Men Still Can’t Deal With Rejection And Women Are Paying The Price With Their Lives

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They say love is a wonderful feeling, but this holds true only when the said feeling is mutual. What if someone you love doesn’t reciprocate how you feel? What if they believe it is justified to force a person into a relationship, even if one has to use violence, because love is all about “winning”? There are numerous women in our country who can recount horror stories of being at the receiving end of such male obsession, which is disguised as love. For lucky ones, it ends in a bitter experience. Then there are those who end up paying a much higher price simply because Indian men are never taught to take “no” for an answer when it comes to love. 

Dismissing male advances can earn a woman repercussions in the form of physical, sexual, or mental abuse. We have all heard and read about cases of acid attacks, stabbings, and sexual assaults executed by men against women who rejected them. In India, approximately 1500 acid attacks were reported between 2014 to 2018 as per National Crime Records Bureau. In a horrifying incident, a man allegedly shot a minor girl in the neck in Patna just last week, after facing rejection at her hands. Last year in June, a 21-year-old woman from Rajasthan was stabbed to death after she rejected the accused youth’s marriage proposal. Then in January 2021, a beauty parlour owner from Maharashtra was defamed in the community by a 38-year-old man after she rejected his proposal for friendship.

We need to teach men how to deal with rejection

Persuaders may come in various forms- strangers, someone from school-college, the workplace, or a former partner. Few researches on intimate partner violence show that the most dangerous period for a woman in an abusive relationship is the one that follows a breakup. When a woman makes the call to end a relationship, it can hurt a man’s ego. If he has never been taught to deal with a rejection, he might end up feeling entitled to sustain the relationship by force, or worse, extract revenge. Several times, a jilted partner also ends up assuming- if I sleep with her, she will never leave me. This notion comes from social stigma around a woman’s virginity. Men who try to play this mindset think that once they “claim” a woman’s virginity she will have no choice but to accept them as a life partner.

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Self-harm is another issue that leaves women with mental scars, when they reject male romantic advances. The idea has been romanticised to a fault by films and television. The 2013 film Raanjhanaa is one of the best examples of such toxic love. In this film we see Kundan (Dhanush) slit his wrist to coerce Zoya (Sonam Kapoor) into accepting his proposal. Despite his problematic behaviour, audience cherished Kundan and endorsed his obsessive behaviour as a lover.

raanjhanaa, deal with rejection,

Stalking cannot be sold to us as love.

However, violence is not always physical. In the digital age, circulating revenge porn, morphing women’s images into nudes not only serve as methods to blackmail them but to also bring them shame and humiliation.

The root of this problem is the male ego which has been shaped by our patriarchal society. Most men grow up seeing women around them being suppressed, devoid of any agency over their own lives, and objectified for male pleasure. When men see women as objects meant to be “owned” they also feel entitled to destroying them, when they reject them.

So is it too late for a change in society now? No. We can save generations of women and men from this unending cycle of trauma and abuse by simply conditioning young boys and men to take rejection in love in the right spirit. By teaching them to move on in life, and above all, by instilling a sense of respect towards women in them.

Only when men stop objectifying women and see them as living breathing humans who have the right to live and that too on their own terms, will we finally have a safe society where a woman won’t feel pressured into entertaining a man’s love proposal out of fear of consequences.

Views expressed are the author’s own.

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