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6 May 2009

An email, and a point of view

So, you guys who have been reading me regularly, know that I'm a pretty slap-dash person. I include whole generalisations with one swoop of my hand and, well, mostly, I remember to point out my disclaimers, things my generalisations do not include, but recently, I got an email pointing out to me exactly how much of a loophole I had left in a recent argument.

Do you remember the post/column I did about live-in relationships? Well, there was one important caveat as a reader from the Middle East let me know about. Enough with the mystery, I'm just going to reproduce all of our correspondence, so you guys know what's going on. I made a somewhat inadequate reply, because I was so overwhelmed with what this person was telling me, I had no words (and that happens VERY rarely!) to convey my heartfelt empathy across an internet connection.

As always, this has been used with her permission, but with the names changed. Let's call her Sana.

Dear eM,

I have been an avid follower of your blogs. I am sure you have heard this before, but I think you have a brilliant sense of humour. And quite a logical person too.

However, there is a statement that disturbed me in your blog titled "Moving On" dtd March 30, 2009. I have been wanting to write to you since then, but kept pushing it aside for various reasons. Before I begin, let me pls tell you that this is just something that I wanted to share with you. On the lines of talking to a friend. I have never once commented on your blog, simply because I didnt want to have an active participation. So, pls be assured that I am not one of those silly trolls who went mad on your blogs. LOL.

To qoute you - "Divorce has made bad marriages easy. And not the other way around".
Like you, I too am a true believer in marriage. Like you, I too believe that once we get into a commitment, we should stick to it forever.. However, have you ever passed a thought about those million battered women who were not able to escape an abusive marriage? Have you stopped to think what goes through the mind of these women, eM? Women, who still remain "committed" to an abusive man for the sake of children, financial security, or for the fear of being alone? Or because they were brought up in an environment where Divorces were considered bad. A tabboo. So much for New India.

I am a 25 year old Indian, born and brought up in the Middle East. I was married at the age of 21 and divorced by 23. I have nothing but bad memories of that relationship. Its just very difficult for me to move on in life as the scars on my body and face are a permanent reminder of the "marital bliss" I experienced. You cannot even begin to think what went through my mind during the time I was married to him. I still have problems in dealing with men. I am still learning not to judge the wonderful guys around me based on that one person who ruined everything for me. Only I know how hard I am trying to keep my sanity intact.

Nevertheless, I understand the whole point you tried to make in your blog. Basically, you have a problem with people who disrespect the concept of marriage. Same here.

I still have no idea why I am sending this email to you. Perhaps I just had to speak out, as I have not spoken about this to anyone. Its just too difficult for me to even talk about it to anyone. Weakens me a lot.. My self confidence takes a beating and tears come from no where.

Take care and I wish you all the best in life. Keep writing, because you are really good at it.



And then I said something along the lines of how I had made a mistake, and thanking her for sharing her story and whether it would be okay to post it here to share with you all. To which she said:

We all claim to live in an educated society, eM. But you know.... only very few people respect the education they have had in their life. The man that I was married to was regarded as the 'Good Catch of Muslim Community'. Only one glitch - he drinks "quite a bit". Well, I am not that orthodox a Muslim and I too enjoy my occassional Tequila's. I know what is the difference between a Social Drinker and a Dunkard and unfortunately he fell in the latter category. I tried to help him a lot. A lot. Attending Alcoholic Anonymous programmes with him.... taking 6 months off my job to stay with him in a de-addiction centre, etc etc and etc. I gave him "n" number of chances in the hope that things "will get better". 10 months into our marriage, he lost his job after attending an important meeting at work, completely drunk. And that was the beginning of my nightmare. Before marriage, I thought Marital Rape was just a fictional term, but then I learned... that it was a thing of the Real World. A reality of this Big Bad World.

So much for getting married to the "Good Catch of Muslim Community", isn't it?

And you know whats even funnier in the so called educated Society that we live in? Divorce is not an easy thing. I may sound biased.... but a woman's reputation is shredded apart in most divorce lawsuits.

I think I am being very cynical, isn't it? Believe me.... I am not like this with the people around me. If you met me, you wouldnt even believe that I am a person who went through all this. And not many people know about my divorce too. Not because I am ashamed to talk about it.... but because I feel an average human being will not be able to understand the trauma of being raped and beaten by an alcoholic spouse, unless it is experienced first hand. Mark my word for this. We all are aware of it... but no one has a clue how ugly that feeling can be.

Although I keep a facade of being an extremely humorous and happy person for the sake of my parents, I know I have serious issues now. Issues with men, that needs to be sorted out before I end up being someone that even my parents dont recognize. . And I have no clue why I am pouring myself out to a complete stranger like you. Perhaps, a detox is what I need.

I am really looking forward to read what you have to write about. And most importantly, how your audience will react.

I've taken out some of the incriminating details of her email--his job for instance, and some details of her divorce case, but this is pretty much the rest of it. Have I ever spoken to you about abusive relationships? I think not, because it's barely touched me. I've been lucky enough to have grown up surrounded by strong female models and men who genuinely respect women. The other world existed, I knew it did, but it was like a different universe, something so alien, that I had no contact with it whatsoever.

Reading Sana's email almost set off something visceral inside me. My guts twisted, my hand went up to my mouth. But this was awful! And why was she going through it alone? It should be okay to get a divorce if your husband treats you badly, why must you be judged for it? I know my questions are naive, but does anyone have answers for me?

I'm leaving it at that. Anon comments are open for this post, but at the first sign of trollery, I warn you, I'm closing them again. I don't think any of us deserves any more finger pointing and name calling, yes?


  1. Gut wrenching as you have rightly mentioned. Its a sad fact that divorced women are judged negatively. I have seen a close relative refusing to divorce her abusive, alcoholic husband just because she feared prejudice from society. End result: Finance in shambles, zero piece of mind, and most importantly a shattered kid. What did society lose? Nothing.

  2. This has been a really emotional read. I am touched! Thanks to 'Sana' for sharing her story, she has given a voice to so many women in the world.

