When Roof Over Head is a Compromise
They had been married for four months now they were visiting des to attend her brother’s wedding. She was to stay behind for a month with her in-laws and then go back on a later date while he went back to US of A in two weeks. Her tickets and passport were with her MIL and the four weeks had become four months, he never called even once but he regularly spoke to his parents living in the same house. There was no communication between them, she shuttled between her natal home and in-laws’ place. She went on rickshaw to her parents’ every morning and came back in the evening. Her father would have preferred her dead than see her everyday at his door. The four months turned in to eight months and she had no way of getting back to her husband who she had no communication with. She goes to local NGO asks around and threatens 498A only then she gets her passport back. She flies to the US of A, he receives her at the airport everything is water under the bridges takes her to the apartment they shared before they went to India and never shows up again. With no rent money past two months and no rations this beautiful creature is reduced to 90lb bag of bone. Next step is women’s shelter, finding a job (job market was still okay in 2006) she files divorce but has no way of proving his income as he never brought home any papers all she knew was the name of the employer. Court summons him to produce tax documents and she presents bills from what her parents gave her and spent on her wedding and she walks out of that marriage with that, no alimony, no spousal support. He had a house in his name before his marriage and that remained with him along with everything else that her.
Two years after their so called love marriage they go abroad, physical abuse has already made inroads into the already troubled marriage. After an year of extreme physical, emotional, financial abuse and isolation she calls 911, he is arrested and she stands there on the street with her suitcase. Though her name is on the rent deed but the lease ends in less than forty days, she is on dependent visa, has no money as he cancels both debit and credit card as soon as he comes out on bail (posted by his employer) in few hours. As she steps into women’s shelter she asks herself is this the right choice to be living off the charity than to stay in that marital hell where she at least had a roof over her head?
What is the cost of roof over one’s head is a very pertinent question for someone living in an abusive marriage. Women often trade personal safety and dignity in lieu of roof over their head because women outside the homes are deemed sitting ducks for character assassination and vulnerable to all sorts of bad things. The hype of home and its safety is so over worked for women and the bad world outside is so demonized that most women prefer the known devil than the unknown. In the absence of an alternative roof over the head women are forced to make so called compromises not out of love and respect but out of lack of alternatives and fear of loss of home. Without safe alternatives women will remain vulnerable to abuse. With a sizable population like ours it is near impossible to provide save shelters in every nook and corner of the country so it becomes more important we make homes safer for women, children, aged and disabled people. It is time we as neighbors, friends and relatives challenge and incident of domestic abuse we witness around us.