By Kriti Pal:
“…the wife: however brutal or tyrant she may unfortunately be chained to-though she may know that he hates her, though it may be his daily pleasure to torture her, and though she may feel it impossible not to loathe him- (he) can claim from her and enforce the lowest degradation of a human being, that of being made an instrument of an animal function contrary to her inclinations.” – John Stuart Mill
The above sentence does more than just give words to the situation one woman out of three has to face, not only in our country but all over the world. Domestic violence against woman is not a thing of the present times. It has been going on for donkey’s years and unless it is fought against and uprooted completely, will continue hence. Then be it husbands, fathers, brothers or uncles, the person may differ but the pattern will remain the same.
A frustrated man coming back home for work can evidently find no other way to vent out his anger than beating up the woman in his house and picking up the smallest of reasons to justify that. A glass of water slipping out of her hand, or the food lacking a pinch of salt becomes something that goes way beyond the matters that can be sorted out by the word of mouth. And sometimes it happens without a reason too. The worst part is that both the parties in this case get so used to it that nothing is done to change the scenario.
The violence is not just confined to physical but psychological violence -which includes verbal abuse harassment, confinement and deprivation of physical, financial and personal resources- is also a part of it. The emotional attacks sometime impact the women in a way that is even worse than physical abuse, undermining her self-confidence and breaking her up internally.
My domestic help, more often than not, shows up with bruises which are evidently not the marks someone gets due to tripping on the road. After being questioned incessantly, she once narrated how her husband hits her for he thinks she’s cheating on him when she’s actually out there fending for the family, while he sits at home drinking and inviting his friends for a game of cards. Why, I ask, does she have to put up with it? The society, she says, the ‘society’ won’t let her children live without questioning about their father a million times, and she, being a woman, will be an easy target for the men of the area she lives in. My advising powers only go so far.
Often, the injuries go up to bruises and fractures to chronic disabilities. It also has devastating repercussions on the family
Mothers are unable to care for their children properly. Often they transmit to them their own feelings of low self-esteem, helplessness and inadequacy. Violence against women is the most pervasive human rights violation in world today. We need to think and ponder as how this form of degradation of women can be stopped. It needs support from all quarters be it government, NGOs and women themselves. There is also a need to improve women’s economic capacities that include access to and control of income and assets and also share in the family’s property. The government should strengthen and expand training and sensitization programs.