    I am sure this will make a difference.

  3. oh gosh.. i am the same as eM, I haven't had to face abuse first hand or through anyone in my immediate family. a girl so young.. like she says, we are aware of it but we don't have an inkling about how it feels.. i am with her, of course..

  4. well i am speechless ,my eyes r numb and they say all about how touching your blog was.
    I always thought terms like marital rape was so dramatic ,but i never thought it could be so painful.
    Dont leave the guy,take him to the court,sue him ...this is what i think if you need peace..
    he should know what wrong he had done.

  5. Hey eM!

    First time comment poster on your post... quite like Sana... follow this regularly but nvr got ovr the inertia of putting dwn a word... Great work though.. have also read your book... Nice to see someone so unpretentious any comfortable in their skin... ;) keep up the great work!!

    More on the current topic... I think Sana is a very brave person to have got out of this mess early... i can imagine how traumatic an abusive relationship can be... worst are the abusive parent - child ones though... where the poor kid really has no recourse.. no divorse no laws no shelter... no choice!

  6. My sister went through this, so I can understand Sana's pain. My brother-in-law would come home drunk and collapse in the porch - sometimes, he would fall into the open drain that ran out outside their home. It was shocking and my sister, the gem that she was - never told anyone about it for a long time, until I confronted her.
    Then she broke down and told me her horrific story.
    Apart from forcing himself on her, he would disappear for days and then she would learn that he was staying with a female friend.
    You know, life is not a Hindi film where you can avenge your sister's humiliation by beating up the offending party. It took a while for me to convince her that leaving him was the best thing for her and her child.
    Bless you Sana...hope you can find happiness.

  7. I can so relate to the email, though I have not been raped or had a divorce. I have been sexually abused as a child, and threatened not to mention it to my parents or family, by my own family male members. I realized that it was sexual abuse when I grew up, with horrible memories, and hated myself not realizing it was not my fault. Later, close friends understood I have pbs with men or relationships, trust being a huge issue. Unfortunately, I was also cheated in adult life, by a guy who seemed a gentleman, and just when I began trusting, I realized he was looking for fun only. Told me he fell only for my boobs, when I refused to have a physical relationship!How disgusting it was. I am lucky though, married to a man who knows everything and understands.Today, I am scared for my female child, I am paranoid about sending her to school or anywhere, fearing some harm (including rape) might happen to her, and she should not experience what I went through, or be taken advantage of. When will all this stop? Always women are blamed.Society plays moral police, and so many lives are runied. They have no right!When will rapists and abusers be punished by law?Thanks to 'Sana,' I am writing about this for the first time!May many more women's voices 'roar' and be heard..

  8. This is really heart wrenching! It really is...I too haven’t experienced any such things firsthand or thru family or friends but I am able to understand what Sana is going thru. It must be traumatic to have your drunken husband rape and physically hurt you. Is this the state of women even now??? Just finished reading the book 'A thousand splendid suns' and couldn't digest how women are treated... and I am still amazed at how some men can behave like this!!! Really the government should have stricter laws and punishments against physical abuse towards women! Coz physical abuse is very scarring and there is no amt of justification that can be given to it I feel…

    And Sana if you are reading these comments...please be sure we are all with have done the right thing divorcing that should have done this man is worth the abuse and martial rape! All my prayers are with you...Take care!

  9. had the guts to decide to get divorced, and then go through with it... kudos. i'm sure you have it in you to do whatever it takes to completely move on.

  10. in a marriage nobody has to go thru this type of a behaviour wife/husband. i have come across both types of instances and can point out it happens to both sides in some cases.

    i know a girl who had been in an almost or more worse situation than sana. but luckily for her even the guys family were equally shocked to find out about his terrible behaviour and they suggested divorce to their daughter in law who they realised was a gem of a person. today she has overcome the bad maemories and is happily married with a baby! but i have to point out out that it was possible to her only because of the support she got from her family and friends.

    similarly, i know a guy who got married in a traditional arranged marriage style. he had talked to the girl a many times before the marriage and she also seemed quite willing to be with him. but after marriage she changed colours too soon. she began behaving very badly and violently with him, almost in a way that would make him divorce her. (she didnt want to initiate the divorce) finally in a counselling session she admitted to being in another realtionship and she decided to do things this way because her parenst would never have consented to that marriage. if this guy divorced her then (hopefully) feeling sorry for her nobody would stand in the way of her getting married to her lover. but what did the poor unfortunate guy do to go thru this horror??

    im happy for you sana that you did the right thing and happy that you finally found a vent atleast thru this blog. but i think u need someone more close to talk things out. pls do so. it will only help you and pls move on leaving behind the bad memories. would a change of place or surroundings help??

  11. i just totally agree..its really damn ugly when u face it...

    more power to you sana....

  12. Reality does leave a bitter taste. Like the two edges of a sword..the society does as well. Its just that people on either sides of the thin demarcated line have different perspectives on life.

    The world would be a much better place to live in if every individual follows this adage: "Treat others the way you want to be treated"

    What we are hearing maybe just the tip of an iceberg. There maybe many more harsh realities unknown..buried and covered forever. Wishing Sana the best henceforth !

  13. Wow. After I read that I was left with a bittersweet feeling. But, wow. Tis truly gut-wrenching.

  14. Dear Sana and eM,

    This is my first comment on this blog...and Sana you are really brave. Dont know which words to type to console or encourage you....but I know this will.....A big warm hug from me to you...

    eM gr8 job...I thought all this while your blog was about your life..parties, writing, bf, booze etc...this was a good reality check!!!


  15. sana is indeed brave, and educated enough to understand her rightful/respectful position in marriage.
    em, you ask why her divorce follows her around like a dark shadow. i think it has more to do with us than herself. we, as a society, thrive on other people's mess- ups and failures. and we tend to see divorce as one more mess-up. for some perverse reason, we enjoy other people's failures because it makes us feel that much more successful. i know it shouldn't be that way...
    but hey, just by getting a discussion going, you're helping to bring divorce (of abusive relationships) into a more respectful, even admirable light.

