What has class got to do with Domestic Violence
This question was thrown at DG once again by some one rolling in their middle class privilege and DG is tired of typing same answers over and over again. She is settling this issue for once and all. Long time back @IHM posed a question “Is it possible to solve a problem without treating the cause?” Many of us made our views known. As usual DG posted mile long comments in response to some reader of her blog. DG had to and fro commenting marathon with one comment writer in particular and she asked What has class got to do with it. You can check all the comments between her and DG here. DG is easier to locate just look for bright gazania as her gravatar in front of the comment.
@Desi Girl and IHM :
“Is it not a time we start asking men to share their of childcare and house keeping. How long are we women planning to ride on the backs of less previleged women”
You have a point there regarding the maid. But, I was being sarcastic. Its highly impossible to get a free of cost and hassle free maid! Maybe robots might serve that purpose in future, with just the initial buying and maintenance cost.
So your solution is men sitting at home and taking care of the kids! For the life of me , I don’t know how a set of parents, however helping hubby would be, can raise a child and work at the same time without outside help. Creche and nursery you mean? Honestly, I don’t know a solution to this.
Read ur post on confused girls. I am sure every guy too has a different story to tell, nobody ever has a perfect childhood or teenage. The parents mentality then was, especially a father’s, that the son has to at some point earn a living for his new family. So arm him with everything they can. Daughters now are given oppurtunity to basic education, but how many will send their girls to far away places for further education or employment, even if they can afford it? The mentality has to change, like someone said, even if the girl is raped or not a virgin, she should be treated as a normal person.
In peace too
Following is the comment she made in response to this reader’s 3rd and last comment that liberally used emoticons to make light of a very serious issue. Wish they had rules on how to use smileys and lol.
I am sorry doing this on another person’s blog. I guess you need to do some homework before you make flat statements. I guess we all are guilty of that. At times we think being Indian we qualify to make statements about India that are not even factual or at other times we assume we are expected to know every thing Indian and about India just because we are Indians. So is the case of women and their problems. We are women so we ought to know every thing under the sun that ails women. But is more than what is visible to eye.
Jyothi: why the violence occurs?
DG: Because a person or a group of people assume they have a legitimate right or are entitled to and have power supported by law or culture to control the actions of another person or group. Be it upper castes perpetrating violence against Dalits on the pretext of fetching water from the community well or men beating their spouses for they did not do exactly what they wanted them to. Think would a man beat his subordinate at work because he did not meet the project deadline or follow the instruction.
A man beats his spouse because he knows he can get away with it without any penalties rather the system/culture will support him. Remember, THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR VIOLENCE.
A man/men make cat call at women or rape women because
1). they think women are like objects and they can do what ever they want,
2). know they can get away with it because culture will stigmatize the woman if she reports it and
3). the law will support him as it will ask what was woman doing at that hour of time, has she slept with other men in the past or what ever else…
Now about intimate violence against women, it is also called domestic violence because it occurs within the confines of homes, an assumed to be a safe space. Any violence is a learned behavior all genders are capable of committing it. More men abuse other men (refer general crime stats in any country) and also a greater number of women (through intimate partner violence) and some women also abuse both men (fewer in number than men abusing women) and other women (refer desi households).
Jyothi: Nothing short of a revolution will change the male mentality!
DG: Totally agree with you. Nanak, Jesus, Gandhi, Buddha all failed to generate compassion in the heart of patriarchal system for women and under privileged people only you dreaming of a revolution will definitely do it (pun intended and no apologies)
REVOLUTION BEGINS WITH ME. Start confronting your own biases. I have problems with obesity (I constantly struggle with weight but at times I still feel fat people are slaves to their emotions so they over eat or they are just lazy where as the fact his some people have genetic disposition for fat or are dealing with some health issue that makes them fat). Challenge the male preferential treatment and rituals in your family and circle of friends. If a man cracks a mother-in-law or bad woman joke snub him at the same time. Initiate a discussion what prompted him to say such a bad joke. Confront anyone who uses MF, SF or what ever abusive and cuss words they are using? Ask the why not BF, FF??
Jyothi: Middle class privilege? Where does class play a role here? The situation of women is the same in every strata of society.
DG: This is your middle class privilege speaking. How can you and the domestic help you employ have same issues. Some of your issues could be similar but never same. Like wise a manager and peon cannot have same issues but many similar issues like being late to work. The boss was late due to high traffic or his car broke where is a peon is late because the bus was too full and he/she could not board it or the bus just did not show up. But people are worried about the education of their kids.
You wake up every morning. Jump in the bath for a quick shower the running water in the tap refreshes you. You dry your hair with a hair dryer because you have electricity if there is a power outage then you have a inverter or generator. You dress up in a crisp saree, salwar kameez or business suit that may be you did not iron your self. You have breakfast at the table that is made on LPG stove. Then you pick car or scooter keys and zoom out of the door.
During all this you also got your kids dressed for school packed their lunches and shoved them into school bus or drove them to school. And your male spouse just read the newspaper or may be helped you but not as much you wanted. Or he still has a hangover from last night and when on high he said some thing mean to you or even hit you.
Now about the domestic help you employ or the female construction worker who constructed the building where you sat and typed this comment.
