Sunday, July 31, 2005

Women as Chattel: The Saga Continues

A woman in Kerala has won a divorce from her husband after she found out that she was artificially inseminated with her sister-in-law's husband's sperm and the fertilized egg was transferred from her womb to her sister-in-law (the victim's husband's sister) who had been trying unsuccessfully to have children. As an aside, the victim's husband had apparently been harassing her for dowry.

Digested that?

As far as her husband's family was concerned, she was nothing but a piece of property they owned, a fruit tree which they saw nothing wrong in harvesting. No thought as to her feelings, her sense of being, her moral authority over her body. And all this, to help a daughter of the family, a status to which the victim should have had equal rights to, if not more. Not to excuse the husband's behaviour, but men folk may not comprehend the sense of violation the victim felt. But the women? What was the sister-in-law thinking? What was the mother-in-law thinking?

I have felt for a long time now, that women, more so than men, are responsible for the dredges in which women wallow in our societies. Mothers-in-law forget that once upon a time, they too were daughters-in-law (Kabhi Saas Bhi Bahu Thi). They forget that their daughters will one day be daughters-in-law. Sisters-in-law forget that the daughters-in-law are the ones that now care for their parents. Women in high positions in society forget the struggles they went through that younger women face as they build a career and manage their families. The thought is: "I went through it, so you do too." Not: "I went through it, and so I will spare you that pain."

Who knows, if the victim had been treated properly, if she had been made to feel part of the family and not a dowry vehicle, she may have even agreed to donate her egg to her infertile sister-in-law.

Click on the title for the entire story.


Sourin Rao said...

This is pathetic. And you are absolutely right. Women tend become the biggest enemies of happless daughter in laws and sister in law. I sometimes wonder why ? Who do you think mostly berates young girls if they fail to produce an offspring witin the first year of marriage ? Its the MIL in most cases.
Is it just a survival trait that we demonstrate or just insecurities that we havent been able to shake off for eons ?

Sujatha Bagal said...


Frankly, don't know. May be it's a combination of both - a knee-jerk reaction to a perceived threat. Plus, it's the inability to blame one's own child for any shortcomings. If a couple cannot have a child, it must automatically be the d-i-l's fault. Of course, this is not the case with every family, but the exceptions are few and far between.

Michael Higgins said...

Hi Suj
This is a remarkable story. I was wondering how the woman could "find out" that she was artificially inseminated and donate her eggs but the story explains this. I would think she would have legal claim over the child since she is the natural mother (if a child is born).

Anonymous said...

I applaud her for her courage. She should have made sure that they are put behind bars.
Rs.2000 in alimony is nothing.

Anonymous said...

hi suj
yea..these are some of the problems in this matter how educated the people are .they are down rite..pathetic [the abv incident happened in kerala...100% literacy]...


PS: u want to join us for the o3 meet?

Sujatha Bagal said...

Michael, thanks for visiting. She may have a legal claim, but socially, that would not be a viable recourse for her. It would be extremely difficult for her to even think about bringing up a child on her own, even if she wanted it under the circumstances.

Rajeshwari, I agree.

tECHJ, yeah, it would be wonderful if I could. Please do let me know the date. I'll check for it on your blog as well.

Goldensun4u said...

My daughter is about 2 and half year now that June 25 2007, she is going to a play home near my home ie., BTM Layout 1st stage, i want to know when can i get her admitted to LKG and is there any prescribed any limit to admission for LKG

Please let me know any Schools around BTM Layout , JP Nagar (CBSE Or ICSE

Maqsood Ahmed

Anonymous said...

Hi Sujatha,

Thanks a lot for the information. Could you please give me the Contact No of schools which takes children in age group 5 years and 4 months as of June for Std 1. I checked with NPS, but they say age requirement is 6 years.

Thanks once again.


Anonymous said...

I need information on BGS National public school. How is the education standard there.