, my identity, and ME.

I know i will have  all other forms of happiness and adventure in my life. WILL I HAVE THIS TOO? I know it’s my own battle, and only I can fight it, and hopefully one day, win it.

Sorry for the LOOOOOONG mail.

Cheers for all the good work,

My mother’s daughter.

Related emails – from and about children who have grown up with abusive and violent fathers.

An email from a daughter whose mother endured everything because she did not want to ruin her daughters’ lives.

When Discipline Becomes Abuse : Why I need Feminism

An email from a Divorcee’s Daughter.

‘Unbelievable? Believe it. This isn’t your usual Ekta Kapoor serial.’

Related Posts:

An email from a daughter whose mother endured everything because she did not want to ruin her daughters’ lives.

15 Things That Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

Why is abuse by parents taken so lightly by Indians?

When Discipline Becomes Abuse : Why I need Feminism

“I have so much to tell about this one man who is “almost” a representation of every Indian middle-class husband.”

An email: “My in laws want me to stay here with them while my husband works in another city.”

Sixty. And nowhere to go.

‘The work that should be shared by all members of the family becomes a sole person’s duty.’

A Guest Post from Thewaterspirit@wordpress.com:

I came across this story in Mumbai: A 36-year-old female police constable died of work overload. She suffered from stress and hypertension.

The main report, the allied reports and the husband’s version all highlighted the fact how her taxing office schedule – stretching to 12 hours a day – was the culprit. Doctors’ version on how the work timings in police job are erratic and far too long was taken. However, there was simply no discussion on what her husband too acknowledged: The woman returned home after 12 hours of duty only to tend to the household chores.

Did that not add to her already stressed out life?

I am not suggesting the women should refrain from all household work because she they are employed. However, we all know by experience that the majority of this burden invariably falls on women. The work that should be shared by all members of the family becomes a sole person’s duty.

Surveys have shown how Indian women are the most stressed out in the world.

http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/06/28/idINIndia-57960320110628

Analytical reports in foreign publications have highlighted, often with horror and disbelief, that “it wasn’t at all rare to hear of successful professionals who woke up at 4:30 a.m. to make breakfast and lunch for children and parents-in-law, put in a full day at work, then returned home to clean up after the extended family and prepare dinner”.

http://blogs.hbr.org/2011/08/why-are-indias-women-so-stress/

The reports have added how women, in an attempt to conform to the paradigm of “ideal daughter,” “ideal wife,” and “ideal daughter-in-law,” lose on a personal space altogether.

When women work professionally in India, we feel it is a privilege they must pay for.

Mumbai female police

Related Posts:

Were Indian Women Better Off As Homemakers?

When did women start working?

instead of being happier, women today seem to be leading more stressful lives.

How does the Gurgaon administration make it even more difficult for women to find employment, and stay safe on Gurgaon roads?

New scare for urban women: Menopause in 20s

Marriage counseling: “You are working, it does not mean you can talk this way.”

Why Scandinavian women make the rest of the world jealous.

“You have to stop talking about your kids,”

What misogynists dream and joke about.

What we find funny, what we joke about, what we put down and what we glorify – don’t they indicate what we think and why we think like that?

Sharing an email. 

Hi IHM,

I just happened to read this blog post, which a friend of mine shared on facebook as humour.
While reading this what struck me was how almost nothing was expected out of the dad. (Probably because “he was too busy working for the wife and daughter’s future”. That is the excuse we generally hear from men who do not spend time with their families.)
Jayalekshmy Nair

Bangalore: In a shocking incident in the IT hub of India, 2-year old baby Neha is refusing to identify her own mom, who left her at a creche called “Your Kids are our Kids” 2 days back before leaving to office. The baby is now gesturing to the aaya of the creche, Shantaben, and mumbling “Amma.. Amma”. The unfortunate mom, only known to us as Mrs.B, landed up in this weird situation after she failed to get her baby back from the creche because of a pending release at her office which resulted in 2 straight night outs.

The creche authorities are refusing to hand over the baby to Mrs.B as she had lost the receipt that the creche issues when the baby is deposited left with them. It seems that Mrs.B wipe up her hands with the creche receipt after having Pizza with her colleagues at Office during their night out. “What receipt?” Mrs.B fumed “Is this some vehicle parking at a Mall that we need to present bills and receipts to get our vehicle… eh.. baby back?” (Read more)

“If a girl has done MBBS or IAS, I can understand that she did not get time to learn cooking. But it’s strange how you, a mere journalism post graduate, failed to do so.”

Sharing an email.

Dear Indian Homemaker,

Thanks for running this blog. It’s therapeutic. 🙂

Please find below one of the many incidents after my marriage that began to crush me, until I rebelled (in my own unique way), that I hope you will post on your blog.

I cooked the first meal at my in-laws’ house within the first week of the marriage. My mother-in-law had been well informed by my husband that I had never tried my hand at cooking before the wedding. And the wedding, despite my subdued protests, had been arranged within a month of the hurriedly organised roka ceremony, leaving me no time to learn enough cooking. Not that I considered skill at cooking a per-condition to marriage.

