behaviour · opinion · questions

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

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Abuse – not just physical!

  1. Apar, well expressed! Totally know so many people who go through this day in day out. You are so right in that we change as a person based on our surroundings. There is only so much one can rebel right? 🙂

  2. Well said, Apar. It is so true. I don’t think I have met anyone who hasn’t had this kind of abuse at one time or another, including myself. I see it, just like you said, it almost being normal because we are women, things are just expected of us. I know women who think it is right (mostly older). I think times will change. When? Your guess is as good as mine.

    1. There really is no geographical boundaries to this kind of abuse really. I guess just the degree of abuse varies!! And yeah…when is a huge question?!?!

  3. Stumbled on your blog…while I agree with all that you have said, you could have done a comparison (intentionally) between north & south. While you may say, abuse has no boundaries, there is an ocean of difference in the tipping point (between north & south). Women in south have a confined upbringing…I think this is the root cause!

    1. Welcome here SidZ! This is a general perspective. I just know that this kind of emotional abuse happens everywhere, it is the degree that varies depending on how confined the society really is. True when you take just India into perspective, the South is way more conservative & boxed up in their ideas than the North. Though, since I do know that this exists in various forms elsewhere all around the world (even the so called open society abroad), I would not term it the root cause. Probably one of the major causes 🙂

    1. Yeah Aarti, drained out is right!! You fight & then start saying “hey well if you can’t beat ’em, follow ’em!” I suppose. And some of us who keep standing up – well, we know what happens! 😉

  4. I disagree with sidZ. Abuse knows no boundaries, polarization or demarcations. i can understand a man abusing his partner under the influence of drugs or ancohol. Not that I justify it but he atleast is not in control. I’ve known a close acquaintance abuse his wife in the name of honesty and inability to tolerate corruption in high places. He left a high paying job, sat at home doing nothing and forcing his family to live in penury. Resigning from a job that was unsuited to his temperament was fine. But what stopped him from working to support his family. Lack of money would make him hurl abuses at his wife and children, ill treat his sons in law so that they may never visit him and generally make life miserable for everyone around him. His ego was such that he would not talk to his children for years together if they dared to contradict him – so what if they had a valid point. In India or for that matter anywhere in the world, this example may not even be considered abuse. You have to be brutally beaten up even to be noticed and you may end up hearing that it was all your fault. You couldn’t handle your husband’s mood well enough.

  5. I am finally doing my assignment, Apar, thank you for thinking of me!
    I also want to say how poignant and pertinent I find your post. So many females hear, as you said “you’re a girl/woman, therefore…”
    And I agree that many women contribute to this situation themselves; perhaps out of fear. The only thing I can really think of to alleviate this is for women to form support groups to encourage each other to live as they wish. When more and more women do this, they will become good role models for the next generation.
    I was kind of shocked that therapy is viewed so negatively in India. Even in the US where I am, where sometimes it seems as if everyone is in therapy 🙂 there are those who feel it makes them seem weak if they want to get help managing their lives. I can only hope this is starting to change.

  6. wonderfully written…. I agree… each point was clear enugh….
    outstanding blog….

    Visit mine and plz post your valuable comments …..

    I hope you will like that

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s