I was ignorant, you must not be…

My name is A and I was 22 when I got married. Pretty young an age to get married, some would say. But it didn’t matter to me what others thought or said because I was in love…madly in love with M. My parents, my siblings, my relatives, almost everyone I knew were against my marriage. My side of the family couldn’t pull it all together to approve of my decision to spend the rest of my life with M…so I was left with no choice. I did what I had to – I got married to the man of my dreams against my family’s wish. They tried everything in their power to stop me from going into wedlock with M, but when they realized nothing was going to work, they gave up…as a daughter, as a sister, as a niece. And that marked the end of one of the most beautiful chapters of my life – my family, my parents, my siblings.

M and I were very happy with our determination to be together. We had dreams about us, our future, and our family. M was very supportive of every choice I made…he did everything he could to make me feel better every time I missed my family, he worked extra hard (so did I) to save money when I told him about my desire to continue my education, he backed me up on my decision to not have kids at least for few years after marriage. As much as I missed my family, life didn’t seem to lack anything after marriage. Both of us worked hard, we had our fun; our bond grew stronger by the day. To every outsider we were this picture of a perfect couple…and it made my day when someone pointed it out to me.

3 years after our picture perfect wedding we found out that I was pregnant. We were happy, yes, but we weren’t sure if we were ready. We spent days talking about it, we spent numerous sleepless nights discussing how this was going to change life as we then knew it and we decided that we were ready – financially, mentally and what not. M was extremely considerate and caring throughout my pregnancy. He fulfilled my every craving, he took care of me like I was his own, never gave me a chance to even think about missing my own mother. And months down the line we welcomed our first baby, a boy.

Life isn’t always rosy…who doesn’t know that. So yes, even our happiness, our picture perfect relationship, our bright life hit a major speed bump during the months after my baby was born. M was hardly home to spend time with us and when he did come home, he was usually too tired to be able to carry on any proper conversation. I never questioned him much because he was a good person and I easily assumed that the change in his behavior was only because of the monetary stress (with me not working) and that it would get better with proper planning and managing of finances. But things only went downhill from there.

M started getting too possessive of me, for some reason. Even a light conversation with a friend of mine (of the opposite sex) would provoke him. His fury took the form of verbal abuse most of the times, but there were a couple of times when it turned to physical abuse. I let it go because of my naïve assumption that he was still under some kind of stress. I always knew M to be the kind of the man who was caring, responsible and sensible, so I couldn’t get myself to see the utter reality I was facing…I thought that this was just a phase, that this too shall pass, and let it be. Life went on…M took control of the finances, I didn’t mind the less responsibility, given I had a toddler and was expecting another baby. As long as M gave me enough money to run the household, I didn’t poke my nose into his business…that seemed to work well for both of us because these days every question I asked seemed to aggravate him somehow and that wasn’t something I enjoyed.

After my baby girl was born, things only got worse. With every passing day, it seemed like M only came home to criticize my parenting skills, my culinary talents (which he used to praise to no limits before), my “ugly fat” look (not that I was overweight by any means, I was this extra slim person pre pregnancy and the few kilos that the pregnancy added to my body just made me a bit plump) and what not. He was never satisfied with anything I did or said. The verbal and the physical abuse happened more frequently…but everything I put up with for one single reason – he was a great father, he loved our babies and I didn’t want to take them away from him for no reason. And so, I never let the secrets of my life go passed the four walls around me.

Life, in its own twisted ways, had decided that I wasn’t going through enough and shocked me with news that M was having an affair. When I confronted him about it, he coolly accepted the fact and told me that it was my fault…my looks that repulse him, my words that stress him. I was shattered. I had no idea what was in store for me next. I had no clue what my next move was going to be. All I wanted was my babies’ well being, everything I went through because I wanted my kids to have a good father. But when he was proving to be just the opposite, I was ready to walk out. I just needed a few days to free my mind of all the million confusions.

In the meantime life had other plans, yet again. On my way back home from shopping, one fine evening, I met with an accident. I was rushed to a local government hospital. As M rushed to the hospital, the doctors there had decided that they needed to move to me to another facility asap as they didn’t have the proper equipment to perform the required procedure. And by the time everything got around to happening, it was too late. I was no more.