  16. Hey eM ,
    Like Sana, i love and read ur blog and have never once commented.

    What is Sana's story is my story. raised in the Middle East, fell in love and married someone would be called a "catch" at 25 divorced at 27.
    Like Sana , I used to believe that marital rape happens to other people, people who are not educated, who dont have love marriages.
    Like Sana , I thought domestic violence , physical and verbal abuse was something that would never happen to me.

    Like Sana , if you met me now in real life you would have no idea that i was ever married or divorced. That I have ever been unhappy.. Except maybe when u see me cringe involuntarily when a male friends puts his arm on me for a pic, or when if you sense my instinctive fear if I am alone in a room with any male person.

    I am an MBA , earning far more than i'll ever need, and yet it took me more than a year to walk out.... ! I can only imagine what it may be like for someone with no education , finanacial independence and supportive family.

    Thanks for posting eM.

  17. You are right...She shouldn't be judged, neither should she have been alone then....and I respect her immensely for coming out of it, and trying to live a normal life...

    We salute the known heroes around us, but sometimes, heroes like her go unheard of...Thanks for sharing her story, so that rest of us can get inspiration from her...

  18. It's unfortunate that we live in a society that calls itself progressive and yet we hear about stories like these which really make you wonder about this progressiveness...

    Totally commend Sana for her courage and pray that here onwards her life truly turns in to a bed of roses...

  19. that was so touching....i just want to pat her hand and say everything will be ok, just hang in there. But most of all, dont suffer alone, dont let those ghosts inthe darkness get to you in the peace of the day. I once tried to give my cousin ditto advice, get out of the abusive relationship, being a good wife, she had a joint bank a/c, i asked her to transfer her share of money, pack the bags and LEAVE. She did...that shocked him to the core that she has that kind of guts to make her own living int he world without him. He got better, begged her to come back, she didnt want to, but for the sake of the "society" and the reputation she did get back, somehow they are living a good life now. This is only one case. another cousin, very untrusting husband, anyone she'd talk to, he'd have a problem, 2 weeks into the wedding, she called it off. After 7 years of healing, she remarried a wonderful guy, has 2 beautiful daughters.

    Darling Sana, the bruises you have might take long time to heal. but please let them heal, dont let them scare your life away.

    We love you for the strength you have inside.


  20. Em,
    I have to applaud Sana for getting out when she did.I have an aunt who was and is in a abusive relationship. It not only scarred her physically and emotionally but also scarred her children. My cousins have grown up with Severe trust issues which destroy their marriages even today. My aunt is educated and a college professor to boot, but refused to leave because she had daughters, who no one would marry if they were from broken homes.
    Society is two faced. it worships woman on one hand , but thrashes them when it comes to relationship problems. Eg my friend cant conceive because of her husband's problem, but they blame her for it. Will women ever be on the same platform as men I wonder?

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. I wish Sana to have a happy future.

    Sana, you deserve far better than life dealt you. Don't let the past color your future. Uou are brave, pretty and good person, you deserve all that you wish for.

    All the best

  23. Hello everybody.

    It’s been a couple of hours ever since I read this blog and the comments that were posted. The feeling of being over whelmed has subsided and I guess I am ok now. I admit that I never expected anyone to respond with such compassion and empathy. Guess there is a good side to the Big Bad World.

    I had earlier decided that I will not comment [just like how I have kept quiet on eM’s previous blogs]. But life is too short…. And appreciation is a quality that is nearing extinction. So before any nasty trolls come over and spoil things…. Let me just say - THANK YOU. All that each of you have said in here, meant a lot to me. Words aren’t enough to appreciate the way all of you have tried to understand the psyche of a person who went through quite a bit in life.

    Well… that is all a thing of the past, now. I believe that because of this incident, I have become a different person. I believe that I have evolved quite a bit in the last few years. Today I am not the sort of woman who will take ANYTHING lying down. So much that I can pretty much convey my no-nonsense attitude with a mere look. I am more mature and emotionally stronger than an average 25 year old and this renewed attitude has worked in my advantage as far as my career is concerned. My parents are extremely proud of me for every step of mine – including the divorce, which they say is the best decision I have ever taken.

    I have heard that “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. This experience has only made a stronger person. People generally pray to God to give them happiness and a peaceful life. In my case, I always tell God that if He doesn’t intend to give me happiness or a peaceful life, at least give me the strength to endure the opposite. And He has never disappointed me in that aspect.

    Having said all this let me also add that I am learning not to be a bitter person. I don’t want to hold my past against anyone. I do want to get married again, primarily because I want to have children – most importantly a girl child. If I don’t have a girl child biologically, I will definitely adopt one. Because I know that I have it in me to nurture her to be a strong woman like me. I have not lost faith in the concept of marriage, because I was brought up in a household where couples have had long lasting relationships till death did them apart.

    I have denied a lot of wonderful guys in the last one year due to the internal issues I have. But I know I will come over that too. I always have.

    To all those who have commented in here about their experiences and the incidents they have seen…. I just want to say something I have learnt on my own –

    We ALL have A CHOICE in life. WE ALL DO. You just have to be brave and smart enough to make the right one. If you fall, you still HAVE A CHOICE to get up. Just like me. And I am just another ordinary human being.

    Thank you all once again.

    And thank you eM for being the person that you are. I wish you all the best in life. God bless you.

    Warm Regards,

  24. this is really miserable but sadly ..its true. there are so many women who if given a chance would run away from such husbands but its not that easy.

    with divorce come so many other things. if u have kids ..its ur kids u've got to think about. how it would affect them?

    secondly ..the money factor. so many women dont even work. at times u just stick around for money coz u know its only through this guy ull stay alive ..somewhere down the line ..thats true. they're scared to be independent ..or go back to their parents. again ..the whole 'what will people say' thing!

    its easy to just talk about divorces. well thats what happens in 'modern' india but deep inside there are many who want to get away but cant ..

    btw, eM ur posts! keep writing :)

  25. Sorry folks,if my comment looks rediculs. Sana has my deepest sympathys for what happened to her(well, i actually want to appriceate to her strong character for be able to keep smiling after such a bad marriage). But pugzzled that why were anobody had not had a clue abt this guy behaviour(considering his heavy drinking which is dificult to hide at such level.

