July 25, 2007 2:13am CST
I've been a professional, a mother, a wife, a daughter-in-law and a daughter and now a homemaker. Every morning I come across stories in the newspaper about violence towards women. Since I'm from India, these stories are mostly centred around dowry deaths, female foeticide and domestic violence. What I've seen from my personal experience is that what is not really reported or talked about are the daily sacrifices being made by women within the confines of marriage and which somehow are not just expected but actually being accepted by women themselves. The one line that I was repeatedly told by many is that in order for the marriage to survive the woman has to bow down. Why is it that the onus of keeping a marriage going is always on the woman? A woman, especially in India, is subjected to the regular abuse, criticism and injustice heaped upon her by her husband and her in-laws. This comes in the form of issues right from the kitchen, to her looks to her family background. She's expected to bear the humility of the taunts and abuses smilingly and continue with the regular running of the home. She is still, yes, believe me, even in the 21st century, answerable to her husband for every action of hers. The man indulges in violence, if the wife has had a drink or two or arrives back home late. The man charts out his life as he wills though, complete with affairs, flirtations, control of the family finances, authority. He lies, hides, shirks commitments and responsibilities as it suits him. He forces the wife to bear and accept the misbehaviour of his family towards her. In most cases the wife smiles and bears it, mostly for the sake of the children or social pressure. In India, divorce is a stigma, a major one. And I'm referring to cases where the woman is financially independant, a good mother, a good wife, a good homemaker. She is deprived of love, affection, companionship from her husband. Reports of women achievers spill over newspaper pages everyday. But these are women who are privileged, moneyed and influential. These are mostly business women hailing from huge business families with a huge support system at their disposal or women who have done some kind of social work. Why is never a housewife's efforts applauded or her daily sacricifices recognised? It is easy to be single or live life on your own terms and then succeed, whatever the definition of success is. To fight out life amidst criticisms, compromises, hardships, abuses and sacrifices is far more noble and calls for more courage and determination. The easiest thing is to walk out of a marriage. It is far more difficult to live within it and live on someone else's terms. Her name does not get mentioned in newspapers or her photograph splashed all over. Her struggles are quiet, selfless and dignified. When a woman wishes to hold the marriage together and build a happy home and at the same time address her own needs and eventually builds up the courage to visit a counsellor or a therapist(mostly women), it is she who's asked to adjust and change. Medication is prescribed, a regimen chalked out and she is asked to grin and bear the rest. The man, the cause of her state, call it depression, frustration, unhappiness, insecurity and a basic need to be happy, is absolved of everything and is happy that the doctor has asked the wife to adjust, stop drinking, stop shouting and carry out her duties happily. Why is it that in order to make a marriage survive, it is always, always the woman who has to change, adjust, improve etc etc? Why is it that no one ever asks the man to show more affection, more warmth, more companionship or more understanding towards his wife? Why are there so many expectations from the wife without the man fulfilling any of hers? Are the children or their well being or peace in the family only the wife's responsibility? Does the wife have no right to happiness? Are these demand too high to meet? Does the man have no responsibility towards upholding the dignity and happiness of his wife? Is it not a marriage commitment for him as well? Why should a woman live in perpetual fear of the husband leaving her for another woman, or she being thrown out of a marriage with false and concocted stories of her misconduct and character? Why should she always continue to be insecure in a marriage? Where will these women go? To whom would they turn? Why is their worth so little, these women who dedicate their entire lives to make other people happy and swallow their unhappiness and indignities? Isn't it time this lot, and mind you its a big lot of women out their waiting and hoping, get their due, their trials noticed and offered their place in the sun?. I ask the women, both professionals and housewives to please respond.
1 person likes this
• Delhi, India
25 Jul 07
OH! My God! You have written a complete article on the state of affairs on women in India. I must appreciate your efforts and you have written all the real things which do happen here in India. I am also from India, and I fully support what you have written.Yes, it is true that so many expectations are made towards wife...which should not be the case. I entirely agree with you that a husband must look after his wife well....because most of the burden of married life is taken by a wife, even if the couple is a working couple. I will have to but agree that a woman need to live in a state of prepatual fear of being thrown out of marriage.
• Delhi, India
26 Jul 07
You appear to me an author or journist. The way your have written your discussion, it appears that you are perfect in writing and must be writing earlier? Is it so? Kudos to you for such an interesting post...I have rarely come across any such post on Mylot.