Sunday, May 03, 2009

When Intimacy Turns Violent

image by penywise, sxc.hu

It Is The Wife-Battering Gene That Is The Cause

When the courtship stages take their predictable route and end up in marriage, it is but natural to presume that the happy times will continue to roll on. In some cases they do. But in some other cases, the mask of gentility and love begins to slip away very soon, and the beast within begins to emerge. And not necessarily only on nights of the full moon or the eclipses. The husband or intimate partner begins to reveal a side of his personality which he had so carefully hidden during those wonderful courtship days, which if the then-fiancee-and-now-wife/intimate-partner were to know then, she would have run away! And thus begins a saga of what is nowadays euphemistically called "Intimate Partner Violence", IPV for short.

image by planetka, sxc.hu

Like the swine flu, IPV does not discriminate against race or skin-color, and affects wives and intimate partners across all cultures and continents with equal impartiality. A study conducted in ten countries covered 24,000 women, and the reasons that emerged give a peek into the spectrum of the wife-beater's psychopathology: from physically forcing sexual intercourse to insisting on knowing where she was at all times to getting angry because she spoke to another man to demanding more dowry to .... In fact, an entire journal dedicated exclusively to IPV is now in its fifteenth year of publication in 2009: Violence Against Women: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal.

'Violence Against Women: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal'

'Violence Against Women: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal' - brought out by Sage Publications.

And to think that the husbands project such a genteel, civilized image of themselves when out of the house! The friendly wave to the neighbors and the chitchat with the colleagues, the staring at the floor while being given the dressing-down by the boss - it is hard to imagine what comes over him when he returns to the house and to the wife.

image by branox, sxc.hu

Another pattern that has been consistently found is that the beastly streak comes out in its full force when the wife is pregnant. It is a mystery that has baffled sociologists, psychologists and mental health researchers alike. The sight of the progressively swelling abdomen stirs something in the male soul. Intellectuals brush aside the idea that the increased incidence of violence during pregnancy is due to frustration arising out of limited sexual intercourse opportunities. After all, the male ego gets a huge boost as the crown of fatherhood is the best possible evidence of his virility, so possible pregnancy termination due to violence will actually puncture the balloon, will it not? Then, why? Does the male choose to use the three trimesters to assert himself, to re-proclaim his control over the relationship, and to remind the woman of her dependency on him during those emotionally vulnerable times? Or is it simply that it is only when women happen to visit healthcare centers for their routine pregnancy checkup that IPV incidentally comes to light, which otherwise would have remained hidden?

image by bjearwicke, sxc.hu

Depending on the culture they are embedded in, women themselves consider violence as an accepted part of married life. In fact, if the day passes by without assault, they worry and fuss over the poor husband, wondering if he is unwell or down with the flu or something. There is certain "learned helplessness" about these battered wives which prevents them from seeking legal redress or counsel. And it certainly doesn't help when the laws of the country do not have any provision for reporting and handling of IPV specifically. It is no surprise, therefore to find women being kicked around by husbands. And to find the women wrap themselves around the same legs that kicked them, begging to be "forgiven", promising that they will be "sweet" and do their "Master's bidding".

'The Battered Woman: Lenore E. Walker, Amazon.com_*

The Battered Woman: Lenore E. Walker, Amazon.com. The phrase "learned helplessness" comes from this book.

There must be something in the male DNA, the portion that is the 'Y', which defines the male make-up, and which drives him to behave the way he does with the wife / intimate partner. If this something can be detected in advance, a helluva lot of problems can be solved before they crop up. If only governments would set aside some funds for scientists to come up with male-centric tests for the man who is in the market for marriage. There are two suggestions for these tests. One test will give a "PIPV Rating", short for "Proneness to Intimate Partner Violence Rating" which will have a scale from 0 to 10. A 0 (Zero) will indicate a genteel personality, who will not even raise their voice, let alone their hand-or-leg-or-whatever, in anger. A 10 will mean a RED ALERT marker, to STAY AWAY!!! The man may be good only for romance, but is definitely not husband material.

image by andreyutzu, sxc.hu

And the second test will give a "PVDP Rating", which is short for "Proneness to Violence During Pregnancy", which too will be on a scale from 0 to 10. A 0 (Zero) will indicate a loving, caring personality that will remain angelic throughout the three trimesters and keep his beastliness under control. A 10 rating will mean a RED ALERT, to STAY AWAY from him the moment the doctor declares that you are pregnant or when the abdomen starts swelling. Or better still, don't marry him at all and go find a better husband if it is your dream to have a large brood for yourself.

image by shine4him8, sxc.hu

Once these two tests come in the market, ladies, then before you swoon and loose your control at the sight of your man kneeling down before you and holding your hand asking whether you will marry him... before you say yes, do yourself a favor, control yourself and ask that you be shown the lab report on these two tests first.

image by andreyutzu, sxc.hu

Taking this hyper-imaginative thread further, when these tests do come to the market, dating sites will have two additional fields which male users will be required to fill - "PIPV Rating:" and "PVDP Rating:". And when a relationship begins heating up, females will doubtless peek into these values, and if they are not filled, discreetly ask the other party why they are not filled.

image by omar_franc, sxc.hu

Till that time comes when these and other such tests become commonplace, keep your fingers crossed and pray that the man you are tying the knot with will keep his beastly urges in check both when you are carrying and also when you are not.

image by eschu1952, sxc.hu

[Some people enter into a marriage with love in their heart and dreams in their eyes, and then there are others who do so with reluctance driven by circumstances. While you are pondering this, here is another article that uses this theme to talk about the inner conflicts that wreck havoc in us, and urges us to resolve them at the earliest: "Resolving Inner Conflicts". Read and reflect!]

1 comment:

  1. fANTASTIC!!!! Enjoyed it thoroughly!! :-) :-) :-)

    ReplyDelete