The institution of marriage has not evolved with changing times and women are facing the brunt. This wife’s open letter tells us why our society should stop using marriage as an excuse to disrespect women and hurt their confidence and self-respect.
Before you read this open letter, here’s the much-needed disclaimer. The views mentioned in this post are based on my own experiences or of people close to me. If you have been blessed with supportive in-laws and husband, who respect you for who you are and treat as an equal partner, then you may not relate to what you are about to read in this letter. And, I am extremely happy for you.
But please remember that everyone isn’t as fortunate as you are.
This letter may not capture your reality. But, it does reflect the reality of thousands of women, who battle every day to seek respect and dignity from her in-laws and husbands. This letter captures the struggle of many strong and independent women, who were told to suffer in silence and compromise about their dignity after marriage.
It is heart-breaking how you struggle to accept a strong and independent woman. But, what is even more disappointing is how you treat a married woman. Just because she is married, it is disappointing how her in-laws and husband believe that they have a birthright to disrespect her, and she would accept it silently.
Because “Bado ki Izzat Karna or Pati ko Respect dena” is the ‘Dharma’ or an ultimate duty that our society expects from every married woman.
But where is the respect for women? I have hardly heard any in-laws being told that “Bahu ki Izzat Karna” is their dharma or husband being criticized by our patriarchal society for disrespecting his wife.
It is heart-breaking that irrespective of how successful a woman is, she is told that she isn’t an equal partner in her marriage. She is expected to accept her in-law’s taunt or her husband’s ill-treatment just because they believe marriage is a license to hurt women’s self-respect.
Raised to be strong and independent women, as many married young brides, I struggled to seek respect after marriage.
It was heart-breaking how our society at every step kept telling me to either be patient or adapt to the realities of Indian marriages where men and women can never be equal. When I got married, I signed up for love. I got married to be accepted to be a part of the family; to be treated as equal; to be accepted for who I am. I got married to be an equal partner; to be respected. But rather I woke up to a place, where I was always treated lesser than everyone in the house.
Rather than being celebrated for my achievements, I was constantly reminded how I wasn’t good enough.
During every incident, I was made to believe that I was neither a good wife nor a good daughter-in-law. It was horrible to be constantly taunted or remarked on. In fact, everyone in my house acted as though they knew everything better than me. With the dire need to control me, they left no chance but to make me feel inferior.
And, as I was at the verge of losing my self-confidence, I reminded myself that I wasn’t born to be a victim.
I can’t let people control my behavior or tell me how to live my own life. I have to be the leading lady of my own life story. I can’t let people make me feel bad about my choices or about myself. Marriage is not a license to humiliate me, to deny me respect, to treat me like a slave. Marriage is for respect and I deserve it.
It is a matter of shame how women’s determination and commitment to make their marriage work, is often seen as a sign of their weakness. It is expected that they will suffer in silence or adjust to the ill-treatment just because they want to stay married. From criticizing their life choices to shaming their appearances to disrespecting them and their parents, it is heart-breaking how they are treated post marriage.
And the ones who refuse to suffer in silence and chose to stand for themselves & their dignity are called Badtameez or Shameless or BITCH.
In the 21st century, if we don’t change the institution of marriage and make it equal for men and women, then we should be ready for the consequences. With parents raising more strong and independent daughters, there are women who demand respect and equality. If we don’t make our marriages equal or keep using marriage as an excuse to devoid women of equality or respect, then the institution of marriage is doomed to fail sooner than later.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of I for Her. Authors are responsible for any omissions or errors. And, IforHer does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.