Special

Suffering in Silence

September 5, 2017

It is indeed very sad to read newspapers or watch news these days. All that we come across is bitter news, which in a way disgusts and depresses all who read it. Recently when I was going through the posts shared in one of the social networking platforms, I came across an article where a 12-year-old girl was abused and killed by her own relatives. Below the news, I also read that many people were protesting and pressurizing the judiciary to take action immediately. It was good indeed to know that public had taken the initiative to fight and stand by the grieving parents. Yet again, an innocent girl had become a prey to her family’s feud and vengeance.

Thinking about this whole issue, I started wondering that there are so many ways in which a woman is targeted and abused. Major issues are bought into light, but what about small issues which happen within closed doors? No one understands the pain. I would want to throw light on a few issues which may sound silly, but definitely most of the women go through them in silence.

Right from a tender age, a girl is expected to live by certain norms and prejudice set by the society. I remember an incident. While talking to my friend over a cup of coffee, she discussed with me her fascination for martial arts. She was quite athletic and had an ambition to master Karate, but was not permitted by her parents. They felt it was something that had to be learnt by a boy and they forced her to join dance classes. My friend was learning dance from eight years just for the satisfaction of her parents and had absolutely no interest in what she was learning. Even today, most of the parents fulfill their dreams through children. It is not wrong if the children are happy, but it is not good to force a child to take up something which they are not interested in. It is time we stop differentiating based on gender and openly encourage our girls to take up what they are interested in. It is sad to know when the world is progressing at a rapid rate, there are a few parents who feel that it is not worth to educate girls and instead get them married off. There are hundreds of girls who are intelligent and ambitious, but suffer in silence because they are helpless to voice out what they want to learn and become in life.

The next important step in a girl’s life is marriage and the drama that surrounds it is quite difficult to explain. I would not quote examples of others' life, but share the experience which I went through. Being on the heavier side, I was always body shamed and asked to reduce my weight. More than people advising me to reduce my weight for my good health, I found people around asking me to reduce in order to get married. I still remember when I had been to my native and was sitting with all my relatives, my aunt rather made an insulting comment. She told me that it is very difficult to find a good educated boy for me as I am not slim. She also said that I do not wear modern clothes and wear plain salwar and scapular around my neck which no guy likes these days. She concluded her remarks by saying that I would have to marry an old man because he would suit me better. Well, these comments did hurt me, but what it made me realize is that, at every stage, a woman needs to fit the bill. If a man is bald or fat, a girl cannot express her dislike and is blamed to be choosy and have attitude. On the other hand, if the boy complains that the girl is fat or not tall, then immediately a girl is forced to change herself to suit into the brackets of a perfect girl. It just does not end here. If a girl is slightly modern and dresses up stylishly, she is again judged and mocked and labeled as someone with 'loose' morals. In the name of getting a girl married, she undergoes so many insults, pain and all this she bears in silence.

After marriage, she is expected to be in a certain way. Dress and eat by the standards set by her in-laws. What I really do not understand and accept is the fact that a girl after marriage is expected to compromise in the name of adjustment. My colleague was recently sharing an incident related to her proposal, where she was asked not to work for a year after marriage, as the boy’s sister was jobless and she would feel bad to see her future sister-in-law working. So the girl, who would marry, had to wait till the boy’s sister finds a job, after which if everything was fine, could resume her work. Where is equality? I was astounded by this proposition and rather glad that she rejected the proposal. Why should a woman sacrifice her dreams and passions just because she is married? I have had friends who were wonderful singers, dancers, artists, and painters who after marriage have given up everything just because their in-laws and husband feel that pursuing their passion would not allow them to fulfill their responsibilities as daughter-in-law and wife. Why are women not encouraged? Is it not a crime to strip a woman of her identity and force her to kill her dreams? Unfortunately, no one talks about it.

I know that every woman needs to adjust to the new family and keep the family united. But what if the new family does not co-operate with her? Why does the society forget that the efforts must come from both the ends. I see around me, when a married woman chooses to live separately with her husband, she is accused and blamed of separating her husband from his parents. But why does anybody not think about the girl? Sometimes a girl is seriously abused. She is not allowed to go out, dress up in a certain way, and not allowed to speak out. In spite of all this, when she demands for justice, she is said to have attitude and is accused of breaking the family. I have seen in many houses where a daughter and daughter-in-law co-exist. Any harm that happens to your daughter at her in-laws' place is termed to be sad, but when your own daughter-in-law goes through the same hell at your place, she is expected to adjust. What justice is this? So many women around us are victims of this favoritism and are suffering all of this in silence.

