A case that has much disturbed me, and not because we are working towards a Violence Against Women Awareness Month for October 2011, is that of the Kannada actor Darshan who allegedly assaulted his wife so terribly that she had to be hospitalised. Repeatedly. And what absolutely had me open mouthed in shock was that the other woman in this unhappy triangle, an actress called Nikita has been slapped with a three year ban by the Kannada Film Producers’ Association because of the number of films under production with Darshan starring in them. The logic of this kangaroo court decision being one assumes that the other woman stays out of the man’s life and lets peace and harmony reign in the Darshan household.
The fact remains though, that Darshan seems to be a repeat offender. In both cheating as well as domestic violence. But. Because he is the star and he is the man, this must be overlooked. The other woman is the evil one who has led the poor man astray and therefore needs to be punished.
I cannot wrap my head around this.
Somehow, it always becomes the woman’s fault. It is the wife’s fault that she is not tolerant and forgiving of his strayings so as to infuriate him and make him get violent with her. It is the other woman’s fault that she led him on and got into an affair with him, because of course, she is the one who should keep away from the married man. Who is so weak willed that he can be easily tempted to stray.
A man who raises his hand on a woman is no man. In fact, he is worse than an animal because he uses his strength to subjugate, dominate and intimidate rather than to protect.
A man who beats a woman, his wife, his girlfriend, or any woman emboldened by the knowledge that she is weaker than him physically is no strong man. He is the weakest of the weak, the lowest of the low.
This Darshan might take his action hero label very seriously, like Mel Gibson did when he bashed in his lover’s teeth with a punch to her face. But in my head, such men are no heroes. And will never ever be.
I see it all around me. From the maid who comes into work with her teeth knocked out and black bruises on her body and face, to the society lady who hides her black eye behind dark glasses and laughs off a crepe bandage to her hand with a “I fell down a couple of stairs”. Or the school gate mom who comes in to pick up her child, and never speaks with anyone, but bears some mark of violence every day, a bruise, a blackened eye, a split lip. I look at her and I know. But I dare not go upto her and ask.
I wonder what it would take for women to stay on in such abusive relationships, what is worth so much more than their self esteem, why don’t they walk out of the relationship, of the marriage. Each one has their own compunctions, financial dependence, a dysfunctional love, a history of growing up with dysfunctionality which warps thought processes into believing this is a form of love, women who actually wear their husbands’ controlling, jealous possessiveness like a badge of pride rather than taking the man to a marriage counsellor, who am I to say what they should do until, as I put up on FB, I walk in their shoes.
But this was wrong. Banning the ‘other woman’ for the actions of the man is just plain and simple wrong. And no matter how they justify it, the Kannada Film Producers’ Association had no business imposing that ban. If any, the decent thing to be done was to talk to the man and tell him wife beating was not done. Extramarital relationships is none of their business.