Sub Menu


The fight against dowry begins at home PDF Print E-mail
Written by Poonam Vaidya   
Wednesday, 06 May 2009 10:50

Bangalore: With dowry harassment cases on the rise, welfare organisations believe women have to stand up and say no, if this social evil is to be stopped

Preeti Biyani, 29, committed suicide on April 28 by hanging herself. Even though she left a suicide note saying that nobody was responsible, her parents alleged that she committed suicide due to dowry harassment.

S Dinesh, from Intellectia, a legal organisation helping women, offers education as the first long-term method to prevent dowry harassment: "Other short-term measures are helplines belonging to the Women's Commission and Vanitha Sahay Vani that offer couple counselling. If the harassment continues, lodging a complaint is an essential legal remedy, as it acts as an indirect warning," he says, adding, "but one should exercise caution as some opportunistic women make fake complaints under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961."

Ravikanth, from Swati Mane, an organisation dealing with Women's Empowerment, and SV Sujata, from Dhavala Mahila Vedika, agree that women should directly protest about being harassed, seek legal remedies, call a helpline, or receive counselling. They believe incidents of dowry-related violence are on the rise, especially if the girl is unemployed. "The girl's family can first try to negotiate with the boy's family; otherwise, ask for help from relatives or complain to the police, and get the boy and those involved in his family arrested," says Sujata.

Hema Deshpande, from Vanitha Sahay Vani, reminds parents that they must always keep in touch with their daughters after marriage and advises them to pick up on indications of harassment and suicidal tendencies, if any. "The first step that families must take is negotiation. Problems of dowry are also caused by misunderstanding. So, to prevent conflict, families should sit together and talk about issues rather than quarrel," she says.

Sujata Rajan, from the Sneha Trust, which is organising a meet on May 26 for victims of dowry, has a different take on the issue: "Girls being harassed should simply file for divorce. There is no real problem of dowry in the cities, but it stills exist in the villages. Girls are quite outspoken and educated these days. If every girl's parents refused to give dowry, then the problem would not exist to begin with. I feel the girl's parents are equally at fault."

Rajan feels, however, that dowry laws give women a dangerous advantage: "When there is a police complaint, the groom is immediately arrested. I don't feel this is right."

Psychologist Ishita Datta explains the state of mind of a woman traumatised by dowry harassment. "The main reason for dowry death is low self-esteem. The girl thinks she is worth only the amount she brings in. So when it is not high enough, she develops a negative self-image. She feels there is no point in living, which is why extreme cases result in suicide. But, in most cases, brides remain unhappy and depressed."

Datta explains how this can be prevented: "In cases of dowry, the girl should understand that she is not expected to bring money to the boy's side by law; therefore, she should not feel inadequate and instead stand up against dowry harassment."

Quote this article on your site

To create link towards this article on your website,
copy and paste the text below in your page.

Preview :

Powered by QuoteThis © 2008