#Personal Stories

Does Your Boyfriend Hit You? And Do You Stay Silent?

My boyfriend hits me, thappad, taapsee pannu, abusive relationships
My best friend, who is studying medicine abroad, called me a few days back and told me that her boyfriend, with whom she had been living in a live-in relationship for 4 years, had beaten her. She sent me pictures of her bruised arm and cheeks which had turned purple. I was taken aback, anger engulfed me, but no words exited my mouth.

As she was telling me her agonising story, my mind was filled with memories of her speaking to me just a few years back, on how she had met the love of her life, after all the boys who had mistreated her. This girl was so full of hopes and dreams. She was crying and I couldn’t be there, to hug her and to tell her that everything will be alright.

My friend’s not the only one. There are so many girls out there in relationships, live-in relationships who aren’t speaking up against abusive behaviour because the onus of success of these relationships ‘lies on women.’ Our society insists that since they are not marriages, and are live-in relationships, so women who have made the choice ‘must suffer their own decision’.

Does Your Boyfriend Hit You? And Do You Stay Silent? – Are Parents the Reason for This?

These women are not able stand up for themselves or speak up and share stories of abuse because they fear that their family back home would disown them. Because their families are already living under the ‘shock’ or will be shocked that their daughters is living-in with someone. So what do these women do? They internalise the abuse, they stay quiet and continue with it, often submissively.

A 24 year old girl tells me how she gathered the courage and reported her partner to the police but her parents were not supportive. On top of that she had dragged the family into a ‘police case.’ She was finally forced to leave everything and return home.

What can be done about this fear? How can women get family support so they are courageous enough to report violence and abuse? The pandemic led to a big jump in domestic violence cases and the same can be said about live-in relationships.

As I view this case from close proximity, I believe parents play a big role in instilling confidence and values in their daughter to stand up for herself.

We need to stop judging girls and women based on society’s expectations. Parents and families need to stop saying they gave their girls “too much freedom and independence”?

All of this needs to change. Our parents and the society needs to understand that living with a person you’re in a relationship with, before marriage, is completely okay. And in cases where it doesn’t work out, it’s okay too. Any abusive relationship, whether live-in or not, must be reported.

The fear of losing your parents along with a partner you thought was the one, makes so many women around the world fearful and  not come up to tell their story.

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And in case you’re wondering what my friend did: she filed for a complaint with the police and her partner was locked up and is due for a trial in a few days. Her parents were supportive of her and the decisions she made and helped her through the whole process. I met with them and they explained how glad they were as their daughter was strong enough to fight back and not stay quiet. “After all, this is what we taught her from the beginning, fight for your right and never think that we won’t support you. Your life is the most precious to us.”