  26. I think this posting and the comments thread is discussing a very important issue. No one should stay in a relationship because of the deterrent of getting a divorce. The perceived social stigma is the primary deterrent. And we need to work towards getting rid of this perception -- By actually changing the society. But also by making it well known that there is life after divorce! I think Sana's story can serve to free many women in abusive relationships. Her messages convey strength and optimism, and I wish her all the happiness in life. But I also hope that she will follow-up in a few years/months to let everyone know how happy one can be if one is strong enough to make a decision against the wishes of society.

  27. EM, lovely post, thank you for sharing:)

    Sana, my heart goes out to you. you are brave, and so wise. And, I love what you say about god and endurance. may god bless you richly.

  28. Sana,
    From your words we can make out how you have matured and how well you have recovered from such a bad experience. You are on the right track and will definitely go a long way in life.

    May god bless you and your future family with lots of love and luck!!

  29. I am very happy you have put this here Meenakshi

    Not everyone is privilleged like you to lead the Smirnoff lifestyle, but many Indians here & abroad, do suffer a lot. But what you reproduced here is the pits

  30. It is very sad that to this day, as 'educated' as our society is, things like these happen. And worst of it, if the 'society' thinks that somehow the woman has to keep on taking the abuse and stay in the marriage then we dont need such a society. After what Sana has done, my respect for her only grows. And its not like she took a bold step. As she said she tried hard to make it work, it was a kind of eventuality that she was forced to make.

  31. Here all posts that I am feeling just a consolation to 'Sana'.But I have different opinion ie, this is Life lesson to Sana. I think she is from IT/BPO profession. These days most of the Divorces take over from the couple whom woking flexible shifts. Before you jump into a Professional life you should plan or divide Job VS Life..In job you can tell or your Boss smoothly suggest all positive attitudes, In Life same aspect of queries none push as a Positive attitude. In Job All Negatives are the experience of or way of a Positive side. But in Life never ..ever expect a support for your negative character or negative plans.....There comes the word "Divorce".This may happen suppose for a "Perk". THE MAJOR SUCCESSFUL LONG LIFE TO INDIA'S MARRIAGE SYSTEM IS THE SUPPORT OF PARENTS, ONCE YOUR PARENTS SAYS HE/SHE IS 'WRONG' OR 'NO' THAT WOULD BE THE GREATEST WORD AMONG YOUR LIFE MORE THAN A ADVISE FROM A FRIEND AS I BELIEVED. NEXT THING IS "ENGLISH IS WORLD WIDE SMOOTH SPEAKABLE LANGUAGE". IN INDIA MOST OF THE PEOPLE KNOW ENGLISH ONLY THEY ARE USING FOR PROFESSIONAL AND ABROAD LIFE EXPERIENCE. THE REALITIES MOST OF THEM USE AND GROWN UP FROM THEIR "INDIA'S MOTHER TONGUES" IN INDIA. SO MY ADVISE IS TO ALL OF YOU "IF YOU SPEAK ENGLISH, NOT THE MEANING YOU ARE 100%, MOST OF THE PERCENTAGE BASED ON YOUR GENES".

  32. Hi Dude,

    Lets not make any assumption weather sana is from BPO/IT or as a matter of fact where she is working. what ever happened to her is a terrible thing. and this could happen to anybody around us. its important we support the bold decitions that are necessary to take(like a divorce) against such intolarable behaviour. and what is this crap about 100% english and totally unwanted free advices huhhh?

    did you forget that people have a right called freedom? no person in this world has to act on soebody decitions who think they are good for us. how come anybody say what is good for somebody? its our life and we are capable of standing on our own legs and will choose what is right for us.

    keep your suggestions with you. and stop trying to impose them on others.

    PS: this is to the anonymous user who posted comment just before this one.

  33. Sana's Story is not just an emotional and heart touching narration. Its the reality which is being experienced by lot of women. So first of all she should realize that she is not alone and secondly whatever she has faced dosen't mean tha all men are like that. My question is what does she aor u have to say about me who have to suffer because they are liberal enough to give all freedom to their woman??

  34. Sana: I realize this is not the usual sort of advice people would give but I'll suggest opening up to a close male relative (who's preferably older, at least emotionally). An older unmarried cousin etc. with whom you have a perfectly platonic relationship is a good choice.

    Or get counseling. As you so rightly realize in the email, you have to get over this incident in your life and be happy again. The same taboo against divorce that we have in India also seems to apply to getting psychiatric help. You don't have to be crazy to go see a doctor, just have problems, just like a lot of us do.

    Please work hard to make yourself happy again. I'm sure your friends and parents (and us) would want to see a happy outcome out of this.

  35. i have a cousin who filed for a divorce from her husband within 3 months of their marriage. cos he was abusive to an extend which i'm still not told of. just because he was 'a well respected man of d same community' (just like how sana's ex was considered to be), everyone thought he was perfect. but he turned out to be quite the contrary.

    she's now happily married to a man (of a different community) who truly loves her but it took many years and a migration for my cousin to regain her self confidence and life.

    there r a lot of ppl who dont approve her act, but if she didnt put her foot down to stop her ex from hurting her, i highly doubt she would have been alive today to live the good things that life has for her.

    it is true that divorce sort of has become a commercial thing these days, but there are times when the women need to stand for their rights. and there will always be someone who criticizes a woman for divorcing her husband. to hell with wat ppl say, it's ur life, not theirs. they r not the ones who are living in ur shoes... thats y they can so easily pass judgments.

  36. Hi eM,

    One of the many readers who never commented, but this post necessiates a reaction.

