“An untold story” was an interesting fiction in the, “Sunday Times”. But unfortunately, apart from the humor it is a bitter fact in the lives of many people.
GBV (Gender based violence) is a very sensitive issue now, drawing attention by sensitive caring governments, media and activists everywhere, wherever people care about women and consider them as human beings.
GBV mainly implies violence committed against women.
In majority of cases, women are abused and maltreated at home. At times, they face sexual harassment at work places. Some unfortunate women are also abused sexually by relatives or criminals. All these acts are unpardonable and deserve punishment.
But there is another small side to the coin of GBV and that is violence or abuse of men by their spouses. These cases are very less as compared to the violence faced by women, but do occur.
Difference being men usually hesitate to report these cases. Their self esteem and ego prevent them from discussing this matter even with friends and family members.
I can cite several examples which are true regarding abuse of men by their wives.
An elderly lady, used to come to me for consultation with her husband very regularly. But the husband used to come separately for treatment of high blood pressure which was mostly uncontrolled.
Then one day he confided in me that his wife was very aggressive, could loose her temper and become abusive any time. This he discovered immediately after his marriage, 26 years ago but his own ego prevented him from disclosing this to anyone.
Later on with children coming along, he felt that to provide a normal family life to his children, he has to tolerate his wife. The stress thus caused, made his blood pressure go up.
Another case I came to know accidentally is about a young wife, who had such a vile temper that the whole household was terrified of her.
Her husband had at one time bruises on his face and even the poor mother in law, broke two of her front teeth due to anger of this Amazon. Again, he never complained for fear of loosing his prestige in society.
Sometime ago, a man was hospitalized, due to attempted suicide. Reason, being an influential person in his village near Musanze, he had official matters to solve, making him late to reach home.
His wife refused to open the door for him, not once but on two successive nights and this was not the first time. Frustrated, this gentleman consumed poison in a bid to end his life.
These cases are as disturbing to the individual and family well being as that of violence against women. There are no laws to support such harassed men, except for divorce. But even in case of divorce, they would have to pay some compensation to their wives.
Those men, who would not care much, would walk out on such a wife, or start an affair outside marriage. Some would opt for divorce. But many for the sake of their social prestige and children would only tolerate their spouses and accept their miserable lives as their destiny.
None of these situations is pleasant as compared to a happy harmonious family life. Violence in any form is bad. Though people need to be sensitized about violence against women, people should be sensitized against domestic violence of any kind.
As it takes two hands to clap, so the responsibility of keeping peace and harmony in the family lies with both husband and wife.
Anyone of them disturbing the happiness and making another unhappy, and even inflicting violence and abuse is not excusable.
Both husband and wife have to learn to adjust with one another, accepting all good and weak traits. These are the vows taken before marriage and they should abide by them.
Family forms the basic unit of a community. Happy families keep individuals happy and happy individuals make productive citizens.
Thus in case of any family, where husband or wife abuses the other, it is the duty of family and friends to counsel the responsible person and help them to change their behavior.