War and Pieces – A woman who asks for a divorce is branded worse than a slut | #Barathon |

BarAThon-BAR-blogarthythm-fault-in-our-stares-blogging-challenge-war-and-pieces-divorce
Title: Refuge
Artist: Alex Seton
With the syrian refugee crisis on everyone’s mind, this artwork for the Kochi Biennale 2016-2017 revolves around it too, evoking many heartbreaking questions!!!
Pic taken by me in March 2017 in Fort Kochi

If you think a bad marriage is akin to a war; wait till you make the decision to get a divorce – all hell breaks loose in every sense of the word from all quarters of your life – parents, siblings, cousins, friends, colleagues, neighbours…….. You name it and they all have an opinion on you, your lifestyle and your decision to “walk out on your marriage.”

Advise ranges from:

  • Have a child, it will sort out everything.
  • Why don’t you quit  your job now and focus your energies on your home and husband?
  • Maybe a change of a new place is what you both need; take a holiday or best still move to a new city, country or even continent.
  • Stay in separate bedrooms if things are so bad between you both.
  • It’s not as if he beats you.
  • All men stray, it’s just the way they are. Come on kiss and make up – he comes back to you every time na.
  • What if he refuses to divorce you, then what will you do?
  • How will you support yourself? Where will you go?

Do you know how much desensitization a woman has to undergo to withstand this onslaught of judgement, advise and Bullshit – all cloaked as concern for her morality, for now she is venturing into a territory worse than hell. She will be a woman of loose character who will sleep with anyone and have affairs with married men!!! Yes I heard this gem – and from someone very close in my family.

A woman gets married and leaves her “known” world for an unknown one, knowing very well that she would need to acclimatize to every new family member and undergo scrutiny on every action/ word / food cooked/eaten and what not….. She does this knowing and willingly and puts up with god knows what all in the name of being a good wife.

But is she accorded the respect due to her as a human being / wife / new family member? Wont it be easier for 10 people to make adjustments for one new member than expect one to make so for ten?

After all this if she faces humiliation, abuse, misery and one day choses to walk out – she is branded a whore by every one of those ten members so as to not sully their family reputation! But that just goes to prove that she was never a part of your family for you could so easily tarnish her reputation – she was always the outsider!

The divorce is a daunting task when faced alone – find a lawyer, file a case and then worse walk into the court to wait for your turn. The judge turns a harsh and somewhat critical look at you to ask you if this is what you really want. In small towns the mentality is judgemental and often the judges take to counselling in their chambers, whether the couple wants it or not.

“The lawyer advised us both to verbally abuse each other if this happens. Be critical and fight and just prove to him that you can’t stand each other. I was aghast and refused to comply to such depravity – thankfully the need didnt arise as we were seeking a mutual consent divorce with nothing to settle other than peace of minds.”

My biggest learning from a divorce has been to become self-reliant and selfish – I, Me, Myself has become my motto for the real war is waged by your own loved ones who use critique, anger, mockery, fear and judgement to try to coerce you to see “reason” while failing to see yours!!

As you pick up the pieces of your life to find sustenance and will power to live the life you want to, these very people pull you down at every juncture. The trick is to become thick-skinned and very very very strong emotionally to get through it.

To this day the thought that troubles me a lot is the lack of support I found within my family who never stopped to consider the pain and heartbreak I endured to end up here. 

Come support this initiative with your opinion if you feel strongly about body/image shaming; for I am hosting folks writing their experiences, opinions on this topic on my blog for next few weeks.


This post has been written for the Fourth prompt of the #BarAThon “ War and pieces” – Why is a woman judged so harshly for choosing to step out of her unhappy marriage? Why is it so important to support the illusion of happy marriage when it’s not?

BarAThon-BAR-blogarthythm-fault-in-our-stares-blogging-challenge

You can Catch the other posts in this series here:

Day1: The Fault in our Stares

Day2: The Life of Pie

Day3: Of Ice and Men 

Day3.5: #Guestpost by Artist Shubhra Chaturvedi 

 

 

Passionate about everything design, I am in love with photography, travel and baking. My writing journey was initiated with my letter writing hobby as a child and has metamorphosised into serious blogging. I indulge with reading fantasy fiction, day dreaming and sipping good wine.

