Wishes and Hopes

It happened a few months ago. My regular maid, K was going to her village for a month, so she introduced me to a friend of hers who was willing to work in her absence. The new maid, B, is a quiet one, some 35 year old woman. She rarely speaks and never smiles.

One day, she called me from her husband’s cell-phone informing about her leave that day. I said OK and saved the phone number. A few days later, she didn’t turn up and it was well past her regular time of arrival at my home. So, I called her husband’s number, to check if she was coming at all for work. He informed me that she had left for work. I said, cool and coolly waited for her. She came an hour later. I informed her that I had called her husband. She didn’t say a word.

Next day, she came to work and looked terrible. She had some marks on her face (and later she showed me some more blue-black marks) and it appeared that she had cried for a long time. With concern, I asked about her injuries. She gave me a cold shoulder and quietly went about doing her work in the home. I proddedย her and she accusingly told me that because of me, her husband bashed her up. I was stunned and baffled at the same time. She explained that my call to her husband, the day before, made him ‘believe’ that she had gone somewhere else with somebody!

I was taken aback. I apologised to her and told her that I can speak to her husband and explain. She requested me to never call her husband, ever, to ask about her and speaking to him about it further would deteriorate the situation. She told me that he just needs excuses to suspect and beat her.

The incident disturbed me to no end. I felt guilty for being the trigger for her husband to unleash his wrath on her, that day.

And then a few days ago, K pointed towards a guard in our apartment complex. A short, timid looking fellow, yes, a contrast to his job profile. She informed that he is B’s husband.

Looking at him, I wondered about this breed of wife bashers.

I wondered, if subjecting their wives to this physical abuse (and emotional too) is the only way such men know to express their anger, resentment, insecurities? I wondered at the resentment and anger, the battered wives must be feeling. Because, though the physical scars heal, the emotional scars take long and sometimes a lifetime to heal.

I wondered if their children emulate such behaviour later on in their lives too.

I believe, if a man has hit his woman once, he would hit her again too. I thought, what if the woman tried to put an end to such an abuse the first time. Would that have deterred the man from trying it again?

I was tempted to speak to B’s husband and give him a piece of my mind, but then refrained, thinking about the consequences it would have on B, at the end of the day.

Today, K informed me that last night when B’s husband tried to hit her (yet again), their 14 year old son stopped and challenged his father. And that kind of shocked him.

And I am so happy since morning. I am glad that a step that B should have taken a long ago, was taken by her son, for her, yesterday. I am glad that the son wouldn’t follow his father in this regard. I hope it paves the way for peace and happiness for B… and wish that life smiles on her, once again.

Linking it to Write Tribeโ€™s Wednesday Prompt : Free Write

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38 thoughts on “Wishes and Hopes

  1. This is heart-breaking, Shilpa.
    You know in a case like this, Genevive (Angela) approached the husband’s employer who withheld his salary and paid it to his wife. That changed the equation very fast. Since the guard works in your apartment complex something can be done on similar lines.
    However, I’m glad her son stood up for her.

    • It is such a terrible thing to happen. Now that’s a fab idea. Must speak to the Supervisor in case such a thing happens again! Thanks for sharing this, Corinne!

  2. Shilpa, it was good that the son is not following in his father’s footsteps but somewhere the women also need to take a stand. I can’t imagine anyone being beaten by the person who is their partner and companion for life.

    • Thank God that the son stood up for his mother! I know, it is such a sad thing to happen to anyone, but then it is a reality for so many women!

  3. People need to fight back at some time or another. There is a limit to tolerance. But if she was brought up suppressively and taught to tolerate anything and everything, then the fault lies with her parents.

    Destination Infinity

    • I am sure most of it learnt from observing… the way the men and women behave in their families as the education and awareness is still so low in this section of society!

  4. That is just not right. I am glad her son stood up for her, but what if the husband had beat the son too? That would be even worse. It is awful to live in such a relationship. Just plain scary.

