Three Dowry-related Deaths in Kerala Over 24 Hours Stirs Anger, SIT to Probe Cases
“24-year old Vismaya V Nair was found dead in Kiran’s house early Monday, days after she shared on WhatsApp chats with close relatives alleged torture by her husband”.
“At Vallikunnam in Alappuzha, 19-year-old Suchitra was found hanging at her in-law’s place. Her husband Vishnu, an Army jawan, was away from home”.
“At Venganoor in Thiruvananthapuram, 24-year-old Archana, who got married a year ago, allegedly immolated herself. The police have arrested her husband Suresh, who tried to escape from their rented house. Archana’s parents alleged that Suresh used to quarrel with his wife and had demanded money from her family. Archana was staying with her parents, but Suresh took her back to their rented house on Monday, said her father Ashokan”.
Dowry, though it is officially illegal in India is still prevalent because parents are willing to pay a huge dowry to marry off their daughter and the groom’s family are constantly on the look out for a potential daughter-in-law who can bring in a big dowry. Hence, both sides are to be blamed equally. However, parents who have daughters have been mentally conditioned to invest their live-savings for giving a decent dowry and organise a lavish wedding for their daughter. If they have a son, they expect the same with their daughter-in-law’s family too. So, pretty much it boils down to pleasing the society that we live. Sadly, there are hundreds of women whose lives have been destroyed like these 3 young women and several thousands quietly put up with the abuse for the sake of their parents, for their children, fear of being judged or because they simply don’t know how to handle it.
Many women I have seen live in abuse without even knowing that they are being abused. There are statistics suggesting that men also undergo abuse, but it isn’t comparable to the way women go through abuse. I am not negating it nor condoning it but that shouldn’t get in the way when speaking up about the abuse women face. People automatically assume that women who are educated and have good relationship with their parents wouldn’t put up with abuse. However, I have seen just the opposite. Majority of those who live in abuse are those who are well educated and have good relationship with their parents. This makes me think that may be their social status, their family’s reputation, and the love they have for their parents makes them put up with the abuse than reaching out to them with their issues.
Like every other issue we face in life, we must deal with the issue and not cover up and hope things will get better. It simply doesn’t work that way. I have just given a brief description of the various types of abuse a woman may face.
Physical abuse – Physical abuse in a relationship often starts gradually, such as with a push or a slap, and then becomes progressively worse over time.
Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse can involve any of the following:
Verbal abuse: yelling at you, insulting you or swearing at you
Rejection: Constantly rejecting your thoughts, ideas and opinions
Gaslighting: Making you doubt your own feelings and thoughts, and even your sanity, by manipulating the truth.
Sexual abuse: Many common indicators of a sexually abusive partner exist, including the following:
Asking the victim to dress in a particular way
Manipulating the victim into performing specific sexual acts
Insulting the victim with sexually explicit nicknames
Demanding sex even when the victim is sick, physically hurt or fatigued
Ignoring or disregarding the victim’s feelings about sex
Dowry-related abuse: Any act of violence or harassment associated with the giving or receiving of dowry at any time before, during or after the marriage
Financial abuse: Financial abuse involves controlling a victim’s ability to acquire, use, and maintain financial resources. Those who are victimized financially may be prevented from working. They also may have their own money restricted or stolen by the abuser.
Every family situation is different but we as human beings cannot live an independent life without others involved. However, if there is abuse in any relationship especially with the intimate partner, it means that there is a necessity of intervention immediately. The issue immediately raises as to who should intervene and what role they should play in the intervention process. Any intervention against an abuser will not be taken lightly by the abuser hence there should be strong measures to protect the victim of abuse so that they feel confident to reach out to the support services.
It is important for every parent to treat their sons and daughters equally so that when they grow up it would be natural for a man to treat a woman as their equal and the woman to respect the man. As parents you work for your family and your children which is quite natural but don’t forget to live your life as well. Don’t give or take dowry. Whatever you wish to give your children, give it to your son and your daughter and not to the groom’s family or bride’s family or your son-in-law or daughter-in-law. Leave enough savings for yourselves for your retirement as well and be self-sufficient. Teach your children to be self-sufficient as well and not rely on their partner to fulfil even their basic needs and let what you give them be used with their own discretion.
Marriage is a union between a man and a woman and not a contract between two families. A woman doesn’t get married to take care of the husband’s parents and vice-versa. It is the responsibility of the children to take care of their own parents which too many men don’t seem to understand. When love, trust and mutual respect grows between the man and his wife, other relationships will flourish naturally and it can never be the other way around.
Now that I have penned down my thoughts, share this with your family and friends and create a safe space for those who can identify with these abuses to open to you. If you have a sister or a daughter who is married, share it with them too and tell them that you are there for them. You might not be the best person to intervene or counsel them, but you can be part of their support system and encourage them to speak up. Based on where they are located, you can do some research and find out the best people to assist them and help them out.
A final note to my Christian friends who are going through abuse. Do not let an abuser use Bible verses to teach you about submission. Reach out to your pastor or elders in your Church if you are going through abuse. If you hear the same message from them, please reach out to a Christian Counsellor. Please read this article to get more information https://garythomas.com/2016/11/29/enough-enough/
Let the definition of love not be marred by abuse. Speak up for those who don’t have a voice and let it echo everywhere so that we don’t see such deaths and abuses in future.