She wakes up before the sun rises because she has to find some privacy some where on the railway track to relieve herself. Then to clean herself and have some drinking water for the family she has to wait in line at the community tap or walk few miles to fetch some water on her head. The she has to feed herself and her kids she either depends on kerosene stove or fuel wood that she has to find in the concrete jungle. It will definitely take more time for her to prepare a meal than it took you. You may say you have seen many slums have LPG stoves, refrigerators and TVs. So?? Would you like to live there?? Back to the chronology of events if she is domestic help she has to reach work before memsahiba leaves. If she is a construction worker then she has to be even earlier because the contractor may not give her a day labor or someone who just came from village will grab her job. She still has work to do at home, clean and get her kids ready to go to school (if they even go)If they are very young a construction worker will put them in the on site crèche (not all places have crèches)that we middle class people operate for their benefit and pat our backs. If she is a domestic help her employer will not like her to bring her kids to work so who will mind them may be her minor daughter who is little older than her siblings. She’ll do the chores and may be go to the anaganwadi or even the afternoon school. where she’ll fall asleep because she is tired and has had not enough sleep and the teacher will say she is good for nothing. She’ll flunk and the school will chuck her out. Here goes her chances of bright future an education will bring now she is all good to fill her mother’s shoes as a domestic help when she retires. Think, will this ever happen to your daughter? will you let this happen to her??
Also, remember her husband is drunk, shares no chores or parenting responsibilities rather shouts, yells and hits her. Here you and she are on the same page. So what has class to do with it??
If she were from your class she won’t be dealing with all the things I enumerated above and also the spousal abuse.
Yes, children are affected in both the classes because men are not sharing their share of parenting duties and women are tired and they can do only as much.
Jyothi: Where I live, and I am sure in India too, most companies don’t work in shifts. Not all can work at Call Centers! Children will definitely be affected either way!
DG: Yes, you are right. No shift work for most middle class Indians. There were no childcare options and maternity leave privileges in India but women raised voice and got it implemented. Start talking to your friends facing similar situation. Unite talk to your employers. Under the UN and ILO Convention they are bound by law if they are ISO 500 companies. Even the smaller ones with 25 or more employer have to follow some laws. But it is too much work besides coming to 9 to 5 job and taking care of house hold so you or I will not do it. We’ll wait for women laborer’s to go on strike and fight for our rights (that is thehistory of International Women’s Day).
Jyothi: I don’t think any woman (or man), educated or not educated, will ever look down upon a rape victim. But moral less girls (or guys for that matter), it’s a different thing all together.
DG: That is why educated people have been debating on internet in English how characterless was Nirupama for getting pregnant.
Jyothi: I would love the revolution to empower woman (or man) to be able to make their own choices, but not to adopt western animal culture.
DG: The internet you used to present your views here came from west. The printing press that contributed to India’s independence was a product of west. So what is this western animal culture?? West gave us the idea about maternity leaves for working women, women representation in the leadership positions and education on and on… So what is this animal culture?? Rapes, as if they never happened in India before MTV. Yeh, sure we forced the rapist to marry the raped and declared it Rakshesa Vivah. Great. (I will not elaborate on this please do a google search.) What happened during the 1947 roits, Godra roits were they west influenced?? What happened to all those women?? So many of them committed suicides because of stigma and they way there are taught a once raped a woman life is not worth living.
Jyothi: But moral less girls (or guys for that matter), it’s a different thing all together.
DG: What is moral?? What was moral 60 years ago is all upside down today. A Hindu man deserting his wife to beget a son in order to secure a place in heaven is moral. Now after 1956 Marriage Act his place in heaven has been curtailed as he can’t dump her on this pretext. Teens having sex is a moral issue but child marriage and teen wives having kids is ok?? Is the bond of marriage cure and cover all?? Bigamy is a problem but man visiting sex workers or raping a domestic help is ok because it is not visible to all. What is hidden is not a problem until it is exposed. Lets shove the dirt under the carpet.
So morally a prostitute cannot be raped because that is her work. But doesn’t she have a right to say NO?
Jyothi: I don’t agree with the fact that woman should work out off home to be part of this revolution for woman’s empowerment.
DG: That is the whole point of this exercise. Women’s domestic work should be respected. It should be a woman’s choice if she wants to stay at home and raise kids or should go to work outside the home. If a woman is poor she has to work to feed her kids then it is not a choice it is poverty directing her actions. You and I can have that privilege but not a very large majority of Indian women. UmaS had a choice how many women will have that option??
The whole idea is to treat women as Humans and supporting them in their parenting roles. Women do not get pregnant out of vacuum. Men are responsible for making babies so they should be shouldering the parenting duties. They don’t because we haven’t made that demand strongly rather we have employed other less privileged women to do father or husband’s job minus coitus.
I guess this is done here if you have any questions please leave a comment at:
Apologies for this on going discourse with one person, now on I am taking this discussion to my blog.
Holy Holy it took DG 45 minutes just to cut past and insert links in this post. Good old days, when she had the patience to type mile long responses.
Any reader who has any question about dealing with in-laws please read the comments all your doubts and queries are addressed there. If you still have personal questions or need specific help you can contact her on gmail (to find the email read the comments carefully she has disclosed her contact number of times in comments to different posts).