I died when I was 31. I had so much to look forward to in my life,  but my life was over. In a flash.

Now, here I am, telling you the story of my life and death. Why? Because I want you to try and learn from my mistakes. Because I want to spread the word of awareness. Because I want you to set limits. Because I want you to know that people change. Because I want you that even a little abuse is NOT ok. Because I want you to not ‘forgive’ or let go any kind of abuse. Because I want you to understand that there are always other options…there’s always a way out.

I miss my babies now. It doesn’t make me a happy soul that I won’t be there to see them grow up, to cherish each of their milestones, to shed happy tears on their every success, to guide them through their troubles, to hold their hands, to hug them tight, to wipe their tears, to melt in their love. I don’t know how much about their mother they will remember when they grow up and that makes me sad. Had I spoken up, had I walked out of the relationship earlier, I would probably be alive today playing merrily with my children. But it’s all just my unfulfilled dreams now. Why? Because of my ignorance.

I never understood what triggered the caring person in M to become that abusive monster. I never will. I’m extremely scared for my children’s well being. What if he abuses them? What if he takes his anger out on them? What if he changes from being a good father to being a bad one? The what if’s are killing even the already dead me, but there is nothing I can do now. Keep in mind that people change, for good and for bad. Don’t wait for things to get better, like I did. Take action right away when it’s all out of control.

I know I’m not alone. There are many of you out there who are going through the exact same thing I went through. But please, unlike me, you need to stand up for yourself. Remember, you always have a choice…to walk out, to say Stop, to speak up.

———————

Saya, Comfy, tearsndreams and Varsh tagged me to do a post for Indusladies International Women’s Day Contest. This is my entry for the same under the Domestic Violence category.

I pass this on to Prashanti, Nova and Dido.

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  1. #1 by BlueMist on February 24, 2010 - 2:33 pm

    Very well done. Yes there is always choice. One of your bestest post .

    Thanks BM

    Like

  2. #2 by revsjoiedevivre on February 24, 2010 - 2:35 pm

    🙂

    So, are we just communicating thru smilies now? 😀

    Like

    • #3 by revsjoiedevivre on February 24, 2010 - 3:06 pm

      I dint know what to say for this. Maybe I felt something closer to home. ‘Coz somewhere it pulled a chord. It all starts as emotional abuse, then becomes verbal abuse, then graduates to physical abuse. And many many girls go through this in the name of love. Love, the very over-rated love, in this case. Not worth it.

      Yupe…totally agree with you. Not worth it at all.

      Like

  3. #4 by comfortablynam on February 24, 2010 - 2:36 pm

    Let me collect my thoughts and come back T.. I really need to for this post..

    🙂 Ok M’am

    Like

    • #5 by comfortablynam on February 24, 2010 - 3:13 pm

      Back in college I had this guy friend..and this junior of mine who was very close to me. Since I use to hang out with both of them, they got acquainted and fell in love, got married in spite of family opposition.

      About a two years back, I got a call from her in tears..he hit her..and this was not the first time..not by a long shot. I was in shock. I knew the guy, real well I thought. Anyways I talked to her..told her to get out..call 911..talk to her family. She agreed. Said she was thinking about the same. I kept calling, kept checking on her. She said she was working on it. I could not understand what was taking so long. She is smart, educated, financially independent.

      About a year after, I received another call. She was pregnant. I did not know what to say..how to say it. I feel sad and worried and want to yank her and her now 3 month old baby away from such a guy.

      Similar to what you wrote..is it not T? I want to help, just don’t know how.

      Yes it is, Comfy. And there is nothing more we can do than encourage these people get out such abusive relationships. It all starts with that one time and continues if the one being abused doesn’t take any action…be that a man or a woman. Being confident and standing up for himself/herself is what he/she needs to do to get out of such an unhealthy relationship. But still, for some strange reason, people like your friend and the person I talked about here seem to give it ‘just another try’…dunno why.

      Like

      • #6 by Psych Babbler on February 24, 2010 - 6:42 pm

        Comfy…just wondering about the system there…if you still suspect abuse can you report it to child protection services?? Because over here, even if I’m not working, but witness say DV in a neighbour’s house and I know they have kids, I can call the community services line and report a risk of harm for the child. It’s not much, but it adds pieces to the puzzle if there re others who have possibly made reports as well for the same family.

