The parasite of society which lurks amongst us, hosting on senseless, ignorant people and end up sabotaging the lives of the victims emotionally as well as physically.
PHOTO: BIBHAS MAHARJAN SUWAL
A man slapping his wife for arguing with him in front of his friends is not acceptable. A mother-in-law bruising her daughter-in-law for not cooking the food well enough is not a justifiable excuse. A daughter being locked up in her room after she denied her parents decision of not sending her to school does not deserve respect. As absurd as all these instances sound, these things still do happen.
Domestic violence is the parasite of society which lurks amongst us, hosting on senseless, ignorant people and end up sabotaging the lives of the victims emotionally as well as physically. Women are the major victims of domestic violence, sometimes as a wife, and other times as daughter-in-law, daughters and sisters. No matter what their names, no matter what the cause, TNM believes that violence against women must be stopped.
Domestic violence, which encompasses many forms of violence including intimate-partner abuse, spousal abuse, family violence, elderly abuse and children abuse, is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person in a domestic context against another, such as in a marriage or cohabitation. In Nepal, while other forms of violence are rare, violence on women has been a very frequent and serious problem. Stories about women being physically abused by their husbands and their family members are occurrences that happen all too often. And that’s just one facet of the many faces women- violence has. Not too long ago, the acid attack on a 10th grader and her friend in the very public area of Basantapur shook the country and marked the big question, “Are women safe here?”
The answer might incline to the contrary! While it is absolutely true that there is provision and existing laws against women violence and domestic abuse, newspapers still feature news on dowry burns and hospitals still receive domestic-injury cases almost on a regular basis. The reason might perhaps converge two terminologies-ignorance and fear. Nepali women, or women for that matter, have always been subjected to inferiority. In our country, women are led to believe that men are the sole decision makers of the family and what they say and do is correct. Hence, whenever a man slaps or verbally abuses his wife, she thinks that it is his right and her fate with which she must comprehend. And then there are cases where the perpetrator instills fear in the victim that if she says something about the abuse to anyone, she might have to face harsher consequences. Hence, sometimes having the fear of being pushed into worse conditions and sometimes having made an agreement with their fate compels women to keep their voices unheard.
If your in-laws continuously torture you for not bringing enough money for dowry, if they harass and try to burn you, you must have the guts to go before the concerned authorities and narrate your story.
But that does not have to be the case. A voice is always the instigator to a revolution. If it wasn’t for the month-long protests staged by residents of Delhi and across India, the victim of 2012 December Delhi Rape case wouldn’t have had justice and the accused would never have been sentenced to death. Having the provision of punishment to the guilty in the constitution is not going to create a peaceful community unless the culprits are brought forward. And that can only be done if the victims speak for themselves. If your husband tries to choke you for not giving him a son, doesn’t matter if he was drunk, you must have the courage to go to the police station to file a complaint against him. If your in-laws continuously torture you for not bringing enough money for dowry, if they harass and try to burn you, you must have the guts to go before the concerned authorities and narrate your story. No woman should have to go through such perilous conditions, and live through stigma and assault. A woman’s right and save living does not rely on the premise of finding a husband and starting a family; it lies on the premise of living a happy and dignified life without any hassles or qualms.
Yes, domestic violence is a very serious issue. Yes, it must be dealt with right away with proper awareness and preparation. Yes, the guilty must be punished. But how, how can they be convicted? By voice, by action! If every woman tells her story, if every woman makes sure that the culprit, no matter who she is, her husband, her father, her brother, pays for his deeds, pretty soon the society will transform into the one every civil citizen wants it to be, and don’t we all want that!