Posts Tagged ‘Emotional Abuse’


“I’m terribly scared mother”, I’d say every night

Clutching the tattered end of her sari as she put me to sleep

“Don’t leave me alone mother for I fear the Monster!”

I pleaded and implored her to not leave

There are no monsters in this world, my child” she’d say

But I saw monsters, each and every day

I saw the monster in my mother’s terrified eyes

In the bruises she tried very hard to hide

I could see that the monster hurt her everyday

Yet, never for once she paid heed to what I had to say

 

“There’s a Monster in the house mother!”, I’d say

I hear it yell and growl behind closed doors everyday

Too scared I am to come out of my room mother.

I know it is very much out there!

“Honey, these are your imaginations or maybe just a dream”, said she

Was she fighting it alone just to keep it away from me?

 

One chilly night, she died – fighting the monster all alone

How brave she was to give up her life – A hero for me she was!

Quietly as I sobbed, my father approached me with open arms

Tightly I shut my eyes as he came closer and closer

And tried convincing myself, “There are no Monster’s in this world”

“There are no Monster’s in this world”

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I see her every day. She lives just on the other side of the street. I can see her through my bedroom window, through my kitchen seal, from my balcony and veranda. In fact, I see her every time I look out of my one bedroom apartment. I have invaded all her privacy. It’s not intentional though. She is fair and thin, quite frail too. Wrapped in a 5 yard cotton sari she looks beautiful, a pleasant disposition. Occasionally, when our eyes meet we smile at each other. Her deep eyes are beautiful, although hidden under the dark circles. She must have been really beautiful when she was young… I’m quite sure she hasn’t crossed 30 yet.

I do not know her name. I do not understand her language. She must be a Tamil or a Telegu. We cannot communicate in words. But how does it matter? I understand her smile, her silence, her laughter and her innocence. She is a mother of three beautiful children. The eldest daughter would be around twelve, the middle one about five and the youngest son is still a toddler.

By the time I wake up in the morning she would be done with her cooking, washing and cleaning. She makes her husband, her kids and herself ready for the day ahead. For work, she wears a shirt above her sari and wraps a long piece of cloth around her waist. This enables her to keep going for the physically rigorous day ahead. She is a strong woman who is fully capable of taking care of herself. She works as hard as her husband does and earns as much as he does.

A hard working independent woman as per today’s standards, ain’t she? What’s there to write about her then?

Well then, she has moved in here two months back with her family to work at a construction site.  To construct the new building coming up just opposite to my house. She lives in a small temporary house made of bricks, tin and plastic sheets. She doesn’t have a kitchen. She cooks under the big tree in front of her temporary house. She does not have a stove, not even a kerosene one. She collects dry twigs and branches after her 9-10 hours job at the construction site. Her kids help her with that. I have never seen her complain or shout at anyone. Her male chauvinist husband hardly lifts his backside after he is done with the daily construction work. She toils hard under the burning sun during the day. She toils even harder under the halogen bulb of the street light at night.

I am a working woman too. After 8 hours of office I am left with no energy or enthusiasm to finish up daily chores. I have a gas stove with two burners, a microwave to heat the food stored in the refrigerator. I have a washing machine and a dishwasher too. I have electricity and 24 hours running water. Yet, I end up eating outside spending few hundreds every day (this amounts to her two – three days’ wages). I wonder how this superwoman handles everything all alone.

She is 30 with 3 kids. She must have been married when she was about seventeen… an age when I was could think of nothing but school, friends, table tennis, computer games and books. Today I am 25, still marriage doesn’t interest me. Here, I have the choice to decide my life. The contrast in our lives is startling. I feel bad, deep inside it hurts. I sometimes thank the almighty that I was born in a well to do family.

 

A commotion on the street startled me today evening. It was dark and the halogen bulb of the streetlight wasn’t too bright. I rushed out to the balcony. A male voice was shouting at somebody. I could not understand, he was yelling at a dark figure in some south Indian language. Three small figures ran out towards the street. As they passed the street light I recognized them. They were her (construction workers’) children. The eldest one was carrying the toddler and the five year old hold tightly on to his sister’s skirt as they ran out of the house.

The husband was yelling at the hard working wife. He was angry, very angry. I could feel that. And in an instant he ran, caught hold of her hair, dragged her out of the small house and started beating her. The three children stood away from the scene. The toddler started to cry seeing his mother being beaten up, while the second child watched in horror. The eldest seemed unperturbed. She must have been used to seeing this. This was a normal thing to her and she had accepted it.

The mother hollered for help. No one opened the doors of their houses. I was watching from the balcony. My heart wrenched with pain. I wanted to rush down the stairs and help her somehow. A part of me cried “She is a human… a woman, just like you. She has a heart, a soul… HELP HER.” She must have her dreams as well – a new sari for her, new clothes for her children, a kerosene stove, a mosquito net, a good meal for her family everyday…

But my head controlled my legs. Was I being practical? Where did the human in me go for that moment? I was witnessing domestic abuse, verbal and physical abuse and doing nothing about it. A woman was not standing up for another woman. I rushed back to my room, closed all the doors & windows, pulled the curtains and sat quietly after creating a pseudo calm environment… as if nothing was happening across the street.

I am ashamed of myself, my practicality and my loss of humanity.

Ironically, I was also a victim of emotional abuse that went on for years. Despite being an educated, independent and confident girl I was caught up in the web. It took me time to realize that demeaning, name calling, yelling, jealousy, doubts, isolation from friends etc. wasn’t a sign of healthy and nurturing relation. Realizing abuse  is just the beginning. To cut the chords and break away is an even tedious and emotionally exhausting task. Thanks to my upbringing and access to right information at right time that I rescued myself. I was fortunate enough that I could get right counseling to help me get over the scars of abuse.

It takes time for wounds to heal… It is like starting to grow all over again… taking baby steps to see what it is like to be the master of ones own life. It’s like starting to live all over again… to begin everything from scratch and rebuilding the life – brick by brick.

Who shall tell the hard working construction worker that she is being abused, that her rights are being violated, and that her soul is being ripped apart. She will cook for him tomorrow morning and start the day as if nothing happened. She has accepted that it is a part of normal life. The young daughter has accepted it too. She will think that abuse is normal and shall accept abuse from her future husband without any complaints. She will never know what a healthy and happy relation or marriage is like. The younger ones – the fear the horror has already taken a toll on them. Their little eyes & hearts have felt and seen such heinous act… a raging father, mother’s cry for help, the pain… will their scar ever heal? Can we expect them to grow up into emotionally healthy young men after such a damaging and scary childhood…