Since last week, I have been hearing about some similar kinds of incidents around me. I have been overwhelmed by them. These issues have been prevalent for ages now and the severity of those had deeply touched my thoughts. Another reason for such thoughts is my inability. In the beginning of my career, while doing reports on various issues of women, I used to feel that as our law and order is updated enough; as voices are being raised to create awareness about the violence against women; a bright sunny day is not so far. But now?
As days are passing by, violence against women are increasing with new technics and ways. This is not confined within the uneducated population anymore. Violence against women has spread everywhere regardless of uneducated or educated population. Whether in the upper class or the lower class crowd of the society, the scenario is identical. It shook me when I heard about the reason behind JahanJoly’s suicide. She was the Professor of Rajshahi University. Regarding this context, when writer and blogger Bonna Ahmed wrote about her ex-husband and mentioned that she was also tortured by him, it hit me hard.
It was just another Saturday; I got a phone call from my friend, Nahid Sultana, while I was relaxing after lunch. After receiving her call, I could only hear her scream and cry in agony. I was blank for a while but put myself together quickly and asked her,
-Hey, what happened?
– My Sumi is no more Supriti, she is no more, and her husband had killed her.
At that moment, I couldn’t figure out who Sumi was. Nahid told me that it was the girl who used to work at Nahid’s place. She had a daughter named Pori. Listening to this, Sumi’s bright, beautiful and smiling face flashed before my eyes.
She died while delivering her child. In hopes of a son, she used to be pregnant frequently. Her husband was a truck driver who used to regularly beat her. Nahid tried to reason her to come back home but she refused to. A woman needs her husband’s identity to survive in the society and who was better to understand this except Sumi. Besides that, Sumi also had physical needs to meet. It was not easy for her to go to brothels like her husband did. That is why, she needed a signboard of approval to meet her needs which was her husband and that signboard became the dark chapter of her life.
The women of the slum, who washed her dead body, said that her body had bruise marks everywhere. She died after delivering a stillborn male child. Nahid has her fair share of grievances. One of the most important among those are the facts that despite being conscious and raising consciousness among people about domestic violence against women; speaking about women’s rights and needs;we still cannot save the women of our houses. Then what is the purpose of all the movements? What are we doing? These have become the unanswered questions in today’s time!
Like Sumi, there are thousands and thousands, lakhs and lakhs of women in Bangladesh who lose their lives either due to giving birthrepeatedly or due to husband’s torture. And, some chosesuicide as their last resorts. This is how a woman’s life is!
Just after Sumi’s incident, the story of my colleague; journalist IbtisamNasimMou; came to light. After fourteen years of their married life, her husband was in jail. Her brother and sister in law were also in jail but they got out from there and very soon her husband will also. Preparation is being taken for his bail. Mou visited Ekattor’s journal today. The things that I learnt from her were the same old stories that I have learnt when I was her colleague. If a husband does not protest or raise voice against the domestic violence that his wife goes through on a daily basis by his family members then it means that the husband is supporting their actions. For days after days, Mou has suffered their tortures in silence. After giving birth to a son, she divorced her husband. But after two years, the families united them again. Then she had two more children making her a mother of three children. In between these, she has been going through tortures from her husband. Not only Mou but also her son and her mother had to be a victim of his husband’s torture. Her in-laws played a great role in adding fuel to this violence. But when her husband hit her mother; that was it! Mou was bound to file a complaint.
When a beautiful, vibrant, highly qualified and educated woman like Mou has to file complaint against her husband’s brutal torture upon her, then it bears testimony about the misery of women in the society. I am hopeful that all her friends will be by her side in fighting this battle but will she be able to handle the same situation at her house with three of her children? Will her family support her and come forward to fight alongside her to get rid of this condition? The reality is, she will have to fight alone. I am only scared of the path she needs to take which is filled with darkness, hurdles and sufferings; where there is not a single drop of empathy. Can Mou do it? What about her three children? Will the country’s law and order help her to end the battle that she will be going through with herself? All these questions are clouding my mind.
Another girl! I do not know her. But she is a regular reader of WomenChapter. She knows me from there. One day she knocked me on Facebook saying she wanted to talk to me. After exchanging phone numbers, she called me and told her story. I only listened but had no strength to reply back.The only similarity she has with Mou is that she is also the mother of three children. Her husband cannot let her go; also he cannot raise his voice against his mother who constantly mentally abuses his wife. She left her husband a couple of times. Every time, he used to bring her back. But a first class honors graduate like her should not go through such a life where her day starts and ends with her mother-in-law yelling curses like- slut, whore and bitch. But in reality, she has to go through this mental abuse which affects her personality making her rebellious. But she is helpless as her three children are dependent on her which is crashing her self -confidence day by day. But we are trying to remind her about her strengths and trying to make her believe that she is capable of fighting any circumstances.
I don’t know, I really don’t know! Every day, there are many women who knock me on Facebook, call me on phone; sometimes with a frightened tone after being tortured in the middle of the night; sometimes with agonizing pain because of being the victim of marital rape. Their blubbering makes me relive those horrible situations they go through. I get lost in those and I get flashbacks of my own.
These remind me of another girl. She used to curl up into a ball with fear thinking her husband would come home anytime and force her with his animalistic sexual violence. The husband was so pervert that he could not leave the girl alone. He used to keep an eye on her every activity secretly to make sure that she was not indulged in any unfaithful deed. But all these incidents are in the past now. Are they really?
What will be the solutions of domestic violence against women, tragic deaths like Sumi’s and cry for help on Facebook messages?
Being a part of the campaign entitling- “Say NO to domestic violence”; Women Chapter has decided to write about the frightening stories regarding it. As an editor, I inaugurated the platform by writing the very first article. I am hoping to receive many more writings from our readers with their own stories or stories that they have heard of others.
The article was originally written by Ms Dhar, founder and editor of Women Chapter, Advising Editor of the English site and published on 5 May, 2017.
The translation has been done by Tahiya Islam, who is volunteering with Women Chapter. She completed her graduation from the Department of Pharmacy of East West University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is currently living in Selangor, Malaysia.
Link to original article: