Just like everyone else, I too had dreams of how my life should be. I got married and started my new life. Things were going well. In the eyes of the world, in the eyes of my family, everything was great. But there were times when I had problems with my husband. I don’t know if it was a psychological problem or his frustration.
I used to work before I got married, and was quite successful at my job. But after marriage, my responsibilities increased and then my kids were born. And I became a housewife. Things were alright, but then physical violence reared its ugly head. And the Indian mentality, “What will I tell my parents and I don’t want to trouble them” kept me from sharing what I was going through with anyone I knew.
After the abuse, he used to be remorseful and apologise and I too naively accepted his apology. But slowly, things started escalating. Work and responsibilities increased as the kids were growing up. This meant an increase in his frustration levels. And I used to be the punching bag for his emotional outbursts. We also had the responsibilities of his parents which contributed to the stress.
Even though I put up with it for a long time, it was too much to take when he hit me in front of the children. It was the day I decided that enough was enough. It was the day my daughter asked me “Mummy, what are you teaching me?” And I didn’t have an answer for her.
All I thought was that I didn’t want to suffer anymore. It took a lot of courage. Friends supported me in my decision. Many were surprised that I was quiet and suffered for so long.
I didn’t move away from it the first time because of family pressures, and believing that things will get better in time. Even the people I spoke to told me to resolve it within ourselves. And that things like this are common. Those ideas were in my head. Things like “I need to adjust and maybe things will change.”
One of the things I was worried about was how I would get back into the workforce. It had been many years since I had worked. I started working at a small kitchen. After long and protracted battles at the courts, I was finally granted my divorce. And also the custody of my children. For many years now, I have been leading a life of peace and happiness with my children. I run my own kitchen and cook food for people. That is the source of my income.
And when I came out with my story, so many people approached me with their stories. I was shocked. It isn’t just in lower income households that abuse exists. And the stories that everyone else shared with me gave me a confidence and strengthened my determination to move out. I had made up my mind to make my life better and no matter what hardships came my way during the process, I decided to face them head on.
People who like me believe that their abusive partner will change should stop. Such people do not change. It is who they are. We can overcome addiction, but we can’t change the inherent character and nature of a person. I suffered through a lot in the hope that he would change. And looking back now, I feel ashamed that I didn’t recognise it and that I put up with it. And what I want to tell everyone is that accepting such torture is akin to self-harm. You are living a lie and that is a bigger mistake.
I keep thinking about the courage it took for me to take that step. But I am glad I did it. Because things have been good after it. And I am really really thankful to all the people who helped me. And I want to tell everyone to please not undergo such things – for yourself and for your self-respect. We have one life. We need to make that life beautiful. And we are solely responsible for it. No one else is.
–Anonymous (The identity of the contributor is kept anonymous upon request)
This story was submitted as part of the #BlackBindi campaign, an initiative by MY FM with The Logical Indian, to raise awareness about Domestic Violence.
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