Send me no roses

He always brought her flowers. Red roses.. as red as her bruises…

He was loving and tender.. as tender as her body felt….

The more she hurt, the bigger the bouquet, the more loving he got..

But today was the last.. she was free at last. Free from the roses, free from the tender loving care.. free from the sudden eruption of rage that left her hurt and bruised. She was now at peace, nobody could hurt her anymore.. This time, the roses were for her funeral.


October is the Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic violence is one of the most widespread and the most under-estimated crimes. Domestic violence is just not between spouses. Domestic violence may also be perpetuated by members of the extended family. Domestic violence may also be against children. Domestic violence knows no barriers. It exists in every community, country, race, ethnic group , class of people, sexual orientation and gender. It could begin in any phase of a relationship.Β  It could happen to any of ‘us’ not ‘them’.

There is no excuse for domestic violence. Nobody ‘asks’ for abuse. It can not be justified. Once one slap is endured, it might just be a matter of time before it escalates to full-fledged regular abuse.

In India, the societal structures make it even more difficult to combat. After I had my daughter, I had a lady who used to come and massage me. She used to tell me about another person who she used to massage, who she was sure was a victim of abuse. Apparently the lady, just weeks after giving birth, had black and blue marks all over her. And at no point was she allowed to be alone with this lady – either her sister-in-law or her mother-in-law would sit by, while she massaged her. Apparently new bruises would appear every now and then. Hearing all this broke my heart.. Here I was being pampered by my parents, and there was another young mother, possibly younger than me, but being treated so badly.

In India, it becomes even more difficult to tackle as a lot of times, even the police refuse to intervene citing it to be a personal matter – between the spouses, to be resolved within the four walls of the house.

I remember another friend whose sister got married to a man settled abroad, who used to abuse her so much that she finally separated. It was terrible for her to live in a new country, with an abusive spouse. Thankfully for her, her parents and family stood by her. She was not sent back to her husband and told to adjust, to compromise…as happens with so many other young women. When reputation in the society and what ‘the neighbours think’ become more important that their daughter’s life.

Physical abuse is not the only thing that is part of domestic abuse. Although we tend talk about women mainly, because going by percentages, more women than men seem to be the victims of domestic abuse, domestic abuse can happen to anybody – irrespective of the gender. Mental abuse is just as part of domestic violence as physical abuse is. Keeping the woman from meeting her friends or family, keeping tab of what she does, checking her mail can all be classified under domestic violence, because of the effect of such activity on the victim. A lot of abusers are extremely gentle and nice in public making it difficult for others to even imagine that the abuser is capable of such atrocities.

Apparently, most people affected by domestic violence are often unaware of theΒ resources available. Which is where campaigns like Bell Bajao become so important. A lot of women will not feel so helpless if they are aware that help is at hand. And a lot of abusers may think twice if they know that their victim can get help!

One of the biggest myths surrounding domestic violence is that a couple should stay together, despite the violence for the sake of the children. Children are NOT better off in an abusive environment. I remember reading about a girl who grew up in a family where her mother was periodically abused by her father. She grew up thinking that it was normal and ended up married to another abuser. It was much later that she realized that she could and did break the cycle. There are long-term effects that have been seen in children who grow up in an abusive environment such as loss of confidence, stress related illnesses, they could copy the behaviour to become either abusers or victims later in life, blame themselves for it. A happy and secure environment with a single parent is farΒ  better than an abusive environment with both parents.

Some interesting links.

How to recognize abuse

Title inspired by a book by Jenny Tomlin called Send me no flowers, which tackled the subject of abuse and was one of the most brutal and shocking books that I read on the subject. It also brought home the different kinds of abuses that comes under the umbrella of domestic abuse.


57 thoughts on “Send me no roses

  1. Wonderfully written smitha πŸ™‚ as you Have wonderfully put it can happen any of us 😦 and DV has no borders… It can happen to anyone, anytime…

    Thank you, Kanagu – it is shocking – domestic violence is so common that it is scary! Most of us think that it will not affect us.. but we never know -someone close to us might be a victim..

  2. Wonderfully written Smitha.

    Ok, if a tuition teacher abuses you at home, would that fall under DV too??

    Last but not the least, can I copy-paste my comments from IHMs post here ? πŸ˜‰

  3. “A lot of abusers are extremely gentle and nice in public making it difficult for others to even imagine that the abuser is capable of such atrocities.” you bet !

    • I have seen this kind of abuser. So quiet almost silent – or maybe that should have rung the warning bell! He is the one i have mentioned in my post.

      Yeds, IHM. Infact in all that I have read about domestic violence, most of the abusers are like this – they are nice, wonderful people in public who take delight in torturing their partners in private. So much so that the women start believing that they are to blame for the abuse. How could such a wonderful man behave like this otherwise?

