My first cousin - my own blood - is a wife-beater

I found this out on Wednesday before Thanksgiving and it’s been eating at me ever since. He lives in India, in Jaipur, so I can’t do anything and I keep thinking about it. Then I thought - the Pit, of course. What a great place to relieve stress.

Anyway, my mother’s older brother (Mamaji) had two sons and a daughter. Mamaji tested at genius level in school and it seems all the good genes went to his daughter. The younger son is a drug addict (prescription-type stuff, I take it) and the elder - well.

He demeans her. He yells at her. Tells her she is unimportant. Doesn’t want her to talk to anyone. And occasionally slaps her around when he feels like it, too.

From what I can gather there are no support groups for this type of thing. Not like those *modern * Americans. The family doesn’t say much, you’re not supposed to interfere between married couples.

The good news is my aunt visited India this summer, and for three days talked to my sister-in-law. Gave her some backbone. Put her into beautician school, bought her books, etc. So she is getting some independence but apparently not enough.

I am so furious about this I don’t know whether to scream or cry. I am by far the most independent girl in my family. I would never accept such a thing, but if my husband beat me my family would probably react the same way.

I don’t think I could ever speak civilly to this cousin again. I despise him.

I work in a town with a large Indian population. We very rarely get domestic disturbance calls from those neighborhoods. In one of the rare cases we were sent to, the wife was beaten on the legs severly with a broom stick causing tremendous contusions. The wife told me it was because she didn’t get pregnant yet. She explained to me that it was hard to get pregnant when your husband is too drunk to have sex all the time. When it came to court the wife would not cooperate. Suddenly she could not speak English. Her uncle was sitting in the front row of the court room. He was the patriarch of the family and it was pretty clear why the wife would no longer cooperate. The husband was of course found not guilty.

Elenia, when it comes to the Indian culture this has been the norm in my experience. Maybe you could shed some light on this. Is it prevelant in your opinion? Is it changing at all?In the above case the only reason the wife called the police in the first place was because she talked to a friend who was more “Americanized.”

Where do you live, Loach?

And yes, this is the norm, I’m afraid to say. My parents to this day want to know why I won’t marry an Indian guy. I’m not saying they’re all wife-beaters - in fact, in my family this is the first case in my generation of kids. But there isn’t respect for the woman as a person.

I would be expected to cook, clean, and take care of the kids. Not to mention I would be expected to spawn pretty soon. I might have a progressive husband who appreciated my view, but most likely his would always be the final decision. And if I went to my parents with complaints they would side with him.

Not every Indian man, mind you - but it’s still very strong.

I didn’t answer this. Sure it is. Bride-burning and dowries are limited to small towns now. :rolleyes: Rich families’ kids can date, in public, for up to a year while they decide whom they want to marry. Divorce is highly taboo, though…even when your husband is in an insane asylum! (True story).

Thank all the luck in the world I have such a good guy (and he’s *not * desi!)

Unfortunately this kind of thing isn’t simply a human problem but also a cultural one. Most cultures in the world place very little value on women. There are some where this is not the case, but sadly it’s very few. It comes down to monkey see, monkey do - dad beats mom, son sees it all the time, grows up thinking that if this happens everywhere, it must be normal or the right thing to do.

Elenia28 , I hope there will be some kind of justice coming soon for this lady. Sorry to hear how upsetting this is for you.

First of all, my sympathies, Elenia, I know these inground cultural things can be very hard to deal with. I hope things work out better for your sister.

It sounds like the problem isn’t just your wife-beating cousin, but the culture that makes his family side with the wife-beater. Is there no mechanism to shame or otherwise control a wife-beater over there?

Well, you probably already know what my first instinct is to do to him. :wink:

On a more serious note, I just can’t understand the lack of family support for the lady.
How would it be if wifey slapped hubby silly?

Hmm. I owe my extremely good education, which has done more to set me free than anything else in the world, primarily to my father-who not only pushed me and my sister kicking and screaming into academics but told us that we have a special need as Indian women to be able to protect ourselves by being able to work in high-paying careers. This is an Indian man who is one year away from turning 60 year and actually happens to be my mother’s house-husband and my stay-at-home father and more of a self-proclaimed feminist than either me or my sister.

I think it would be rather hard to ask any one of the Indian posters on this board to make generalised comments about Indian culture at large given that it’s composed cultures that vary rather widely (although I agree there is a broader commonality). Like any other culture it varies widely according to any number of factors. Certainly my experience as a Maharashtrian Brahmin isn’t remotely similar to those of my friends who are Indian but from other parts of South India.

I know I was making a generalization which wouldn’t be true across the board. I mean how big is the population of Indian? Is it up to a billion yet? I know the culture is very diverse and it may be different depending on where in the country someone is from. The area of my town that I was speaking of consists mostly of people with the last name of Patel. I have heard that this indicates a specific region of the country but I may have heard wrong.

