The Fire of Domestic Violence

Representational Photo

Domestic violence is on a rise. The disturbing and disheartening incidents of murder and suicide rattle the conscience. Such shameful incidents reflect the degree of moral degradation in which society is immersed. Screams and sobs of the victims go unheard . As the material mindset gets strengthened and cemented with greed, barbaric acts have become the order of the day. Stray incidents of murder and suicide emanating from growing domestic violence are symptomatic of a diseased society. Silence and insensitivity towards this social epidemic provides a fertile space for this shame to perpetuate further. How long it will take for the society to stand up and speak out to uproot this heinous evil?

                Society is a reservoir as well as the custodian of norms and values that instil faith and hope among the individual members to aspire a dignified living. Who constitutes this society? The moment one confronts an inconvenient incident like domestic violence resulting in someone’s tragic death, all of a sudden sermons start pouring targeted at the society. Individually the blame is disowned while remaining distant and disconnected and simultaneously the search to zoom in at the real culprit evokes the curiosity to follow the news item for the time being till the recurrence of such incidents flashes again. This self-exempted approach and attitude can never allow us to catch the bull by the horns. The reluctance to involve and engage one’s self and simultaneously expecting the disaster to die down its own death is just a utopia. Extra ordinary challenges demand extraordinary efforts to settle the issue.

                Relationships are diverse and dynamic. Strong relationships are characterised by mutual love, respect, responsibility, sensitivity and sensibility towards strengths and imperfections and an unconditional acceptance. These pre-requisites that sustain and support marital bonds may seem like a fantasy as materialism has taken a heavy toll on the mindset, but nonetheless these attributes do matter a lot.

                Heart-wrenching accounts of harassment, physical and verbal abuse, intimidation and silent torture imposed directly and disguisedly is the daily ordeal of so many souls. Such families treat daughter–in- law as slaves and blank cheques to fulfil their avaricious desires. Family – the space for solace gets converted into a site of violence where at times other family members become a part of conspiracy alienating the daughter in law to battle the odds lonely and helplessly. This silencing act on part of the family members to watch the relentless intimidation and abuse forces the victim to execute the extreme step of ending one’s life.

                There are many misconceptions that conspire together to belittle the individuality and integrity of a person on the basis of gender. These misconceptions are purely baseless and illogical and manufacture typical stereotypes. Gendered perception portrays woman as an inferior being giving man a free hand to exercise his control. Woman is subordinate. Woman is weak. Woman is supposed to be silent. Woman is out of the purview of decision making and woman is supposed to concede to the needs and demands of the man. Come what may !

                The virulent strain of misconceptions has infected the mentality of many and is exhibited in their thoughts and actions. No matter how much qualified they may appear with paper degrees, their diseased minds only reveal how uneducated they are.

                Parents are primary and important stakeholders in relationships. They mentor young members and influence their thoughts and actions and play an instrumental role in shaping their perception. Parental behaviour sets precedence for their children to carry on their legacy. The core values and lessons of life are learnt from parents. It thus becomes imperative for parents to showcase and exemplify true humane attribute of love, compassion, cooperation, sacrifice, tolerance, positivity and fellow feeling. Parental behaviour is consciously imitated by the young ones as a standard template to tailor their own thought processes that shape their perceptions. Likewise, teachers, peer groups and religious preachers also shape and guide the personality of the individual. The institutional impression of religion and education are influential in imbibing valuable imprints that have lasting effect upon one’s thinking.

                All the prominent stakeholders cannot compromise with their assigned roles in carving out the personality of the young members with healthy attributes and attitudes. Any dereliction of these duties has perilous consequences.

                Law is supreme. But the supremacy of law in curtailing heinous acts like dowry deaths has to prevail in letter and spirit. As a handy deterrence to penalize the offender, law can be effective in curbing this menace. But complex procedures and long delays in sentencing the criminals is usually discouraging. Prompt legal action can instil faith in judiciary and caution people to avoid illegal actions.     

                Religious clerics need to highlight the pressing issues faced by the society at large. Domestic violence forcing young women to commit suicide is a serious concern. Sermonising must build the moral make up of followers to justifiably behave with others, refrain from all forms of misbehaviour and anti-humane acts. Preaching must prioritise actual practice to showcase dignity and justice. Actions must speak louder than the amplified voices.

                ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme is aimed at educating and empowering the girl child. The vicious cycle of crime against women demands society at large to be properly educated about its inability to safeguard their sanctity.  

                Social awakening is inevitable to douse the flames of domestic violence. We cannot afford to remain mute spectators and watch the brute display of heart-wrenching tragedies. The soul crushing siren of domestic violence demands a serious social response. It is time to introspect and address this burning issue before it is too late.