    @ Sana: First, I won't claim to understand totally how you feel, however, as a woman, I can dread going through what you did. I had a relationship once, which was emotionally abusive. Where the other person feeds on your positive energy, turning it negative and himself growing stronger at your expense. Took me some years to build back my self esteem, bit by bit, answering thousands of questions I asked myself during that time.
    My advice to women in all relationships: Never keep your self interest at any priority below No. 1. There's no other place for it. And it does not make you selfish.

    A friend once shared what she had heard during a spiritual discourse. Someone hurts you for a moment or for 1 year, or 2 or 3 or 4... But by keeping those memories and hanging on to them forever, you are hurting yourself more than he did.
    It's hard, but it's true.

    I am sure you have heard of these books- Daughters of Arabia, Bitter Chocolate, Difficult Daughters..etc. Your blog is a window to women from different backgrounds and leading different lives. At times the peek in your life through this blog may look quite an aimless wandering, however, this blog has also made you quite famous. Maybe, you can play a greater role for the cause of women, than most of us could.

    Another point I would like to make. In India, most people blame the girl for divorces. They feel the western influence is increasing the divorce rates and decreasing the level of tolerance among younger women. Bringing publicity to such instances (As Sana's) would help in two ways:

    1. Make people realize, that all unhappy marriages are not bad marriages. They can be worked out.

    2. When you are in a bad marriage, divorce not only the person but his/her memories as well. And do it as soon as you realize it's a bad marriage.

    Easier said than done...sighh...

  37. Marriage scares the hell out of me. I am a guy in 30s...but I am wary of it: initially every one tries to put the best foot forward. Every thing is goody and mushy. Once the strings are attached, the real person comes up. Dis-respect for parents is a biggie- specially for the guy, it's unbearable.
    And this is for both sides- the guy and the gal.
    So, don't label be as a chauvinist. Just wanted to put my thought across :-)
    I am a not very frequent visitor to your blogs..but they are always nicely penned...keep it up. Ciao :-)


    Hi LOL..!!!!

    I concluded you are not come @ur maturity date even its happened and you have no idea about the meaning and practical side of "Freedom".If you have full freedom and own legs you will do whatever you want in this country???.Then I can tell that he used his freedom on Sana..Wht's wrong?? Everyone can use their maximum freedom their own..Hey Honey,..All freedoms have set of boundaries.If it goes beyond we have to curtail otherwise Public or Professional life might curtail your Private Life.If you want more freedom just protest against this and gain 50%=50% at Parliament.Do you want realistic and living victim of freedom---ask Clinton and Monica..After you can roar like BELOW points
    PS:Above points are reply to Whoever expressed below points.

    Hi Dude,

    Lets not make any assumption weather sana is from BPO/IT or as a matter of fact where she is working. what ever happened to her is a terrible thing. and this could happen to anybody around us. its important we support the bold decitions that are necessary to take(like a divorce) against such intolarable behaviour. and what is this crap about 100% english and totally unwanted free advices huhhh?

    did you forget that people have a right called freedom? no person in this world has to act on soebody decitions who think they are good for us. how come anybody say what is good for somebody? its our life and we are capable of standing on our own legs and will choose what is right for us.

    keep your suggestions with you. and stop trying to impose them on others.

    PS: this is to the anonymous user who posted comment just before this one.

  39. I am moved by your post Sana . I am glad that you are courageous enough to come out and write about your life. not many people do that. I am also like you. read my posts on domestic violence on my blog.
    wish you all the very best in life
    My blog entry has been selected for top ten in the mother's day contest vote for me and pass this link to all your friends to help me for
    TIKULI spinning a yarn of life.As the contest depends mainly on networking pls get as many votes as you can

    thanks ..

  40. We think its nothing big. We think it just happens to other people. Like eM said, we think its just in some other universe far removed from us. But, its not that uncommon. It happens. A lot. Around us. To people we know. Take a stand on this. Act now! If you remember, there was recently a campaign on TV with Boman Irani More info on

  41. @Sana and @eM: Reading this took me back to the day when my mother, finally, after seven years of putting up with physical and emotional abuse, walked out on my abusive and alcoholic father. He and his family thought that she will be back with her two brats (two girls, my father's drinking - all were her fault, apparently). She never went back. Instead, she went to college, got her masters and a solid job; but it was years before she regained her self-confidence. No, she didn't remarry. Till date, that is my only regret. She simply gave up on her right to be happy with a man. She put us through school and college singlehandedly. She is happy - she has friends, a supportive family, a job she loves and she is financially independent.

    Like someone commented earlier, divorce is viewed as failure and woman is to blame for not trying harder. Till that attitude prevails, most women would prefer to stay in an abusive marraige. Having a supportive family is the only way to get over 'what society thinks'. We were very lucky that my mother's family was understanding and helpful, even my newly-wed aunt was. My family members - this was more than 20 years ago - were treated like pariahs, but they never wavered. They showed me and my sister knew what a happy marriage is. My mom, I and my sister have developed very thick skins when it comes to 'what society thinks'. At one point in time, I used to make friends based solely on how they reacted when told about my parents' marriage. My best friend in school, couldn't accept, and so did not to tell me, when her father started on his descent into alcoholism and started abusing her mother. It is emotionally scarring for the wife as well as the kids. I want to say to all the women who stay in an abusive marraige 'for the sake of the children': don't. If you can get out and be financial independence, please do. Don't subject your self-esteem, your life, and your children's emotional balance to the daily horrors of a bad marraige.Had we all lived my father, I shudder to think how we would have turned out.

    Yes, I remember the shouting, the sound of violence, my mother sobbing. I also remember the joy on my mother's face once she got her master's degree, her first salary and when both I and my sister got our first jobs.

    @Sana: I really cannot claim to understand how you feel, but I can tell you one thing - you really did make the best decision in your life. I know you must be tired of hearing this, but it gets better with time. I would recommend counseling, though. One terrible experience with men should not be the reason you should be alone.

    I am really sorry, for the long comment. I wrote as I thought and couldn't bring myself to edit it.