Simple answer is New Jersey. My current situation is a bit more complicated than that but it is not relevant.

Patel is a common name in the western state of Gujarat, especially among Hindus of the “Vaishya” group (the third of the four varnas or basic Hindu divisions of humanity), but not uncommon among Muslims either.

Rajasthan, where Elenia’s cousins live in Jaipur, does tend to have a worse record on women’s rights and women’s status (low female literacy, high percentage of child marriages, etc.), than some other regions.

Elenia, I’m going to visit Jaipur next week; you want me to yell at your cousin for you?

Fuck, no. KICK HIS ASS. He’s a big wimp, like most bullies are. Here digs around, pulls up a baseball bat. This will do. And if you lose it, use a cricket bat - they’re everywhere.

Yes, I believe we had a conversation once where you told me you were serving - was that you? I just wanted to know generally.
anu-la1979**: I am glad your father was so modern, but it is definitely the exception, I’m afraid. You were lucky.

Hi, harmless! And it would be apt, wouldn’t it?

I judt don’t know. I think Chandigarh is a little better. This is a city the British built before they left, and my other uncle tells me girls are safer there, and laws are better, too. But I’m what? 16000 miles away? I have no clue.


Is that man a Muslim? If so, is this situtation (and similar happening in India) what coloured your view on Muslim men as you mentioned in a GD thread ?

Salaam. A

Elenia28, just coming in to recommend a book for you, and for your cousin-in-law, if she can get away with it:

The Mistress Of Spices.

The author does a lot of work with battered wives, and that factors into the story a little bit. I seem to recall that there is contact information in the book about the organization she works for. From what I’ve gathered, their stance seems to be that cultural background is no excuse for abuse, and they do a lot of work with women of other cultures.

The book is a good novel in its own right, but I do get the sense that she writes the relevant passages with a deep understanding of that particular character’s background.

Hang in there…

Nope, he’s Hindu. I certainly never meant to say that I think in any way Muslim men have the monopoly on cruelty and meanness. However, you are correct…similar situations are what have soured my feeings on Muslim men.

I lived in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood from the age of 4 to the age of 12, a very impressionable time I’m sure you’ll agree. Nearly all the Muslim men in my neighborhood, while never wife-beaters, were the masters of their household and brooked no disobedience from their wives. Even when the wives earned as much or more than them and therefore were equal partners.

Now on the same token, I am not quite prepared to marry *any * strict observer of any religion, be it Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism.

I simply have had a good many bad experiences with Muslims. I don’t know how I can express to you that I don’t mind having them as friends…but not as a husband.

Yes, but also an age where you are not able to understand all the finesses behind and leading to a situation.

Maybe it had less to do with their religion then with their cultural background and situation.
According to my father’s patriarchal culture I am what you call “the master of my house” but organisation of the household is not my department. Yet it is my obligation as Muslim husband to see to it that there is help in the househould as much as needed or even thought is needed.
This counts if the women I married stay at home or want to engage themselves in an other activity, payed or not. If they would do something that involves money making, I have no right on that money.

There are at first sight advantages for a man to live in a patriarchal society yet it gives you also a lot of obligations, more so then when you can share that responsiblity.
Example: When there is a dispute at home you could think that you can easily win by using the (civil) equivalent of “shut up”. The trap is that “winning” an argument on such an easy way is the equivalent of openly admitting defeat (I can tell you that sometimes it is tempting). In no time half of the female side of the family (not to speak of the non-family) would be informed that she got me that angry and cornered that I started to shout at her. You can of course keep going on that road until there is no fun for the women left (maybe it shall surprize you but a wife-beater is the ideal target for being mocked as having largely lost the argument with his wife) but I have some feeling that this is not recommendable for having a functioning, loving and caring relationship.

Me too.

Oh well… There goes my dream of having an Indian woman (mmmmmm… Indian Womaaannn) with a US passport in my harem. Gone the ideal escape route out of my present slavery. Read here: I am only permitted to pay the bills. They don’t take for serious my life task of messing a bit with the exegeses of Al Qur’an. On the other hand they do take for serious my remarks and issues about certain words in the text.
Ahhh… life is hell.

Salaam. A

Wait, wait. I really hope I am misunderstanding. You did not say that it is '“fun for the women” when a husband shouts at his wife, correct? You did not imply that the only reason a man beats his wife is because he lost an argument with her, correct?

To Elenia - I am sorry. Even if you were in the same town as your cousin, there is probably not very much you can do. I hope that there are many more people like you who are brave enough to refuse to accept any sort of abuse as normal.

Yes that was me.

Sorry, dear. I can’t sponsor you - I think my boyfriend would highly disapprove! Maybe in the next life…?