610 total views, 2 views today

51 thoughts on “War and Pieces – A woman who asks for a divorce is branded worse than a slut | #Barathon |

  1. You said it so right, Shalini. I feel very strongly for such women as I have seen them around me, struggling throughout their lives unable to sort things through because of social factors. Thick-skinned and stubborn is the only way forward. It’s your own life at the end of the day, and you got to live with it, good or bad.

    1. Thanks so much Esha – you have no idea how good it feels to read comments such as yours and some other strong women who have shown so much appreciation to this series! I am blown away by the love and support and thank the divine for guiding me to do this!! It feels like I have come home! So wonderful to find such terrific connects – I hope we meet one day too and take this friendship forward!! Love and hugs darling!!!

  2. A very brave topic. Somehow it irks me that everything related to a woman is shameful be it late marriage, remaining unmarried, not having kids, being a widow, divorcee name it and you see the woman being shamed always. Being alone is much better than stifling oneself in a bad marriage. More power to you gal

    1. Thanks so much Akshata I hear your anguish throught it all – I agree isnt it just better to not want to get married at all!! How is this called “settled” in life when its the most unsettling thing that happens to us!!!!?
      Power right backatacha too Darling!! I am happy to connect with such strong women as yourself via these posts – so glad I have chosen to write all of this down!

  3. It is tough no doubt but I think if divorce is the only answer she should go for it . Sadly as you say it is the family and other women who discourage a divorce with idiotic, irrational advice. I salute all women who have had the guts to stand up to society and do what they feel is right. They are as brave as the soldiers who defend us and should be supported by other women rather than be “condemned ” for their actions.

    1. Thanks Sunita – comparing our bravery to the armed forces!!!! Wow!! But yes it needs a lot of guts to face one’s parents through this esp the first time when I had to tell them of my decision to do it! It was nerve wrecking and they didnt help with their scoldings and beratings over it!! It was a torture to talk to them about this and ultimately I shut up and said its my decision and I am doing it – no more explanations!

  4. Thought provoking post, Shalz. I also agree that one can step out of a hurting relationship than to get suffocating with that. But we must also be ready to face the pain of after effects on it.

    1. Thanks Vasantha. But why must a woman go through such thoughts and pain in the first place!!!? Thats my question!!

  5. I am so sorry that you had to endure this…I myself went through a divorce and I know how society starts judging you..I have heard all the above mentioned…however my Dad was very supportive I feel you should take all this as a lesson and move ahead in life… all these makes you a better and stronger person…Great post

    1. Oh Balaka – may I say – lucky you!!! I am happy for you darling to know your Dad supported you! I so wished for someone to be with me when I went to the court – it was daunting and scary over there!
      Yes it has made me a stronger person and I am grateful to myself for standing up for myself and following it through!! 😉

    1. Oh thats sad to hear Vanessa – I hope you are doing good now and happy with your decision!! I feel its the best thing I did for myself in my life!!

  6. It’s a thought provoking piece of writing Shalz…. I was just reading this and my mind was actually visualizing a friend of mine who has gone through all this!! Life is so mean when it comes to women and their choices. LIFE or Society!! Hopefully it will change for good someday sooner.
    brave topic

    1. Thanks so much Dipika – its not life but family/society who with their mindsets decide to support the ill behaviour of men towards the women and make the women stay in such relationships only to maintain a facade of respectability! Its degenerative thinking and its prevalent in well educated people! More power to your friend and I hope she finds the strength to get over with it!!

  7. Women are victimised everywhere for everything. People keep telling things are changing. Change is only with respect to women being able to work and follow their dreams, some don’t get even that. Rest remains the same. Women cook, women are responsible if the family is falling apart, if children misbehave, if someone rapes them. The fingers point at women.

    A divorced woman becomes the target of humiliation and spite. Even worse, the idea that she will be available since she doesn’t have a man in her life now. Pathetic!

    1. Thank Ranjini for such strong sentiments – I love them darling and am glad to hear you say them!You are right word by word here!!

  8. It does take a lot of courage in our society to walk out of a marriage. It’s a long lonely path and if the family members themselves don’t support, then I can’t even imagine how daunting the whole thing can become.