  42. Well much has been said n done on this.
    @Sana: Kudos to you. You seriously took the best decision of your life to walk out on marriage. You will take time to recover, but recover you will. Don't rush it, neither prevent it :)

    almost 3 summers ago, I met a girl with a similar past. she was 22. her parents were not supportive. she filed for divorce n moved out to a different town to live on her own far from a society she believed was unjust. she started her struggle all alone. it was during a long conversation one night, that it she burst out... listening to hurt is a gut-wrenching experience. felt like ripping the heart out of the alcoholic!! however, having known her trauma, i knew what i had to do... it was tough, very tough. she wasn't always cooperative, it was an great relief to know one day that she would be travelling home sometime soon, n then to hear her mum claim that her daughter has been smiling after ages...
    its then i realised that the hurt was far greater than i thought it was, n yes, i never had to judge her for her divorce. neither did my friends. i was honestly surprised n glad when they rallied around her n supported her during the final proceedings of her divorce.
    a more educated n socially aware society can iron out these maladies. if not prevent, they can surely cure them.

  43. I wish you all the absolutely very best in your life ahead, Sana. You deserve it. May you be happy, strong, successful, loved and at peace. I wish the same for others who have written here about living through and getting out of bad marriages and abuse.

    As for Em, there must be an intelligent, thinking soul in there. The frivolous blog persona seems to have taken on a life of its own- and has probably given you many career/life opportunities. I read the blog every now and then but don't relate to it and sometimes, look down on the lifestyle you and so many from the urban young upper middle class represent. Happy to have seen another side here- not that what I think makes a hoot of a difference to you- and good for you for that:)


  44. Yes, luckily, I too have been with men who respected women...

    Recently, my neighbour ( who moved in some time ago) confessed to my mom that her husband often subjected her to domestic violence of unspeakable extremes. This woman is highly educated, with 2 grown up children. The daughter, about 25 years old, is educated too, but is pretty much house-bound and not allowed to leave the house much. The mother has been in this abusive relationship for decades. Why? For the children? When, in fact, it would have been better for them had she left? I don't know.. it's easy for us to talk from a 3rd person's point of view, I guess. I feel shocked to think of this evil living just beyond my house. It is a scary thought.

    I would like to thank Sana for sharing her story, it has helped us all... Best of luck with your life, Sana. May you have happiness always.

    And Em, I have been a regular reader. Only, too lazy to comment.

  45. Dear eM

    I find that the blogs you write when you look inward with honesty are usually your best.

    This hasn't been the case for a while now - although I am sure it must be tougher to look inward with as much honesty publicly now that you are no longer anonymous.

    I hope you can start doing this again, since that is what made is blog such a therapeutic read.

  46. I live in the Middle East right now, have done so for the past 2 years...and although divorce, at least in this particular country, is common, it's always the woman who ends up getting the raw deal.

    I think Sana is incredibly brave for firstly choosing to tell a stranger all about the horror she's been through; and for allowing that stranger to put up (some of) the details on what is a very well-read and well-known blog. Somewhere women are reading excerpts of what she's told eM and thinking "oh my god, that's me. it's time to get out."

    I hope you're happier now, Sana, and that things get easier for you!

  47. The worst part about such guys is that they make you realize that all this is your fault and you believe them.. And even after so much you still have feelings for them for which you hate yourself..

  48. Like everyone else here, I also think it was really nice of Sana to share her story, and it was a neat idea of eM's to write about it. I think women need, more than anything else, an active support system, whether it's online, on a Blog, or in person. Women the world over need to speak up about these horrid issues that are very, very real. We all have voices, but combined, we all have a roar. Maybe then, we'll be heard.

  49. This is indeed a sad story. What's worse is - on the one hand we make a woman the First Citizen of the country to show how much we've progressed, while on the other, a divorced woman is still a social pariah. So much so, that a woman would rather commit suicide than get a divorce. Things must change, and they must right now, beginning with our perception.

  50. Didnt think it would come out in the open, ever. I wrote about my sexual abuse as a child in my blog. Turns out, wrong thing to do. I got threatened to remove it off my blog. *sigh* . Whatever happened to "freedom of expression".

    I went through an abusive relationship as well. When I was all of 20. He was a drug addict and one day, in a fit of rage broke my nose. Now, I know this sounds horrible to a lot of people but at that time, I didnt even know how bad it was and can you believe it, I went back to him, thinking that I could make a difference. He loves me and he will never do it again. even his mother supported him and you know what she said "he only hits those people who he loves". amazing iniit, how blind a mother can be. He used to hit her as well. I was completely dissillusioned. And I was so horrible wrong. A couple of months later, he beat me up, tore all my clothes and left me out in the street in the middle of the night. He even kept my bag and phone. It was just pure luck that I had some money in my pocket. I bought a shirt from the gaurd of the apartments for a 100 bucks, took a cab and came back home. He came to my house the next day, apologising and promising that it would never happen again. I threw him out.

    Now, I know that people will think I was stupid to not do this the first time. But you see, for things like these you have to hit your own bottom. You have to realise when you can take no more of it. Now, if I ever see an abusive relationship, I cant stop myself from lashing out. I cant bear the thought of another woman going through it. But I also know, that there are a lot of women who done want help. They are happy in their sad little situations and are trying to live their lives the best way they can. Its not necessary that every woman in an abusive relationship is looking for a way out and no amount of talking or explaining would help. They have to realise it on their own.

    I have issues trusting men too. Its been six years since that relationship. But I am healing, slowly but surely.

    I am not looking for a miracle. I just hope that one day I would reach the stage where I can post this comment in my own name and not anonymously.

    May Sana find her peace and love.

  51. I believe that the sum total of happiness in a human's life is always a constant, which means that everybody, good or bad, Ugly or beautiful, rich or poor, will feel the same level of distress and happiness. All one needs to do is to keep moving on, and actively seeking happiness.

    @ Sana, You will find ur happiness and it will take all your pain away if you actively seek it. All the best.

  52. wauh, much realistic_fable comments for this post.

