It was almost mid night, suddenly I heard screaming of a woman and children. The woman was crying and child was shouting and was telling don't beat my mother. It was not a scenario of one day. It has been happening repeatedly. I decided to call police and called also. Police came but the woman was denied that she was a victim or sufferer. She did it because she wanted to save her husband and family dignity.
Another story of a housewife, who worked at Unicef after completing her post graduation from the University of Dhaka. But when she became a mother, she had to quit her job for family pressure. When her son grew up enough, she decided to pursue her Phd degree. Bur her husband didn't allow her to do so. That led to quarrel all the time. Finally the couple got separated.
This is a story of Nadia, who wanted to become a photojournalist. But her husband didn't want her wife to do this type of outdoor job and started to torture her constantly. Finally she took a decision to divorce his husband. But she didn't get support from anyone. Not even her parents supported her. She had to bow down and drop her dream for the sake of the family.
All the incidents shook my existence in post modern society. What is the exact meaning of marriage? Does it give the women's proprietorship to the man? Why women don't raise their voice and save themselves from the obstacles? What is the driven force behind this type of violent psychological construction? I was aggressively tried to find out the answers.
According to a study by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund, about 87 percent of Bangladeshi married women are abused by their husband. Among them 8 percent of respondents said that they were never been abused by their partner. Domestic violence is still widespread in our country. About 77 percent of respondents admitted that they had been abused, half of them had sustained serious injuries, but one in three women refused to go to the hospital for fear of retaliation.
Can we imagine what is happening in our society? The problem needs to address. If you are thinking illiteracy is the root-cause behind this, then you are wrong. Not only illiterate people but also some educated people attacked their wife vigorously. A question must be raised on our mind does education make any difference?
Generally, we Bangladeshi women are family oriented and emotional. We always afraid of losing the dignity of their family as well as of their husbands. According to the study, only 2.6 percent of women in national level, 2.4 percent in rural and 3.3 per cent in urban areas, have taken legal action against their husband. Bangladesh has strict law against domestic violence but that cannot be implemented because the victims are not willing to raise their voice.
For example, khadiza begum, who is working in a renowned private company. She said: "Our social norms and regulation make us weak, and that is why husbands believe that they have the right to dominate us, even beat us. I am an educated woman and mother of two children. But my husband does not listen to me, and he takes all the decision."
So what is the possible solution to this problem? Should we blame our society who gives the superiority of a family to a man's hand or the women themselves are responsible. The true fact is that in our country women are being treated as household products in many houses.
Why women are still held back. We need to change this stereotype mentality about women. And we women need to be aware of our rights and regulations existing laws against domestic violence. We should not fear and raise our voices against abuses - mental or physical. Every woman must be aware of her own identity, existence and freedom.
The writer works for The Asian Age
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