Vasant Kunj, Delhi, India
Vasant Kunj, Delhi, India
Are we living in the 21st century?
Well, the ubiquity of gender-based crimes forces us to think otherwise, especially when it comes to violence in domestic setups in both urban and rural environments.
A lot remains unaltered in this front even if we are progressing as a society in different other ways.
The nature of crime, the types, severity and frequency have only magnified with passing times and the statistics are glaring.
If we start looking for reasons, we are likely to get stuck on conditioning, patriarchy, false masculinity, misogyny, frustration, anger, temper issues, mental illness, childhood trauma, stress, alcohol and so on. These reasons have always been cited ever since crimes like these have started being spoken about.
Except for mental illness, which is an altogether different concept, are any of these big enough for someone to lose control and hit the partner? Can any of these not be controlled?
Why don’t we see these same men slap their bosses, colleagues or people in better positions. Why do they wear a mask in front of others when their real faces are so dreadful?
Why do women not walk out of their marriage? What makes them stick to toxic relations? Why don’t they give back?
So many why’s and no answers!
So where does the solution lie?
Let’s think from the victim’s point of view.
What goes in her mind?
When we spoke to a few of the survivors of domestic abuse, they said that for a long period of time, they are in a state of denial. They value their relationship and the ‘love’ that the partners share so much so that they tend to give excuses to themselves every time an incident takes place.
“He’s a good person. He’s never hit me. I’m sure this is going to be the last time. He has promised he won’t do it again.”
“Must have had a bad day in office. He loves me way too much.”
“It’s my fault. I only pushed him too far.”
“I love him and he loves me. I will change him with my love.”
“I deserved it because I didn’t keep him happy.”
And then if they think of sharing their plight with their family, there comes replies like
“Don’t worry, everything will get better with time.”
“Why do you do things that upset him? Can’t you be more responsible?”
“Get more involved in kids. You will feel better.”
“Do you want us to talk it out?”
The mom says – “Every man does the same thing. They go out for work and deal with difficult people and situations. It’s but obvious to lose temper sometimes. Where will they vent out their frustrations?”
The husband says Sorry again and again, without meaning a single time.
This goes on and on and on and on.
Days become months and then years. The abuse continues. Nothing changes.
And then, there comes a day when the woman says to herself – ENOUGH.
Suddenly all fears seem to dwindle away. The fear of expenses, future insecurities, the fear of divorce, of being judged by the society and family, fear of being blamed and abandoned and even the fear of losing the kids.
But the problem is that it takes really long to reach this stage. And, some never reach here.
Where does the solution lie?
• In creating awareness because half of the time these women don’t know what is happening with them.
• In speaking up for others because sometimes they don’t have the courage or confidence to stand up for themselves.
• In not remaining a mute spectator/listener to someone who shares her plight with you because silence is never golden in this case.
• In not being judgmental when someone shares her story.
• In taking action because it is necessary to bring the abuser and his abuse to the fore to stop his wrongdoing.
• In helping victims to reach out to counselling helplines and other support groups
• In sharing because if you are a victim and need support to fight it out, you never know who might just help you to move on.
Violence is a mindset issue
Men who indulge in violence are either badly convinced that women are weak – emotionally and physically, that they are born to remain in shackles and they deserve to be illtreated.
Or, they are in a state of war within themselves as they are unable to come to terms with the fact that women are making a good career for themselves, they are no longer submissive, that they as good as their male counterparts when it comes to work, that they have made a presence in almost every field, even those that were considered as a prerogative for the other gender.
Movies like Thappad, Ammu and Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey have thrown light on this sensitive topic in their own way but the common thing is that all the three protagonists stood up for themselves without succumbing to societal and familial pressures.
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