  4. It really shakes me to the very core, thinking about the existence of such things. My marriage is THE most important relationship in my life, and to think about violence being a part of this relationship for many, is so so frightful.

  5. Very well written…

    I know many employers who abuse their domestic help as well – I guess that would come under domesto-employment abuse…

    It’s sad the way people think that demeaning another is the only way to show power…

  6. very sad indeed, though I havent personally seen it with any one , only with our maids..even the present one also has one such husband….who takes her salary and beats her every other day.

  7. hmmm… we tend to forget the happenings around us since they are routine! Very well written. Your article has given a new dimension on the way we should be looking at ourselves.

    Getting grossly engaged in bellbajao.. thanks for so much of info.

  8. Very well written dear!!!

    As have said in one more place, I have a friend who is going thru DV and doing nothing because she knows that if she decides to move out her parents won’t support her. She has in fact tried doing that once and was sent back (she says she is the one to be blamed as hers is a love mrrg against the wish of her parents).

    I tell her repeatedly that if she really wants to break free she should work on being totally independent and move out. But she isn’t working on that front because she feels her child will suffer. Sometimes I feel that she is ready to go through the pain a- for her kid b- for the fact that the world outside is far more insecure!!!

  9. very well written…
    DV is something which I feel strongly about…
    I have written about it and I have seen my friends go thru with it…
    It’s sad that parents do not support their own daughters…

  10. When reputation in the society and what β€˜the neighbours think’ become more important that their daughter’s life.

    Abs rt! As I said on IHM’s blog, we r wkg out on the divorce matter of a friend and her father is against it!!!!! But the good thing is her Mom, brother are all standing by her side and we are nw sure its gonna happen soon! This situation where we do everything for the sake of the society should be gone Smithu … its does no gud! What r they gng to do for us anyways? Just ask qs!!

    I know, Swaram! You have brought this out beautifully in your post! People have to realise that life is more than pretending in front of society. How I wish societal pressures were not so high and so biased against women.

    One of the biggest myths surrounding domestic violence is that a couple should stay together, despite the violence for the sake of the children. Children are NOT better off in an abusive environment.

    Brilliant point! U struck gold here!

    I feel bad that so many women feel that they need to stay with their spouses because it would benefit the children. No child in such an environment can be happy and there will definitely be long term effects of it on them.

  11. As always, a post written with feelings but without the cloud that they sometimes generate.

    Domestic violence has no place in society. It needs to be condemned in the strongest possible words and steps taken to eradicate it from society.


    Since this month is for that and since almost everyone is equating domestic violence as violence by men against women, I think it will only be fair if I say a few words for the men who are victims of domestic violence.

    Yes, it does tend to become a men vs women thing – but I have mentioned how domestic violence has no boundaries.

    Even as violence against women makes headlines and its perpetrators are brought to justice, in some sections of society, particularly the aware and educated, domestic violence against men is on the rise, aided by laws that are hopelessly skewed in favour of women.

    Yes, infact I read an article just yesterday about this. Men are also impacted, but because the percentage is far lesser -it goes unnoticed – but you are absolutely right.

    The marks of domestic violence by women will not be found on the bodies of men – because men are physically stronger – but they leave indelible scars that are not visible to most, that men often hide.

    Yes, infact domestic violence is not just physical, mental violence is just as bad, if not worse. And a man can just as easily be a victim of domestic violence.

  12. I think that one of the reasons why women tolerate DV is that they don’t realize that they are actually being abused and that it is their right to protest. In marriages, we are often asked to surrender ourselves completely, and absorb the pain, anger, disappointments etc that our spouses go through. Yes, it is all right only as long as one of us doesn’t start taking the other for granted and misusing the privileges that the other partner gives us. I have often heard people justifying such acts of violence by saying ‘but he is going through a tough time at office’, and similar excuses.

    ‘I think that one of the reasons why women tolerate DV is that they don’t realize that they are actually being abused and that it is their right to protest.’ – Absolutely! Very true. And this is true of domestic abuse worldwide!

    There is a very thin line between being supportive and being the punching bag.

    Yes, I totally agree.

  13. I have read a lot of posts now on this issue..and all of you are coming up with such good articles πŸ™‚ lovely

    Every little helps.. If even one person benefits from reading all this – it would be worth it, wouldn’t it?

  14. you said it,Smitha.domestic violence is not just about women or spouses.It could be be about any of us.

    Yes, Deeps – and it is scary. Apparently a lot of people are not even aware that they are victims..

    The story with which you introduced the post was heart wrenching.Yes its very important that victims are made aware that help is at hand.

