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The neighbor’s house was silent.. curtains were drawn.. no loud screaming noises, no crashing of things aimed and thrown around, no plates and vases hurling out of the door, no abuses and insults. It was not normal.
I watched in horror the deafening silence that prevailed in the house right in front of my bedroom balcony. Something was not right. I felt strange to think like that, It is normal to have a quite, peaceful home so why was I not happy to see the blissful silence?
I scanned the entire house for some activity. The twilight of a long weekend was soon going to turn into a night of terror. I was sure of that. With my heartbeats audible from a mile I decided to venture out and checkout if the house was locked.
But then I spotted him. His shadow more visible than his battered frame against the backdrop of the terrace wall.
He stood leaning against the railing, nursing wounds that bled deep somewhere in his soul. His mind, body and spirit abused and battered by the woman whom he had given everything possible. His wife and so called companion for life.
A lump rose in my throat and I locked the door, ran down the stairs, crossed the dark lane and landed breathlessly at his terrace door. I knew it was going to be lethal if She found out but the communication channels were closed and I was concerned.
Slowly I approached him from behind. Suddenly he turned as if half expecting a blow.His well built body very vulnerable and shattered at that time.
His eyes welled up as a maelstrom of emotions rose within him, a fear of unknown gripped him as he scanned his surroundings for the presence of his tormentor but all was quite.
He winched as his touched his arm. It was dark and I knew the severity of beating must have crossed it’s limits this time. Raging from with in I drew him close. In silence a thousand tales of sorrow, pain, shame and hurt flooded down his cheeks.
I wondered why he suffered in silence and why I never stood up against the injustice and reported the domestic violence that rocked their home daily.
Maybe we both knew the answer.
Slowly the story emerged. He had come half an hour late from office. tired, drained and tensed about his job and the recession which had affected many people around him. A volley of accusations, abuses and a cordless telephone hit him before he could realize what was happening. What followed was a frenzy which left him completely worn out and isolated.
I asked him where she was and found that she had picked up their car and gone some where drunk with rage and jealousy.
We went home and there I saw the extent of damage. It was a sight that cut through my heart and soul like a double edged knife. I could have killed that woman at the first opportunity. How could anyone be so cruel and heartless. I made a drink and did some first aid as he watched me with eyes that made me reach out to him.Never in my life I felt so helpless. He knew he had a listening ear and a comfort zone in me but that was not enough to change the situation. Something had to be done ..soon. It was pointless at that moment to suggest any options, we had gone through it all before. So I just let me pour out all that was welling up in his heart.
The hurt was too much to bear and I wondered how much more time before he snaps. He suffered in silence, his pain hidden from the world. Taking on all the untrue accusations, abuses and beatings, trying hard to diffuse any potentially violent situations. Blatant discrimination, disbelief, gender bias and the fear of social stigma keeps many male victims of DV suffering in silence even if the abuse is life threatening. Treated by the society as a joke these men who are mostly caring, loving sensitive people face isolation and terrible psychological problems.
The cases are never reported, the law never takes them seriously and the fear of social stigma makes them more vulnerable to further abuse.
They use survival tactics in vain to hoping to stop the abuse but it gets worse with time.
I watched the man sleeping peacefully on the bed. An exceptionally talented person with a good job and a heart of gold he had the dark side of him which was hidden from the world. A side which need to be brought to light and justice. Seeing the couple walk down the street or talking to them could never reveal the horror that lay behind.
Behind the closed doors and curtained windows of their home there was an abyss full of uncertainty, pain, humiliation mixed with rage, and violence.
The society is reluctant to acknowledge that females could be perpetrators and males could be victims. It is a hard thing for the victims to come forward due to the feeling of powerlessness and other aspects.
I wonder if our society really is a male dominated one.. ??? Are creating a silent class of male victims in our pursuit to protect women’ rights?
With a law that favors women are we not doing a grave injustice to men by blindly labeling them as tormentors and glorifying women as eternal victims of abuse.
Does the stereotype image of a “man” come between justice and the silent sufferer?
I searched for answers as I watched him with tear filled eyes. When will it all end. Is there any hope?
What was in store for this man who tried really hard to live peacefully some moments of his life?
I wish I could do something more than just being a shoulder to cry on, though it’s something many victims don’t have all through their life unless they brave the onslaught of society and speak out.
Some things in life make you wonder what you have achieved as a human being and have you really done something to justify your existence on this earth.
All I would say is please do not suffer in silence.. It is one life that you have ..live it on your terms. Chase your dreams and catch them before it’s too late. Keep the faith and believe in the fact that you are unique and deserve your share of happiness in all forms.