The UN released a report in 2013 on Why Do Some Men Use Violence Against Women and How Can We Prevent It?
Somesh S Menon has written an interesting contextual summary sharing some of the key data points from the countries which were studied and also drawing possible reflections on what could be relevant to understand the same issues in India.
Full summary can be accessed here: Why Do Some Men Use Violence Against Women And How Can We Prevent It (UN) – A Contextual Summary by Somesh S Menon, People for Parity
“He’s a type of colonial ruler, the same as my father. All the time he tells me that I am ugly, so in the mirror I look and just see that I am so ugly. All our children are unplanned because he rapes me and has sex with me…But broken homes only break children. For me, that’s why I think I stick to my marriage. Because my parents broke up and I suffered.”
“Women shall do their job and men shall do theirs… After a long day of work, men return to the home. The wife should cook for her husband, should prepare water for the shower, then take meals and sleep together, show some affection. I always want this. [A woman’s only job is to] feed [her husband], chat with him and then sleep together”
“A good marriage means a loving, caring, devoted and dedicated wife who can always put the husband’s family interest on top of anything else… If I am angry, I prefer to teach her an instant lesson. Although I sometimes feel bad about my conduct, it’s not a big deal. If she disobeys, she must be punished. That is not wrong at all.”
“Total equality sounds fine … but if there is a difference in thinking, points of view, perceptions or work, that equality may as well turn to problems. If a woman is cheeky or says something that makes the husband feel ashamed, violence is inevitable … If a man beats his wife, the wife must have done something she shouldn’t. Disobedient wives should be beaten.”
A quick glance at the quotes above might tempt you to believe that each of it has been collected from Indian society at random, from a house here, a village there, a community elsewhere. Patriarchal mindsets have been firmly embedded over centuries in the shared consciousness of the world’s 7th largest country, the largest democracy no less, and it should not come as a surprise if many Indian men even proudly stand up and identify with whatever has been quoted above.
What should come as a surprise, or perhaps not to the more discerning observers, is that none of the quotes are actually from India. Unfortunately, inherently masculine and aggressive outlooks towards life are not exclusive features of the world’s largest democracy but exist in grim collectives across the world. Each of the quotes above originates in interviews conducted in regions across South Asia, and in a way, it is hoped that investments in further research and knowledge about the South Asian male mindset may help provide answers for the Indian male mindset and vice-versa.
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