        I think we can call child services here, but not very sure. There must be something we can do to keep the child away from the house when things like this happen.

        Like

      • #7 by comfortablynam on February 25, 2010 - 1:44 pm

        We haven’t taked about the abuse in over a year now..so can’t say for sure what is going on. Plus we stay on different coasts..so I don’t think I can make any case, let alone a strong one, with the child services.

        Hmm…tough.

        Hopefully, the reason she hasn’t discussed any abuse with you because there is nothing going on now. Or it might even be the case that she didn’t like the fact that you were advising her to get out of it when she told you about it previously and she didn’t like that much. Well, let’s keep our fingers crossed that it’s the former.

        Like

      • #8 by Swaram on February 26, 2010 - 1:29 am

        Thatz really sad no 😦
        Is luv really so blind 😦 Y do we wait for that silver lining 😦

        😦

        Like

  4. #9 by Turmericnspice on February 24, 2010 - 2:57 pm

    Very nice style of writing !

    thanks

    Like

  5. #10 by Prashanti on February 24, 2010 - 3:32 pm

    On the other hand most women do know they have a choice. They just are too wimpy to take the step. Some dont want to be single again, some are not sure if they can live without the man and some are scared of what society would say.

    Empowering these women seems tougher to me than empowering courageous women who just dont know they have an option.

    True. How they expect to nurture a family in an abusive environment, I don’t understand.

    Like

    • #11 by Meira on February 25, 2010 - 9:13 pm

      I don’t know. Most people have been conditioned by their families that ‘divorce’, ‘independence’, ‘living alone’, ‘remarriage’ are taboo and happen to unfortunate people only. I think its the mindset which needs changing.

      yupe…exactly.

      Like

      • #12 by Swaram on February 26, 2010 - 1:29 am

        Abs. rt!

        🙂

        Like

  6. #13 by Psych Babbler on February 24, 2010 - 6:40 pm

    Goosebumps and a heavy heart throughout….you kept me captivated! Great post T!! 🙂

    reality kept yo captivated, PB…not me. Whatever I’ve written really happened 😦

    Thanks.

    Like

    • #14 by Psych Babbler on February 24, 2010 - 6:47 pm

      Oh…that’s so sad….makes my heart even heavier! 😦

      😦

      Like

    • #15 by celestialrays on February 25, 2010 - 11:28 am

      really happened as in, to someone you know?

      Yes. 😦

      Like

      • #16 by celestialrays on February 25, 2010 - 11:35 am

        😦 😦 😦
        That’s even more heart wrenching…
        Somewhere down the line, it makes you wonder if the girl would have been safer/stronger if her family would have been with her, despite her decision to marry the guy they didn’t approve of…
        I mean, would the guy have behaved so if there were people on her side as her strength…even if he did, maybe she could have moved out boldly, coz there’s some refuge…
        At the end of the day, why should principles/ego become more important than your child’s life?
        She died sad and lonely despite having all the relationships a woman can have… such a shame…

        Yeah, I know. It might have been a big support for her if the family was by her side, maybe. But then she was well educated, definitely could’ve managed with the children on her own…so I fail to see why she stuck around. Maybe there wasn’t enough moral support from anyone…given that she never talked to anyone about it.

        And there is so much more to what she went thru than what I’ve written here. It’s just so heart wrecking to even think about it all 😦

        Like

  7. #17 by SG on February 24, 2010 - 6:55 pm

    Very touching one. Women should never accept or tolerate even a single incident of verbal or physical abuse. Also, you know the Tamil saying: Kili pola pondaati irundhaalum kurangu pola oru chiina veedu vaithiruppan.

    yupe, exactly…acceptance will send the message that you are ok with the abuse, which shudn’t be the case.

    lol 😆 at the saying 😆 ..never heard of it before…

    translation for all who don’t understand tamil – “even if the wife’s as beautiful as a parrot, he (the husband) will go seeking a mistress that looks like a monkey.”….or something on the lines of that 🙂

    Like

    • #18 by celestialrays on February 25, 2010 - 11:36 am

      one more version I ve heard of – ‘Kili pola ponna pethu korangu kaila kuduthamaari’

      😆 😆 😀

      translation – “like having a daughter as cute as a parrot and handing her over (getting her married) to a monkey”

      Like

  8. #19 by chatterbox on February 24, 2010 - 7:23 pm

    The fact that it all happened in reality made me go blank and at a total loss of words after I read it.
    I took a break and I am back here. What happened to A was very unfortunate and her untimely death further diminished the bleak chance her kids had of having a brighter future or an escape from the abusive environment.

