- The people on a far-off island are afflicted by a rare skin disease. Everybody suffers from the same, for many generations.
A doctor happens to land on the island from a shipwreck, and wants to investigate the disease. The locals look at him derisively, and claim it is ‘normal’. It’s not a disease.
2. A newly married girl is shocked to see her mother-in-law being beaten up by her father-in-law, for no fault of hers. She runs inside to call other members of the family, to save their mother. They ask her to go to her room and mind her own business. No wonder, the girl faces abuse at the hands of her husband, years after her marriage. The children had grown up to think the behaviour is ‘normal’.
3. Roohani is often blamed for putting her husband in a negative state of mind, since she did not bear children. Roohani has to point out by recounting incidents that the negative behaviour has been there right from the time they got married. The family has told her stories about his insane outbursts during his bachelor days. So her childlessness has not ignited negativity. The cause lies elsewhere and has been there in the personality all along.
The concept of mental and emotional abuse is not acknowledged as a problem in many societies. Subjugation of a gender or any less privileged class is seen as ‘normal’, because it has been happening for decades and centuries.
The malaise is widespread to the extent that many victims do not realise they are being wronged. Whenever the behaviour patterns which count as abuse are discussed in a workshop, one hears gasps of acknowledgement and disbelief.
“This is what exactly happens to me.”
“You are telling my story.”
How does it help to be aware?
The least that one can do is let the perpetrator know that it is abuse, and will not be tolerated. Ignoring, walking out, creating a safe distance are the next strategies.
I tell many women to walk out of the room. Heavens do not fall. It conveys a message. Tell the perpetrator that you can retaliate in the same way.
Women in a family or social circle getting together to talk about it, might also restrain future negativity. Seek counselling wherever necessary.
If nothing helps, choose to lead separate lives. Try it for a short time and feel the difference. You will know that you deserve a better life, and are not bound to victimhood.
The behaviour patterns are in this one-minute video.
Author: Reena Saxena
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