When I last wrote about depression about a week and a half back, I noticed that many of my friends within and outside my social network could relate to it. While some had first hand experience, others knew people who were battling it. Still others felt that it
was indeed the need of the hour to talk about it and erase the taboo that surrounds it, at least in India. This brings us to ONE of the possible causes of depression– abuse (physical, mental, verbal, Sexual either one, more or a lethal combination of all four).
I am an Indian and most of my friends are Indians married to and settled all over the world. Of course, I do have some friends who are married to men/women of other nationalities but I have never had a chance to discuss this issue with them ever. So I am simply unaware of it. I don’t want to look up the internet and put up some statistics because, most of my writings are based on my experiences and intuitions. I don’t want to impress anyone with my writing; I write what moves me.
So, coming back to the main point after a slight detour, many Indian women suffer various kinds of abuse and at various levels. While some scars show, others are nicely tucked in. Once when my maid came for work with a bruised face and casually said that she was roughed up by her husband, I was surprised that she had accepted it as a part of her life. But according to her, even people who live in big houses (she meant our apartments) were abused. So, education basically has nothing to do with it. Then what is? Maybe getting married against one’s wishes. Or even better, men use it as a tool to continue their dominance and display masculinity through these means . Well…I can understand the reasons for abuse at a time when women (say my grandmother’s generation) were not educated, weren’t working and therefore dependent financially on their husbands. But why in the present generation? Every father of our generation has made sure that their daughters are educated (to the extent that they can be self-reliant) and are married off to men with equal or better education. Then where is the issue? Some women complain that the in-laws instigate the husbands and watch silently as the wives suffer.
It is hard to understand which form of abuse gives the most pain– the physical or the psychological? Because in the latter you are simply made to feel worthless, insignificant (but remember, you are highly educated). So why do the educated women suffer?
- One reason and probably the most important of them is for the sake of the children. If they walk out, the children get torn between the two parents. But are the children happy otherwise?
- Many husbands make the children believe that the mothers are evil and brainwash the innocent minds. Mothers fear losing their children. They try their best to clutch on to them.
- Parents (of women) probably trivialize the whole issue and compare it with their times and the pain they have endured. They offer no support and therefore the daughters feel they have nowhere to go.
- Women also worry a lot about what others will say. Because in most of these situations the women are blamed. They are held responsible for not keep their husbands happy and therefore incurring his wrath.
- Security could be another reason. Women who walk out of a marriage and are left alone are believed to be vulnerable, available and in need for a shoulder to cry.
There could be more reasons, but I don’t know of them. If you do, please throw some light on it.
Most women in India weigh all the options before taking an important life-changing decision. And the husbands are aware of their weaknesses and therefore continue to traumatize them. Some end up in depression while the brave ones continue on as long as there is life. Only a select few finally decide to walk out. It takes immense courage to make a move of this nature, because after the woman walks out, the husband ensures that he makes it known to all those associated with her (in any form) of her supposedly “wretched” character.
I must admit that I have never experienced abuse of any kind and therefore when I hear these horror tales, I am shocked, to say the least. At the same time, I also assume that my good deeds in the past birth are probably responsible for it. However, I want to shout out to all those women who are currently undergoing abuse of any form to come out in the open and not fear anyone. To accept of being abused is no shame; it doesn’t demean you or your character. It only belittles the abuser. DO NOT suffer in silence. Only when women discuss openly and talk about it can we work towards a solution. Otherwise though we might have progressed, we cannot call ourselves empowered.
The twenty first century is all about women empowerment and celebrating their spirit, their skills, their tenacity and the numerous other qualities they possess. What holds us back? Share your suffering and you will realize that you are not alone. Don’t cry behind closed doors. We are not the weaker sex anymore. Today there are lots of opportunities for women and most companies have a policy of inclusion. That’s a welcome change. But until women are paid enough for their work and the skill sets they have, they cannot be independent in the truest sense. Let’s look within and around us and wake the giant who’s been in slumber for long!