If raping and abusing a woman is a terrible crime, then one must remember that crushing a woman’s passions and dreams is also a crime. When a woman dares to trespass all this and starts her journey towards her dreams, she is again questioned and judged. I remember when I first decided to publish my poetry book, only my husband and parents encouraged me. Others laughed at me and thought it was stupidity. Yet, I faced all this and came out with my first poetry book. Many genuine people complimented me and appreciated my talent. But there were a few who laughed and judged me. One silly reason I was judged for was that, on the acknowledgement page, I had thanked only my husband and parents and not my in-laws. I had not done so as I received no encouragement from them and I was laughed at for writing. I was bold enough to stand for what I believed in. Marriage is not a passport for a woman to forget her parents and go away from them. If it is the responsibility of man to take care of his parents, then it is the responsibility of a woman to take care of her parents.

We see protests and marches demanding justice for women. I guess all this will not help if we are not fighting for the lady in the house. Be it your wife, sister, mother, daughter-in-law or anyone - respect begins from home. Respecting a woman does not mean just feeding her and giving her a place to live. It means to understand a woman, give her freedom and space to voice out her opinion. Treating women with dignity and equality is the biggest step towards reducing crime against her. When you lend her support, she will give her everything to the family which most of them have forgotten. Woman, they say is the highest reservoir of untapped talent. Let us not turn a blind eye towards the needs and wants of a woman. Let us strive to provide a platform to them so that they may come out of their cages and be the best version of themselves.

At the end, let us not forget one thing - a happy woman means a happy family. Let us try a little harder to fight again the injustice done towards women and try putting an end to all that suffering which happens IN SILENCE.

 

Sonal Lobo Archives:

 

By Sonal Lobo, Bengaluru
Sonal Lobo, born and bought up in Bengaluru, is a post graduate in commerce from Christ University, Bengaluru. She has been writing from the age of 10. Her writings have been published in in a number of publications of repute. She has published two books 'Thoughts Sublime' and 'Whistling Words' both collection of poems and also contributed in various anthologies. Currently she is working as an HR counsellor in Bengaluru. You can reach her at sonal_chocolate@yahoo.co.in

Comment on this article

  • Deepika Channaiah, Bangalore

    Sat, Sep 16 2017

    When words are crafted with experience and empathy writing with this level of maturity emerges, Well expressed and communicated dear sonal (shon :*)
    Keep writing and motivating. Every star fish back into the sea counts in value and the value is life

    Agree [1]

  • Pooja, Doha, Mangalore

    Sat, Sep 16 2017

    I appreciate your efforts.. "Suffer in silence" amazing title . I believe the same. Keep writing..

    Agree [1]

  • Kenneth, Bangalore

    Fri, Sep 15 2017

    Excellently written. Hats off to the author for such a bold and realistic writing.

    Agree

  • rose, dubai / mlore

    Thu, Sep 14 2017

    truly inspiring and heart touching article ...

    Agree [1]

  • Tania, Sharjah

    Mon, Sep 11 2017

    Clearly written about a woman's suffering right from her young age to her marriage and after that. That's all true .It's like you reflected every girl's mann ki baat.

    Agree [1]

  • Sushma Dsouza, California USA

    Mon, Sep 11 2017

    Awesome Sonal ! A truly inspiring and heart touching article. And I completely agree every single point told here .Keep enlightening minds, cause every right mind too requires a gentle push to walk the line which won't bother others. Hope to see more of those awe in the coming days.

    Agree [1]

  • Santhosh christopher, Bangalore

    Sat, Sep 9 2017

    Very BOLD and honest views well written sonal. Keep expressing yourself and happy writting.

    Agree [3]

  • Christopher, Mangalore

    Sat, Sep 9 2017

    Kudos to the author for this wonderful piece of writing. Excellently and fearlessly the complex issues are presented. Women is reservoir of talent which is untapped is a very true statement. I thoroughly enjoyed the article. Keep writing.

    Agree [2]

  • Declan, Mumbai

    Fri, Sep 8 2017

    Nice writing Sonal. Appreciate your fearless honesty in expressing the truth.

    Agree [7]

  • Ashwini, Bangalore

    Fri, Sep 8 2017

    Sonal, with every article your moving one step ahead.... Wat an amazing area to touch on.... This should be a alarm for all de silent sufferers to break out... Wish u all luck to touch ppl of all walks of life thru ur articles.... Great going!!!!! Every article gives me a lot of pride is saying she is maaa frnd.....

    Agree [1]

  • Prithi Rodrigues, Mumbai/Canada

    Thu, Sep 7 2017

    Very well written.

    Agree [2]

  • Dhivya Raghuraman, Bangalore

    Thu, Sep 7 2017

    Through this article, you have chosen to be the voice for the silent sufferers. Every woman that I know of, has gone through and battled out of the situations mentioned here either directly or indirectly. Wish these words can empower a lot more women to step up and be themselves ! It isn't a joke when the ancestors mentioned that a woman is the maker or breaker of the family. Make her happy, she is going to double it up for everyone and make her cry and break , that would only cause downfall.

