“It’s Okay, It Happens”: Domestic Violence In The Name Of Tradition

IJMEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #ViolenceNoMore, a campaign by International Justice Mission and Youth Ki Awaaz to fight against daily violence faced by marginalised communities. Speak out against systemic violence by publishing a story here.

For years, families have tortured, abused and manipulated for the “tradition” of dowry. The materialistic exchange has now become a common theme in every marriage and people have made it part of the ceremony.

Catch someone in the act,
Considered part of the sacred pact,
“It’s okay, it happens,”
That’s what they’re told,
Get beaten up by the one who promised to keep them whole.
Years go by, the bruises and the wounds fade,
But they remain ingrained in the segue.

Domestic violence is considered “normal” by most people and is somehow an accepted part of a marriage.
“They’re going through a rough patch.”
“Just get over it, take the apology and go back.”

“Newly wed, what burden do you carry?”
Your father had to pay for you to get married.
It’s been a year and they ask for more,
Surprise, your new “family” is rotten to the core.
And what’s your parents’ plan?
Tell you to go back,
“Have children, that’ll be the kickback.”

You’ve had your third child now,
Still, you’re judged by your china,
In-laws, still a bunch of hyenas.
And now the first child’s in on it,
Wonders why his dad smokes a cigarette,
He hears someone cry, who isn’t his baby sister,
Sees his parents fight, “Go back to your room mister.”
He’s now part of the violence,
Grows up, plays the same song on his violin,
Fiddles; his relationships?
The circumstances same his parents relation died in.

Children who are exposed to domestic violence often suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They grow up seeing violence around them and are more likely to emulate the behavioural traits of their parents. Not only does abuse, of any form, affect the one it is inflicted upon, it also leaves an imprint on the generations to come.

What policy reforms do you think would help eliminate instances of daily violence and improve access to justice in India? Send us your suggestions and we’ll take a manifesto to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Let’s spark the change together!

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