    1. Thanks Raj – it becomes more than daunting as you keep checking to see if you are doing the right thing! So many doubts crop up to pull you down and thats the very reason why such stuff is thrown at you by the family/friends!! I am just grateful God stood with me and helped me go through it – I tested my strength like never before and its a good feeling to know I could be this strong!! 🙂

  9. Quote from the post “She will be a woman of loose character who will sleep with anyone and have affairs with married men!!” this is so heartless. I can’t imagine what the person getting a divorce must have gone through. Lots of love and hope she finds joy and peace.

    1. Thanks so much Neha – it was a horrible thing to hear and yes I was totally crushed by it! Thats what was gleaned out of my decision to walk out rather than looking at how tough this was for me and why am I doing it!
      I have all the joy and peace after my divorce – I am so glad the divine gave me the strength to go through it!!!
      Thank for all your love darling – sending some right back at you 🙂

  10. Yes, divorce is still a taboo among the educated lot. A friend’s divorce is not acceptable to her parents. They want her to go back to her ex-husband even after the divorce!! They havent shared this even with their immediate family. My friend has to act that she is still married in case she comes across any of her relatives and that’s another story that she is not allowed to go out of her parents’ home, when she is visiting them. And this is when her father is a senior doctor and mother is well educated and my friend is working at a senior position. Her parents have seen the abuse she faced by her husband and in-laws and still want her to go back to them. How hurtful it must be see that your own parents do not support you just because you decided to walk out of an abusive relationship.

    1. OMG Shilpa that is so horrible for your friend. My heart goes out to her!! Why are parents so obsessed with the society/relatives rather than their own daughters happiness?
      I was made to attend my sister’s wedding with HIM by my side as my parents didnt want her in laws to know anything and ofcourse this was nt public knowledge in our family too. His entire family was invited and all I remember from my sisters wedding are blurred memories as I spent all the time holed up in corners or holding onto my friends for support! It was hell for me to be made to stand next to him for photographs and smile and pretend all is well! I was so angry hurt and helpless at this – still am!!!
      Not once did my parents think of what they were doing to me!! Choosing to block it out as been my salvation to date!!
      I hope your friend finds her strength soon and gets out of this mess before it destroys her!!

      1. A BIG hug to you, Shalini. I can imagine the hurt and turmoil you must have gone through.
        Family means rock solid support, but it’s missing for some of us. My friend has gone through a huge mental and physical abuse but we are glad that it’s all behind her now. It helps that she stays far off from her parents, but yes, their attitude and words still has the power to hurt her despite the distance.

  11. Your thoughts are absolutely prevalent even today across all socio-economic sections. Yet I know atleast half a dozen of people in my circle who chose to walk out of a bad marriage and yes their families supported them. Maybe times are changing, very slowly though.

    1. Thanks Anupriya for saying so – that feels so good to hear! I hope this change continues and women dont have to stay bound in misery and abuse!!!

  12. I am sorry you had to go through that. I know the lack of support hurts, and also demoralizes us. But if you were unhappy, you did the right thing for yourself by walking away, and that is all that matters.

    1. Thanks Shanaya – I thank the divine for the guidance and the strength to go through it all – today when I look back at it , I wonder how did i do it!!!!!

  13. It is hurtful that when a woman needs them the most, her family isn’t anywhere to support her because of the decision she took to walk out on her marriage. Women really need to be strong, like you, who bring out the courage in them by standing alone, facing the barbs, the accusations all by themselves and striving to make a living on their own, for themselves.
    The family really needs to be firmly standing behind their daughter. How can there be any valid reason for her to go on living in an abusive marriage?

    1. Thanks Shilpa- how much I yearned for this and cried over these very questions – arent I their daughter? Why cant they support me? Why are they hell bent on “making things work” between him and me when clearly I dont want to be with him!!!? Society kya kahegi is what I got to hear all the time!! What will we tell our relatives? You are such a shameful daughter to do this to us, have you even thought of us? – this was trauma for me and I thank god for numbing me to a point where in I just chose to be strong for myself and not listen to anything else!

  14. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this & did not get enough support from your dear ones!
    It’s a brave topic thabsk for writing on it!
    In Hindi as they say – Aurat hi aurat k dushman hai- this seems to be so true unfortunately!
    ( Translation- women is the enemy of women)

    1. Thank you Zainab – yes we women hold other women back if we feel she is stepping “out of her limites” without ever questioning who has set these limites and why. Why is a woman taking such an extreme step? If only we women as family members raise the awareness within us, we would have lesser issues at home with the men as they would take cognizance of our awareness and be less inclined to be Assholes!!

