“Divorce-versary” have you heard this before? I never did until today. A woman who goes by the name Shasvathi Siva posted her picture on Twitter, sipping coffee on a green ground celebrating four years of her divorce. How many of us do that? Amidst birth anniversary and marriage anniversary, how many of us celebrate diverce-versary?
Posting the image, copywriter Siva wrote, “4 years of freedom, and not taking it for granted for a single day. Celebrating a divorce-versary today. Happy happies to me!!!,”. Siva celebrates her divorce every year as a sign of freedom. “Not a day has gone by without feeling immense gratitude for life every day, these past 1460 days,” she wrote.
She also added how she has been working towards breaking the stigma against divorce. Siva wrote, “I spoke about it (divorce) online, got the conversation rolling, and to date, I’ve conducted over 75 support group video and in-person sessions, and currently running a Telegram support group of 500+ participants, actively benefitting from the space.”
Isn’t that different yet amazing? How many women celebrate their divorce? Isn’t divorce meant to be a sad thing for women in our society? But here is a change.
It is time for us to acknowledge that divorce doesn’t mean misery or helplessness. It is a sign of freedom from a relationship which was not healthy and happy.
In our country, the divorce rate is very low, barely one per cent. And our country is proud of it as it doesn’t let the western culture ‘deteriorate’ the indigenous traditions. According to our traditions, once married a couple stays with each other till seven birth. It is not normal in our society to seek divorce without any shaming and blaming. Women are the ones who bear the worst brunt of the stigma around divorce.
Woman Celebrates Divorce-Versary
Women who seek a divorce, are shamed for being negligent of their duties towards their husbands and their families. She is blamed for being the root cause of the conflict in the family. And even when divorce is done, women are not free. They are not allowed to start a new life because no one accepts them in society. They become bad luck for their families. Divorced women are seen as “used goods” that are no longer relevant for a happy and pleasurable life. All that have in their court is disrespect, abuse and harassment. A divorced woman is looked at as a ‘khuli tijori’ who can be used by men but not accepted by them.
I know a woman in my acquaintance who is staying in an abusive marriage. She has been beaten up several times and cheated on too. But why is she enduring all the pain? Because seeking divorce is not an option for her. If she goes for divorce, she is afraid of being shamed and left alone without any money and support for survival. The fight for alimony is also not easy in our society. Every divorce case is stretched to years because of not only the stigma but also the conflict on alimony. Men who earn are not willing to pay their divorced wives because they see it as a waste of money. It is not just about men, women too refuse to give alimony when required.
There are many issues around divorce in our society. But what we don’t have is the freedom to seek divorce. Rarely does anyone cares to question this lack because everyone has accepted that divorce is not a happy ending to a relationship. But you know what? Stepping out of an unhappy relationship is a happy ending of a relationship. What is better than walking away without causing any harm to each other? Rather, staying in an abusive relationship, enduring pain and ultimately giving up is not a happy ending. According to NCRB data, housewives were the second largest group to die by suicide because of domestic violence in marriage. Is this the ending society is waiting for before normalising divorce?
So dear women, get up and take a step for yourself. If you are in the dilemma of whether you should seek divorce or not, just go for it. Don’t fear the consequences because staying in an unhappy marriage can be worse. And if you have already sought a divorce, be happy and grateful. It is freedom, as Shasvathi says. Don’t care about not being accepted by society. We are women, not gift boxes that need acceptance. Take charge of your life and live as you want.
Views expressed are the author’s own.
Suggested Reading: She Hosted A Party Celebrating Her Divorce. Why Is Society Making a Fuss?
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