I have recently started watching a Hindi TV series called Ladies Special. I like it cause its refreshingly realistic compared to other sagas dished out these days.
It is a story of four women who are travel together in a train called 'Ladies Special' in Mumbai. It revolves around their day-to-day lives and issues faced by them. One of the protagonists is 'Pooja' who is married to a guy who is evil personified. He constantly keeps a watch on her and is abusive to her physically and mentally. In spite of being educated and earning well, he is very mean and cruel and uses his physical strength to control her.
I have a friend who is going through a similar situation. The worst part is she is in USA without a support system of family and friends. SHe comes from a middle class family with parents who are retired and an elder sister who is also facing problems in her marriage. Not being financially independent has added to her woes and in spite of knowing the risks, she has decided to go back to her husband.
'Domestic Abuse' which was a word I had read many times and seen in movies has now become a reality. This word does not only mean physical abuse but even mental and psychological in which the abuser will use words, body language and other means to steal your self confidence, respect and wear you down to gain complete power over you.
A recent government survey said that one in every three Indian women are victims of Domestic Violence and the numbers are escalating each year not taking into consideration the number of unreported cases.
India has a Domestic Violence act, that was passed in 2005, but the long held attitudes about Domestic violence in India makes deliverance of justice remote. With the cases dragging for years together, do the abused women have any actual relief?
In addition, the social stigma attached to Divorce or going against family integrity stops many women from taking any steps. Financial Independence is another hindrance in the path of getting any relief. Even though this law has, many such provisions the relief is hard to come with the cases adjourned and bribes being paid by the husbands to stall cases.
Does it ultimately boil down to a woman's fate or luck? If she has good luck, she will be happily married or say 'Uska naseeb hi kharab hai'. Do we just shrug our shoulders and let other people deal with it?
What do I say to her? How do I comfort her? There is a whirlwind of emotions and questions in my mind and depressingly no answers.
P.S: The views in this article are mine and I have written only about violence against Women. I am aware that even women abuse men and there is no intention of disregarding this fact.