Posted: March 18th, 2023
woman who has been blessed with the birth of healthy children in her life has a passion and a duty to make the best life possible for those children. But unless her own life is productive, meaningful, is free from physical and emotional abuse and has the substance that comes with a good education, she cannot hope to provide that often elusive “better life” for her progeny. Hence, as I seek to complete my portfolio and pass this course, I am of mindful of the value my education offers to my own life, but also, my education will have a profound impact on the future for my children.
In India, as recent news reports reflect, many woman face social and personal obstacles that are so daunting as to be debilitating. While I too have experienced the degrading reality of domestic violence, I am a bright, alert, hard-working woman with the will power and the fortitude to face — and successfully confront — any challenges my culture places before me.
My Life, My Dreams, My Goals, and the Abuse I have Endured
As a young woman growing up in India, I had great dreams and aspirations about my future. I knew that women in India — due to the caste system and to cultural norms that date back hundreds of years — had to struggle to become independent and successful, but I was fully prepared to do my best to win any struggle that may come my way.
I very much wanted to pursue a career, not just for my independence and potential earning power, but for my psychological well-being. I was alert to the way in which many women had their dreams and hopes trampled by abusive men, but I also knew that I could not have a career in India as a single woman. So I married a man I believed to be a good partner, and who would see the value of a relationship in which a woman could advance in the Indian culture through success in education and in the workplace.
It didn’t work out that way at all. Shortly after my marriage, the emotional and physical abuse began. I tried to act differently to please him, but instead of things getting better, they simply got worse. I was slapped, slugged, demeaned verbally and raped numerous times by my own husband. I was pushed and hit so hard I thought I would need hospitalization. I was treated like a living corpse for so long I began to doubt the value of my existence; I forgot my identity and became depressed.
I know my case is not unique at all. Indeed, the ongoing crime of abuse for women in India has been on the front pages of newspapers all over the world in the past few months. According to Indian journalist Stella Paul, the National Crime Record Bureau of India has published statistics that show “â€¦since 1953 there has been an 873% rise of rape cases in India” (Paul, 2013). Moreover, in 2012 newspapers have reported “â€¦horrific rape cases involving four-year-old baby girls and 80-year-old women” (Paul, p. 1).
Paul explains that in India, the media rarely takes a stand against gender-based violence. “Rape or sexual harassment has always been seen by Indian media as a ‘soft’ issueâ€¦ [and] every time a rape of a case or sexual violence against women has come into the open, law makers, politicians, and even religious leaders have held women responsibleâ€¦” (Paul, p. 1).
Against this ghastly cultural background, I was fortunate to give birth to my first baby, a wonderful boy, and that experience gave me the energy to begin to stand up for myself, to gather courage, and to speak up. My second born gave me the same moral and psychological lift. Even though much of the abuse has stopped, I desperately want out of this marriage. First I need to finish my education, for me, and for my children, and then I will be liberated and free to excel.
In conclusion, my major is Speech Language Pathology; I intend to work with children and adults with speech problems. I want all the children of India to grow up safe, and to be able to express their dreams and visions with clarity. I want to give back to my community, and through my education and my independence, I will be able to help others while, as an independent, educated woman, I will also be in a position to guide my own offspring in a positive, productive direction.
Paul, Stella. (2013). The War Against Rape Begins With Taking Responsibility. Huffpost Impact. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com.
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