As a society, we are too judgemental when it comes to women. Everyone believes it is their birth-right to give an unsolicited opinion on a woman’s every small and big life decision –
“Oh, she isn’t married yet. I think she needs to hurry otherwise she will be alone all her life.”
“Look at her, what kind of clothes she wears and then she will complain about harassment.”
If you are a woman, at some point in time, you must have been the victim of these judgments too!
We are unfair to our women but when it comes to single moms, we are ruthless.
Our society expects its women to suffer in an abusive relationship rather than show the courage to move out and give her kids and herself a better chance at life.
But, Stuti Chandhok refused to hear any of those the degrading voices. Rather with her courage and determination, she shut them down.
47-year-old Stuti Chandhok walked out of an abusive marriage eighteen years ago.
She left her ex-husband when her daughter was nearly three. And, now Stuti Chandhok has created a beautiful life not only for her but also for her daughter. Passionate about Hindustani music, Stuti transformed herself into India’s one of the first music therapists.
While revisiting her divorce, she shared her inspiring story with The Better India,
“I was 29 when I decided to walk out of my abusive marriage. The beautiful part of it is my daughter. Life is like a little puzzle, and I believe that there are a reason and a place in it for every little piece.”
“It was difficult but something I had to do. I didn’t think about what others would say, and everyone around me constantly asked me to reconsider, more so because I had a child.”
Many women in India, who are alone and lack the support system, find it too difficult to move out of unhappy marriage. Hence they stay in a relationship that neither gives them love & happiness nor the respect that they deserve.
Fortunately, the support of an extremely caring family gave Stuti the courage to take this bold step.
She further shares:
“Financial dependence and not knowing whether there would be a roof above your head are considerations that so many women have to deal with.”
When you have a child, taking the decision to move out of marriage becomes even more difficult. Sometimes, the child begins to blame herself/himself for the separation.
Sharing the insights on how to handle child through such a tough situation, she shares:
“Very often, the child begins to think that the separation is because of him/her, so it becomes that much more important to keep sharing things and ensure that they are do not grow up with such notions. Depending on how ready they are, keep them in the loop. Be cautious and aware of the child’s needs.”
Most of the unsolicited advice that people will give you when you are separated or divorced, would be absurd or junk.
While recalling her absurd pieces of advice, she shared:
“Many people told me that I must reconsider what I was doing. I was told that I should leave my daughter behind and move on because no man would ever accept me again.”
Contrary to how people perceived Stuti’s daughter as a liability, she is actually Stuti’s biggest source of strength.
“I also derived strength from my daughter because I knew I had to keep going for her. And since it’s brought me so far, I have no complaints.”
And, finally what Stuti has achieved in her life has made her proud and brought peace.
“I knew that I had to make a life for myself. I ensured I was never in a crisis. I could sing, so I went out and made it a source of livelihood for myself. I am at peace now, and very proud of what I have achieved on my own.”
A clinical music therapist, Stuti Chandok separated from her husband when her daughter was just three years old. She has been raising her ever since apart from running her music school in Delhi NCR, named Madhur Mann. And needless to say, she does both jobs efficiently.
No one has given our society the right to criticize, judge, or discriminate the ones who refuse to suffer in a bad marriage. It takes a lot of courage and strength to walk out of such a relationship.
At I For Her, we celebrate the courage of women like Stuti Chandhok who are ready to break social norms to live life on their own terms!