How women of burn are alienated from their families?
Women, who from centuries have been synonym for love, tenderness, kindness and mercy today have become survivors and victims of abuse, hatred and criminology. If we talk about today’s scenario especially in a country like India, it is very much evident that society bears a very less burden of crimes against men but is full of offenses against women. Be it child abuse, female feticide, rape, dowry deaths, acid attacks or domestic violence; the list seems to be endless. Women, without whom human race has no significance are trashed like a garbage and used like a puppet.
It is estimated that almost 35% of women worldwide had experienced violence and abuse at some point in their lives, around 87,000 women were intentionally murdered, globally in the year 2017 and more than half of it that is 58% were killed by their intimate partners or family members, that roughly translates that around 137 women across the globe are murdered each day! According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there were 2,487 incidents of rape incidence in 1971 while in 2012, the figure was 24,923, which is shockingly a tenfold increase! India reports the total number of dowry deaths with 8,391 such deaths reported in 2010, meaning there are 1.4 deaths per 100,000 women. According to the decennial Indian census, the sex ratio in the 0 to 6 age group in India has risen from 102.4 males per 100 females in 1961, to 108.9 in 2011. These statistics in itself are shocking as well as concerning. Acid attack, a term much familiar with each of us, is a crime that to a much extent is the most heinous crime committed against women in India. It not only does destroys faces but also lives, dignity, relationships and the will to live. In our approach, we the team of The Indianness, is trying to shed light to the lives of women of burn who have been alienated by their families just because of the uncertain tragedies happened with them.
The story of a burn survivor
The 21st century has bear the burden of being a witness to rising women hate culture in the country. The rising acid attacks is yet another concern for the country who is already dealing with increasing crime rates per day. In simple words, an acid attack also known as vitriol attack is a type of assault on women, at least that’s what people say. But in actuality acid attack is an attempt to ruin women, smash their dignity and destroy their future. Women are threatened and even tormented by the evil predators just to seek the little epitome of superiority. Though there are numerous acid attack victims in the country, many choose to live with silence and darkness. A few of them who do manage to come out too see a burden of societal shame and hatred. This is only one side of the story, the other section lies when the women themselves are compelled to opt for such measures that can impact their lives in the most drastic manner possible. Burns among women follows only two pattern- one is either she is attacked by someone else or it is the result of self-inflicted injuries. One such women is Anandi, whose story reminds us about the misogyny and sufferings the victims goes through.
Anandi’s story is not an exception, just like many of us she was a housewife who selflessly devoted her entire life serving her husband and the kids. A daily routine of waking up, packing tiffin for her husband and children, sending them school, preparing lunch, cleaning house and everything that comes along a housewife is well done by the then young lady. But for Anandi, her day comes to an end with beating, torture and abuse. Her alcoholic husband use to hurt every time he comes back home, bringing the darkest devils onto her life. This was her routine, and to some extend Anandi was use to of it, until one day when her husband hurt her brutally, his alcoholism keep coming back to her again and again. This was it, she was content to change her fate and in the heat of the moment, Anandi took a step that changed her life forever. On the morning that followed that torturous evening, she seized an opportunity when her husband left the house for the office.
“I don’t know what came over me, but when I saw the can of kerosene, I picked it up, poured it on myself and lit a match.” Anandi recalled.
Anandi’s mother in law fortunately had taken away her infant baby just before the accident, but it was not same for her 6 year old child who witnessed the incident. She was rushed to the hospital by her mother in law who instructed her not to tell anyone about what happened and framed the incident as an ‘accident’. Though Anandi’s 44% body was burnt, her life was 100% shattered. That one incident changed her life forever, she was not the same anymore at least for her little child who couldn’t come in turns with what had happened. But this particular incident isn’t just Anandi’s story, but a story of thousands of women across India who unfortunately face the same fate. About 300 cases are reported each year, but the real figure is probably is closer to 1,000. There is a clear gap between what is actually reported and the true facts and figures. Most of such cases remain as ‘accidents’, why? Because women themselves succumb by family pressure and their love for the children that prevents them from speaking out the truth. Many don’t even survive. So, you see how harsh the reality is.
You may wonder, that these events are enough to shape their identity that nothing worse could ever happen again, unfortunately that’s not the reality. The real struggle comes in the form of acceptance that these women are already deprived of. Their disfigured body is not anymore accepted by not just only society but their families as well. The injuries takes years to recover because the severity of them is not accidental but self-inflicted. Their children who are below the age of 5 or less, fails to recognize them due to the injuries. They may recognize the voice but the face still doesn’t see much attention maybe because of the fear from the scars. These facts generates a much larger gap between the survivors and their children. In other cases, let’s say the one of Anandi, it is seen that the children who witness the incident, shapes an anger within themselves against the victim. They couldn’t understand why one would do such a thing and this anger later takes the shape of hatred which furthers alienates the victim more from them. These things together falter the relationship of a burn survivor with their families and children.
Also, usually the mothers are the sole caregivers for their kids. But what happens after the burn accident, is that they are in no longer in a condition to be the caregivers for their children. Thus as a result, the children face a sudden sense of abandonment. Along with this, in most of the cases, the fathers or the in laws too keep the kids away from their burnt mothers, may be because of their anger and hatred or because they feel that the scars might scare them. But even through such followed unfortunate events, many of the victims are today survivors who have navigated this journey successfully. But the fear of never being able to hold their kids again is persistent.