“I got married ten years ago. Ours was a love marriage. We worked in the same office and fell in love. Things were beautiful when we were dating and so it never occurred to me that something like this would happen.
After getting married, we had a disagreement on some issue. During the course of our disagreement, she slapped me. I was shocked. I never expected this to happen and this led to another long argument. Finally she relented, accepted that she had lost control in the heat of the moment, and apologised. I accepted because sometimes things like this happen.
But slowly I started noticing that she was starting to get more and more aggressive. She would fight about minor things and would get really angry. It wasn’t just the anger. She used to use a lot of derogatory and cuss words. She would hit me with anything she found within her reach. It could be anything. Once she attacked me with a lamp.
In my family, we never even speak loudly. So to see that my once loving wife abusing and hitting me, was a big shock to my system. I know many people would ask why I didn’t hit her back. It is because I am not a person who gets into physical altercations. I don’t think it is manly to hit a woman or that it will give any solution to the problem.
I couldn’t share my pain with anyone because I knew no one will believe me. And I’d be made fun of. This is how our society is. The worst part was the fact that we worked in the same office and we had common friends. Even if I shared with anyone, I didn’t know what would happen if it reached her. So I just kept suffering through the abuse in silence.
Soon it came to a point where I could no longer bear it. That day, I spoke to my family about it. The burden of the pain did lighten, but the issue reached all my relatives and extended family. I was seen as if I was an untouchable and something disgusting.
For a year, I tried a lot to adjust, to talk to her, to compromise and understand her, and to make her understand. But nothing worked. Neither at home nor outside. No one helped me. Neither my friends nor family. Ultimately I went to the court to file for a divorce. It has been seven years since. And thankfully all is well. I am happy in another relationship. I consider my first marriage and that phase to be a bad dream.
What I want to tell the Indian society is that we need to realise that even men can be victims of domestic violence. And this is the truth all over the world. This is not something that is happening on another planet. It is happening right here. We need to be more sensitive to others’ problems.
It is not necessary that just because he is a man, he can’t have a problem, he is lacking something, or that he is lying. We need to change the mindset, perception and thought process in the society about this. If a man is going through a problem, it doesn’t mean he is impotent. Just because he doesn’t hit a woman, it doesn’t mean that he is abnormal. We need to acknowledge that men can be docile too and they also can feel suffocated and be abused.
Why can’t the society accept a guy who is humble, polite, and docile? I think the biggest culprit is the society, because first, they don’t understand. And even if they pretend to understand your pain, they give you such humiliating, demeaning looks and treat you so badly, that you feel it’s better to die than share your pain with anyone.
And this is the problem that needs to be highlighted. Even if 3 out of 10 men are facing it, it is a problem and needs to be seen, recognised, understood, and addressed. We need to give the men too a safe space to talk about their problems. Because otherwise there is a chance that they get disillusioned with the idea of a fair society and go back to the patriarchal mindset. Women or men, such problems won’t be solved unless people, especially men are heard and they are heard patiently.”
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. If you are a survivor of domestic violence, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org