This is my second post and probably the most controversial post.
But my audience must understand that a great deal of the social issues stems from parental abuse.
Unfortunately, the parents are victims themselves of the patriarchal, hierarchical, regressive, repressive society we live in and in turn will give the same values to their children and the cycle of abuse continues.
As a woman: If we microscope the life of a woman in India, we will find that any form of autonomy was absolutely stripped off her since birth. Her parents always wanted a son, instead of a daughter, as daughters are looked upon as liabilities to their finances and resources, while sons are looked as budhapey ka sahara or a support system for their old age.
Any kind of freedom and independence is stripped off her, as her parents are worried that she may “do things”, which may bring shame upon the family and they will never be able to get her “married off”.
In some states of India, a woman is not even allowed to leave the house (even for household chores), not given the privilege of education, not allowed to speak to the opposite gender while the parents train their daughters to be “good housewives” by training them to cook food, make tea, managing household chores properly.
Note: I am not saying that learning to cook, or managing household chores is demeaning. All I am saying is that why is this only the woman’s duty? Shouldn’t the man also learn the above skills.
These are valuable skills every individual, whether a man or a woman, must learn as these things come in handy in daily life. The intention of the parents is the big problem here.
Now the daughter is young, fresh and ready to be “married off”. Her parents are looking for a groom. They need to find a suitable groom (someone who earn well, is from a rich family, even better if he is a “foreign return”).
The problem here arises that there are only few such men in India and countless eligible women waiting desperately to marry him. As hypergamy is not an option here in India, she is forced to marry someone she doesn’t love and he will probably abuse her (as he has loads of options with him and she has none; not even her parental support).
After her marriage, she is now answerable not only to her husband, but also his entire family and extended relatives which comprise about at least a thousand people. Cooking for everyone, cleaning up after everyone, listening to everyone’s unflattering comments, doing a thankless job, is what her life has been subjected to.
She is always treated like an OUTSIDER who is trying to “break her husband’s joint family”. With leading such an abusive life, the abused normalizes such behavior and condones it by saying “Aisa hi hota hai” (the usual way things work) or “hamara rivaj hai” (the traditions of our house) but also deep down, a volcano of resentment is building up waiting to explode at the first opportunity she gets.
Now, the baby comes! For the first time in her life, she is given autonomy on her life (as it revolves around the baby). God forbid if it is a girl! She will be resorted to the same fate as her mother and the cycle will continue. If it is a boy, the fate would be different but as abusive. Life of boys are abusive too, rather in a different way.
As a man: As a man, the day he is born as a son, the parents and their relatives are very happy to learn that they have a son or a budhapey ka sahara (support of old age). He is given more privileges as a male member, but all this privilege is looked as an investment for better old age returns.
Parents will spend more money on the son’s education and nutrition until finally he is able to start earning and he will be always reminded of his “duty” as a son to take care of them in old age.
The parents will then look for a bride for him with hefty dowry (as hypergamy is not an option) but will ensure that the son and his wife do not form any kind of bond as their bond will only lead to their independent thoughts, which the boy’s parents fear the most.
His conditioning of parental worship is so strong that he is unable to see the flaws of his parents, even if they are harassing him and his wife. His wife is also treated like an “outsider” by his mother as she doesn’t want to lose “control” over her son to his wife. So, he is made to work like dogs to support a family consisting of his mother, father, wife, and later children without enjoying any form of autonomy.
He too, starts forming resentment against his family and his life in general. In such cases, we usually find men committing assault on their spouses as his life has been completely dictated by his parents. And the cycle of abuse continues.
In India, we are too afraid to talk about parental abuse as we give them the status of “Demi Gods”. Parents are given absolute power and clean chit to control their children lives. This gives them absolute power and as we all know, “Absolute power, corrupts absolutely”.