Abuse – not just physical!

Indusladies International Women's Day Contest

Aarti & Ritu have tagged me on this contest by Indusladies.com.

The details of the contest can be read here.

I do not consider myself a pro at writing, never attempted fiction (don’t think I will! 🙂 ). So,  I decided to type in my thoughts on the abuse that women go through. Some of them every  single day of their life!

There are a number of forums/ laws (not enough some say…still) that deal with physical or  sexual abuse of women or girls. Immense media coverage is given on finding any such  instance that goes with proof.

I am not going to write about that. I do not discount the agony or pain felt by those women at all but I want to pen my thoughts on a different kind of abuse. Mental/Emotional abuse. This is not visible through bruises or scars. Outwardly, the female population that goes through this kind of abuse would appear fine. They even go about their day in a routine (happy?!?) fashion. So, I feel that this abuse is neglected. Mental abuse cannot be proven either; albeit it exists and is prevalent.

How many of us (though given the essentials and more) have heard the words – “you are a girl, you cannot do this!” or “Being a girl/woman, how could you……? ”  and many more such queries?!? Women/girls are not stopped from anything even, but it gets ingrained that certain tasks cannot be done by us women/girls! Some of us rebel (and are picked up on that!) but most of us women just shut up & never say a word. Take the brunt of it all silently. Slowly start believing that what is said is true. Worse, the same women even start advocating/perpetuating those false views!!!

There must be so many women all around who have boundaries drawn, boxes moulded around that they never must step out. It is blasphemy to think otherwise. The norms set by the so called society are to be followed. Even professionally successful women undergo quiet mental abuse. Once you are done with work, it is the duty of the woman to be home – cook, clean, tend to the home/kids. Friends – what friends? How can one have a life outside of the home? Slowly the woman who had a big circle of friends loses touch with them. The same circle grows smaller (other women undergoing the same problem or some who just give up reaching out all the time) and it slowly ends up being your home is your world! Is the woman happy about it? No! but she is bounded by constant words around her that this is what is expected of her. She changes as a person even! Is this abuse visible? No! People just see a woman taking care of her home & family. She appears happy. She might even have a successful career (as long as it does not interfere with the husband’s plans).

Words hurt way more than a bludgeon. The scars fade, black and blue bruises go away but the ill-spoken word lasts forever etched in memory. Slowly eating away the confidence, the person who the woman really is, getting “moulded” according to what is expected of her! Bouts of depression, anger haunt her though she cannot express them. If at all she does, it is labeled PMS or some such thing (oh her mood swings!! is quite a common phrase! ). In countries like India, mental health is not even a factor that is considered. Therapy is unheard of even in the educated sections of society. A visit to the psychiatrist or psychologist – will be hushed up like a murder has been committed. Eventually even those who attempt it, to avoid being ostracised end up stopping therapy. With not many takers, the quality of the therapists also for want of a better word – sucks!

Right from childhood, this kind of abuse starts. Who made all these rules? Who decides on what the boundaries are? Where do all those boxes come from?! Every single aspect of life is scrutinised. What a girl wears, who she speaks to, how she walks, what she studies, what she eats/drinks, how she must look – each and every minute thing!! It gets to them at some point or the other. Even the woman who would say that she has never undergone any kind of abuse, I am sure, would have been told what/how to do something at some point or the other. Some are oblivious even to this kind of abuse – blessed I must say. There are those who want to break free & just cannot. Many suffer in silence, just end up accepting this as a way of life even!

I don’t know if I have expressed what I want to. I am glad that many are ready to fight for their rights. I just wish that women do not just quietly accept anything and everything just to maintain peace at home. I wish they speak up. As long as one’s actions does not hurt anyone, nothing is wrong. It might not be what the society normally deems acceptable! One must be free to live life the way one wants to, express one’s ideas freely.

I must say that this can easily be a unisexual post in many ways. I feel it is more appropriate for women as these norms/rules and this kind of abuse is a lot more against them!

I am supposed to tag 3 other bloggers. So here goes, I tag

Lesson Learnt!

Rant Alert!