    Excellent narration T 😀

    Keep up the good work.

    Cheers!!

    unfortunate it sure was…life is brutal that way :(.

    Thanks, CB.

    Like

  9. #20 by Varsh on February 24, 2010 - 10:51 pm

    Very well said T…sure you cannot wait around for things to get better until you can be very sure that better is what it’ll get!

    Something similar happened with someone I know…the poor lady was being mentally and physically abused by her husband and his family but she chose to keep quiet since she didn’t want it to affect her kids. She lied to her family about this whole thing, but they somehow came to know about it and got her divorced. True to nature they asked her to leave without her kids. 😦

    It is good that the family came to know and got her out of it. But the sad part is that she didn’t stand up for herself.

    Like

  10. #21 by tearsndreams on February 24, 2010 - 11:27 pm

    Very touching post.
    Isn’t it sad that s many of us have heard and witnessed these things first hand.

    Yes it is….very shocking to see each one of us share very similar stories. Unfortunate state of affairs.

    Like

  11. #22 by Nik on February 24, 2010 - 11:28 pm

    Nice blog.

    Some of the stuff (like this one!) are quit touching (and even somewhat scary!)

    Scary, shocking, and very unfortunate. 😦

    Like

  12. #23 by chroniclesofdee on February 24, 2010 - 11:43 pm

    This was an awesome way of bringing about awareness of domestic violence.

    Good job!! 🙂

    Thanks Dee

    Like

  13. #24 by Sakhi on February 25, 2010 - 1:05 am

    One more brilliant work!! though not an happy ending but then as you said up there… life is not rosy always!!

    Sadly, it’s no work of fiction Sakhi. All this happened for real 😦

    Like

    • #25 by sakhi on March 1, 2010 - 7:34 am

      Oh damn!! Oh damn!!! 😦

      😦 😦

      Like

  14. #26 by Bindhu!! on February 25, 2010 - 2:33 am

    Well… all this partly happens because, after marriage women start thinking about the husband and kids and forget themselves. Sad that they never understand that if they are not fit mentally or physically, how can they make the kids confident and smart.

    Somehow, the post has made the heart heavy. Good work!!

    Exactly, they put everyone else’s needs before their own in the name of sacrificing, giving up, compromise and what not. Sad.

    Like

  15. #27 by aniruddha pathak on February 25, 2010 - 5:01 am

    this has to be one of your best..loved it

    Thanks

    Like

  16. #28 by celestialrays on February 25, 2010 - 5:02 am

    Well written T. Loved the style of your writing. Reminds me of a story very close to heart-

    I had 2 very good friends in college who was a couple. The girl got a placement in a good company, the guy didn’t. He hit her.
    She could not meet him during the vacations as her folks didn’t let her go out a lot. When they did meet, he hit her.
    They fought over petty things like any couple does. But he hit her.

    Unable to make her mind up, one day she came to us girls and confessed. We forced her to leave him. We stopped talking to him. We hated him. But he convinced her of their ‘divine love’ and they got back together. Her face still used to be occassionally swollen…

    Result – he made her stop hanging around with us, we were the enemies. That’s it – friendships were sacrificed for the ‘divine love’ again. Recently we saw their marriage pics on a social networking site and couldn’t help but wonder…

    Hmm…sad, very sad. Don’t know what else to say. There are just many many of such people (men and women) who put up with emotional/physical abuse in the name of love. We can only hope that he’s changed and their wedded life is good.

    Like

  17. #29 by Meira on February 25, 2010 - 8:58 am

    Superb post! And you are absolutely right. Even a bit of violence shouldn’t be tolerated .

    exactly.

