It's high time, speak up

BURNING ISSUE

It's high time, speak up

If recent pictures of Nigella Lawson, a world famous chef where her husband is trying to repeatedly grab her throat were not enough, then this report by World Health Organisation (WHO) will definitely shake you up. According to the report, 30 per cent women all over the world face some form of violence at the hands of their partners.

Ambalika Roy, a lawyer and legal consultant with Centre for Legal Aid and Rights, says in maximum cases, the husband is the abuser. “Besides physical violence mental trauma is also becoming common. Not giving food, not giving access to things, not letting her go to her paternal home are common issues. In the urban scenario, we find even brothers doing the same. They end up taking more share in the property.”
What leads to this kind of behaviour? “It is a deep-rooted mentality. The male mindset usually states that a woman is ‘my property’ or that ‘she has been taken’, as though she has been bought. Men only remember their rights and forget their duties. In India particularly, what makes matters worse is that the implementation and utilisation of law is very poor. Women do not even know where to go, to file their complaints,” adds Ambalika.

Most of the time families too are responsible for this mind-set. Mothers ask their daughters to keep quiet and to ‘adjust’ at their in-laws place. They say once you are married, we can’t take you back home. 

Sameer Parikh, a well-known psychiatrist too blames the stereotypical mentality of men behind this phenomenon. “Men do not want to come out of their stereotyped mentality. Men with poor self-esteem and those who cannot bear difference of opinions and want to be powerful at another’s cost are the ones who end up beating or abusing women. You also need to keep in mind that if you protest the very first time a man gets violent or becomes abusive, the behaviour will not become a pattern. Men just cannot treat women shabbily. Things are changing all round and men will have to adapt to those changes. ”

The finding has sent a powerful message that violence against women is a global issue and it is important to find a way out. Dr Prachi, a clinical psychologist with Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, says, “I always tell my patients to take action immediately. Inform the police, talk to family members, neighbours and stop it at first go. Men have this mentality to show their muscle power, to show that they are the masters.” But it is upto the woman to stand up for her rights and discourage violence. Now is the time to think about ‘us’ and not ‘them’.

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