Situation Saturday night: Lost my wallet with all my cards, cash & a few other things! (had withdrawn some money just earlier that day )

Having decided that I would not get my wallet, I sat down to call all the institution to block my cards reporting them lost. This was after 19:30 hrs IST. I call Bank#1 the “one that understands my world” Yeah right! I am put on hold forever and ever. So, while on hold I call Bank #2 – my “right partner”; managed to block both the debit & credit card I held with that bank & got the cards to be put in for re-issue. Still on hold with bank #1 on the other phone. Called Bank #3 with the tagline “hum hai na” ; after a short hold -blocked the card, requested for re-issue. I was told that I must go to the nearest branch with photo ID to get something called an insta-card. Still on hold with Bank #1!!!!! Lastly, called Bank#4, “Surprisingly” it was a breeze to block and request for re-issue of the credit card I held with them!

Finally Bank#1 phone banker comes on as I was finishing my call with Bank #4.  Got the card blocked (it was around 20:45 hrs! 🙂 ) and requested re-issue. The guy said call phone banking again and get it cancelled! Flabbergasted…I was wondering what I was doing right then if not phone banking?!?! I concede and call back, and was informed by the automated voice that I must call between 8am and 8pm for phone banking 😀

Next day: Around noon, I call Bank#1 again. Phone banker 1 answers and says you must have requested it before midnight yesterday for re-issue if you wanted this done over phone banking! I said…yeah I did!!! I recounted everything and the guy says you must have chosen the wrong option!! I said well, if I don’t find the option I am looking for, I opt to talk to a phone banker who was available only between the said times – hence the call then! He says you must have hot listed!??! I was like huh?! what is that…he started giving me lessons on jargons! I lost it and told him to just enable the re-issue, he repeats saying can’t be done on phone banking! I hung up. Called again, had to explain everything again to phone banker 2, who put me on to phone banker 3 saying she would do it. The lady said, no can’t be done, you must have requested it yesterday!!!! Asked for the supervisor…who said the same!!! I (with my sore throat!) said this was the limit! He apologised for both phone banker #1 who said I was wrong for not “hot listing” and for the fact that they could not re-issue the card then by phone banking. He asked me to head to my branch or the nearest branch to get it done. I must say the guy was calm, polite and friendly (sounded knowledgeable too) unlike the rest of the morons I had dealt with!

Was caught up with other problems on Sunday & Monday. Though did get an interesting call on Monday from a division of Bank #2 that dealt with credit cards. She asked questions to confirm stuff. Then was asked what was my last payment for the card. I did not know and did not have the bill/ receipt on hand at the moment. So, she continues; asked me what was my last transaction on the card!!! This stumped me! As you see, I do have quite a number of cards (thanks to my various job stints & salary accounts had to open them, lazy to close them out!) I asked the lady how could she expect me to remember every transaction and the amount!?!? Her answer was these are security questions! I said I wonder how someone who has 10 cards or more can answer these…guess they would get VIP treatment ‘cos they probably will be stinking rich! She succumbed and said that I could call back if I did not receive the replacement card in 5 days time!

Tuesday: Visit to Bank#3. Take a token, wait for close to half an hour. Was asked to sit in front of an officer who goes, I am helping the other lady sitting in front of the other desk, so please wait! Told her politely that I was asked to come sit there, and yeah I would wait. Soon (about 10- 15 minutes later) her attention turned to me. Told her that I had blocked my card, reported it lost and needed the insta card. She looks into my account details and says that since I hold a different kind of account (supposedly privileged one!) I cannot get the insta card!!!! I just did not get it. I asked her if the phone banker had the same access to information and knew what type of account I held. She answered in the affirmative. Asked her why then was I misled into thinking that I could get an insta card?! All she did was apologised for the wrong information given & handed out the form to be filled out & told me I had to wait a week to get the card. Headed over to Bank#1, filled in the form; was told I must get the replacement card in a week’s time.

So situation now: Still no cash (fool that I am believing I would get the instacard did not take a cheque book to withdraw money!) and waiting for the replacement cards to come. So, borrowed money from dad to fill in petrol for my bike :)and no spending on anything at all for that last few days (way to cut down on that right?! 😉 )

Lesson learnt: Do not lose your wallet (btw, yet to get a nice new one 😦 ) If you do, do not believe to get help from phone bankers! Customer service sucks!!