  15. It is really shameful that this happens. It is better to walk out of a bad marriage than living with the trauma of it. It is time that families support by women who choose to make the decision. More power to you!

  16. You know! We are such hypocrites when it comes to divorce…the gem that you heard is something many female friends told me and how the straying husband said it’s easy to pounce on a single woman, fresh from divorce. Another gem, is you have children and think about them. I have issue with that! What about the person’s individuality and it doesn’t make sense to feel stifled in a relationship or bear abuse. If you have time to read this interview I did with author and psychologist Dr Rachna Arora who speaks on the issue you discussed here.

    https://vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/interview-of-author-dr-rachna-arora-laws-are-not-enough-to-protect-rights-of-women/

    1. Thank you Vishal for the link- I will just go through it today only as it sounds very pertinent!!
      Yes we are hypocrites when it comes to divorce – if a woman leave, she is a whore; if her husband leaves her, then also she is the whore – no one bothers to enquire why is the woman taking such a strong step! That is the problem with our society in this scenario and thats why divorce is such a dirty word in our families!!

      1. We are so complex in the way we make everything dirty…boost the misplace male ego and why should family stake a claim. Let the 2 individuals decide and same goes for getting married. I believe that you don’t marry a family like some people say but a person.

      2. It’s the misplaced male ego and society is, in fact, scared. let’s hope for small change. Divorce shouldn’t be dirty and the worse is extended family deciding for two persons, which is utter rubbish.

  17. A difficult world indeed! That’s the thought I was left with after reading this post. One of my aunts went through a divorce, n basically no one gets it. When a friend filed for divorce because of domestic violence, she was accused by provoking him. Everyone decides to judge and gossip instead of providing support. A difficult world indeed!

    1. Oh Namrata my heart goes out for your friend – physical abuse is torture and then to be blamed for it too!!! Horrifying for her and I hope your friend is now safe and breathing easy! More power to her! Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  18. Where I live, in order to get a divorce, you have to live separately from your spouse for a year. There are only exceptions in certain situations, like if you’re spouse is cheating on you, for example. The reason I know this is because during my teenage years, my mom was in a really verbally, emotionally and mentally abusive marriage to where he was not just abusive towards her but to me and my older sister. So when we finally got away, things were starting to look better. But it took my mom a long time for the divorce to finally come through because he was being difficult about the whole thing. She actually had to go through the process of filing for a divorce two or three times because when a case remains inactive here for a certain amount of time, you have to start the whole process over again. And he wasn’t doing his part to make any of it easier for her. I think I was in my junior or senior year of college when she was finally divorced from him completely. So yeah, I can definitely say women getting a divorce is a difficult thing. Not only because of how family can react to it (though our family and friends were pretty supportive so we didn’t have that problem), but it’s also a huge financial investment and emotionally draining too for those involved.

    1. Yes thats true here as well but this can be circumveneted and is done so in India with ease. Both parties can claim they have been living apart for a while- I did stay apart for a year to cool off things and see if I still feel the same way.
      Even in India things get tough if either spouse gets difficult over certain issues like money, kids, etc. Thats why I opted for an amicable one- no exchage no settlement – to expedite the process.
      I am sorry to hear of your mom’s case and can only try to imagine what you must have gone through as a child – hugs to you and thank you for sharing this here. Children face the worse part of divorce as sometime they have to choose sides – it is a very tough decision for paretns to do!
      I am happy to hear your mom is finally divorced and has her peace of mind!
      Cheers and hugs Raney!!

      1. Yeah, getting a divorce just sounds like a difficult process no matter where you live. Not only because it costs money but emotionally since you thought you’d never be in that position to begin with. But sometimes its really for the best.

  19. Divorce is considered as the bad thing in our society & if’s only the woman who knows going through this phase. being scrutinized from top to bottom great read for me and the points you raised are accurate and connects to reality

    1. Thank you Bushra- so good to see you on my blog dear 🙂
      Totally agree with your viewpoint – hope a change comes in the mindset sooner than later.

    1. Thanks Sid for dropping by. I hope as a lawyer you have been helping women facing a tough battle in divorce courts – care to share a story or two?
      And definitely we should care – thats the only way to bring about a change in the mindset!!

I would love to hear what you thought of this post