Silent Sufferers

Silent Sufferers
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A woman, working for the health department, in Bandipora has died of burn injuries. Her colleagues are crying foul and asserting that she has been murdered by her in laws. If this is true, then it is well and truly alarming and worrisome. Often times, the reasons for fatal cases like this happen because of unmet dowry demands or, at times, estrangement between the married couples which turns ugly. If the case in contention is because of unmet dowry demands, then it is as ugly as it can get. Dowry is an pure and unadulterated evil which has unfortunately, crept, gradually but inexorably into the vitals of our society. Besides being an alien custom to Kashmir, the assumptions behind this odious practice area odious practice. And, in the end, it is the female who suffers either silently or meet a tragic and cruel end at the hands of their in laws usually with their husbands equally complicit in the crime(s). All this is not only callously unfortunate but also a commentary on the nature of those people who take recourse to the evil practice of dowry and harass their life partners or even murder them. The question is: how can this odious practice be nipped in the bud? The answers are manifold but the primary onus and responsibility which must criminalize this evil. If and when the impetus comes from society, then the problem can be remedied and obviated to a large extent. But, this is an approach which might take time. In the interim specific measures must be taken to weed out people who indulge in harassment of women, especially dowry related harassment. First and foremost, women must be educated and alerted about the nature of the problem. That is, they should be sensitized about harassment of this nature so that they not only understand quickly that they are victimized but also speak up against it. Here society’s role becomes important again. If and when women victims are supported by society then they will feel emboldened enough to speak up and report these odious crimes. Another method would be to name and shame harassers through and in social media and report crimes of harassment to women’s organizations that can take up the issues on the behalf of victims. Of course, the measures delineated here are not exhaustive; nor are they foolproof. There are and will be countless unfortunate women victims who for an n number of reasons will neither be able to articulate nor come out of their misery. It is to these silent sufferers that society must direct its attention and remedial action towards.