Vidya my school mate was brutally murdered by her husband yesterday in Dubai leaving behind her parents and two young girls. We are devastated by the news and still trying to cope with the emotions it causes. Her beautiful eyes are still very much alive in our minds. However, in memory of my loving friend I feel the need to write something against domestic violence.
The right to live is a basic human right and no matter what the circumstance is it cannot be denied to anyone including unborn babies. I am writing my opinions based on the word of God from my 40 years of life and 17 years of marriage. Having lived among many different cultures both in India and other countries my world view might be slightly different that’s why I normally don’t write about it. I believe most of the problems we face are due to our cultural background. But in this case, I am compelled to share some thoughts.
It should all start when the children are young. There shouldn’t be any gender discrimination in the homes. It is unbiblical and unethical to give boy babies more welcome than girls. May be the worry from day one is dowry which is illegal and not practiced in any developed countries. Woe to those people who think dowry is good, but divorce is sin. I think as a community especially the new generation to stand up strong against this social evil so we can ensure better gender equality. Woe to those people who testify in churches that because they prayed God blessed them with a baby boy! Does that mean having a girl is not a blessing from God? In the New Testament Jesus revolutionised all such injustice to women and included them in ministry. “The Gospels record several instances where Jesus reaches out to “unnoticeable” women, inconspicuous silent sufferers who blend into the background and are seen by others as “negligible entities destined to exist on the fringes of life.”
Next comes the role allocation in society- which hinders the development of full potential of both men and women. If both men and women are allowed and encouraged to do all tasks as in developed societies, it will lead to more balance and less chance of exploitation by one gender. Cooking is a basic life skill and if all kids are taught and encouraged to cook a huge proportion of marital struggles can be resolved. Similarly, girls should have mechanical skills including driving which is helpful to all. Above all, education and other skill development is important to all which is not limited to formal education. Agriculture, carpentry, sewing, cooking etc all help in earning an income. The ability to stand on one’s own feet should be focus. It goes without saying value development, spiritual growth is vital. Girls should be taught self-defence including martial arts.
Marriage is over glorified in our communities in the sense there is always an expectation that marriage is a solution to many problems. Another aspect is the pressure on young people to marry when they are not ready for being a husband or father. Pre-marital courses should be made mandatory before the churches agree to conduct the wedding. Financial management including should be part of the pe marital course. Man is the head of the family, but he should have some sort of leadership skills and sense of responsibility before entering marriage. The same applies to a woman. Not all persons are marriage materials (personal opinion). Let them have their choice too in life. There is a lot of debate going on regarding homosexuality and sometimes it is hard to prove either way. But the least we can do for anybody having such issues will be not to ask them to enter a marriage.
Marital conflicts are inevitable despite following all the steps mentioned. But I am sure can be minimized. My emphasis here in this context will be not to suffer alone. If available talk to a professional. Mental disorders are prevalent; despite the social stigma get proper treatment if needed, Report any domestic violence in any form physical, verbal or emotional. There is huge need for trained Christian counsellors.
In conclusion, my only plea to my readers is to be sensitive to the voices you hear, faces you see and have a non-judgmental attitude. You feel like chasing the wind when you see the attitudes of our dear ones at times. But I do have a hope in the next generation where girls and boys can live safely, and no one harms anyone and love towards fellow human beings prevail. Vidya, I am stopping now this is in your memory.