“She deserved it,” the man said with venom and took a sip of his drink. His friend looked at him and asked, “How?”
The man replied, “She’s been doing everything to rile me up, man. She doesn’t manage a house, she barely looks after the kids, she spends all my money. Then when I ask her anything, she shrugs her shoulders and doesn’t reply. She even denies me sex. Me! Her husband. How can she do that? I married the bitch so I could get sex whenever I wanted. And she says no to me!”
“Dude, that’s no way to talk about your wife,” said the friend, “She’s not a toy. She has feelings. If you don’t respect her, love her or pamper her, why would she want to have sex with you? Women are different. They need someone who will talk to them about their day. Not someone who will tell them to drop their clothes when he walks through the door.”
The man at the bar began to shout, “I’m an IIT and an IIM graduate. I can get sex anywhere! But I’m not unfaithful. She should respect me! Could she have done better than me? I’m the bloody crème de la crème. She was lucky I fell in love with her. She got away easy. Otherwise anyone in her place would have at least given me a car at the wedding.”
The friend looked around to see if anyone else had heard, “You just talked about dowry! That’s evil. It’s illegal.”
The man shook his head. He knew that. It’s just that he felt he should have got something from this marriage. It could be material if it wasn’t sexual.
The friend probed further, “Have you tried talking to her?”
The man looked at him incredulously, “I’ve been working and trying to make a living for us. The fat lout sits at home and looks after the two kids that she insisted on having even though I didn’t want more than one. Now she has no time for us. She is always tired, she doesn’t want to go out, and on top of that she wants me to help around the house, do homework, go for family functions and call up damn friends I’ve not spoken to for years. I’m tired. I earn to give my family a great life. I want to be left alone. Give me my food, leave me to my gym, my TV and give me sex every night. What’s to talk about?”
“Is it only about sex?” The friend asked politely unable to understand.
“No man, she’s not only frigid, she’s mental. I’ve told her time and again she needs therapy. She has to go to a psychiatrist to talk about how she has issues with everything. Her dad has enough money to pay for it. She needs to go to the gym too. I’ve told her she’s become so fat after two kids. I keep telling her everyday to push her to go. She’s so unattractive. Not the woman I fell in love with.”
The friend nods, “I understand. But don’t you think by constantly telling her to go to a shrink, or to the gym, it’s killing her self esteem? I mean you loved her for what was inside. By calling her unattractive, you lower her confidence. And she may not want to bond with you emotionally or physically.”
The man shrugs his shoulders. He doesn’t care. He’s been told by his parents that he’s the best thing that has happened to them and her. He knows that whatever he’s doing is right.
Suddenly he says, “Oh by the way, her aunt came over the other day. Even she was saying that wifey should try harder in this marriage to please me. She could see that I needed to travel for months for my projects. She tried to explain to her niece to be more patient and understanding. So see, it’s not only I who keeps telling her. Her family also reiterates it.”
The friend is even more shocked. He’s heard enough. “Why don’t you just get a divorce if you hate her so much?”
“Divorce? Why? She just needs to adjust to me. I don’t want to tell everyone in the office or my family that we’re divorced. It affects your career growth. I have to answer to my mother. Then again, she’ll try to get me married. Useless cycle of weddings again.” The man asked the bartender to pour him another shot of whiskey, as he got further drunk. “I can easily have an affair and she won’t even come to know. I delete all my messages. I don’t keep any pictures. I’m a smooth operator. In fact two evenings ago, I kissed the marketing trainee who wanted to learn from me. She is super hot.”
The friend refused another drink. He knew his limits. He had to go home to his live in girlfriend. Not once did he think that he had been “providing” for her by paying the rent. She had her own account and paid for the household expenses whenever she chose to. There was no compulsion. It was a respectful relationship where they had conversations daily, vacations occasionally and arguments hardly. Nevertheless, he was worried that he may turn into his best friend who was quite drunk and had exposed a side that was quite violent. He may never have hit his wife, but he had been cruel to her by thinking extremely repressive and regressive thoughts. If her aunt had reiterated the “Sita syndrome” where a wife has to go through everything her husband tells her to, then her family was also enforcing the violence against her.
He needed to break the pattern. The woman couldn’t do it alone. She needed support.
So he tried talking one last time to his friend, “Sam, you’re an ass. You’re throwing away a great marriage, wonderful kids and the opportunity to grow old with someone for a hot intern who cares less about you than she does about her lunch. Just because your parents told you that you’re God’s gift to women doesn’t mean it’s true. They lied. You need to stop travelling, stop treating your wife as a piece of meat and talk to her. Switch off from your world and focus on hers. She needs support in the house. Just because she isn’t working doesn’t mean you get to treat her with disrespect. She is managing a house and your kids. And even if your didn’t want them, they’re yours. She gave that gift to you. And when you’re old, they will look after you, not your colleagues. Her aunt, is a dumb ass. She probably has watched too many soaps to think differently. Give more Sam. Give your time. Give your money. Worship your wife. She’s not unattractive. She’s loving, graceful, smart, funny, and intelligent. Make her feel beautiful and the sex will improve. Don’t give because you might get something back. Give because it makes you happy, because you need to and because you will die a lonely death if you don’t right now. Work goes away. Friends leave you. Your parents will die. And your cousins will have families of their own. The only person who you can turn to is your partner, your soul mate. Don’t try to improve her. She’s not mental. Everyone has issues. A spouse hears your issues. She may be suffering from post partum depression. She needs love. Stop being selfish. And even if you get married again, if you don’t change yourself, who you are as of right now, you will have the same problems with the new woman as well!”
The friend completed his speech, got up, and walked out of the bar. He realized that maybe nothing of what he said would get through to his friend but at least he had tried. However, the violence was so deep seated that it would take more than a pep talk; it would take a shift in mindset.
We can probably see and recover from physical violence. Mental violence scars us for life. Women do not know if they should stay in a marriage where they’re forced to have sex, where they feel undermined, belittled, tossed aside. Society, parents, offices do not encourage a woman who chooses to walk out of a violent marriage. People don’t like talking about domestic issues.
A Few facts:
· In 2011 over 12 lakh people committed suicide.
· 22,172 cases of rape were recorded in 2010.
· 8.9% of the total victims of Rape were girls under 14 years of age, while 16.1% were teenage girls (14-18 years) and 57.4% were women in the age-group 18-30 years.
· There are more than 1000 “honour killings” in India every year.
· 1 in 5 women are suffering from depression in India right now.
· Forced bonded labour/ human trafficking affect 65 million Indians.
Our society needs to help each other. We need to start talking about it. Otherwise the violence will never end.
Also published on CNN-IBN Blog: http://ibnlive.in.com/group-blog/one-billion-rising/2956/mental-violence-scars-women-for-life/64321.html