TW: Domestic abuse.
I met a woman whose story has brought me here today. Her sufferings are too much for a person of her age to bear. She is just 20-years-old, an underprivileged woman, and a mother of two daughters (6 and 24 months old).
She told me how she was thrown out of the house by her mother-in-law, at midnight, in Delhi, amidst the Coronavirus outbreak along with the two little girls, due to some dowry issues. She said, her in-laws wanted a car, but her mother offered them a bike as it was all she could afford. Since then they had been torturing her. They grew more furious when she gave birth to two girls and threw her out.
Somehow, she managed to reach her parents home, in a small town in the state of Uttarakhand, without clothes and food supplies. Her mom is old and a single mother who couldn’t bear the expenses, so the young woman had to look for some source of earning to feed her kids.
There’s another similar story of a woman I came across, she had four kids three daughters and a son. She was sent back to her parents’ house by her husband with all the three daughters, whereas he kept son with himself. She couldn’t afford a lawyer to fight the case and the police weren’t of any help. She started working as a domestic help to support her daughters’ education.
There must be so many women bearing the same fortune which has been imposed upon them by the authoritarian patriarchy, illiteracy, poverty, huge dowry demands, and more. Most of them are poverty-stricken and deprived of education therefore they fail sometimes to reach out for help. Some of them are unaware and some afraid to rebel.
We live in a century where feminism has taken over the world. We talk about gender equality, where dowry seems an old-school story that existed decades ago, our education system is advancing there is artificial intelligence, free internet access, we think that we have moved ahead.
However, there’s a flip side to this, of the stories these women are carrying silently inside them.
When you’ll hear, you would realise that we haven’t reached anywhere, our society is still stuck in that mud, in those taboos and stigmas, the shadows of injustice and violence still haunts them. People still prefer a male child over female. Domestic violence, child marriage, dowry still exist and they will continue to exist if people don’t speak up and if they don’t rebel and raise their voices.
Is there an end to their sufferings? Is there hope for a new and better world? Are we just moving forward without a sign of progress?