The Vicious Cycle of Wife Beating
“Boom, bang, smack,” what’s that noise? It’s the sound of a man beating his wife in India. The walls are stained with bright red blood, the floors are covered in salty, amorphous tears, and the air is intoxicated with the stink of sweat. Disgusted? You should be. One of the most prevalent viruses ingrained in parts of Indian society is the assumption that men have the right to beat their wives. Everyday, abusive husbands get away with thrashing their helpless wives into submission. A 2012 UNICEF study showed that 57% of boys believe that beating their wives and other girls is not only ok, but normal. This troubling study shows that men believe that abusing their wives is acceptable even before adolescence.
A father in India tells his son, “All men beat their wives, one day you will do the same, it’s what men do to be manly”. You may think that this is satire because of its absurdity, after all, how could a father tell his own son that beating women is what would make him a real man? However, this assumption is a serious matter as it pervades all throughout India. The major issue is that this corrupt assumption is hard rooted in Indian culture, making it a norm.
However, the most shocking statistic is that 53% of girls in India believe wife beating is acceptable. This just goes to show that the abuse is so culturally linked, that over half of the adolescent girls believe that it is okay for them to be beaten in the future.
The most major cause of wife beating has to be the community support it receives. The reason many Indians have no aversion to wife beating is because it is socially accepted. The fact that Indian society regards the abuse as part of its culture, makes it that much easier for men to get away with it. Another cause is raging alcoholism. Often, men get too intoxicated decreasing their inhibitions and causing them to direct any anger towards their helpless wives. Because wife beating is socially accepted, there is a lower threshold needed for men to engage in the abuse.
The consequences of wife beating are gruesome on both a physical and psychological level. First, the beating can escalate and the women are beaten to death. It is a horrific truth that women suffer so much abuse and have their lives at risks in many places throughout the subcontinent. Another impact is the destruction of female self-esteem. When women are continuously beaten by their husbands, they are forced into a state of helpless submission. A teenage girl at a workshop tells her male peers, “You think it’s fun? You are killing us, our dreams and our rights”. The fact that men assert dominance over women through physical punishment strips them of their agency. Women in India will continue to remain second-class citizens to men as long as wife beating continues.
Wife beating is clearly a widespread problem in Indian culture, but the question is how do we eradicate this horrible piece of Indian society? First, there are workshops that teach boys at a young age that wife beating is terrible abuse. The next generation of children need to learn that wife beating cannot be the norm. Wives should be treated with the utmost respect. Additionally, the workshops teach girls how to be stronger and more independent. Girls should be empowered enough to stand up for themselves. They need to be reminded that they are equal to men and that they in no way deserve to be beaten. The bottom line is, we need a massive attitude change in order to eliminate the vicious cycle of wife beating as soon as possible.[Image Attribute: PDPics]