    Like

  18. #30 by justaroundme on February 25, 2010 - 10:11 am

    I am going to take your comment space.Sorry.

    I was watching this movie – a scene in which a girl is married to man who killed her own mother(mother and this villain bro-sis) ,the tamil hero who knows the truth hides this from the bride and the wedding happens – the hero takes the blame goes to the jail and this girl who married the villain gives birth blah blah….

    Its just a stupid movie – but think about the concept/idea its preaching – Marry the guy to whom you are engaged or what ever even though if he is killer.And stay with him…This is what is shown in most soaps/movies and this what is been watched by almost all 50 and above year old middle class women…and this what they strongly believe…

    Even educated and financially independent women fear about starting all over again,they fear about acceptance by the society ….if someone is ready to fight all this – then they are emotionally coerced by parents to adjust and tolerate….if a baby is there in the relationship it makes even more complicated,they are ready to accept the abusive man as the father…

    In India parents (even some well educated/liberal )still think “marriage” is the only safe haven for a girl – and so immediately after their education they just start with the search process for a groom – and you never know how that will turn out….i am really not able to accept this ..what i think is women should just be given the freedom to choose her life and to follow her dreams..

    My only concern is how are we going to educate and empower women who are poor,illiterate and have no means to support themselves (they form the major part of the entire population)…how are we going to help them…sadly,for now i am only with questions but no answers….

    I believe that parents do what is best for their children. But in cases like these…where the women puts up with abuse just because the guy is a good father (how he can abuse his wife and be a “good” father I don’t understand, what is he gonna teach his kids?), or how parents push their daughter into a dead marriage, ask her to tolerate and put up with the husband because that’s what it should be like is something I don’t get.

    And I’m with you…too many questions and no answers 😦 makes me sad. Many of the women who can support themselves financially still cling to the unhealthy relationships in the name of love and what not…then what about the ones who don’t have the skills to get a stable job, get a regular earning to run a family – they have that excuse to hold on to a relationship that is abusive. 😦

    Like

  19. #31 by justaroundme on February 25, 2010 - 10:18 am

    Man, what a rambling i have done..i shall blame you..your great post triggered me !…

    you raised interesting points…no rambling and all 🙂

    Like

  20. #32 by anthrdayinparadise on February 25, 2010 - 11:05 am

    wonderful post..why does one makes a decision to live with abuse? do they feel like there is no one to support them and dont feel personally empowered to stand on their own? the world today has more information available than a generation or two ago..very well written titaxy

    excuses are many that one can give to stick around with a abusive partner, I guess…one shud stop to think how it is going to help anyone if he/she just puts up with abuse without retaliating.

    Thanks.

    Like

  21. #33 by Indian Homemaker on February 25, 2010 - 11:28 am

    This gave me goose bumps… !! Very well written!! I agree even a little abuse is an indication of more abuse to come. Violence, physical or verbal are both equally harmful. Very sad that she died… 😦 I wish she had lived and fought back.

    I wish so too 😦

    Like

  22. #34 by noname on February 25, 2010 - 11:44 am

    I am sorry that someone dear to you had to go through this. One of my cousins was in a similar situation but the family intervened and managed a separation. Sadly, the kids suffered, as usual. It is a shame that such people call themselves educated, and cultured or even humans.

    As for the post, excellent work!

    Very unfortunate that your cousin had to go thru this, but tt’s good that your family was supportive…most of the times it turns out they keep pushing the person to tolerate and compromise – can’t understand why.

    A‘s kids are now growing up with her family. The so called “good” father of the kids gave them up without second thoughts and got married again. Shame, really. But at least good for the kids to remain away from him.

    Like

  23. #35 by Rohini on February 25, 2010 - 12:24 pm

    I have no words! This is such a beautiful post. My prayers with the kids..

    Thanks, Rohini.

