Sad as it may sound, a large percentage of the female population willingly chooses to endure physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their guardians (let us conveniently ignore the fact that an adult woman here is still in need of a guardian), namely their husbands, fathers or brothers. That is a solid fact that you will have to come to terms with during your clinical years as a medical student, at least, specifically if you are a female attending to another female patient. Tending to patients with very obvious marks of physical abuse can be more infuriating than heartbreaking. Why do these women choose to stay in such abusive relationships, one may ask.
The majority of the women, especially in our part of the world, choose to remain in abusive relationships because “Hum phr kahan jayn ge?” (Then where will we go..?)
You – an educated individual, completely in charge of our own life – will declare with great anger that life-changing decisions like these should not be based on something as temporary as money, but rather, on mutual respect, and love. If one wants to stick by someone and beat all odds, and the ups and downs of that particular relationship, then that should be out of unconditional love, not because one is financially dependent on anyone. Financial independence may not liberate one from a lot of incarcerations, but it does help terminate at least one of them, you argue.
It’s a fact: besides the infamous “Loag kya kahyn ge?” (What will people say?), financial dependency plays a major role in such voluntary acts of imprisonment. And let us not disremember that acts of oppression are not merely limited to physical and emotional abuse, but also opprobriously encompass the relentless trampling of frightening dreams, the ruthless murder of camouflaged ambitions, the communal poisoning of censored desires, the scathing judgments on personal likes and dislikes. Naturally, without any means to support themselves, the victimized women continue to bear the brunt of fragile, male egos because they ensure the sole means of their survival.
If they are to seek freedom from this mental inferno, then it is peremptory that they learn to stand up on their own two feet – whether it is by learning basic skills like sewing and stitching, or by acquiring a professional education. This vicious cycle of female oppression that begins with female infanticide and ends at the death of a woman used as a reproductive machine, must stop. This is (one of the many) the ignominious shadow that has been hovering over hypocritical generations since time immemorial and is guilty of inhibiting our social, moral, and intellectual growth. And till that shadow is scared away, we – the ‘saviors’ tending to them, not just physically, but morally, too – must tend to their wounds, must lighten up their way. And as we do that, let us not forget to show some gratitude for the opportunities that we’ve had, the freedom that we’re flying with, the innumerous ways in which we are blessed. Because, indeed, we are.