    We challenge you any woman can overcome against this cruelity?.Here none of you can not make any action for any issue, lack of your energy..The best solution is declare a strike against this issue in one date and beat men publicly. Everyone should aware about of the matter..This is the only one way of solution and the Indian Law must open eyes if it strike goes two or three.

  53. I think I am going to repeat what most of the people here have already said, that it is a story that makes me sad.. and I wish that she did not have to face that... It must have taken guts for Sana to come out like this. I hope that she becomes a stronger person...

    I am a to be lawyer and my father and my grandfather both are advocates. I have seen my fair share of divorce cases and bickering couples both in the office and at home. One of my cousin got divorced within a year of her marriage... that too after dating her husband for 10 years. And truth be told, most of her closer family- never really believed that she was never at fault. My family knows the details, because -My father negotiated the divorce. Its a hard world for women who have suffered a divorce... I wonder, why does the society look down upon the woman who stood up for her right... To a better life... When will the double standards in our society really end??

  54. Sana u r a brave women, it takes a lot of courage to step out of a marriage and face this society. Though there will always be people who point fingers, there will be those who will be inspired by your courage. I admire you for what you are.

    Thanks eM for posting this!

  55. Sana ur a really strong woman to be able to walk out like that. i wish i had ur guts, i'm too scared to react even when someone eve-teases me. i jus ignore it. dont know what i would have done if i'd been in ur situation.the worst part is society always blames the woman, that she must have brought it upon her. bt then its not this so called society which is suffering.

  56. A question I would ask the liberated women here.. how do you judge your guy ?.

    In my search experience for a bride through parents,Let me tell you, I for one, dont drink or smoke and have clear morals when it comes to pre marital & extra marital relationships.So I would expect my partner to share similar values. I must confess, that most of the women i meet, find me too traditional/conservative for their liking.
    Now whom you choose, a liberated guy with drinking habit(to not restrain your own drinking) and history of failed relationships (so he has no issues with your past). Now when the choice of guy is made on such premises, and later you complain of abusive relationships.

    I totally sympathise with Sana and pain, as I have personally witnessed a close family member going through the pain.

    But in the guise of being liberated, I wonder are women really making the right choices?

    Are our culture & traditional values are any relevant in such decisions?

  57. Indeed a gut wrenching read. My heart goes out to Sana and wish best of her life.

    But then, eM, Don't you think many of us make a big hue about Men's world and Bechari Women, stereotyping the whole male spieces, when, there could be many Men who would have experienced the same or simillar from Female. There are and would be many, much more cases then we actually are aware of, of a Man being physically beaten and Mentally totured by women.

    Its just that Man don;t tent to come out open bcz of his typical "Man's Ego" or being looked soft among his mates. But trust me, there are. And I can say this with full convictions of being a Men.

    However, such moronic beasts like (Sana's Hubby) make me feel disgusting for being a Man. I wudnt say more... for again same reasons.! but there are cases with other-way-round.!!

  58. It is heart-warming to see comments pouring in such huge numbers for this post. And I know more than that is required to address such issues.

    A few years ago, I myself had a half-baked opinion of divorces. Yes, even then I always had the painful reality of abusive marriages in mind - but in a corner of my mind. Since then things have changed and I have looked at things a lot more practically.

    And I think if the divorce is the way to save a beleaguered individual from the straits imposed cruelly by wedlocks in individual circumstances or systems, then it should be available.

    On the aside I agree to an earlier comment here: we probably look at failed marriages with an unconsciously gloating feeling probably because we revel in others' failures in some things where we ourselves are relatively successful. As for me a uniformly conservative - I do not know if I can call it that - view of divorce is as good or as bad as having a uniformly free choice of divorce (I mean when the circumtances to make a relationship work aren't so strained).

  59. Hi!!
    I've been following ur blog( in newspaper) for quite some time now. Its you who inspired me to create my blog. However I'm only a beginner now nad will improvise with due time.

    I'll appreciate if you can give me some feedback on my articles and tips to blog!! It'll really make my day...

    Ur Admirer!

  60. Many people are using the word "SAD STORY"
    bt frm where I see.....its a story with happy ending(SANA is happy...)
    ya she might be having problems in im sure she will surely fight that also....

    ONE QUES I WANNA ASK U specially ladies...
    Is taking Divorce enough??
    why dont u think of kicking that person's ass so that he remembers that lesson through out his life..

    Another thing I am curious about is.....
    What people mean by this "SOCIETY"???wht it comprises of...

  61. Reminds me of a movie called Absolute Strangers where a bunch of strangers debate on whether a pregnant woman in a coma has the right to abort or not.

    A woman's rights are always questioned and discussed and endlessly debated on, as though the majority's voice will somehow have an impact. Now this topic opens up so many issues it's pretty hard to stay on the relevant track.

    Anyway, a divorce can happen for a variety of reasons and not all of them may make sense to parties who are not involved in the marriage. And should they? Should all divorces come preapproved by at least by one neighbour, moralpolice, well wisher?

    Besides, physical abuse in a marriage is slowly being accepted as reason enough for a woman to get out. But emotional abuse? If there are no visible scars all seems to be well.

    As to the highly enlightened soul who puts the blame squarely on BPOs and the YINGLISH language for such a degraded state of affairs and seems thankful for Sana to have learned a Life Lesson, you should write a book. Preferably not in YINGLISH.

  62. I have been married for 3 months and and my husband has been physically abusive twice. My in-laws refuse to acknowlege the abuse as an issue, at times my folks too. Unfortunately there is no quick fix. A part of me still believes that this guy will be fine but will need psychiatric help. Thanks eM and Sana for the post. And Sana i know it must have taken a lot of courage to do what you have done. Take care.

  63. this is highly mushy coming from you, though i read you i never commented. here goes my first. kudos, good work comps..:)))))

  64. Being just a fifteen year old, I know I might not make a lot of sense.
    [And why was she going through it alone? It should be okay to get a divorce if your husband treats you badly, why must you be judged for it?]
    You're absolutely right.
    I bet people would've wanted her to save her marriage, but I think she did the right thing by saving herself.