  5. Shilpa I have heard a lot about it. Leave these women even educated ladies belonging to well off families can hardly stop their husbands against such behaviors! I don’t know why do some men suspect women’s chastity while they are busy living their lives, dedicatedly taking care of whole family and contributing in family’s income keeping minimum to.themselves! I am glad her son stood up for her. While reading all of it I was feeling weak but the end of it made me feel strong!

    • Oh yes, Domestic Violence is not a problem of select few. It is rampant in all strata of our society. Why, we hear so many cases of DV among celebrities too! I guess, the suspecting husbands are actually insecure and weak and bashing up their women is the only way to show their power!

  6. Corinne’s suggestion is a good one about hitting him where it may hurt – stopping the salary. It is good that her son finally spoke up in defense of his mother.
    It is really terrible that with the chaotic and misguided urbanization so many of such anti-women crimes are on rise. Thanks for writing about this very important issue, Shilpa.

  7. So sad to read this. I hope you can help her. I’ve noticed that in a similar situation, the woman refused to be helped and insisted it was her duty to put with with whatever crap she had to take from her husband who was an idle fellow, who seemed to exist to fritter away her earnings on drink and heaven knows what else. Sigh.

  8. Good that her son stood up for her, he must have wanted to for a really long time, but only now must have felt physcally capable of tackling his father if need be. Such horrors these people are, but I partly blame it on the wives’ mentality of “it’s their right as husbands” What is even more horrifying, is that even some educated women display this acceptance of domestic violence ๐Ÿ™

  9. It is heartening to see the boy stand up for his mother, hope the father does not take his anger out on the kid. Unfortunately domestic abuse transcends boundaries of class and education and even nationality.

  10. Shilpa, this is a heart rending episode. Domestic violence is wide spread, including well to do families. It is unfortunate, but true. It is good that the son intervened and stood for his mother.

  11. It is indeed very sad for the maid, but atleast next time her son stood for her. I don’t think he would misbehave with her again, and interfering with his salary might worsen the situation. It is better to wait before taking such actions against him.

  12. The sad part is that this kind of meek submissiveness is not restricted to just the economically challenged layer of society…I know friends of mine who have been conditioned and are not adjusted to “the odd hit” for what they percieve as their faults. I’ve tried explaining the difference between a verbal argument and a physical assault but I know my words have fallen on deaf ears.

  13. Suspecting the spouse of infidelity for imagined or trivial reasons is done by some husbands and by some wives as well, across the economic spectrum.

    Many women put up with domestic violence because they don’t get real support even from their own families. In B’s case, you could try to restrain the man since he’s employed in your building, but security guys can easily change jobs. If he does that, he’ll be even more vicious.

    The son standing up is good! I think it’s the result of TV programmes like Satyameva Jayate, etc.. which spread the message that wife-beating is a social ill, and that it’s not a sign of macho, but a sign of cowardice.

  14. Though hard to accept, this is the bitter harsh reality of Lower and Lower middle class society of India. Men take it as their birthright to shower the wife with pain either emotional or physical or worse, both.

  15. My earlier maid used to cry..her husband never worked and made it difficult for her and her two children…I didn’t know what to do you know…I tried to take care of her with money and clothes but that’s not what would solve her problems…She was so good and I wish I could have done something more but then what could I also?

  16. Thought provoking post shilpa ! I feel so good to read your posts and it brought in some memories of my previous place where I worked. I remember a lady who came to me with a swollen face, and did not want to share her problem, after showing some personal interest, I found that she was hit by her husband, an auto driver who suspected her all the time.

    She did not want to leave him, as she had 2 children and he was very violent, he had hit her previously too on the road side, at the place of work. Interacting with her constantly and listening to everyday stories of violence.

    I told her she does not have to go through this, and she can make a choice to free herself, from this situation by moving out of her marriage, as it is causing so much of stress. I was glad that she made a decision to move out, and continue to work as a domestic maid, she made a choice with lot of fear, anxiety and worry and couple of times, I even dropped her near the bus stop, as she feared he might attack her.

