Behind Closed Doors

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“How did you know?”
“I just did.”                                
“Was it the stench of the alcohol?
Was it the uncertainty in his steps?
Or was it the colour of blood in his eyes?”

“Did you try running away?”
“I did. He still caught me.”

“What did he do then?”

“Are you scared he’ll do this again?”
“I know he will.”

“How often does this happen?”
“Every single day.”

“Have you ever tried leaving him?”
“Where will I go?”

The first time it happened was their wedding night. She was eighteen, right out of school, and just another victim of arranged marriage.

Her illusions of marriage never kept up with the reality. They were too idealistic, too hollow and how preposterous of her was it to think that having sex with her husband was her choice, her decision, a question of her own will.

Her heart told her to put a stop to it, to take a stand, to act on her own accord, to do something for herself.

But oh, how could she go against her family? They needed money, didn’t they? And he gave them exactly that.

After a while, she grew used to it.

Her thirty seven year old husband would come home every night, drenched in alcohol, violent and ferocious as ever, beat her up and rape her behind those closed doors. And all this was fine, wasn’t it?

She termed it as ‘selling love’ and for a while the bruises, the scars, the pain, it all seemed worth it. It was all for her family, wasn’t it?

And she couldn’t have just left. If she had, what would everyone else had said?  
You don’t put your dirty laundry out on display, do you?

After all, isn’t it much better to endure all the torture and pain behind closed doors than to have the much respectful society discuss it in public gatherings, with their valuable statements tearing at your heart?

Her fears kept it going and for the seventeen years they were married, this never stopped.

She couldn’t have stopped it either. The society, the opinions, those voices held precedence over everything else. 

And he kept at it, stopping just to begin again.

She got pregnant after two months of their wedding and became a victim to three miscarriages thereafter.
Eight years into their marriage, she got a job. Independence had started to unveil her wings. She wanted to do something for her daughter, for herself.

She didn’t want her daughter to suffer the same fate as she did.

She earned, she fought, but just to give in to him again.

He took all her money and when she asked for it, he did it again and again and again.
But, wait, nothing was wrong with this. The law was with him. So was the society, so were the opinions, and so was she.

The police didn’t forget to feign sympathy, though. They were very hospitable. They offered her tea and biscuits as compensation, along with some marital advice.

They told her to ‘adjust’. If only they knew the meaning of this word, like she did.

And oh she did. It was her compromise and his victory.

He never stopped after that. He was religiously drinking and gambling, forcing her to give in to him, every single time, every single day.
For seventeen whole years.

Till those voices stopped mattering.

“How could she do this?”
“Why would she do this?”
“She has no values or morals.”
“She doesn’t know how to adjust.”
“It must have been her fault, she didn’t listen to him.”
 “She’d always been this inflexible and shameless, incapable of having a family.”
“Oh my God, the shame!”

But these opinions didn’t matter anymore, neither did the society.

And it was her family’s turn to adjust now. She had done it for them for way too long already.

Today, she’s divorced, lives on her own, has a steady job as a teacher and is completing her PhD.

 “At some point in your life, you have to stand up for yourself because nobody else will,” she says.

Marital Rape and domestic violence are one of the biggest challenges faced by the country's women today and the legality of marital rape makes it even worse. 

This goes out to all the victims and the survivors out there. 

Raise your voice.
Take a stand.
Do not be afraid.
You matter, much more than you think you do.


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