    Very well articulated and profound. Keep writing Sonal , for you never know how many people you are inspiring with these words.

    Agree [3]

  • Shankar Ramachandran, Bangalore

    Thu, Sep 7 2017

    There is so much written in this article which isn't even discussed by working women in their office coffee discussions..highly thought provoking and insightful.
    Congrats to the author.

    Agree [6]

  • Gilbert John Pinto, Bangalore

    Thu, Sep 7 2017

    Let there be more Sonal Lobos and the world would be better place to live.

    Agree [4]

  • Swathi, Bangalore

    Wed, Sep 6 2017

    Very nice and bold article. Keep inspiring us with your writings :-)

    Agree [4]

  • Akil, Moodubelle/Bangalore

    Wed, Sep 6 2017

    Nice Article Sonal. Yes, Equality is still a mystery for many in today's advanced, well educated, cultured society. Hope your article gives an awareness and transformation to those who are against the Equality. Keep writing.

    Agree [3]

  • Neethu, Bangalore

    Wed, Sep 6 2017

    Very nice article Sonal 😊

    Agree [4]

  • R.Bhandarkar, Mangaluru

    Wed, Sep 6 2017

    Sonu is Sonu and so are her writings.

    Agree [5]

  • Carol, Bangalore

    Wed, Sep 6 2017

    I totally agree with what has been written . .....not only me .. so many women out there will agree to the expressions and thoughts in this article....

    Agree [3]

  • Ivan Lobo, Mangalore/Canada

    Wed, Sep 6 2017

    Dear Sonu
    You have written a thought provoking article. Congratulations Sonu. We all are very proud of you. Keep writing articles which bring awareness among people. Yes, you are right, women in India are treated as second class citizen, and in many communities they are treated even worse than that. The recent suicide by a CA qualified young bride is an example of such atrocities against women.

    Agree [5]

  • raghu, Bangalore

    Wed, Sep 6 2017

    Loved the thought of marriage is not a passport to forget parents :-) .

    Convincing people is not an easy task. Lets try harder to fight against injustice of woman ? . I have a problem with with the word Try. Lets create a tribe & give voice to everyone. Everyone should be empowered to stand and make their choices.

    Thrust on formal equalities should get momentum.

    Agree [3]

  • Usha, Bangalore

    Wed, Sep 6 2017

    Really great , bold article.

    Agree [3]

  • Rita, Germany

    Wed, Sep 6 2017

    You have written the problems of a woman ,mostly in India ,suffering in silence to hundred percent.Nothing more to add. what men do is accepted.what a woman does is criticised. She has to do what her parents want before marraige,later what her husband and in-laws want.O weh e she goes out of this line,,then beginns her life a s a martyer.well written. keep up.

    Agree [6]

  • Vidhya, Bangalore

    Tue, Sep 5 2017

    Very well-written, Sonu. 😊 Keep it up!

    Agree [4]

  • Ann,Mangalore/Abudhabi, MANGALORE

    Tue, Sep 5 2017

    Hats off to you Sonal, very well described about the silence of woman. apart from this I would also like to say, sometimes woman has no power and safety to raise voice to prove her innocence when she is attacked emotionally or physically just because of society norms . Women are target by men and powerful persons even not left by their own close family.

    Agree [6]

  • Apoorva, Bangalore

    Tue, Sep 5 2017

    Excellently written 👌

    Agree [1]

  • Deepika, Bangalore

    Tue, Sep 5 2017

    Hey Sonal , genuine emotions boldly expressed. As u say, we need to first start with changes at home to see a change in the society. Completely agreed . Great article. Good job Sonal.

    Agree [3]

  • annie dimple castelino, mangalore

    Tue, Sep 5 2017

    Dear Sonal
    You have nicely expressed those thoughts that I am sure are running in the minds of most of the women around the world and very specially in India. Every woman in one way or the other suffers silently owing to the stereotypical roles she has to play and the double standards, the society has for a man and a woman. Thank you for raising this issue which is mostly taken for granted.

    Agree [9]

  • Martha, Bangalore

    Tue, Sep 5 2017

    Very nice article. Really appreciate your courage to write openly. Keep writing

    Agree [3]

  • Ray, Bangalore

    Tue, Sep 5 2017

    Beautifully written. An article which must be read by all. I congratulate your grit to openly voice out the feelings. Looking ahead for more articles from you. Keep up the good work

    Agree [3]

  • Doreen Machado, Mangalore/Sharjah

    Tue, Sep 5 2017

    Compliments to you Sonal on that very well written article about women suffering in silence.
    I totally agree with you and the article was like hitting the nail on the head.
    If each one of us were to support the women in our life I am sure our children and others around us would notice and have a change of heart/mindset.

    Agree [5]

  • preetham peris, Ferar

    Tue, Sep 5 2017

    Bold expression of thoughts done here Miss Writer .

    Agree [8]

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