    It takes a lot of time to heal scars,but I'm sure Sana will definitely get a better life. No, she'll get the better life that she absolutely deserves.

    Sana is brave and kudos to her for actually talking about it.

    Thanks a lot for this post, eM. It was an eye-opener.

  65. disclaimer : long comment :P

    ok .. one of my cousin went through an 18 month abusive relationship - physically emotionally mentally .in all dimensions
    she came out thinking she was the one screwed up !!and even went for therapy !

    its unbelievable if you get to know about the kind of torture she went through ..
    now thankfully,she is out of it and happily married to a nice was easier for her to move on due to family and friends support....

    the guy has a mental disorder diagnosed by the psychiatrist and it runs in his family !
    His parents and his siblings were fine with hitting,abusing each other
    on a daily basis [ not the normal fights we have at home ] and they thought it was the way a normal family is.
    They used to throw things,slap each other, say they'll kill the father someday soon..,kick the mother.

    I could not believe people like this existed actuallyy !
    and they had the nerve to call my cousin a mental.

    The psychiatrist said its narcissist disorder,bi polar disorder that run in that family !

    i do not even want to share the details of what all happened because its sickening to even recall...

    my cousin had a normal girl of mid twenty something life....partying, hangin with friends, working hard,being independent,.....this guy came into her life , he realized she was very innocent and gullible....made her cut off from friends and family ..made her move in with him, got married and then the abusive part started to show itself more ..and since all of this was rushed...when my cousin was abused ..she could not immediate run for help to family or friends....
    The guy used to abuse.., say he is sorry later on and it wouldnt happen again or point out to some behaviour of her and blame his abusive behaviour as a reaction to her wrong doing ....

    its important people know this kinda shit happens !

    Actually a lot of these people who abuse are mentally sick and need psychiatric help [ not that it in anyway justifies them abusing others..]
    also a lot of them were abused or things went wrong in their childhood....again its not a reason for being a monster...

    there are many many women and men who have grown up to be decent human beings despite similar challenges and abusive backgrounds

    its important for us to teach our children and women especially not to try so hard ---a lot of women stick in relationships where they are not happy/miserable because they are in love....because they are committed , because they feel the need to try harder, because they think the guy needs another chance.

    we are very thankful that my cousin got out of it sane...everyone warned her about him as he didnt seem too alright but since she was in love and committed to being with one guy -first guy kinda thing..,she kept at it..

    it made her grow up [ as she was a very innocent simple kinda person !] and she is on ultra high alert with men !..lucky she found a nice guy ..took her 2 years and lots of care....

    her self confidence was shaken and she needed a lot of re assurance from us ..and more importantly from herself that she is fine ....!!

    Sana -- u are great ! :)jus make sure u are happy no matter what [ with or without a man !]

    Moving away from abusive relationships...,
    am leaving some general thoughts about the need to be "happy" when "in love" with any guy/gal u are going out with or settling down

    i see so oo many couples who claim [ maybe are ] in love but soo UNHAPPY ..
    i know its not for me to judge ..maybe they are happy being "unhappy" and in love

    i dont know

    but surely when the girl is crying 4-5 times a week all night for this or that reason
    ...hmm well

    Women i feel are too idealistic about men or about love --that we continue in unhappyy relationships becuase they
    think they are in love.
    second problem lot of women [maybe men too i don't know :P]--- we keep giving in --in the name of love hoping the guy will change in the future....hoping that adjusting now will make the relationship last longer and lead to marriage,family etc....

    like one of my wise friends pointed out

    be focussed in the present -- if u are not experiencing ANY happiness at all from being in love RIGHT now.., honey , u aint going to feel happier in the future...

  66. Well, there are a few absoulte assh
    #$%s out there and unfortunately Sana got hooked up with one! Life's design is incomprehensible and perhaps, there was a reason she went through what she went through... The guy would have his di## fried in pan, not to worry! Sana, I hope love will heal you. Peace.

  67. Hi. I am a student of NUJS, Kolkatta currently working at Breakthrough, Delhi. This post is most interestingly written as it very sensitively deals with the point of view of a women who has been subjected to an abusive relationship and in her letter portrays the most pertinent issue of prevalent domestic violence even after being exposed to adequate education. And you have managed to put the issue in focus quite well.
    Well, I work on a youth oriented site called and would love for you to blog on it. Posts like this one, which bring to the fore discussions and debates carrying on in the social media world around sensitive topics like Domestic Violence. This we do, on the Bell Bajao site as well, where we have a category called "Social Media Buzz" which houses blogs highlighting conversations from social networking sites, blogs and other websites.

    Please visit the site and do write back to me at about your thoughts on the campaign. And if you're interested, do blog on the site as well. And if you're a regular blogger, we'd be happy to put you on our blogroll and crosslink your blog page on our site.

    Thanks and hoping to hear from you,

  68. I am late coming here and honeslty... like many have said... I have been through physical abuse from loved ones. I understand. But I am cured. I have come to realise that life is all about choices. Might sound crazy but its ok to forgive too. I now know that people are weak. Its no use punishing yourself for what someone else could not do correctly in their life. My mom always says... you don't gather rubbish in your own home to throw it on someone else. I'd rather define the rules of my own life and live it as I want to. I would rather be in the driver's seat and decide where I wanna go. May be I will make mistakes... but then I'd rather label them as events where I had something to take from... rather than label them bad and beleive they happened because something was wrong with me. Nothing is wrong with you Sana. And it was not your fault. It was not your fault. As soon as you beleive that... its gonna be ok. Life can be complicated sometimes. Answers come to those who look for them. Your life and whatever happened has ensured you will never stop growing. You will be a shining light of courage and hope for so many others... just think about how many amazing things will come out of it all. You are strong not just for yourself but for others too. I'd say there is a lot of weight in the saying whatever happens, happens for good. Your destiny is in your hands now. To feel pain or happiness is a choice and you have to make one. So what will it be for you? :)

    All the love in the world!
    Take care.


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