When Victims Of Domestic Abuse Are Brought To Hospitals And Later Pushed Into Silence
One moment it is a normal looking day and the very next it is not. Today is one such day; the tragic news of a woman being allegedly murdered by her husband changed my mood from being okay to feeling sick as a parrot. Domestic abuse has been a subject that is probably known to many, but it is not something that is taken seriously. In a society like ours, marriage and cohabitation are thought of as an arrangement that is confined to an extent that no outsider can interfere even if the situations become intense.
Hospitals are courtrooms without lawyers and judges. We often hear experiences which are literally heart wrenching and bone chilling and they leave us disturbed for days. Here are a couple of incidents that happened in the recent past. They reflect how deeply damaged our society is and how strongly everything revolves around patriarchy and misogyny.
There was this woman in her 40’s who was rushed to the emergency after being brutally beaten by her husband. She had a serious head injury as her husband had hit her with an axe in the head due to which she was profusely bleeding. After initial resuscitation and surgery, she remained admitted in the hospital and gave a statement to the police where she forgave her husband. The reason she gave was that she did not want her children to suffer. She did not want them to live a life without their father. She was not well and somehow; she knew she is not going to make it. She died and left us all with a storm of questions that no one could answer. Her family decided against the pursuance of any legal action against the husband, a murderer. Her murder could have been made an example of justice but, the ‘norms ‘of our society let the murderer go.
Then came a newlywed girl accompanied by her mother in search of someone who could issue them a ‘virginity certificate’ which was demanded by her husband. Well, there is no such thing that exists so we tried talking to them about it. Her mother’s eyes welled up with tears when she told us that her daughter’s husband had sent her back and threatened them of serious repercussions if they failed to fetch the certificate. The girl was physically abused as shown by the bruise around her eye.
What we probably failed to see and imagine was the emotional trauma which she must be going through at that time. Even after all the efforts of getting them through to a women right’s organisation, they decided to walk out with empty hands and injured dignity. This was perhaps not enough to make me sleepless for the next few nights so a few of my male colleagues who were there were very quick with voicing their flippant opinions about the situation.
The problem with our society is very complex. We the men can never know how the women around us feel when they are subjected to oppression or abuse. It is their experiences, not ours and we probably forget this while jumping onto conclusions and forming opinions. The best way to learn is to listen and that is what is direly needed today. We need to lend ears to the women around us; listen to what they have to say, what they feel and what they think. Once we start listening, we should introspect and see if there are any elements of supremacy in us. And let’s vow to talk about the issues women face in our society next time we hang out as a male-only group.
Today it was Sadaf Zahra, tomorrow it can be someone in our family. Let’s act before it is too late. Let’s stand with the women for they are us.