Thursday, 13 June 2013

Just like SurajPancholi, thousands of helpless men get victimized

 Just like SurajPancholi, thousands of helpless men get victimized with threats of Suicide from wives and girlfriends every year.

Based on media reports and alleged suicide note of Jiah Khan, 22-year old SurajPancholi was arrested and sent to jail for committing the crime of abatement to suicide. We have to understand that such laws do not exist in other countries in the world. Is suicide a solution to break-ups or separation? Jiah Khan attempted suicide 8 months ago and nothing was done to ensure that she does not repeat it. It is absurd to assume that all human relations will remain everlasting in this age of modernity.Finally, women are portrayed as victims, and men as abusers.

SurajPancholi is no alone. Thousands of men across India call SIF helplines every week. Half of them have faced threats of suicide from their wives from time to time, if they do not meet her unreasonable demands. 

These men are scared. These abusive wives refuse to come to a counselor or a psychiatrist. When these young men plead to the parents of women about their suicidal nature, parents do not take it seriously. These men cannot run away from home or file for divorce, fearing that this may prompt her to commit suicide. They suffer mental and physical abuse from possessive, controlling and suspicious wives. In fact, the society laughs at them as “Harassed Husbands” rather than helping the man and making arrangements for counseling of such women. Now, this phenomenon is getting extended to relationships before marriage as well. Being obsessively possessive and controlling is not a sign of love.

In short, India is sitting on a ticking time bomb as the society refuses to recognize the issue of threats of suicide inside marriages or in relationships. The society just behaves as if such incidents are rare or wishes that this problem will go away on its own. Then, it recommends revenge on the man if the woman commits suicide. Home Ministry (NCRB) data says, 24% of all suicides in India are due to Family Reasons and 3.4% due to failed love affairs.

Here are concerns of SIF around this case:

1.      There are no checks and balances in this abatement to suicide law. SurajPancholi did not point gun at the head of Jiah Khan to force her commit suicide. Breaking-up with a girlfriend or being commitment-phobic is not a crime. As reported, Suraj did everything he could so that Jiah Khan can get some psychiatrist help, after she attempted suicide 8 months ago. One has to wonder, why Jiah’s mother did not get her to a psychiatrist.

2.      This abetment to suicide law is very selectively applied by police. When a husband commits suicide blaming torture by wife and in-laws, the police refuse to arrest the woman and her parents. However, if a wife commits suicide, the husband and in-laws go to prison for 6 months to 2 years and are presumed guilty until proven innocent. Is the life of a man cheap? Males are the disposable gender.

3.      This abetment to suicide law and the social attitudes around it actually encourage suicides, by taking away the responsibility from a person to preserve his or her own life.

4.      Many possessive women are already abusing their husbands and boyfriends and threatening suicide, if he stands his ground and defends his dignity. Arrest of SurajPancholi will only increase such incidents rapidly. A man is completely helpless here.

5.      Jiah Khan attempted suicide 8 months back. It is reported that SurajPancholi was extremely concerned about her life after that incident and he called her mother to India and he even spoke to her for taking Jiah Khan to a psychiatrist. What more can a man do? He is helpless beyond a certain point, when a woman is obsessive and suicidal?

6.      Did Jiah Khan’s mother Rabiya Amin take her to a psychiatrist or counselor, even after knowing about her attempt to commit suicide? As a mother, is not it her responsibility to ensure that her daughter handles stress and relationship troubles with help from mental health professionals?

7.      SurajPancholi and many men are victimized as the hatred against men or misandry in general is fueled by mass hysteria after incidents of rape. SIF demands an end to large scale gender hate, stereotyping and the attitude to judge men harshly. If hate cannot solve communal or religious problems, then why it is assumed that blaming men and spreading hate against men will solve crimes against women?

8.      If a young man commits suicide and he leaves a suicide note, blaming his girlfriend for hurting him, cheating on him and abusing him, will the society show same fervor in demanding arrest of the girl involved? If not, then why men are victimized for the decision for a woman to commit suicide for break up?

Threat of suicide by man is actually defined as domestic violence under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), which is applicable to both marriages and live-in relationships. A woman can get a restraining order from a court against husband and boyfriend if they threaten suicide. However, the society and the women’s organizations force Government to refuse to protect men from such forms of domestic violence. If they had, then SurajPancholi would have got a restraining order and would have legally forced Jiah Khan to get psychiatric help.

It’s a slap on the face of Bollywood

Finally, Bollywood itself has indulged in spreading large scale hatred against men in recent times, with anti-male stereotyping without looking at issue in a more academic and meaningful manner. Many Bollywood actors are full of misandry. Now, one among them has committed suicide and a budding actor is in prison. It’s a slap on Bollywood’s face and its shows how disconnected Bollywood is from group realities in spite of its false claims to transform the society.

Many actors like Shah Rukh Khan to Amitabh Bacchan have publicly proclaimed, “I am ashamed of being a man”. Shaming all men for the crimes of a few is nothing but anti-male hate or misandry. If misogyny is not healthy for the society, then how can misandry create a better society? We hope, Bollywood actor realize that in this grave hour.

In this particular case (below), a husband committed suicide blaming torture by wife and in-laws. The police did not arrest the wife and in-law even after hundreds of phone calls are made to Mumbai police by SIF members. If the law of abetment to suicide is to save people from suicide, should not it be applied equally to both genders? Or is men’s life cheaper in Indian society?

SFF Demands that:

1.      Government must bring checks and balances to all laws related to suicide, like abetment to suicide and dowry deaths.

2.      Government must make domestic violence law gender neutral and protect men from wives and girlfriends, who threaten suicide every now and then.

3.      Suicidal women must be forced to undergo counseling and treatment.

4.      All laws must be made gender neutral and both genders must be treated in a fair manner.

5.      The society must take steps to curb misandry. It is challenging, because it is too easy to blame and stereotype all men citing incidents of rape or other crimes against women. Such misandry will vitiate gender relations.

6.      It must be ensured that, men’s rights to liberty, dignity and basic human rights are not snatched away in the name of empowering women.

According to National Crime Records Bureau, about 20,000 men and about 12, 000 women committed suicide in 2011 for “Family Reasons” alone.

From Save Indian Family