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I mean it when I say No: Where is the concept of Consent after Marriage?

26 Oct 2016

Dear Maa,

I hope you are keeping in good health. It has been long since we spoke, 6 months to be exact. I wanted to tell you so many things, things that do not even matter now; things, for which it is already too late.

You remember Maa after graduation, I wanted to study a bit more; you decided it was my time to get married.

Nobody asked me whether I wanted to get married. You all chose a family which you deemed perfect, and it was done. Maa, I understand a good family is important, but you should have understood that a good husband is more important.

When I was leaving, you told me that these people whom I did not even know were my family now. Whatever they say or decide is final and I should abide by it. No one cared, or no one will care about my opinion. On our first night, my husband took liberty of his rights. I was not ready, I did not want it. But he never asked me Maa, he just did it.

Nobody ever asked me anything in the past 6 months. Whether am well or not, have I eaten or not, nobody cared. I did all the household chores from morning to night, looked after the family, and took care of husband’s nightly needs. I hated it, I felt numb, but I had to do it. When I said No, he Laughed off.. and went on Groping, Touching and Assaulting me. When I discussed this with my sister in law, she laughed and said that her brother loves me "PASSIONATELY".  But if it is love, why doesn't my pain makes him stop or my mental disinvolvement?

As of now, I feel worthless. I feel like an overused tissue smeared with dirt with no voice of its own. I have stopped living, or was I ever alive?

I cannot endure it anymore Maa, and today for the first time I chose to inform you rather than asking permission.  I want to be free of this relationship. I want my No to mean No. Think about it. Is it too much to ask for??

Sanchita.

Sanchita(name changed) may appear just a story but it has the words of many women who remain Unspoken and Unheard.

Women in India are taught to abide and adjust, and if they have any opinion, they are tagged ‘Rebel’.

In India, men marry, and women get married. Its clear that men are taking decisions, women are just expected to be on the receiving end. 

So she thinks she’s small. She thinks she was born to be quiet and blend into a wall of neutral and pass on her toes.

 

She is surprised when somebody mentions her name. She lives in the space in-between. Her life is a series of waiting. She holds the door open for one person and then continues holding it for the next until a whole stream of people has passed through. They barely look at her, let alone thank her. She waits behind the door until they have all filed through.

Our bodies are exclusively our own, space and property. When someone invades that space in spite of our refusal, it lowers us in our own eyes. We start to believe ‘that is all I’m worth. My consent or non consent does not make any difference.’ It creates a general self worthlessness, which starts getting generalized in each and every aspect of life. Gradually, it causes depression, and might also end in suicide. Here is how it goes:

Encroachment upon the body space à refusal/non consent not carrying any worth à no support from family & repetition of the act à lowering of the ‘Self’ in one’s own eyes à generalization of the low worth feeling à concept of ‘I am not good enough/I am just worth this’ à depression à might end in suicide.

‘Na’ sirf ek shabd nahi… apne aap mein pura vakya hai. Ise kisi tark, spashtikaran,explanation ya vyakhya ki jaroorat nahi hoti. – Pink, the movie.

Not asking for consent or not abiding to a ‘No’ is an ultimate rejection for an adult human bein. It is a rejection on identity, as well as the existence. You have the ability to interfere with another's self-esteem and self-worth, which changes who they are and how they perceive the world around them.

Understand your responsibility.

Do not abuse it, respect it. that’s the least we can do to make the world a better place.

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Tags: #consent #depression self esteem self worth worthlessness sadness