So when I braced myself to cook that first meal, I was definitely expecting help from the MIL. I expected her to stand beside me and give directions. None of that happened. So I called up my mother and quickly asked her how to proceed.

The directions taken, I prepared the dish – French Beans and potato. Thankfully, it did not turn out to be a disaster but, as I got to know in a short while, was left a bit undercooked.

I agree that a half-baked meal spoilt an evening. (But a smarter Mil would have cooked one more dish to survive the meal. She didn’t.)

But how is this statement given by my MIL justified? – “If a girl has done MBBS or IAS, I can understand that she did not get time to learn cooking. But it’s strange how you, a mere journalism post graduate, failed to do so.”

I am working a leading national daily as a staff reporter.

Updated to add:

And an email from ‘a girl who has done MBBS’:

I  make decisions that could result in the life or death of a patient but in my personal life  has little control over my own self and hence little autonomy of my own.”

Related Posts:

New women in old marriages – Careless Chronicles

How to be a Sanskari Bahu – Careless Chronicles

An email: “He got very aggressive and even started pulling the loosened muscles of my abdomen (post preg) very hard”

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I am a regular reader of your blog, it has given me enough courage to stand up for my rights as a person, but it took a long time for me to contact you.

I am a 29-year-old woman, married to a very traditional expatriate. He is a perfect patriarch who is just the opposite of my beliefs. My parents have given me a good education and helped me in becoming independent and confident. I am working in IT field. After 2-1/2 years of married life, I am at a point in life where I am contemplating divorce. Even though we were just the opposite in everything, he loved me or at least made me believe he loved me very much. We have a 1-year-old kid now. Before my marriage, I told my husband that I would be supporting my parents even after marriage. He agreed to everything then. But things started changing slowly. I know I have my own shortcomings, I am short-tempered and cant stand anything that does not make sense.

My husband is a very unstable person, he never sticks to his job for more than a month or two. This issue gave me a lot of stress while we were living together. I am not sure if it is a matter of his competency. He had asked money from my dad in the situations of crisis and when my father told him the amounts he asked was beyond his ability to give, he started to talk ill about my dad in front of me and stopped talking to my dad.

My mother had come to our home abroad to be with me during my delivery. He verbally abused her when she supported my father (again the issue was finance). This can be considered as a main issue that caused a split in our relation. My in-laws never took this issue seriously when we talked about this to them.

When I came back to India after delivery (i was on maternity leave), I stayed in my parent’s home and this was the first chance for my in-laws to see my baby, but even then only my FIL came for the naming ceremony (28th day). On one of the last days of my vacation, my husband called me and apologized to me and told me we could start everything once again and we could be happy as before. He told me to leave our baby with my parents for 2 weeks and by the time, he will make arrangements for baby’s visa. I believed him and went back leaving my baby (then 3 months) with my parents. He even told me don’t worry “many babies lose their mothers during childbirth, our child is luckier than them.” I treated those words only as rubbish then. But the 2 weeks extended to 1-1/2 months and still he could not make any arrangements to take my baby back even though we got the visa. Because neither my mother nor mine was willing to come to us. So, I resigned and came back.

During the last month, he physically abused me a lot. He made allegations of me having an affair with someone and did not even mind to clarify that with me. I tried my best to stop him that day, but he got very aggressive and even started pulling the loosened muscles of my abdomen (post preg) very hard, I even thought my surgical sutures will be broken and I will die. I cant express the pain I went through that day in words. Then, I called my family and they told me to come back as soon as possible and until the last day, avoid any such situation and after coming back, we will think about the next step.

I should mention that my very caring in-laws did not find it necessary to come and see my baby who was in my parents’ care for 1-1/2 months. When I was about to come back, my FIL told me he has decided that we (me and my baby) will stay with them like all the good DILs. I told him I am not interested in such an option as my place of work is near to my parents’ home and I will stay with them. Then, he told me “you are not going to work after coming back.” I did not agree to that too.

After coming back, I joined my previous company and still I am working with them. After 2 months, my husband too came back after losing his job. On the day of his return, he and my MIL who till then never visited my baby came to my home to take us with them. I said it is okay for me to stay with them for a few days, but I wanted to know the correct date of my return. For this, she started abusing me. “You and your job, we have no benefit from it. Why did you chose to marry my son, we are financially well above you.” Then started abusing my father in front of me and my family. when I raised my voice against her, my husband rushed to me and pulled at my hair and somehow kept my head between his knees and started squeezing my knees. Then, my father came and pushed him away. My uncle was also there and he too joined my father. Then, my husband turned his anger on my father and uncle, he hit them with his hands. Then, we called police and the mother-son duo ran away from there.

Then, the biggest mistake ever. I compromised with him after 2 weeks and everything went back to “normal.” He even stayed with me at my home all those days after coming back from his home till he went back for another job. His father again started creating issues. I told him I cant travel such a long distance (our houses are in different districts) each weekend with such a small kid. He told his son about this and my husband started calling me names over the phone and even through SMS.

