In my previous post, I had recounted the story of one of my friends. Its really hard for me to see her wasting her life in this fashion, and the thought that nothing I say can make her change her mind is even more frustrating. I have been thinking about her and have also been reading other’s stories on the VAWA blog and there are a few things that I find disturbing.
I cannot, for the life of me, fathom why any woman would take any kind of abuse from her husband or his family or from anyone for that matter. I for one, would never do that. Maybe it is my upbringing, or my financial independence or whatever that makes me think in this fashion. I don’t know. I know that if TS even thought of raising his hand on me, I would walk out, without a second thought. I know my parents will back me up, I know I will be able to manage on my own. And I think nothing merits physical abuse. Ever. Period. Nothing that a woman does or says gives a man the right to rough her up. And no, I don’t buy stupid arguments like- it offends a man’s ego, or its common in marriages for the husband to slap the wife. I don’t buy that. I don’t mind arguing or even fighting. Me and TS do fight over things but, we never make it personal. He never says a word against my family or my upbringing or anything. We fight and we sort it out, as two individuals. And no, there are no swear words, no abuse. We both have very short tempers but, we always manage to handle these issues like adults. And I believe that is how it should be. I don’t think violence is the answer to anything and that is precisely why I will not condone this kind of abuse.
Coming to think of it, I can understand why some women put up with these things. When I was in college, most of my classmates were bought up to believe that marriage was the be all and end all of their lives. That her husband and his family should be her world. They were all small town girls, and I was appalled by their attitude. Most of them didn’t even have any interest in their studies. Their only aim was to finish college so they could get married. And they did get married the minute their studies were over too. Most were not even encouraged to study beyond their graduation. It was almost like their parents were washing their hands off them. Yes, they chose grooms for their daughters with a lot of care. Yes their daughters were the apple of their eyes. But, I didn’t understand why they didn’t encourage their daughters to stand on their own two feet.
I was even more surprised at the attitude of the girls.Most of them believed falling in love or having a boyfriend was absolute blasphemy, that a woman’s place was always one step behind her man, that if you were employed it was always good to have a job that paid less than their husband, that they had to know how to cook and clean and that too food, that their husband and his family preferred and it was good not to work once they had kids, even if their families were around to take care of the kid. And many of them are living their lives as stay at home mom’s. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a stay at home mom. But I do have issues with their attitudes. Not wanting to work, treating their husband’s families as superior to theirs. I don’t get it. Not that I blame them, its the way they have been bought up.
From the time a girl is born, her parents start to worry about getting her married off. Not about her upbringing, not about her studies- they only worry about her wedding and the expenses associated. Even today educating a girl is not seen as a huge priority where I come from. I have people in my own family (very distant relatives, thankfully!) who thought my parents were making a huge mistake letting me and my sister go for professional courses. They said it would make it even more difficult to find grooms for us. They cautioned my parents against making us too independent. They said we were too opinionated. They said it was dangerous for girls to be so. They told my Mom it was a big mistake not to teach me cooking. And when I got a proposal while I was in the first year of my MBA, in spite of some of my family asking them to go ahead, my parents refused. They said they wanted me to finish my education and get a job before they decided something like that.
I was never bought up to believe I was inferior to someone. I was taught I was as good as any other guy, maybe better. I was never taught to suppress my likes and opinions for someone else. I was taught to express mine, and stick to what I thought was right. I was never taught to be submissive, I was taught to not take crap from anyone. And I was taught to not take any kind of abuse from anyone. I even fought with a teacher in school because she had this habit of belittling me in class all the time. I told her I would take her to court for emotional harassment if she carried on with what she was doing. She apologized to me. I apologized to her too for my outburst. Anyways, I don’t see why people should put up with this kind of treatment from anyone.
And I don’t think fear of society should be a factor. Society’s opinion doesn’t matter. You are the one living with the abuse. And its not like society is taking care of your needs. Society just stands by the sidelines and watches all the fun. Its your life and you have to make the choice. It will be hard, especially if you are financially dependent. I cannot begin to even fathom what a victim of abuse goes through. All I can say is, know when to say enough. Know when to walk out and don’t let anything beat you down. That’s the only way to go. You are as important as the man in the relationship. You are not a second grade citizen that your emotions can be trampled upon, that your likes and interests are of little consequence. And to parents who believe that daughters are mere lumps of flesh to be auctioned off in the marriage market concealed under mounds of gold and money, I say, stop thinking that way. Your daughters are as precious as your sons or someone else’s sons. Encourage them to blossom and do well instead of teaching them to be doormats. Maybe then we can look forward to a better society.
I know my thoughts are disjointed here. I was reading some of the stories on the blog and was so upset and that’s what prompted this. I will write more on this topic as and when I think of something more. As of now, my thoughts are scattered. So forgive me.