    Yes, victims need to be made aware that help is at hand and that they are not to blame. A lot of victims accept abuse as a part of life..I just finished reading another book – and it was so painful – how the women took it all because they felt that was the way the man showed his ‘love’!

  15. The title and first few lines of the post are so apt but so full of pain 😦 why do these practises exist smi, can we not do some magic to change the hearts overnight?

    I know, Tara. I so wish I could help in any way.. You know, I have read so many books on domestic violence – each one of them as painful. It is amazing how a person can hurt another person is so many ways..

  16. hei Smitha,

    beautiful header!

    Thank you, Mahmud!

    and… good presentation of the topic….
    we need to realize few things 😦

    Yes, it is shocking to read about domestic abuse – especially when it is so common..

  17. very well written! Domestic violence is there in developed countries too! Domestic violence is so prevalent in France that according to one estimate, more than one woman die daily as a result of it, and according to another estimate, one woman dies in every three days.

  18. Very well written Smitha.

    Domestic violence is much bigger than what is seen to the world.. Many families dont even let others, not even the extended family know about it and end up being subject to more abuse… and as u pointed out its not just between the spouses.

    I have nothing to add here except for appreciating u for this nice write up..
    Hope at least blog posts such as these motivate people to raise their voice against abuse..

    Thank you, Mystery! I think every little helps..

  19. a touching post Smitha…

    We need to have men and women of strength… the Man who is confident in himself and need no woman as a punching bag and the woman equally confident in herself and thus not ready to offer herself as the punching bag…

    I agree. Sadly so many women feel that they ‘deserve’ it – not just in our culture – but worldwide.. Abusers tend to rob the victims of their self confidence..

    nd the society needs to change too…. and both men and women needs to know that DV is not acceptable…. there is more to life than living with a violent spouse.


  20. Beautiful post Smitha-I have met so many women who have put up with it and wished I could actually “do” something about it-as most of the victims refuse to accept that they have a choice..sometimes.

  21. Some women don’t even realize that mental torture is a kind of DV too. Letting a women down, making comments on her, which bring her confidence down. Also I think flirting with other women infront of your wife and having affairs is a kind of torture too. Well written Smitha…Hopefully this will stop too when people will be more aware of their rights and the surroundings, this society needs to change….

  22. Very well written smitha.

    I have seen many women who sliently bear the DV just because they have kids and being together they can make their children future bright.But this thoughts comes only from a wife not from the husband who abuses and he takes advantage of her feelings and thoughts.

  23. Nicely summed up Smitha. My heart goes out to the young mother who is being bruised. It is unbelievable how some people derive happiness by hurting someone else. I got to watch an older tamil movie “aasai” recently. That one depicts a very cruel police officer(Prakash Raj) abusing his wife(eventually killing her) and wife’s sister. I could not get the scenes out of my mind for several days.

  24. A nice summing up of the points Smita. I agree that domestic abuse cannot be justified under any circumstances. I mean, imagine if it was, then even at office people should be slapped and hit if they commit a mistake! Such a thing would shock and upset most people, if their boss slaps them, but they take domestic abuse more lightly.

  25. Fantastic post!
    Great thought that it can happen to any of ‘us’ not ‘them’. Domestic violence can hurt in magnitudes far beyond that can be gauged by physical assault alone.

    I personally know someone whose life has been ruined as a result of domestic violence. You’ve raised awareness against this issue wonderfully.

    Keep up the good work.


  26. **sigh** your words and the incidents reffered are haunting… I hope more and more peopl are made aware that “You don’t deserve it..” Great work…

  27. First of all..I have no clue how I missed this post. 😐 I thought just like me, you too were taking a break. So came to ping here and saw this which you posted on 27th.

    Let me read it now.

  28. Pingback: Domestic Violence Awareness : Learn to say NO « Nogenderinequality's Blog

  29. “One of the biggest myths surrounding domestic violence is that a couple should stay together, despite the violence for the sake of the children.”

    Yeah! the “wise” elders would always say that. No matter what be in the marriage. As I mentioned on another blog, it is better to be in a safe and happy home of a single parent than be in a trouble, quarrelsome home.

    Lovely post, Smi! The thing I liked reading on all DV awareness posts is the mention of verbal battery and how that affects people.

  30. Sigh!! when will the world realize that the battle for showing who is in control of whom is not what it takes to have a happy satisfying life??

    You have written it beautifully and even after seeing so many abused men and women during my working days, the book Send Me No Flowers left me with an aching heart 😦

  31. Agree with everything you’ve written !! First time here, really impressed.

    ” A happy and secure environment with a single parent is far better than an abusive environment with both parents. ” – Such a crucial point. Unfortunately rarely considered.

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