“Rohini, now you are about to get married. So, please stop talking back to elders! And, please keep your tongue and anger in control. We are your parents so it’s fine when you say things or do things to make your point. But, please don’t do it after marriage! Neither your husband, nor your in-laws will tolerate it.
The times when you feel your in-laws and husband are not treating you well or say things that hurt you, don’t react. Even if their words sound like an insult or blame, remember they are not bad people. Please show patience and kindness to them and forget it. You will win them over with love. After all, a good daughter-in-law and a good wife is all about being patient and strong!”
While my mother was assuming that she was giving me the best marriage advice, hardly she knew how patriarchal society fooled her in assuming the strength lies in suffering; that strength lies in being silent!
But, this isn’t just about my mother. There are so many young, strong and independent women who are being told to be strong and suffer the abuse the silence. There are so many young brides who are told to bear the brunt of in-laws and husband ill-treatment in name of being a good wife and a sanskaari daughter-in-law. (Also Read: Dear Society, Why I Will Not Teach My Daughter To Be A ‘Good Daughter In Law’)
No wonder, so many young brides even after being strong and independent, tend to suffer the abuse in silence. All because they are fooled into believing that strength is about suffering in silence. They are fooled into believing that if they keep suffering the abuse, then one fine day, their in-laws and husband would accept them and start loving them. This lie has pushed so many young brides into depression; This lie has taken away the lives of so many young brides; This lie has given more power to abusive in-laws and husbands to hurt our daughters endlessly; This lie has fooled us to be kind to our abusers!
Dear Parents, Please stop telling your daughter to suffer the abuse in the marriage – because that’s not what strong women do! Stop telling us to be quiet when our in-laws abuse us! Stop telling us to keep respecting our husband even if he doesn’t respect us! Stop telling us to be kind to our abusive in-laws and husband! Because the truth is that our kindness is not going to win them over. Rather it gives them the courage to abuse us more! It gives them the courage to treat us like doormats! It gives them the courage to make us suffer endlessly in name of tradition!
Dear Parents, if you tell your daughters to suffer in silence then why are you shocked when you see the news of the death of an educated daughter who was harassed! Why do you post on Facebook that a divorced daughter is better than a dead daughter? Why do you wonder why this young bride never raised her voice even after being educated and independent? (Also Read: Dear Society, Divorced Daughter Is Better Than Dead Daughter; Stop Shaming Strong Women!)
The answer lies in the advice that you give to your daughters as they step into marriage!
Dear Parents, stop telling your daughters to suffer in silence! Encourage them to raise their voices against the abuse! Tell them to come back home if they are not treated well! Because remember divorced daughter is better than dead daughter! (Also Read: ‘Don’t Stay If You’re Not Treated Well’: My Father’s Best Advice Just Before My Marriage)
P.S. I dedicate this post to young brides like Vismaya who succumbed to death because of our patriarchal society every second. Vismaya, a 22-year-old medical student was found dead at her in-laws’ house in Kollam, few days after she alleged dowry harassment by her abusive husband. Her death reignited the discussion on how we need to raise our daughters to take a stand against abusive husbands and in-laws. We need to tell them it is okay to step out of abusive marriage, rather than suffer in silence because of log kya kahengey! While I wish Vismaya’s soul rests in peace, I hope as a society we will learn from this incident and stop sacrificing our daughters in the name of marriages!