Relationships don’t turn sour overnight. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide that I couldn’t live with a monster of a husband for whom I was just a slave to take care of his physical needs and suffer beatings without a whimper. Yes, I was suffering domestic violence at home and couldn’t say a word about it.
My husband expected me to do all household chores single-handedly. We could never get any domestic help as nobody would work in our house for long because of his bad temper. My day would start at 4.30 am: Clean the house, lay everything ready for him neatly on the bed including his socks, shoes, wallet, clothes, make breakfast and lunch for the three of us (those days his younger brother lived with us) and then rush to work by 8.15. In the evening, it was the same routine. And if I frowned, I was a bad wife. Once when I asked my brother-in-law to help wash dishes after dinner, the complaint reached my mother-in-law the very next day. ‘How can you ask your brother-in-law to help you with the dishes?’ she shouted over the phone.
I Am A Victim Of Domestic Violence And Abuse By Husband
Now when I look back at my nine-year relationship with my ex-husband (seven years of marriage and two years of courtship) I realize financial independence is not the deciding factor to call it quits, it is actually courage that propels us to do so and walk away from domestic violence at home.
I worked as an HR executive in a company, am more educated than him, earned more than him, but I stayed in an abusive marriage believing one day it would all be fine. That somehow, it was just a rough phase and one day he would be the loving and respectful husband that he used to be. I thought I would just brave this terrible tide and it would soon be over. But it took me seven years to gather courage to say enough is enough, I won’t take it anymore and that this violence in the home has to stop.
This relationship was doomed even before it began, but I failed to see the signs because I was madly in love with him and believed that my love for him would transform him. Once before we got married, when I was cooking for him, we had an argument and he got so angry with me that he grabbed the pan I was cooking in and threw it at me. It just missed my foot.
My parents were never happy with this relationship due to our age difference (he is seven years older than me) and his family background, but they gave in for my sake.
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His temper is what caused violence in the home
Every story of domestic violence starts with disagreements and then goes on to talk about anger management issues. This one is similar to that. We were two different personalities, with neither of us willing to change. The main issue was his temper. He needed no provocation to start abusing and hitting me. It could start with something as trivial as too little parmesan cheese in the pasta.
He wouldn’t control his temper and I wasn’t ready to shed tears in silence. I would shout back whenever I thought he was unreasonable. I couldn’t hit him, because he was physically stronger. He hated that I didn’t want to succumb. “Shut up, don’t open your mouth in front of me,” he would shout every time there was a squabble.
But I was not brought up to be subservient to a husband under all circumstances. I was raised to be an independent woman with opinions.
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We decided to start a family
Thinking he would mend his ways, I decided to start a family, but after our daughter was born, he was back to his old ways. His nasty temper was the deal breaker. How much is too much in a marriage? How much can a woman take? While I was still wondering how much longer I could continue in such a relationship, I learnt that he was having an extramarital affair.
Fortunately, the only harassment in the divorce proceedings was to make him agree to the terms, as he didn’t mind living separately without a divorce, but I wasn’t ready for that. I wanted a legal end to my torture. I wanted to break free from any kind of misery and set an example for other women and domestic violence cases who were undergoing the same kind of pain that I was.
Initially, the counselor tried to convince us to rethink for the sake of our two-year-old daughter, but when he started shouting at the counselor, he gave up. He understood how difficult it must be for me to live with such a man and even the counselor wasn’t going to stand there and endorse domestic violence against women.
Now I live on the floor above my parents’ house, so I’m independent but have a little family support. It’s been a year since the divorce. I’m beginning to live my life the way I always wanted. Before marriage, I loved baking but couldn’t follow my passion because of marital discord.
Now, along with my full-time job, I am also taking orders for baked goods and following my passion. Life is peaceful and there is hope. I feel like a complete person now, my work life balance is better than before and I’m glad I left that life of enduring domestic violence at home. I am now setting an example for my daughter and showing her what it means to be a strong woman.
(As told to Sujata Rajpal)
By not staying quiet. If you are facing domestic violence at home, you have to address it with your partner and try to talk it out with him in order to put an end to it. If that is to no avail, you should consider counseling.
It is. Domestic violence increased in the US during the lockdown by around 8%.