she could stand him no more/ she was sick to the core
she saw a way out/ the judge was in doubt
counselled him with a frown/ right there he broke down
he sang her a love song/ promised he’d do no wrong
her love drives me crazy/ my judgement gets hazy
he’s a passionate man said the judge/ he loves you much too much too much
go home and stay happy/ he doesn’t treat you as crappy
as I’ve seen other wives/ who fear for their lives
he gave her the smile she knew only too well/ to a stranger it was loving, to her it was hell
he welcomed her home to a bed full of petals/ but soon she was biting a spoonful of metal
everyday was a new one, never the same/ the happiness he’d promised, it never came
to everyone he was god, personified/ to her he was not, she was vilified
everyday she was wrong, she was bad, she was worthless/ his words were unloving, his smiles were mirthless
on every occassion she raised her concern/ she was the guilty one, each judge would discern
no one would believe what a gentleman he was not/ he was only a lover, for her he was fraught
with feelings he couldn’t control or diminish/ she doesn’t comprehend, being womanish
her words fell on deaf ears, his and theirs/ he would destroy again and again vow to make repairs
each time she complained, she became the villain/ in the eyes of the judge, she was the one killing
his spirit day by day, yet he cherished her/ what an ungrateful woman, everyone conferred
she grew isolated, in mind and in spirit/ there was no way out, she just couldn’t bear it
shackled by his love, she found herself crying/ couldn’t get busy living, so she got busy dying
In light of the current controversy surrounding Muslim Personal Law in India, and the voices being raised by many different factions who don’t fully understand the exclusive rights and elevated position of women in Islam, I began to think about an India in which the fates of women trapped in abusive marriages would be at the mercy of the Indian Civil Court. Since the rights of women in Islam are so special and uncommon in other systems, such as ease of initiating divorce without requiring a valid reason (khula), it is doubtful that a non-religious judge would be able to give a verdict that does justice to a Muslim woman.
Marital counselling is usually a requirement before divorce in India. In a domestic violence and mental abuse situation, counselling or even arbitration is the most dangerous path. Because the abuser specializes in manipulation and gaslighting, the victim is constantly in self-doubt and lives in a confused state of disarray, and the abuser, being the one pulling the strings, appears quite competent and sensible. To outsiders, the man seems capable of saving the marriage, and is noble for being willing to put up with a scatterbrained mess of a woman (which no one knows he created).
Further, he is able to convince outsiders and judges that both him and his wife/partner need to change in order to improve the relationship. While this works for normal couples, for abusive relationships, it is another form of abuse on the woman, because she should not be required to change her ways in order to avoid being a victim of violence or gaslighting. Peace and safety must be unconditional in a relationship. The method prescribed by psychologists and therapists, such as Lundy Bancroft, who specializes in rehabilitating abusive men, is to avoid dialog and completely disengage with the abuser, and khula helps women do exactly this.