    Like

  24. #36 by Swaram on February 26, 2010 - 1:30 am

    If only it ws fiction and she wud hv survived and fought bk 😦
    It just teaches us a lot of lessons, one of the imp. ones being time waits for none too 😦

    yupe..true 😦

    Like

  25. #37 by Priya on February 26, 2010 - 2:29 am

    Great message T! Hope it will have the right impact on people who go through such suffering for so many reasons!!
    I always wonder why cant people see the writing on the wall, though its not very easy always .. and save themselves all the misery…

    People might say that it’s easier said than done. I haven’t been in a situation where I was physically abused, but I can only say that if it ever happens, then I would without a doubt walk out because I don’t see how I can have respect for a person who would take such cheap measures. And without that respect it would be hard for me to continue in the relationship.

    Like

  26. #38 by Pins N Ashes on February 26, 2010 - 3:33 am

    This is some piece of writing T:)

    But sad to hear it is true!
    I don’t understand what makes people change, where does all that love and care he had for 3 years vanish!

    When we enter into an institutions called marriage or any relationsip for that matter, trust is the unwritten criteria. We trust each other to there for us, care, affection, fight, love, whatever… such incidents could take away the trust we have in people al together!

    On the other hand, I’ve known many a case where the girl lives happily without abuse after she eloped with the man of her dreams… with kids and all……..but while choosing a life partner one shd be extremely careful… all that glitters is not always rosy and sweet!

    exactly, and without that trust I don’t know how one can continue in that relationship.

    It’s hard to know what the exact reason was that changed all that love he had for her over the years…but whatever it is, resorting to abuse shudn’t have been the answer. He might have as well asked for a divorce and walked out if he didn’t like her anymore.

    It’s so reliving to hear the stories of success when it comes to marriage. Just tells me that there’s still hope and not every relationship goes down the drain 🙂

    Like

  27. #39 by Sunshinesafar on February 26, 2010 - 6:30 am

    Excellent post! Excellent excellent post! Moved beyond words…

    Thanks.

    Like

  28. #40 by Lakshmi on February 26, 2010 - 11:14 am

    This was a great great post Titaxy. It is such a truth, but sadly ignored lot of times. Kudos to you on conveying it so powerfully.

    Thanks!

    Like

  29. #41 by Desi Ninja on February 26, 2010 - 12:52 pm

    situation like this really don’t have any solution.

    leaving your family for the rest of your life takes a lot of courage. Not to mention the aftermath if the partner turns out to be someone insensitive of the sacrifice. taunts from relatives and family-friends are also inevitable. having kids just makes the situation worse. then you are just alive, not living life.

    it’s sad that many people fail to judge their partner in the delusion of young age love. and if the person has changed later than it’s a different story but infidelity is not something that circumstances compel you to do, it’s the nature of the individual. and faking or hiding some ones true nature is not easy. there must have been some subtle hints in earlier days too. (all these are just my opinion, may be i’m yet to learn a lot from life)

    hmmm…I don’t know if I can agree that infidelity is something that is a person’s nature. I think it’s more the circumstances…yes the character might define it to a little extent, but the situation plays a big part too. But then like you, even I don’t have much experience and have a lot to learn from life :D, so can’t comment much 🙂

    Like

  30. #42 by Smitha on February 27, 2010 - 4:44 am

    That was such a sad, touching read. You have highlighted so many important things. Every woman should know that she has a choice. No child growing up in an environment like this can be happy. Children sense far more than we realise and abusive, unhappy homes definitely impact them. A happy single parent family might be far better.

    You certainly have my vote 🙂

    thanks

    Like

  31. #43 by soulmate on March 1, 2010 - 2:57 am

    Having seen domestic violence very closely in life, I strongly suggest tht it should not be accepted at any cost.. An abuse is an abuse and there is no reason good enough to accept it.. Women have to stand up and confront it for themselves only.. Its a question on their self esteem and self respect.. If there is no respect in the relationship, its better to walk out of it..

    exactly…

    Like

  32. #44 by Reema on March 10, 2010 - 1:19 pm

    Hmmm nice story and a nice message. But I dont see the relation between a love marriage against parents wishes and the marriage going wrong & abusive. The story could have started with an arranged one too and ended up the way it did!

    Thanks Reema. It isn’t related except for the fact that she had no support system to lean on when she needed one. Also, since this really happened, I had no choice of starting it with an ‘arranged’ marriage vs. ‘love’ marriage. I was just stating facts as is.

    Like

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