By and large, violence against women is an accepted norm, even in the so called developed countries like the USA.
Statistics show that one in every four women, have been a victim of domestic violence in some stage in her life, and especially between the age of 15 -40 years. In India too, domestic violence is a part of the system and advocated and supported by the women themselves.
Women play a major role in abetting to this trend, and by also encouraging it. Slapping, hitting, beating , is a common way to make a woman understand her place in the household.
Many a young girl has been tortured, raped and killed in the name of dowry, a common malaise amongst us.
Just recently me and my friend were witness to a young woman being hit by her husband on the road. As we stopped to interfere, the belligerent husband told us rudely not to poke our noses in his family matter.
Well, that did not deter us, and we stood our ground. By then this fracas had attracted a fair number of army personal. I asked them all, that how can you stand by and watch this scene, and yes they all said it is a personal matter, to be decided by the family. In all this, the woman out of sheer fear, just asked us to go away.
That is the saddest and most demeaning part, because the woman has practically no help or support from anywhere, and also in 90 per cent cases is bound to be with the husband because of the children. It is a male privilege to be the member of authority and decide how to treat his wife. Emotional abuse, isolation, economic dependency are all thrown in the woman’s lap.
Domestic violence against women transverse through all strata’s of society, the rich and the poor being equally subjected to it. Only an exceptionally mentally strong woman, with immense confidence has the nerve to stand up to this abuse.
We Indians also have a thumb rule, never interfere in domestic battles, unless you are a lawyer, as in most cases the woman too turns upon you, and you are left shamefaced and smarting. The woman has her own reasons; basically our social structure will also not allow her to retaliate against her husband. Here it is the duty of her own family to stand by and support her. Economic independence is a must for every woman, and the confidence to stand up to abuse. Also the neighbours’ and extended family should raise their voice in protest and make the man realise that this behavior will not be tolerated. A complaint with the police, or any of the women’s organisation also will help curb this evil.
I have seen within my own family and circle of friends, that such violence is stopped only when the man has a fear of the law and society. We women have a bigger role to play in society, after all the future generations are nurtured in our wombs.
In Pune, there are two of the many centre’s where a woman can seek help.
One is the National Council of Women in India, at Ruby Hall Clinic.
The other one is the Stree Mukti Andolan Sampark Samiti, where the Tathapi Trust operates from its address at 817 ,Sadashiv Peth.