Dowry Cases: Why do women accept abuse as their fate, we are celebrating 75 years of Independence par Aurat kab hogi Azaad!
- Dowry cases that shook India
- Why do women stay in abusive marriages?
- India’s obsession with Dowry & beta
- Why do we need to change the mindset?
Dowry Cases: It was February 2015 when Mandeep Kaur’s father got her married with utmost zeal and happiness. He didn’t spare any expense because he wanted to see his daughter happily married. Little did he know that one day Mandeep’s marriage will become the reason for her death. Like every Indian girl, Mandeep had a lot of dreams about her marriage but it turned out to be a nightmare for her.
On August 4, 2022, the country woke up to the horrific news of Mandeep’s death by suicide in New York, U.S.A., following years of domestic violence.
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Before committing suicide, she had uploaded a video, where she narrated her ordeal. The video went viral and left people in a lot of impotent rage. She was harassed for dowry and was beaten for not conceiving a son. Mandeep’s sister revealed that physical abuse began soon after the marriage. The family had filed a complaint earlier. As a result, the couple was separated. But Mandeep later made a compromise, perhaps due to societal pressure, or whatever reason, and went back to her husband. To save her family from mental torture and agony, she started hiding facts about her horrific life.
Mandeep is survived by two daughters and her parental family wants their custody, fearing for their safety, sanity and lives. It is understandable, as the deep sorrow and anguish, as well as their psychological scars, would always remind them of the daughter they lost on the alter of ego, greed and ignorance@.
@It is a scientific fact that the gender of the child is determined by the ‘Y’ chromosome, which comes from the sperm, and the woman, who contributes to the egg in the fertilization process is not responsible for this at all.
19 women were killed for dowry every day in 2020: NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau)
In 2020, the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in India had the highest number of reported dowry deaths.
India reports the highest total number of dowry deaths with 8,391 such deaths reported in 2010, meaning there are 1.4 deaths per 100,000 women.
Earlier this month, a shocking case was reported from Kanpur where a woman was allegedly raped by her husband and his friends because she was not able to meet the dowry demands. The victim has alleged that her husband even tried to set her on fire.
Notably, a lot of women accept abuse in marriage as their fate. They don’t even raise their voice. In this context, we reached out to Shivani Jain, a noted Delhi-based psychologist, about why women stay in an abusive marriages. She revealed that there are a lot of reasons behind this:
The first and foremost reason is fear – They believe that leaving an abuser is dangerous. A lot of female victims are controlled, and that’s why they never get out of the trap. Upbringing and societal mores and norms are to blame for this. Despite women having proven their mettle in all spheres of life, a lot of people still maintain a parochial mindset, treating her as an ‘Abla’ (weakling). Thus, she is not even taught life skills, including being able to earn her own keep and take care of herself.
So, despite a terrific inner strength, she instead becomes a helpless victim of circumstances. Usually, she has little or no say in the choice of groom, as in a lot of households it is still the parents’ prerogative to choose her life partner, albeit, however long her life remains due to that choice, is a moot point.
Another important reason remains children. A lot of women do not leave abusive relationships for the sake of their children. They put their children first and sacrifice their own safety. A lot of women also believe that they want their children to have a father. Shivani revealed, “I have dealt with cases where women remained in an abusive relationship for 20 years for their kids.”
Experts believe that in India, Ghar ki izzat remains a big deal. The tag of ‘Divorced’ scares a lot of women. For the sake of their parents and society, they accept abuse as their fate.
India’s Obsession with Dowry & Beta
We are celebrating 75 years of Independence but there is a large chunk of women who are beaten every day because they weren’t able to meet dowry demands. India is obsessed with a dowry, as a status symbol even if they don’t need the stuff. A large number of bridegrooms and their families feel entitled to get it. Not only this, women are also held responsible agar woh ghar ka waris nhi de paa rahi hai (if she doesn’t produce a male heir to the family#). Arey yaar but you only have the Y chromosome, not her. The harsh reality of modern India is that dowry is still practised. Women are beaten, thrashed and even killed for it.
# The obsession with the male heir has to do with the inheritance of the family wealth, and the Hindu concept of the Son lighting the funeral pyres of his parents, otherwise their souls will wander, and not find peace.
According to a report, a majority of dowry cases go unreported. The Bride and her family choose to stay silent due to fear of ostracism by society. Thus, although seeking and asking for dowry is a criminal offence under sections 174 and section 176, the reality is – it is deeply rooted in our culture.
Quora is filled with threads where men have written that they will only marry a girl with dowry and if they will – Woh bahut Sundar Honi Chahiye (she should be extremely beautiful)! Like, seriously? Simply put, either she should be extremely beautiful or bring a beautiful enough dowry.
We need a mindset Revolution ASAP
In our country, by the time a girl hits 25, everyone expects her to get married and start a family. Verna Late Ho Jyega, Koi Milega nhi (otherwise it will be too late, and she will not find a suitable husband).
So, there is always pressure from society on the parents to get their daughters married kyunki phir responsibility khatam ho jayegi (because then their responsibility will be over). Independent daughters are too treated as a responsibility in India. To see their daughter married, parents go the extra mile to make Ladke Wale (the prospective groom’s family) happy. From telling their daughters to adjust to even fulfilling their demands in the name of riwaaz (tradition).
A lot of times when women report abuse they are often told – Don’t report log kya kahenge aur kaafi badnami ho jayegi (you will be shamed in society and ostracised).
We need to change our mindset. We should start normalizing women choosing the partner of their own choice or even not getting married at all. Marriage is not the ultimate goal of a woman’s life. This has to be taught again and again until it gets ingrained in our minds. Else, Na Jaane Aur Kitni Mandeep Zindagi se Jung Haar Jayengi (we don’t know how many Mandeeps will lose their battle with life)!
An unmarried daughter is far better than a Dead Daughter!