    I salute this lady for once she came out, she never turned back, just a few weeks ago she called me to tell me, that both of her children have passed the exam and one child will go to college, she was crying with gratitude.. I listened to her and appreciated her for her courage .. in her conversation I came to know that her husband re married and she has not seen him at all after she left the house…

    Thank you shilpa.. for a meaningful post !

  17. Poor woman. I’m sure she feels like she can’t leave–but getting away from him would be the best thing she could do for herself and her son. These men isolate their wives so they don’t feel there’s anywhere they can go. You could try talking to his employer about it–but whatever you do would likely only backfire. He’d take it out on his wife.

  18. This is so sad. I have the same questions, does it make a difference if the woman resists or puts a stop to this from day one? Did it matter more that the son objected? Whatever, I am happy that his abusive behavior stopped.

  19. This is such a typical scenario in most lower and middle class households in India.This post reminds me of a Facebook status posted by a friend who criticized on the recently released movie ‘Two States’ based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel…reason being, the hero of the film hits his dad in response to him beating the hero’s mother.My friend condemned this act of a son hitting his dad which goes against our culture and that minor scuffles happen between spouses, so it was okay for the husband to hit his wife but the son hitting his dad was unacceptable.What hypocrisy?! Obviously the status received a lot of flak from me and other like minded people.So much to speak about the average Indian male’s mentality!

  20. It’s easy to sit back and say, “I would never let myself be treated like that.” I would like to think that while someone may ‘get away with it once’ towards me, it would not happen a second time. But I’ve never really been in that situation. Thought-provoking post, Shilpa.

  21. Your post brings such hope. Cheers to the boy who stood up for his mother. It’s truly sad how the women don’t stand up for themselves. I wish she was the one who had stopped her husband instead of waiting for years for her son to do so. I cannot even imagine how much anger would have been pent up in that young boy before he took the step. What if he had vented elsewhere? What if anger becomes a habit with him? What if he thinks hitting back is the only way to stop injustice? That would be truly sad.

  22. Isn’t this just one of the many that happen?
    I do not understand what they mean by woman empowerment. Having a few fat cows in the parliament? Having haute couture damsels on prime TV discussing about abuse of women?

  23. This is a regular scene in the slums and the hard-working women who are an anchor to the family resign themselves to their fate and carry on their duties. But it’s very sad. The husbands o the maids are alcoholic who ‘snatch’ their hard-earned money , and hit them to give vent to their own failures.I am happy that the maid’s son had the guts to stand for his mom. But the ladies should take the cudgels on their own.

  24. Such a sad story…happens in many of the maids’ places. You should also start brain washing B if possible to stand up for herself. Initially, it will be very hard to deal with but once she stands up for herself, then slowly if not completely she can take life in her control in small pieces. Wishing and praying her she gets the strength to deal with it all. Glad her son stood up to her.

  25. sad but an ugly truth of the society we live in. ๐Ÿ™ Sometimes I feel sad that though I am living a life of my own choices and happiness without any biasness, some women are yet to get even the basic respect they deserve. Ours is indeed a very imbalanced society :/

  26. It is sad to hear such stories. Women are always taught to tolerate any kind of abuse from their husbands. It is high time women fought back ๐Ÿ™ I hope she gets the courage to stop him from abusing her.

  27. It’s so heart breaking Shilpa and NO, it’s not your fault at all. These bastards just whine their time playing cards on the streets and desi daaru stealing the hard earned money of their wives. Its shameful how we treat our women and sad that she didn’t say anything not stopped him. Glad the son put an end to their shameful acts.

  28. A thought provoking post with a powerful social message. It is most unfortunate that this kind of behaviour is known to happen even in the educated folk though maybe to a much lesser extent. Wonder what can be the way forward. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

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