Are women safe at home? While everyone out there talks about how unsafe are women outside their homes, we often neglect the safety of women at home, inside the four walls that are supposed to protect them but instead become a covet that hide the disgusting intentions of some family members. For them, these four walls becomes a shield that covers their misdeeds and harassment.
Family is a place that makes you feel safe and comfortable. However, that is not the case always. Often people disguised as your well wishers are the ones who do the worst with you. Some of the moist heinous crimes against women sprout from the closed boundaries of a house. Cases of domestic violence, harassment by in-laws, marital rape and female feticide sprout come from the place that a women thinks as her home. Hence, a question that always comes back to us whenever such things happen is “How far have we come regarding the safety of women at home?”
Safety Of Women At Home : A Question, A Challenge
The point here is not to equate home with a street at midnight, a place is never the criminal. The point here is the fact that the people who are a part of your family are not always right. They hide their true, dark intentions under a facade, a mask that they wear all the time. These relatives can be anyone, your in-laws, your uncles, aunts, brother, sister or husband and they are threats to the safety of women at home.
The cases of domestic violence are not new in India. Since a very long time, the daughter-in-law is mistreated and abused by some people of very narrow mindset. This abuse, in the form of words, physical torture and mental trauma, is something that has happened to mostly any women but not many of them seek for help outside their homes. They prefer to stay shut for they know that all they are going to hear back is either “bear it” or “it happens with everyone” or “you must have done something wrong”.
Safety Of Women At Home : The Case Of Sleazy Uncles
Its not just domestic violence, sexual abuse or harassment by a relative is a major crime that many females face at some point of their life. The frequent intentional touches of an uncle or male relative, the sexist and embarrassing jokes and the uncomfortable gaze that follows you everywhere you go is something women are aware of but they are often not able to express it. The major reason behind it is the fear that people might not believe her or even the worst when they blame her for everything.
Sometimes, the family knows that a person is unnecessarily ‘touchy’ but they can’t say anything as he is an elder or really close relative or somebody they are indebted to. The family fears clear differences with them but they try to avoid them so that they are not subject to their ‘touches’. Hence, they neglect the safety of women at home and favour such disgusting people. These ‘uncles’ or other elder relatives often roam freely while the females are always alert and conscious of them to save themselves form any discomfort.
These lecherous uncles and male elders harass women and girls of the house and laugh it off or maybe they know that nobody can go against them because of their age or status. Hence, a family gathering that is supposed to be a happy and comfortable event becomes a horrifying game of hide and seek. And this is not the case of just one or two households but mostly every family has that one sleazy uncle who loves to hang out with the ladies and do every possible attempt to make them uncomfortable.
And these uncles are so ‘innovative’ that they always have new ways to trouble everyone. Just like these stories of sleazy uncles being super touchy at family get-togethers that women on Reddit shared. The relatability of these experiences is so scary and unmasks the truth behind the safety of women at home.
- “I have an uncle who grabs all ladies to the dance floor for naagin dance. Only ladies. Some ladies from the family started leaving early or stopped attending functions just because of him. Luckily his arthritis got really bad and now he doesn’t dance as much XD”
- “My father’s friend and his wife met up with our family once. He knows me since I was 12, now I’m 18. He was always a bit too close for comfort, but this time he crossed all lines and in the time period of 3 hours, proceeded to hug me from behind, squeeze my thighs, smell my hair and more right in front on my parents and his wife. And people noticed but didn’t say anything. I couldn’t say anything because it was all just shocking. Like bruh. Absolutely nightmarish. Never talking to him again.”
- “A friend’s uncle molested her, her elder sister. He would attend all functions and make my friend sit on his lap. My friend finally couldn’t take it anymore and told her mom about it. Mom heard everything and said not to tell it to anyone. He used to visit their house and my friend froze everytime she saw him. She made sure her younger sister was never in the house when this sleezey bastard came. He died of covid last year.”
These stories are really horrifying but sadly they are absolutely true. That is the truth of safety of women at home. Women are taught not to speak up against their relatives who harass them for the sake of family relations and respect. They do not receive protection from their parents who they trust the most. Although this might not be the case always but it mostly is. Parents keep shut because they think it will cause harm to their family’s reputation.
This is absolutely wrong, how can you expect your daughter to speak up for herself outside her home when she feels unsafe at home? How can she oppose such behaviour when her family encourages it in the case of their relatives? All people think about is their reputation but what about the girl’s mental trauma. Such harassment often leads to depression and trauma that does not go away easily. Are we sure that we are taking safety at home seriously?
To people who think that safety of women at home is not a question and that home is the safest place for them, think it again. And the reason for this unsafe environment is not just the harassers but also the ones who try to shrug off and ignore such behaviour. Hence, think again about how safe your family is for the women in your house.
Suggested Reading: Why Do Women Justify Domestic Violence?