Suicide is still not openly discussed in our country. This is seen as a stigma and most families try to hide it. And when it comes to the woman in the family, this issue becomes even more sensitive. According to a recent report by the National Crime Records Bureau, 23,178 housewives killed themselves last year. In other words, there is a suicide every 63 days and approximately every 22 or 25 minutes across the country. If we look at the numbers, of the total 45,026 female suicides in the country in 2021, the number of housewives is 23,178, which is 51.5 percent. In 2020, this number was 22,372, which was 14.6 percent of the total of 153,052 suicides this year.
It should be noted that this situation is not just from recent years. Since the NCRB began collecting statistics on suicides on the basis of occupation in 1997, more than 20,000 housewives have committed suicide every year. In 2009, this number had reached 25,092. The report attributed these suicides to “family problems” or “marital problems”. But the big question is, what are the reasons why thousands of housewives take their own lives every year?
What is the real reason for these murders?
If we look at the NCRB data of the last few years, apart from the increase in the number of day laborers in the case of suicide, the number of housewives has been the highest, which makes this problem serious . Death by suicide may be seen as a family and personal problem, but it is a serious social problem that includes reasons such as patriarchy, unemployment, caste, poverty, access to resources, lack of health awareness mental
According to the NCRB data, the highest number of suicide deaths were recorded among women in the age group below 18 years and in the age group 18-45 years. Most of the deaths among housewives who committed suicide were recorded in Tamil Nadu. At the same time, Madhya Pradesh’s share was 13.2% and Maharashtra’s was 12.3%. Globally, India has the highest number of suicide deaths. In statistics, Indian men account for a quarter of all suicide deaths. At the same time, it is 36 percent of all women in the age group of 15 to 39 years in the world.
Society is unable to get out of the trap of domestic violence and dowry
According to the NCRB, most of the suicide deaths of women were related to dowry or childlessness. It is ironic that while Indian society glorifies women who take care of their home and stay away from work, on the other hand the mental, physical or emotional needs of women who live at home are completely ignored.
In a government survey last year, 30% of women said they had been subjected to domestic violence by their husbands. These daily hardships make marriages oppressive and women suffocate in homes. Last year, after the Covid pandemic, there was a sudden increase not only in domestic violence, but also in other violence against women, child marriage and child trafficking. All these factors promoted the tendency of women to commit suicide, especially among young and middle-aged women.
One more thing to understand here is that often there is no source of income for the woman who lives in the house i.e. the housewife. They are financially dependent on their spouse. Therefore, it is difficult for them to make any decisions on their own for their basic needs such as entertainment, physical or mental health. In addition, the lack of education and awareness makes it difficult for them to realize their rights and take responsibility for their physical and mental health. Society’s myths about mental health prevent victims from coming forward. Moreover, amidst the social conditioning of childish resignation and maternal lessons, even thinking about himself only makes him selfish.
The social conditioning of tolerance and the price of silence
In a patriarchal society, women are taught to be very tolerant, most girls are married at 18. She becomes a wife and daughter-in-law and spends all day at home cooking, cleaning and doing household chores. They are subject to all kinds of restrictions, have very little freedom and rarely get money for themselves. In this situation, their education and dreams are of no importance and their ambitions begin to die slowly and despair descends upon them. They suffocate inside and when their tolerance limit is exceeded they kill themselves.
Psychiatrist Shibali explains that people of all ages can have different reasons for suicide. From a minor to an old woman, everyone’s reasons can be the same and completely different. Such as family problems, exploitation-oppression, desire to do something, failure and depression.
Shibali tells NewsClick, “Women often feel lonely even in a complete family. This problem can happen to any of our mother, grandmother or grandmother. As the rest of the people come and go, the encounter of new people, so their environment also changes but women who live mostly in the four walls of the house, can get bored with the same routine. Many women face loneliness. Their children grow up and are separated from home. Many face pre-menopausal symptoms that lead to depression and sadness. It may not sound that serious, but its reality and implications can be very serious.”
It is worth saying that suicide is not given much attention in our country. In the cities, it is still occasionally seen in the headlines, but in rural India there is still a lack of awareness about it. There is no need for atopy here after the murder or suicide of a woman, people write it off as an accidental death. Obviously, suicide of women, especially housewives is a matter of concern, so we cannot blame any one factor. For this, we need to identify all the factors at the ground level and work on measures to keep women away from them.