Love, respect… she deserves both.
That’s what got me hooked me on to the trailer for Thappad, an upcoming Hindi movie.
“It’s just a slap.” But, is it?
The movie revolves around a happily married couple who love each other. But something happens one day that pushes their boundaries so much that the wife wants to get divorced – a slap. During an altercation at a party, the husband slaps his wife.
Here’s the thing: when a man hits a woman, he doesn’t hit her face, he hits her self-esteem, self-respect, dignity – everything that makes her feel proud of herself.
The trailer begins with the lawyer asking her, “Just one slap and you want a divorce?” Her mother and mother-in-law are shown asking her to adjust, “Let it go, a woman should learn to adjust,” they say. But why should only a woman learn to adjust?
As always, society thinks it’s a small matter, a mere slap. This happens when a person is angry and a wife should understand how difficult work can become and what challenges men face. But does it give a man a right to raise his hand?
What if a woman after a long workday, hits her husband in public? Will he forgive her? Yet, a wife is expected to swallow her pride and forgive her husband for similar misconduct, exposing the double standards of our society.
The wife’s determination to not let the slapping incident pass in the garb of forgiveness is striking. She says, “Yes, just one slap… but you cannot hit me.”
The case is symbolic of the general situation with domestic violence in our country. It is an acute problem in India.
National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data indicates that more than 30% of Indian women have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused by their husbands at some point in their lives. Alarmingly, almost 75% did not seek help from anyone.
When you read this data, they are numbers that scare you. At any point, we do not think that our sister, daughter, friend, cousin, or aunt might have experienced abuse or are victims of domestic violence.
Our mind invariably creates an idyllic happy family image – smiling, joyful, picture-perfect. How I wish it was so! Unfortunately, it is not the way always.
Our country has progressive laws but they can only come to your rescue when you are strong enough to say no to domestic violence.
The day you accept that you will not be part of an inhuman situation and not allow anyone to demean you, the condition will change. Laws, self-help groups and helplines will be of much help then.
Coming back to where we started – love and respect, she deserves both.
The statement touches a chord with the majority of married women in our country who are often treated like mere objects or a means to fulfill the family’s needs. Their needs for space, affection, and respect do not even exist for the husband and his family.
A happy married life that should be based on mutual love, care, and respect, on the contrary, is often based on contempt, neglect, and scorn.
The movie shows the wife’s transformation from a happy-go-lucky person to a strong woman who values herself. The message is loud and clear – you decide how your man treats you and not society.
If you are experiencing something similar, I sincerely hope and wish that you put an end to violence and abuse of any kind and your story has a happy ending, where everyone is proud of you. Most of all, where you are proud of yourself.
What do you value most in a relationship? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Note: this article was first published here.