A Page From Earthy’s Diary…

A page from a Diary

My New Shoes…

The long awaited day did come when I got the opportunity to buy new shoes. I had been waiting for this day, the day daddy would take me along and I would be able to spend some time in his company. Such delightful moments are so rare yet they add great hope to my existence.

The bike moved quite slowly and I kept chattering…knowing well that dad is the only person who would never tell me to ‘be quiet.’ I know he would have never said ‘girls don’t speak so much.’ He listens to all my stories with a twinkle in his eye. I love him so much!

Some moments are so precious. This one I was going to cherish. I could tell the story to my friends. Now they would know I have a loving dad. Now they wouldn’t make fun of my dirty, worn out shoes. Now I would run with confidence!

I chose my new shoes. I didn’t care much about the style or the color. The excitement of going out with dad and be myself was more significant than anything. My focus was dad, my hero, my savior who was always interested in my demands and only he fulfilled them.

After buying the shoes I was told to sit on a rickshaw and go home. I looked into dad’s eyes, pleading my unwillingness. Probably he didn’t understand. The words I wanted to speak stuck in my throat, out of the fear of going home alone. I pretended to be strong and didn’t utter a word of protest.

With one hand I balanced myself and held the verge of the rickshaw tightly. The other hand was holding the box of shoes tightly lest it might slip from my hand. No other journey could have been as long as this one. I hated my dad for sending me home like that. I knew he too didn’t love me.

Why didn’t he ask? Why couldn’t he go to his office late? Why is he so insensitive? I kept asking all these questions to myself, trying to analyze and now I am writing them down, hoping to get all the answers when I am big.

When I ran inside the house, put the box of shoes down in the patio and sat on it, tears were streaming down my cheeks. I tried to put myself together. As usual I didn’t want to share my feelings with Trod who would mock and tease. I don’t want to tell anyone about my insecurity, I know I can handle it alone.

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Image from

Mama didn’t ask me why I was sitting in the middle of patio. She yelled…‘Are you going to sit all day, looking at those shoes? Put them inside and come and help me in the kitchen.’

I felt like throwing that box of shoes at her. I felt like opening my mouth fully and scream loudly. I wanted to tell somebody how my heart was racing, how scared I was. I wanted a soft word of reassurance, a gentle hug and a caress.

I got that from you dear diary. Thank you so much for being my only companion, my haven of love and comfort. …Earthy.

Dedicated to all those children who have to handle their fears alone, who feel neglected or bullied and crave for parental attention.

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Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh

 

 

 

 

Can Women Escape Domestic Violence? An Emotional Approach…

Domestic Violence

My friend Lisa is writing a story on women’s escape from domestic violence. This post got an inspiration from her unstinted efforts to help ‘The Great Escape’.

Is it possible to escape domestic violence? I have often wondered…

If this could be probable, why would a woman of 21st century swallow everyday abuse, why would she compromise and be told to ‘ADJUST’! Adjust to intimidation and assault? To slapping? To emotional blackmail?

If this could be conceivable, why would female feticide be forced upon a young mother who yearns to hold her child in her hands!

Why would a woman be assaulted or killed for petty demands like dowry or standing up for her rights?

I know I am presenting a very negative picture despite being a robust optimist.

But I have seen domestic violence, its shapes and shades. I have seen it grow and flourish despite laws against it.

Domestic violence is not just perpetrated by a husband or a partner. Families too are a party to it. To my mind, violation of basic human rights by anybody around us – a parent, a sibling or a relative – is domestic violence.

According to National Coalition Against Domestic Violence ( NCADV ) Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse.

I have seen so many women in such situations. They don’t even think that a mistreatment in a family means domestic violence. They don’t have the courage and the confidence to confront it.

Not just a husband unleashes domestic violence upon her; his mother is more to blame for nagging, verbally and physically abusing, making her work like a slave and not giving her enough to eat.

This is the story of most of the homes in many Asian countries.

Real story:

I had seen this woman in my early childhood…working all day, carrying out all the odd jobs of the house, from looking after the cattle of the house to cooking for the family as well as all those who worked in the fields. My most vivid memories are of those days when it would be raining heavily and continuously but she would be as active as ever, with just a gunny bag on her head, attending to the milking of the cows, early in the morning.

Abandoned by her husband at the young age of 25, she chose to live in his home all her life, probably due to societal pressures. She devoted all her life to her only child and grand children, giving them all they needed, without even a single word of complaint.

As I look back now, trying to understand the definition of domestic violence, this image seems to be more disturbing than physical violence in the homes. This memory is etched in my mind. The emotional wounds that I can feel even today for my aunt, after almost 5o years are irreparable.

Even today I can hear that unspoken message…where can I go?

Even today I can see that agony in her eyes saying…what can I do?

Who is responsible?

Women too are equally to blame for accepting such a behavior. Fifty years ago when economic independence and social taboos didn’t let them take any action, it could be understood but in the present era when there are no such constraints, women accept domestic violence as part of their life and destiny.

The sordid saga continues…

Domestic Violence

Another real story:

She is a highly educated, successful doctor and financially independent woman. There was a time when she could take her own decisions, when she was single though many of her friends couldn’t.

She married according to her own wishes, having found her soul mate at the age of 20. She has been living with domestic violence of unspeakable volumes but could never gather the courage of reporting it, stepping out of her marriage or divorcing her husband. She is a widely travelled woman but cannot step out of her own home, without her husband.

People say women have been empowered and emancipated! Really?

“We live in a world in which women are battered and are unable to flee from the men who beat them, although their door is theoretically standing wide open. One out of every four women becomes a victim of severe violence. One out of every two will be confronted by sexual harassment over her lifetime. These crimes are everywhere and can take place behind any front door in the country, every day, and barely elicit much more than a shrug of the shoulders and superficial dismay.”Natascha Kampusch

Who can help?

No soft words or empathy, no laws or stern action against those who inflict such a cowardly act can help.

Only women, yes those women or victims who accept such a beastly behavior can help.

Unless you help yourself, all others effort go futile:

  • Refuse to tolerate domestic violence
  • Never hide it to protect your self-esteem
  • Stand up for your rights
  • Don’t equate it with destiny
  • Communicate your dissent the very first time
  • Speak your mind out loudly and clearly
  • Seek help
  • If the perpetrator doesn’t change, be bold
  • Never believe in their false promises
  • Never give a second chance to such offenders
  • Be firm and take your own decision
  • Walk out of such relationships as soon as you can!

Do you know that 603 million women live where domestic violence is not considered a crime!!

If you are living in a country that recognizes domestic violence as a serious offence, you must report it.

My dearest friend Kim supports this cause most vociferously at her website. You can visit her for advice and help.

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Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh