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‘My husband beats me, he has the right’

india Updated: Aug 22, 2008 01:20 IST
Anupam Srivastava
Anupam Srivastava
Hindustan Times
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Lakshmi Valmiki, a domestic help in Lucknow, says her husband Shankar beats her up almost everyday. She is used to it and does not mind. Instaed, she says: “He has a right to do anything with me, my parents are no more in this world. How can I leave my husband, where will I go if he kicks me out?”

Shocking, but Lakshmi isn’t the only one. A recent report of the National Family Health Survey 2005-06, says 47 per cent women in Uttar Pradesh believe it is justifiable for their husbands to beat up them. But what comes as a surprise is that the number of men who subscribe to this view is less — 44 per cent.

Nisha, an educated housewife, says would initially protest but its better to live with a husband no matter how he is, rather than to live alone. “The fate of single women is worse in a country like India,” she says.

Renowned social worker Roop Rekha Verma says women do not know how to counter domestic violence. “They lack courage to withstand social stigma, instead pocket their anger and remain silent.”

Lucknow University professor Nishi Pandey warned against the patriarchal mindset. “This is going to be detrimental for the next generation.”

Head of the psychology department at the National Post Graduate College, P.K. Khatri says: “Justification of violence by women reflects the age old mindset of the women in our society.”

Professor Pallavi Bhatnagar, department of Psychology at Lucknow University feels gender stereotype messages are recorded since childhood, there is a feeling of rejection in the girl child from the beginning, which makes her feel helpless and her ability to fight against the spousal violence reduces.

Psychiatrist Dr Prabhat Shithole said: “It’s a sort of disorder when an individual loses her self-esteem to the extent that she starts justifying her humiliation. There is no treatment except counseling and creating awareness about one’s rights.”

Amod Kumar Srivastava, a lawyer in the family court, says: “Only 5 per cent of women could gather courage to go to court seeking justice, despite laws in place and most of the laws are in favour of women. Still the social pressure stops them from approaching courts in cases of domestic violence.”