THIS DIWALI, Let’s ‘bust’ a RAVAAN
Painting your walls anew and wearing new clothes won’t really please God who created man and a woman equal in his eyes. Patriarchal muck seems to have stayed put and found its place in the corner where you really cannot vacuum it out ‘THE MIND’
Like my mother told me when I was little, the story of Diwali! Except in my life I am the RAM and the SITA, and I will be the warrior bringing RAVAANs to justice in LANKA and return home victorious, so that your daughter’s in the future don’t suffer with another RAVAAN.
Past few months have been the most harrowing and mind numbing for me and my family. The pain attributed to how my (now ex) husband assaulted and manipulated me. People around me still cannot believe a feminist and a strong woman like me could have wrapped myself into cyclic maze of abuse, but yes it HAPPENED TO ME. And today I will narrate it fearless because I want husbands to take cue on boundaries, in-laws to take cue that yes their son might be in the wrong, fathers and mother to take cue on why daughters might opt suffering, friends to take cue on another friends mental health.
My ex-husband ABC who is victim shaming women coming out with #metoo accounts, is preaching how a woman has to know her boundaries forgot his own somewhere 2years+ into our marriage.
It all started out as normal as it could be, in love, all the butterflies, a beautiful wedding, happy and welcoming family. But little did I know how my world was going to be traversing through the hell fire after the bed of roses.Have you ever come across a psychopath who places stones in your path for you to trip and then come rescue when you fall on your face. This is how I would describe my married life abroad.
All the while my ex-husband using force and mind games breaking my confidence and self-worth to harm me first mentally and then physically. He would unleash his anger where he would hit himself, throw things and break things around me, aimed to miss me and the outburst would scare the hell out of me. I started carefully choosing words to discuss things with him scared of the outburst. I started planning my actions around forgoing what I really wanted to do to avoid conflict, in other words live life according to what he would approve. I didn't know how to tell the rest of the world how stuck I felt, after all my parents spent their life savings to get their only daughter married and I didn't want to upset the only people who really cared about me.
To top it all while I was home sometimes in India and at other times when he was travelling for work in other countries (or for pleasure, now that I know), ABC schemed plots and a web of lies to use the escort services/prostitutes and sleep with other women, while pretending to be a concerned husband, a great son and a great guy for the rest of the world. He used different tinder accounts and this is no surprise as many married men list themselves for the same reasons going to the extent of offering money for sex.
If at this point you want to question our bedroom life - well it was just normal, other than it sickens me now to the gut!
Things at our home abroad worsened with anger episodes threatening me and I lost my ability to question right from wrong and crying myself literally ‘sleeping with the enemy’ until one fateful day when I caught a chat of him and his friend ordering girls online. One chat after another! Nexus of a boy gang sleeping outside of their marriage for reasons like a pregnant wife, conflict at home, to spite her, or just like that!
When I confronted him, he didn't shrivel up but created a childish story that he was just fooling around and a friend chatted on his behalf and the works! Worst of all his family stood with him with a typical attitude of - my son must be right and there is a mere misunderstanding. Despite seeing the chats and all that there is. Typical ‘Shaadi to isse bhi badi cheez hai, vo kaise tod sakte hain’ ‘Reconcile beta, ladka hai bhool ho gayi’ ‘aise bhi kya hogaya ki divorce zaroori hai?’ in other words fall at your bastard husbands feet for he should get away with anything!With his parents not even raising an eyebrow, young siblings and behind the scene relatives showing sympathy that you got a bad deal of a woman who speaks her mind and a bad bahu, ABC gained confidence that he could simply beat this bump in his life.
And then the onslaught of more pain came my way. The THEM versus US attitude where when I asked for a divorce and my things back, it narrowed down to ‘A greedy daughter-in-law asking for her things’ she wants our money’ ‘she is lying and she doesn't own any gems because this was gifted at the wedding’. My family jewellery removed from joint lockers immediately, my personal items hoarded and the typical let’s teach her a lesson by creating hurdles for a divorce. If this was not enough smearing dirt on me was also used as a weapon to manipulate minds with lies and more of it. I am certain the onslaught will come my way with this post as well ‘she was having an affair’ ‘she is of loose moral character’. But you know why I will stand tall and let it come my way because I will face it for those who cave and don’t bear the strength. To give hope to every other woman I see sitting at the woman police cell coming to seek help because she too has a story like mine, because the RAVAAN and his family won’t let go of their egotistic demeanour and are relentless when it comes to breaking HER SPIRIT!
You have seen and heard from survivors, meet the face of a RAVAAN on the other side!
This post is not about a marriage but about a mentality!
(Husband's name changed as the matter is sub judice i.e. pending before a court..)