My name is Monica and as a domestic violence survivor, I have been asked this question innumerable times,” Why didn’t you walk away? Why suffer? How could you allow your dignity to be crushed?”. Generally, domestic violence also involves elements of marital rape.
Following talk sheds light on the dilemma a victim of violence and rape faces and what drives her/him to silence, atleast initially. Coming out is generally an after thought when nth victim, a ‘lone tigress’ declares her story of abuse and it gains media traction, others follow like meek sheep in the comfort of her lead. It is this meek herd mentality that we must address.
Bigger question remains. Should a victim talk or not? Well, for change to occur and cycle of abuse to end, lot many women, ‘lone tigresses’, will have to take the fall. Question is will they? They can if fellow women replace their attitude of disbelief and judgement with that of empathy and support. Unite and boycott the abuser. There is power in numbers, women MUST understand that, victim or not. ( I understand power of unity and speaking up…I run a small group for divorcees. I recently met a man in his 50s and part of vetting, I met him in a group. Since there are women in the group, I do the best for all our safety. We sent out his picture and got negative feedback. Additionally, during our group meeting I came across few unacceptable behaviors. I immediately shared my observations and the entire group boycotted him in minutes. Social boycott based on ample evidence gives results. However, first step is vocalizing NOT silence)
I find most victims becoming silent or talking in hushed terms to those who are irrelevant in the equation. They unburden themselves but do nothing to protect or warn a fellow woman from falling prey at the hands of the abuser. Such disservice ?????! Why???? Let’s reflect why women don’t trust their fellow women? How can these attitudes be changed in our society ?
Insecurities among women, they are sadly widespread. Women mostly try to connect with others one on one and find that intimate, primarily to unburden themselves and maintain secrecy or anonymity. We might see this as a bonding exercise. Truth is women aren’t mostly solution seekers. History tells us that women generally plotted or collaborated with men for power grabs. Men, too, get their dirty work done through women like it’s women who perform heinous acts of FGM on innocent girls essentially to serve the men. The Haryana Godman had a fleet of beautiful women for protection while he carried out sex crimes.
So, I am learning, it is a mindset issue. If parents begin to raise daughters just like sons and encourage martial arts, sports etc which make for a strong mindset, we will have a generational change.
Link to professional perspective in TED TALK – Why women stay silent after sexual assault
Please let me know your thoughts – you can post here or email to email@example.com
- By Monica Agarwal