Indian author Savi Sharma is right in saying, “Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is a writer, some are written in the books and some are confined to hearts.”
These stories vary in nature as widely as the human DNA itself, thanks to the countless sets of circumstances, causes and consequences. But several groups can be formed of these stories based on who has authored them. One such group is of the tales narrated by women which, to boot, also have myriads of forms and dimensions and yet seem to be originating from a common source — lack of coordination and understanding between the two sexes.
This year’s month of March has transcribed the occurrence of three events that share the same limelight of importance.
A woman with a shaven head named Asma Aziz posted a video on social media a few days ago seeking help from public after the police reportedly denied her any. She claimed that her husband stripped her naked in front of his friends, shaved her hair off with their help and burned it — just because she had refused to dance in front of them. Her medical examination report revealed multiple bruises on her body. It is worth noting that Asma’s marriage with her husband-turned-perpetrator Mian Faisal was a result of love courtship.
Our society withholds any sort of help in such cases where a love marriage fails. The blame is put on the shoulders of the victim as this form of courtship is deemed highly inappropriate and dishonourable. Same is being observed in this particular case as well where Asma is being shamed and held liable for her ordeal.
But there is always a flipside to everything.
Hajra Bibi filed a complaint with Lahore police a few days back alleging that her husband and his brother tied her hands and lashed her with rubber belts and rods, causing multiple wounds on her back along with damaging her nose tissues and causing massive bleeding. She alleged that her in-laws’ greed surpassed humanity. She told how her parents had given them a heavy dowry at the time of her marriage some 10 years back. Be that as it may, they did not cease putting forth their demands and asked for more money from her parents.
This is a typical case of arranged marriage going wrong. Bride’s parents keep financing the groom’s side first in the form of dowry and later to satisfy their increasing demands in order to see their daughter ‘happy’. Yet she gets domestic abuse as her reward.
While both the accounts show that domestic abuse has nothing to do with whether the marriage is love or arranged, such stories represent only one dimension of the problem that is actually much bigger and more problematic than it seems.
The third afore-indicated event is the Aurat March that avowed to highlight the key issues being faced by women in our country.
The ultimate solution seems to be only one and that is based on a simple fact that one has the power to shape up either one’s own personality or that of one’s child. Bringing up boys under the shadows of male privilege is what women need to focus on as it is we, the women, who tend to make the men the way they are. A child’s brain is as pure and pristine as an unused paper; one can write on it whatever one wills. And this is exactly where we are repeatedly making mistakes. Today’s problematic men have been kept deprived of basic grooming and training by their mothers, a mistake that today’s and future mothers need to avoid if we wish to witness an actual change.
There won’t be a problem in re-heating food for your husband once he starts acknowledging it by aa simple ‘Thank you!”. And this is the gist — no one can teach men about women better than women themselves. What we see in today’s men is a reflection of their upbringing. Thus it is not the mirror but the reflection that has to be changed in order to transform the reality. And that transformed reality would be the ‘real’ women empowerment.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2019.