In a shocking incident, a husband allegedly killed his techie wife during a heated argument, packed her body in a suitcase and burnt it. The woman, was working from home amidst the COVID-19 lockdown while the husband, an engineer, was unemployed for the last few months. Hyderabad Man Kills Wife
The husband, Sreekanth Reddy, allegedly lied to his relatives that his wife died due to COVID-19. The couple from Tirupati had an 18-month-old daughter who is but alive and safe. We can only guess the reason that fuelled such a brutal end to a marriage until any further detail is out.
But what we can assert is the worst consequences that unresolved issues and imbalance in marriage can lead to. The incident raises two major questions in my mind- first, was there no possibility for the couple to resolve their issues rather than resorting to a violent end? Second, what about the daughter? How will she be impacted by the death of her mother?
Why don't we take marital issues seriously?
In Indian society, women and men are bred to adjust to a failed marriage rather than choosing to resolve it or call quits. Women are expected to be silent while it is okay for men to be violent to resolve the issues. The unaddressed imbalance in marriage then leads to unimaginable consequences.
But why are couples expected to wait out rather than resolving their issues during initial alarms? Why are marital issues not taken seriously in our society? Why are the taboos around divorce and separation way too important than the happiness, and in this case, the safety of individuals involved in a marriage?
Change the ways boys and girls are brought up
We need to remember that being the oppressed lot of society women are worst affected when it comes to failed marriages. They are the ones who are forced to assume silence on every instance of violence and injustice in the hope for a better tomorrow. We also need to understand that not only women but men too are affected by failed marriages. But their conditioning that makes their violent reactions mandatory to prove their masculinity, leads to the worst ends of failed marriages.
Is it not important to check how boys and girls are brought up in our society? Shouldn’t parents stop enforcing the ideas of ">toxic masculinity in their sons that not only oppress women but men too? Shouldn't girls be taught to resist every instance that questions her agency and self-respect?
Bad marriages affect kids too. Are we listening?
On the other hand, the most traumatic impact of failed marriages is felt by the kids born out of them. I cannot stop myself from thinking about the life of the 18-month-old who had to witness the regular fights and arguments between her parents. Yes, 18 months is too small an age to be affected by external factors or be disturbed by memories.
But this is not a valid reason to ignore the impact of the disputed relationship of parents on children. This case is not the first in which a child was caught up between a couple who had a bad marriage. It happens in every second family in India because marital issues are always ignored as the “wear and tear” of relationships.
So rather than ignoring kids as collateral damage in abusive marriages, there is an urgent need to address the traumas that they face. They grow up with internalised trauma, violence and patriarchy and become the carrier of toxic patriarchal mindsets in the next generation. Will we ever be able to progress if we can't ensure a better present and future for our kids?
Rather than waiting for another case to shock us and remind us of the worst turns marital issues can take, it is about time that we shed the silence and taboo around them. Couples need to identify the warning signs in their relationships and address the issues before it is too late.
Views expressed are the author's own.