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The Foundation of A Happy Marriage
Love, respect care and affection are gestures that can make any relationship, especially a marriage, beautiful. But there are marriages where domestic violence take over the beautiful expressions of love and care.
When Abu Salem's ex-wife Samira Jumaani revealed that Salem often hit her once so violently that he cracked her skull-not many found it surprising. But the wife-beater is not always true to the stereotype of the raging gangster. Your perfectly innocuous-looking colleague may be just as guilty as Abu Salem in this matter.

Take the case of lawyer Dushyant Batra (name changed). A mild-mannered person, Dushyant was known to be a perfectionist, which was all very well, until the day his wife, Shivangi, also a lawyer, broke a vase. What started with something trivial spiralled into verbal lashing-"All you do is break things," -and insult

"What you broke is not something you got from your father's house". His anger still not spent, Dushyant slapped Shivangi across the face.

The next morning, Dushyant apologized profusely and Shivangi let it go, hoping that this was the first and probably the last time. She was wrong. Now Dushyant hits her again and again, for anything and everything.

While some say that domestic abuse is on the rise, especially among the educated middle class, sociologist Nandini Sardesai believes it was always there. "But now, with the media's role, there is more awareness about it," she says. "With encouragement from support groups, abused women today are just more vocal."

Why do men become violent?
When tension builds up, men find it difficult to stay calm. The agitation often finds expression in violence, and the wife is the easiest target. For Dushyant, it is the sight of his wife-causing disturbance in his perfect world that triggers his fury.

According to Varkha Chulani, clinical psychologist, Leelavati Hospital, "There are several reasons for men to indulge in physical violence, a significant reason being a poor opinion of one's own self." She explains, "Those who suffer from an inferiority complex often end up venting their frustrations by hitting or physically abusing others. They try to overpower a weaker person to improve their own self-worth."

Why do women suffer?
Sardesai replies, "Earlier, even when they were abused, women didn't speak up against their family due to social pressures. They were made believe that the husband has control on their body and could violate it whenever he wanted."

The biggest reason why women suffer is because they prefer staying in a relationship that is familiar to them and thus more comforting, if not comfortable. "Women often take bashing from partners because of the insecurity of going out in a world where comfort does not come at an easy price," says psychologist Brinda Jaisingh. "It becomes even more difficult when there are children in the picture. For their security, she often ends up taking a lot of abuse."

The other big reason says Chulani, is the probable lack of support from friends and family. "Before talking about physical abuse at home, women still have the fear that people would not believe then and would not stand by them," she says.

How much is too much?
The beginning of most domestic violence is verbal abuse. When the husband starts losing his temper frequently and abuses the wife verbally, it is sign of danger. If unchecked, it could lead to violence. Chulani says, "It's not as though a woman should pack up and leave the first time her partner hits her. The man may need therapy-books, family, self-evaluation or even counseling. The spouse should not try to just wish the problem away. She should help her partner rethink." But, Chulani warns, "The spouse should forgive, but not forget."
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Posted on : 2/12/2005
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