How My Patriarchal Family Broke Me. And My Mother Watched In Silence
I was 6 when my father died. After he left my brother was made my father. If I sit down to understand the relationship with my brother, then maybe I will shed tears on everything. I did not have a good relationship with my brother. I have fought my brother on every occasion. I was always told that he could speak, he could shout but I had to keep quiet. It impacted me so deeply, that I was afraid to talk to my brother, supposedly my father-figure. He felt he had the right to raise his hand on me. You can imagine what that did to me.
Violence was normalised in our house. It used to happen to me often that he would raise his hand on me and I could not do anything.
Because of that I could never make friends. I was shattered inside. Forget making male friends, I wouldn’t even make female friends. Until today I have not been able to get past that suffocation of my brother watching every single thing I do.
After my father passed away, the society and relatives made him my brother the defacto in charge of my life, but not one day passed without him saying that I was a burden to him. He always used to find excuses to fight with me. It was such a toxic relationship that many times I even felt like committing suicide. I was prevented from going out in the evening. I could not stay at anyone’s house even at night. I was on a curfew and had to be home before four in the evening.
At the age of 14, I had thought that I would leave the house and stay by myself but could not muster up courage and strength.
As I realised, patriarchy is not easy to kick off. To fight patriarchy, one has to start at home. Someone like me first had to fight with your family. You have to fight with your brother, father, uncle and every man who guards your freedom. My mother always kept quiet as do so many women. I am not angry with her but definitely disappointed.
I am a survivor. I’m wiping my tears telling my story. I have suffered mental harassment for 20 years. I used to cry but there was no one to hear me out. Ironically I got freedom from my home, on a day they decided to throw me out. My brother asked me to leave the house because I had put up with picture with my partner. “You have 15 minutes and get out of my house,” my brother said to me. I thought and talked to my partner Prashant and left home and came to Prashant’s house.
It’s not like leaving the house ended my woes. I received threatening calls for moving out with my partner. Eventually after all the harassment from my family members, I had to put down on paper that I was ending the relationship with my family.
These experiences have taught me that you are on your own. I call myself a survivor as a result. Today I can say that I am a Survivor and Fighter but due to my brother’s restraint and patriarchal thinking, I could not do much but now I will and will go so far so that my past will be left behind. From the line of revolutionary Che Guevara, I end my piece saying that there is no hero, only circumstances make any person a hero.