Once I took leave from my company and went and stayed there for 2 days, but it was not enough to satisfy my in-laws. When I was about to make my return, my FIL and MIL told me if you are going today “you should never enter our home again.” To which I could only respond “dont threaten me with these words as I am your son’s legally-wedded wife and I have every right to be here whenever I wish. Anyway, I am not going to come back after such an insult” and left the place.

Then, the worse of all. My FIL sent me a legal notice in my husband’s name threatening me “If i did not go back to their house in 7 days, they will start the procedure for divorce.” To which my father consulted a lawyer and sent an answer back. My lawyer clearly stated everything including the physical abuse, sexual abuse and the police case, told them that I am not interested in divorce and if they are to proceed with it anyway, they have to give me Rs. 50 lakhs as alimony including the compensation for my sufferings, my child’s maintenance and the gold I had taken with me during my marriage. To that notice, they never responded till this day.

After 5 months, I called my husband and told him, I am ready to start a new life just for my baby if he too wishes that. He said he always wanted it and I am the one who took every happiness from him. Then, he started calling me everyday and even told me to look for a new home in my place so that we three can live together. Then something happened, I am really not sure what the reason is, he called one evening and started to talk in his old way and the name callings. He even called my father and called him every bad names. I could not take it anymore and I told him, now it is the end of everything and I am certainly going for a divorce.

Last week, my brother-in-law called me and requested me to think about a compromise. I told him, I am not going to come back and I am thinking of starting the procedures. The very next day, my husband called me and told me he is ready for a compromise and he cant leave without his wife and kid. I answered in negative and did not answer his calls after that.

What I want to know is if I am doing the right thing? Please give me your opinion on this. Do you think my marriage is worth saving? I hope you will let me know your mind after reading this. I know this is a pretty long mail, but please find time to read this.

Love and Regards,

Confused.

Related Posts:

An email from a Divorcee’s Daughter.

When a newly married Indian woman gives up her career, what else does she give up?

Sixty. And nowhere to go.

Feminism has gone to women’s head. Divorce has become like selling onions.

Let us not for a minute forget that we women still walk across minefields…

Cabinet clears bill: Equal rights in Marital property, Easier divorce.

An email: “When I met my husband, the first impression I had was that he was a male-chauvinist”

An email: “just for a few days of fights and torture in a month, how can I leave this life?”

If she doesn’t seem to see your logic, will you support her the way she can be supported?

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Bill

An email from Praveen Talwar 🙂

Hey, IHM.
Some good news I’ve been meaning to share with you for a couple of days:

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Bill, 2010 was passed by the Rajya Sabha on the 26th (Feb) with some modifications (this was passed by the Lok Sabha in September).

The ambit of the jurisdiction is much wider now, and includes workers in unorganized sectors, contractual employees, as well as employer-employee harassment outside the workplace. On the whole, a tight, well-written law which allows room for defendants to contest claims, and requires conciliation parties to respond in a time bound manner.
Domestic workers, who were included under the original act continue to be covered.
Should be a boon to many female workers. 🙂
A universally accessible link: http://indiagovernance.gov.in/news.php?id=2054

This is more or less the same bill with superficial changes.

An update: “My friend is having the baby because her mother absolutely refused to support her decision to abort.”

Sharing this update from the email writer who wrote:

An email: “She is considering having an abortion without telling her husband about it.”

Hello Maam,

First I apologise for such a delayed response as I was caught up in some unavoidable engagements and was out of town.

I don’t have words to express myself looking at the overwhelming response to the problem you shared on your blog. It was heartening to read such sensible suggestions from your readers. Thank you so much for the help.

I want to tell you that my friend whose problem I shared has decided to have the baby. I talked to her after I returned and brought up the topic when she told me she’ll be taking a break from work. I was puzzled by her decision as just a few days back, she was even considering leaving the marriage. The reason for this change as she told me was that her mother refused to support her decision to abort and that both her parents were absolutely against her separating from her husband. As I’ve known her parents, they are the type who hold their son in law in utmost respect. But in the end it is her decision and her life.

Thank you again.

I think it would be fair if people who took time to give their suggestions to the problem get to know the decision which my friend took.

IHM: Are you surprised by the parents refusal to  support their daughter? What do you think should (or could) they have done?

Please do read, The interference of parents in the married life of their daughters…

Related Posts:

How are mothers treated in Indian culture?
Society benefits immensely from childbearing, childrearing, and caregiving work that currently goes unpaid.
“I waited for maternal love to overcome me – it didn’t… After my baby was born, I didn’t feel anything…”
Mere consent to conjugal rights does not mean consent to give birth to a child for her husband.
An email: Is it selfish to not want to be parents yet?
Woman you are not doing anybody a favour…
…for the welfare of women certain customs were formulated
Only when raising ideal daughters in law is not their goal, would Indian parents be able enjoy having and bringing up girl children.
Paraya dhan and her limited rights.
How can the society ensure that marriage (and homemaking) does not result in women becoming financially dependent on their husbands?
When she says she no longer wishes to stay with him, why isn’t her word enough?