Behind Closed Doors of Rural Matrimonial Homes
There is a lot more than we know or understand "behind closed doors"! Domestic Voilence should not be tolerated, at any cost. But still some women give up to their self respect and dignity to amaze most of us, but there are always 3 sides of the story.......
Marriage is an integral part of any society. Especially in India, marriages are celebrated as a spiritual ceremony. In Indian mindset, marriage is the most important component of a man/woman’s life. So of course, with other social evils, even marriage has some deep rooted drawbacks which can neither be overlooked nor can they be accepted but still, it has been the same – more or less, since time immemorial.
I have worked in the state research department (social sciences) for more than a year. During this time, there were innumerable events, that I witnessed, which were pretty shocking! Sometimes you just cannot believe that the society you live in is so brutal and cruel. The developments, the progresses are all a farce you start to feel, if this is the condition of women, even in this so called modernized and advanced 21st Century. Some situations and scenarios filled me with immense pain and rage at the same time. Anger on the hypocrite society, on mankind and on “us”! All those of us, who claim to be educated and want to change the world, Oh! Believe me, the work is endless and you would just not know where and how to begin.
I am a lawyer. I see the dark side of the society every single day at the Court of Law. I know what women deserve. I know what can be done if they do not get what they deserve. I know how men, who are out of line, can be sacked. But yet, I feel helpless. Do you know why? I shall tell you through this article.
Marriage and Women
Marriage to men is vital, as much important it is to women. It is a re-birth in a way for both men and women. But since we are in a patriarchal society and so are the rules of our civilization, women leaves behind a lot more than men and she sacrifices a lot more than men. She leaves her world, her identity, her home, her town, her friends, her culture, everything that was hers for all the years that she was a spinster, once she is married. What she has of her own is her mind, body and soul, which she, out of love, surrenders to her life partner, since this is the way, women are created.
This is no thumb rule, but usually this is the way it is. Many women get more than their expectations and marriage is a gateway of heaven for them and some women even make their matrimony a hell for both the partners. (Please don’t mistake me as a feminist or this article as anti-men, this is merely the facts that are being suggested and I am sure no man, would disagree on the same).
Marriage not only binds two souls and two bodies, but it also binds two lives and two fates. And Indian families blindfolds the girl, who is married or is about to be married, to all the flaws in the man she is married to as in India it is said:
“Pati Parmeshwar hota hai” (Husband is equivalent to God)
So is her mindset framed since forever and so she is used to the differences between men and women. Differences are in rights, treatments and life styles and in every way that you can think of. In many cultures/communities Man is always superior to a Woman and has all the rights to inflict pain, torture and agony on her. The worst of it is Physical Abuse on women.
Domestic Violence and Law
For many, ‘home’ is where they face a regime of terror and violence at the hands of somebody close to them – somebody they should be able to trust. Those victimized suffer physically and psychologically. In India, Domestic Violence refers to the violence within a matrimonial home between the two spouses. For a better understanding, let us dwell into the legal aspects of it.
Section 2 (f) of The Domestic Violence Act, 2005 defines:
“Domestic relationship” means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family
Section 3 of The Domestic Violence Act, 2005 defines:
For the purposes of this Act, any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence in case it—
(a) harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well‑being, whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse and economic abuse; or
(b) harasses, harms, injures or endangers the aggrieved person with a view to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property or valuable security; or
(c) has the effect of threatening the aggrieved person or any person related to her by any conduct mentioned in clause (a) or clause (b); or
(d) Otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person.
In this act, Domestic Violence also includes “physical abuse”, “sexual abuse”, “verbal and emotional abuse” and “economic abuse”.
Rural Areas and Social taboos
The rural areas’ women place immense belief in the conventional way of life. They never have been explained the importance of self-esteem or self-confidence. Women are supposed to be inherently blessed with endless tolerance and Patience. Sacrifice is what their life sums up to in the end and these are the main factors which lead to domestic violence against women in the rural areas.
The men in the rural areas do not go by personal features in the process of choosing of his wife. Major attraction is easy money which can be received by the bride's dowry. Within two or three years of marriage, he starts to beat her, harass her. Abuse then takes higher and more intense form. Sometimes under the pretence of being drunk or sometimes for economic crunches or sometimes just because he feels like it or sometimes because she did not give birth to a baby boy! In rural areas, even Police is not of much help as they are either on the husband’s side or are interested in the woman, sexually. So these battered women feel all the more miserable and helpless. And because there are bad precedents, no women actually gather enough courage to go the Police. The maiden (parental) home also don’t want to then take her back for social taboos and other stigmas created by the society itself.
No laws can change a thing. Because, it is the society and the framework and the thinking that needs a change. Things have been the same, since decades but no one really wants to do anything about it? Wrong! There are millions who have dedicated their lives in causes like these, but it is true, when they say: "God helps them, who helps themselves"
No miracles will happen, if you dont work towards the same. And this will not happen overnight, we have to try and try and try till we attain that goal --- where women are treated with respect and are given what they deserve
© Krishna Dasani, 2012