“It has always been like this. Something ticks him off, and he would start to hit me. He would punch me in the face, use a belt or even choke me at times. I would yell and beg to let go of me. My children would get terrified. And then, after the debacle, he would come back and cry and apologise. He would manipulate my children by begging in front of them. He would ask them to convince me to give him a chance. I would give in. He would then be the best husband ever until something else ticks him off.”
These are the words of a woman who has been a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband. She knows she is suffering. She knows what is happening to her is wrong. But she still stays with her husband. Living in constant fear is her new normal.
Domestic Violence is an indictment to a progressive and liberal society like India. Husbands, Fathers or other family members have inflicted physical violence on every third woman in India after the age of 15, according to the National Family Health Survey. Women, in the name of children, family or society, more often than not, keep suffering such abuse, sometimes, even if they are financially independent. And then, there are few other women who choose to rise against this and fight for what they believe in. Rashmi Anand is among the latter ones.
Rashmi Anand was a victim of Domestic Violence from her husband for 10 years. This not only devastated her life, but also her children’s life who suffered severe trauma. She has, in fact, claimed that at the time when she walked out, her 6-year-old son had completely stopped talking.
Taking a firm stand that ‘enough is enough’, Rashmi walked away to build a new life for herself. She is now an Author, Poet and Social Worker, working primarily with issues of Gender Violence and Domestic Violence.
Rashmi Anand has been the recipient of the Naari Shakti Puraskaar from the President of India, the Neerja Bhanot Award, the Karmaveer Jyoti, the Karmaveer Puraskaar, Doordarshan’s Woman Achiever Award of Aadhi Abaadi Baat Naari Ki, the CNN-IBN Zindagi Live Award, the Bharat Excellence Award, the Indian Woman Achiever’s Award and the Award for Literature from the Indian Council for UN Relations.
Rashmi is a published author of 13 books on gender violence, love, abundance, joy, hope, the human spirit, life and death. In addition to this, she runs the Woman of the Elements Trust that gives free legal aid to women and child victims of Violence who are below the earning capacity of Rs. 5000.
Rashmi gives talks and lectures in schools, colleges and universities as well as corporate houses on similar topics, and works with the Sexual Harassment at the Workplace law. She also gives inspirational talks on her life, on breaking through and on the human spirit at various forums.
Rashmi Anand said, she often gets asked by her well-wishers to move on and away from this cause of domestic violence. They ask her why she put herself through the pain of domestic violence again and again by subjecting herself to the story of others. To this she says, “I know what it is to live in hell. I came out with my life, my children, and my sanity. I was one of the lucky few. I am a woman who has come through – and I have the responsibility to share the strength, courage, positivity and the sheer hope for the future that I have today. And I do.”
This article is part of our series on the international 16 Days of Activism campaign with the theme “Orange the World”.