Sunday, December 13, 2009

No More Silence!

As I write this in the middle of the night, I feel strange and lonely. My parents and sister had been over for the weekend from Chennai and I've just left them at the railway station. Perhaps it is the parting that is taking me time to adjust to. No.! It's not that.! I've been away from home quite often and I know that feeling. This is not that.!

As I headed back home after leaving them at the station, I had the unfortunate experience of witnessing something. I was walking back from the bus stop, when there appeared opposite me, a fat unruly man and in his tight grip a girl of not more than thirty years of age. I could sense some tension between them, but I decided to turn away lest I be invading upon someone else's privacy. But then suddenly he stopped and wildly slapped her across the face, pulling her hair, asking her to walk ahead. I stopped in my tracks and kept watching. He then suddenly pushed her down and as she fell down and winced in pain, I turned back and slowly advanced towards them, trying to muster some courage and frame some sentence in Kannada, which I'm not yet fully comfortable with, to protest. But then, he picked her up and kept walking into the night, into the dark, while I turned back and kept walking with anguish in my heart, hoping and praying that the girl is relieved of her ordeal. What really made it all the more difficult for me to intervene was the silent admission with which the girl bore the brunt of it all.

We hear a lot about domestic abuse of women, trafficking, sex slavery and what not ?. I've never really understood the actual pain and trauma, but today when I stood witness to that inhuman act of violence, it really dawned upon me how humiliating it must have been for that woman. It disturbs me to think of how such physical abuse would be within the confines of an house. There is totally no escape route. The sheer trauma and stark horror of it all just numbs my mind.

How will this problem be addressed ? Is it through education of the masses? Is it through education of women ? But then have there not been instances of such abuse even in well-educated and well to do families.? Perhaps it is due to this whole male-dominated Indian society where we still follow dated assumptions and meaningless conventions of how a woman must be.? But then are there not such incidents witnessed even in the most developed countries.

I will have a disturbed sleep tonight. I am making a resolve today. I should not and will not keep quiet, if god forbid there is a next time. I will make my protest heard loud and clear. I also hope that no woman tolerates this silently. Women, of the world, I hope and pray that you remain safe, that you never will remain a silent victim. You have the right to stop it! In such circumstances, silence is not the key, silence is not golden!


Vinod Narayan said...

Hope you have seen the movie Vidheyan based on Zakria's Novel "Baskara patelarum njanum" in which the character obediently follows and partakes in the crimes of his Yajaman (or boss, or master) even if it means he is succumb to humiliation and physical torture. The issues of suffering abuse without responding to it is common not just in women, but also in kids, and men who can't voice up. The main reason is that they don't see another option. Education, support and some strict law is what we need.

As witnesses to the act or this form of submission we need to be able to voice up for them.

I think first we need to see how we can identify with such instances with more involvement so we can take that first step and see it through.

I know that in US if you see something like this, before you can respond someone else would have responded and ensure that its addressed then and there. It is more about a Social responsibility people carry as individuals. And this social responsibility is not because every person in US is so, but the law is such that it makes it easy and quite honorable to be responsible.

Also if you make a call with details to the cops they will make sure a law enforcement activity is initiated.

Has this stopped domestic violence in US, No not at all, I think even now, domestic violence is one of the biggest crime item.

In India I guess the best place to start is you give a description of the same to the local community groups and also use the power of internet to create awareness (which is a tool India never had till date). Have a camera always in hand, click a photo at that time and post on the net or send to authorities.

I know how tough it is in many places to respond without being physically attacked your self

Sleep well unni, you are not alone, most will do the same as you did, but things will change for sure

Ping me and lets see what we can do for a start

vishesh said...

we all do the same thing- do nothing..yes, we need to become stronger mentally...

Nikanth Karthikesan said...

If _she_ does not want to _escape_ and enjoys it, do not disturb her.. else please do help

Many children also suffer at the hands of their moms and dads

Naveen Prabhu said...

the state of affairs in our country is sad .... i agree to what vinod says here .... a drastic change is required ..... have a look at this

Hip Grandma said...

Outsiders cannot do much.It is the victim who has to stand up.violence against women is indeed loathsome but there are instances where the woman herself will turn agaist you.

Happy New year.

paddy said...

HI mate,
I can really understand what you went through. When we are on normal situations we think a lot about ourselves. But when the real situation is there we mostly chicken out. Even I did. I strongly felt I should never bribe, and when I was pushed tot he wall and had done nothing wrong still parted with it.

It's ok! But at the same time its not! We need to change.

I make an attempt on that every week thought my blog do visit me!

BTW, Happy new year.

Sapna Anu B.George said...

Unni........welcome to the real world

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

infinitely sad!
and the worst is the helplessness of the onlooker.if you had intervened, there's a chance the girl would have asked you to mind your own business. such is the condtitoning and absence of escape route for the victims of violence - man, woman or child.
this blog has spoilt my day!

Sree said...

I'm reading this post very late.Been busy making myself escape from a similar situation.I'm educated, can think for myself, my parents and brothers are all educated as well. It took 10 yrs and a baby for me to finally get out. To make that firm final decision.Still struggling with finding a job etc , but the mental peace is absolute.Living outside India and hence no society to put pressure on 'you should live with a man, no matter what'.The most coward among men abuse women, for he knows he can never fight a real man, but a woman, for she is made physically weaker than him.
I'm glad you have put up this post.