Tania has been married for four years. In the beginning, things started out like any other relationship but soon everything started to change gradually.
It became more explicit when her husband started complaining about many of her personal issues -- she was not attractive, her hobbies are silly, etc.
He started abusing her with passive aggressive or mean-spirited words.
He criticised and blamed her for everything that went wrong in the relationship. His anger, over-reactions, and mood swings over trivial things continued. The emotional abuse by her husband became constant and extensive.
There was seldom an apology from his side but with no change in his abusive behaviour. Tania started doing everything to impress her husband. She tried to change who she was. Nevertheless, she was verbally and psychologically battered and abused and has been threatened with physical violence.
Her husband was a man of an incredibly short temper. He became jealous when she phoned or visited her friends and family. He accused her of adultery and started spying on her. He always belittled her and her capabilities, and compared her to other women.
Tania constantly felt suffocated, manipulated, and intimidated by his anger and verbal abuse. She was hesitant to share her woes with anyone as they might not believe her.
She could not even imagine lodging a complaint, as she felt that it may bring disrespect and shame to her family.
The abuse goes on
From childhood, she was taught that once a girl is married, that marriage is for life. Therefore, day after day, she stayed in an abusive marriage and endured the torture of her husband. But divorce never crossed her mind.
Violence against women is considered one of the worst forms of human rights violations around the world. The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act was enacted in Bangladesh in 2010 to prevent and provide protection for women against domestic violence.
The act defines domestic violence as any physical, psychological, sexual, or economic abuse of a woman by any member of the family. Like physical abuse, any insult, ridicule, humiliation, or threat of any nature that may cause mental harassment and controlling behaviour such as restrictions on mobility and communication will also constitute domestic violence.
Most men do not even realise that marriage is a mutual affair and a two way-street. A woman’s desire and preferences are equally important for the welfare of a family
There are several laws to protect women.
But most acts of violence take place behind closed doors and don’t get reported.
There is a special law, namely Women & Children Repression Prevention Act 2000 (Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain) to protect women and children from violence. This act is considered as one of the most potentially effective laws for addressing violence against women.
It contains several provisions for prevention of offenses related to oppression of women and children.
Under this act, special tribunals have been established in 33 districts of the country, and a special judge has been posted at each tribunal for trying cases relating to violence against women and children. The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act has also been designed only to protect the rights of women and children.
Tania was constantly living in an extremely painful and stressful situation. She tried to please her husband because she loved him, but everything she did seemed to be wrong.
She was hesitant to tell anyone about her unhealthy relationship as she was ashamed, even though it wasn’t her fault. She tried to change her views to suit him.
She became too dependent on her husband’s approval, and had forgotten to live.
But she realised that no amount of love, care, or support would be able to fix this behaviour unless he has the desire to change his character.
Men in our society marry with the assumption that the wife will make all the adjustments, sacrifices, and will generously offer love and affection without any expectations.
But most men do not even realise that marriage is a mutual affair and a two way-street. A woman’s desire and preferences are equally important for the welfare of a family.
A woman should be respected, because she is also a human being.
Miti Sanjana is a Barrister-at-law from Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and an Advocate of Supreme Court of Bangladesh.