The recent series of suicides in Kerala would have shattered you as much as it did me. Well, here’s some food for thought. Those were not suicides but murders! Cold blooded well planned murders.
And it isn’t one person who is responsible for it. Those were women who were murdered by our prejudiced society. A society where a girl’s alliance is fixed like a sale in the market, bargained and sold as a commodity. Sometimes it’s a bidding, but mostly it’s a campaign where the additional “features” and “free goods” make the commodity (read girl) more attractive.
Vismaya is not a first, just like how Nirbhaya wasn’t a first in rapes in India.
Our daughters (including I) were raised devouring fairytales of meeting and getting married to our prince charming, who would be nothing less than perfect. But some unfortunately are hit with the brutal side of truth where she was “chosen” only for the things that came with her.
I agree with the present outburst of her parents being blamed. They should be, because it’s parents like them who keep this tradition young and in trend.
But do you think this is going to stop our bartering or parlaying system of marriage? Just like there have been rape cases after Nirbhaya there will be dowry deaths after Vismaya too.
But it’s not just the girl’s parents who need to change their outlook towards marriage. Our society needs to be blamed where a boy is raised from the moment he is born, as a “prospective groom”. He is raised entitled and in a frame of mind to believe that he is super powerful because he is a boy. The several husbands like Vismaya’s, are to be blamed who think a car or few sovereigns of gold is more valuable than a girl who loves you and marries you. The parents of these boys are to be blamed who think right from the moment the girl is brought into their family, her gold and money is owned by them and is for their perusal!
What a shoddy job of parenting have you done if your son cares for leisurely materials more than his wife. How low can you go if you think, not getting the car your son wished for, warrants the death of his bride?
How regressive is a society where a girl thinks being dead is better than being divorced? Our girls are scared of the wrath of the society they are going to face when they return home from a failed marriage. There have been cases where a girl has committed suicide despite being courageous and disclosing the truth of abuse to her own family, only because her family said things like, “adjust”, “things will be fine over time”, “do you have any idea what people will say?”, “Aren’t you ashamed?”.
Tell me, why should the girl be ashamed? Because she didn’t take abuse lying down? Because she fought for her self esteem? Or because she believed her life is more valuable than a car or a few sovereigns of gold?
Why does our society still believe that a “dead daughter” is better than a “divorced daughter”? I have personally heard distressing stories of girls being torn apart in family courts of Kerala and India for opting for divorce!
The solution to curb marital abuse begins with raising our sons right- Teaching them they are not entitled and are in no way superior to a girl. Raising our daughters right too- Teaching them that their life is far more valuable than any commodity and that they should always put their self worth before anything. Inculcating an environment in the society where a girl from a failed marriage is welcomed and encouraged to move on. If failed relationships are a norm, then no girl would continue to stay in an abusive relationship.
With the way these deaths have stirred the media, I came across a few interesting things on social media.
Few things that caught my eye;
I saw a few comments about how “pretty” Vismaya is and so how could her husband be so cruel to her?
You think if the girl wasn’t pretty, this is justified? Or if the girl was even prettier, the husband would have been nicer to her? This guy and a few hundred other guys like him are psychos who value a big fat dowry more than their wife. The girl being pretty or not has nothing to do with it!
Our daughters are raised like princesses, then why marry her off to someone who doesn’t value her for what she is. Why can’t our girls be raised inculcating self respect in them so that they have the courage to walk off a table that doesn’t respect her.
Another interesting post I saw on Instagram, is a screenshot of a kindergarten moral science textbook that explains the demographics of a family and says,
“Father is the head of our family. He works hard for our family welfare. Mother is the soul of our family. She sacrifices herself for our family.”
That’s toxic masculinity and sexism at the grassroot level. If children are taught a man is supposed to work hard for his family, the boy will grow up believing no matter what he goes through, his prime repertoire is to take care of his family. This makes the boy struggle to “man up” all his life. At the same time both girls and boys are taught that a woman sacrifices for her family, so her needs and requirements always need to be suppressed. Because when it comes to a family, curbing her needs just means “sacrifices”. This is how she’s placed on a pedestal all her life and every hardship she faces is attributed to mother’s love. These are the same girls who marry and try to “adjust” with every hardship and “sacrifice” themselves for a better married life.
If at all anything has to change, starting today, change the way a girl and a boy is raised and how these gender roles are “perceived” to be. Change the way you literally pour sweat and blood into securing a dowry for your daughter, and instead educate her to stand up for herself so that if in future she is faced with a dilemma, she chooses life over death..!