Since a young age, I was taught that a wife should take care of her own husband and if otherwise preoccupied with another man then she’s considered to be immoral, and that lesson goes both ways. I’m an avid reader of Yahoo! News and very recently I came across a rather interesting article on “wife-sharing” in India. Apparently, there’s a shortage of the female specie and many women are being asked to share their bodies with the brothers of their husbands. I was particularly moved by the story of Munni, a young woman unaware of the situation she was getting herself into when she moved with her new husband to Baghpat. Shortly after getting married, Munni was forced into having sex and bearing children for her husband’s two brothers.
“My husband and his parents said I had to share myself with his brothers. They took me whenever they wanted – day or night. When I resisted, they beat me with anything at hand. Sometimes they threw me out and made me sleep outside or they poured kerosene over me and burned me.”
One might wonder why didn’t Munni seek help or leave, but such women are often held prisoners in these homes and are not allowed to leave. It was only under a pretext that Munni even got the chance to leave her home to do the interview. You’d also have to take into consideration that she has children and doesn’t want to lose them, also she is afraid. Hence, her reason for not filing any complaints or taken any other action against these bastards.
Shri Chand, 75 year old retired police constable states:
“In every village, there are at least five or six bachelors who can’t find a wife. In some, there are up to three or four unmarried men in one family. It’s a serious problem.”
“Everything is hush, hush. No one openly admits it, but we all know what is going on. Some families buy brides from other parts of the country, while others have one daughter-in-law living with many unwedded brothers.”
Women struggling to survive in Jharkhand and West Bengal are being paid as little as $300 by disgusting old men and brought to Baghpat to live a completely different way of life.
“It was hard at first, there was so much to learn and I didn’t understand anything. I thought I was here to play,” said Sabita Singh, 25, who was brought from a village in West Bengal at the age of 14 to marry her husband, 19 years her elder. “I’ve got used to it,” she says holding her third child in her lap. “I miss my freedom.”
Like Munni, many women not just in India but in other countries are faced with the same devastation. According to the article, decades of aborting female babies in a culture controlled by men has led to a decline in the population of women in some parts of India. This in turn has led to a rise in rape, human trafficking, and our topic at hand, wife-sharing amongst brothers. We all know how strongly preferred sons are to households in these nations. However, with this growing madness of wife-sharing I would not want my daughter subjected to such a mess. So in a sense, those abortions could also be from having the mentality of preventing any other female from going through the same situation. I’m just saying.
Whether it’s becoming a custom to them or not, wife-sharing and any other form of exploitation is terribly wrong but what can really be done to put an end to it if the women themselves are too afraid to seek help?
What do you think can be done to help them?
Image Credit: Reuters/TorontoSun